Cart vs. Stand Bag: 7 Factors to ConsiderPublished on 08/29/2023 · 8 min readChoosing between a cart bag or a stand bag? Check out these 7 essential factors to consider, ensuring you pick the perfect golf bag for your needs.
Photo by Otmar W.
Choosing a cart or stand bag is an easy decision once you know how you’ll get around the golf course. This article will help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages to maximize your storage space, club setup, and comfort as you navigate the golf course. For myself, I exclusively carried a stand bag for 27 years, because I played in a host of tournaments where carts weren’t permitted. However, I’ve occasionally used a cart bag over the last two years, as my senior playing partner prefers to drive. In this post, I’ll explain seven factors to consider when considering a cart versus stand bag. You’ll leave knowing whether your needs suit the extra pocket space of a cart bag, or the comfortable, padded strap of a stand bag. I’ll also provide tips I’ve used to select my bags, helping you save time and maximize value.
What Are Stand and Cart Bags?
Stand and cart bags are the go-tos for most amateurs, but they serve different purposes. Stand bags like the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite are feathery constructions designed to support the walking golfer over 18 holes. Their straps are padded for comfortable carry, and they have a durable stand system that keeps the bag upright between shots. Cart bags, as the name suggests, are built to fit on a riding cart or push trolley. They’re marginally heavier than the standard stand bag and typically contain added pocket space to store everything you need.
How To Choose Between Stand And Cart Bags
1. I Carry My Clubs
If you prefer carrying your clubs and walking 18 holes, a lightweight golf stand bag with cushioned, dual-padded straps is your best option. The lighter construction and comfortable straps spare your shoulders and back, lowering the risk of shoulder and back pain. I find the Ogio Fuse 4 stand bag easy to carry around thanks to its 4.4 pound frame and wealth of pocket space. It also has eight storage compartments, which is two more than the average stand bag, though it has fewer top dividers than a cart bag.
2. I Drive Around The Golf Course
Push or riding cart owners have the capacity to lug around a heavier bag with greater storage space. A golf cart bag is built for this, with its cart-compatible base and a Thru-Strap channel to fasten it to the cart. This keeps the bag stable, and makes the pockets easily accessible during the round. Many modern golf cart bags contain a 14-way top divider, like the Callaway Chev 14, which keeps every club in the bag separated. This feature prevents clanking as you ride around the course, protecting your uncovered clubheads.
3. I Both Drive And Walk The Course
If you alternate between walking and riding, a hybrid bag like the Ogio WOODĒ can be a good choice. Hybrid golf bags offer the extensive storage of a cart bag, with the straps and legs of a stand system. However, they’re heavier than a regular stand bag, but I still find hybrid bags comfortable to carry over eighteen holes. My advice is to consider a lighter, comfortable hybrid stand bag that your back and shoulders will appreciate on days you walk.
4. I’m an Off-Course Golfer
Golfers who spend their time at driving ranges don’t need a heavy, bulky golf cart bag. It’s hard to justify the additional cost, so I’d suggest sticking to a lighter, easy-to-transport, and affordable golf stand bag, like the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite stand bag. Alternatively, golfers who only carry a handful of clubs to the range might consider a compact carry bag, like the Ram Golf Pitch And Putt carry bag, a budget-friendly choice that can hold five to six clubs.
Budget plays a pivotal role in golf bag decision-making. If you want to spend less, I suggest focusing on golf stand bags, which are typically more affordable than spacious golf cart cases. For instance, the MSRP of the MacGregor MacTec Slim Lightweight stand bag is just north of $100, an attractive price for any budget. Conversely, an entry-level cart bag like the Tour Edge Hot Launch Xtreme 5.0 has a suggested price of over $160. If you have the money, a golf cart bag may be worth it, but a stand bag is better for restricting expenses.
The quantity of top slots and full-length dividers differ between cart and stand bags. Lighter stand bags like the Callaway Chev have four to six top slots, which is decent room to separate your woods, irons, wedges, and putter. However, some stand bags struggle to comfortably hold fourteen clubs, so the shafts and grips in a compartment can stick together, making extraction a challenge. In turn, I recommend these bags more for beginners who have a limited collection. Modern cart bags tend to feature 14- or 15-way tops, or a compartment for each club in your bag, which just simplifies things. I suggest an option like the Wilson Staff Xtra with its molded putter well, which can protect your flat stick and has no issue with a jumbo-sized putter grip.
7. Storage Space
Golfers who want more storage space likely prefer the spacious design of a cart bag, as their heavier design allows engineers to fit more pockets compared to a stand bag. The average stand bag features five or six pockets, which is decent space to store your accessories, technology, valuables, and apparel. However, models like the TaylorMade Supreme cart bag possess a wealth of space to hold all your belongings with eleven well-designed pockets.
Cart Bag Pros and Cons
Pro: Increased Storage Space
My favorite feature of cart bags are their abundant storage space compared to their more basic stand bag relatives. I know I can comfortably store my beverages, valuables, accessories, rangefinder, rain gear, and still have additional space left over.
Pro: Cart Strap Channel
Golf cart bags sit securely on the base of a cart, reducing twisting in transit. I find the strap loop specifically on the Titleist Cart 14 an efficient design for stabilizing the bag during my round. The design also gives unobstructed access to the pockets, preventing wasted time between shots.
Pro: Optimized Top Dividers
I feel cart bags are better organized at the top, often featuring fourteen slots with full-length dividers to keep clubs separated, and thus less prone to damage. It’s also easier to extract clubs from the bag, as the grips and shafts don’t stick to each other, like stand bags with fewer top dividers.
Golf cart bags weigh more than stand bags, which isn’t ideal for carrying for extended periods. If you walk with your clubs on occasion, it’ll be an uncomfortable experience for your shoulders, compared to a stand bag.
Con: More Expensive
Cart bags fetch a higher price on average than stand bags, given their added storage space and top dividers.
Stand Bag Pros and Cons
The average stand bag weighs less than four pounds, making it light and comfortable to carry on your shoulders for eighteen holes. The Callaway Hyperlite Zero stand bag is a prime example of a lightweight stand bag, weighing under four pounds when empty.
Pro: Comfortable Dual Straps
Golf stand bag manufacturers apply cushioned dual straps to support your shoulders while on the golf course. This helps balance the load and prevent excess pressure on one shoulder. The premium Titleist Players 4 stand bag features cushioned straps for a comfortable carry over eighteen holes.
Pro: Stand Legs
Stand legs enhance convenience by ensuring the bag never directly touches the ground, which would dirty the bag and require bending over multiple times. Dual stand legs keep your golf bag stable and upright in between shots, on all terrain.
Stand bags cost less than cart bags due to their simple construction, reduced storage space, and minimal top dividers, making them attractive for golfers on a budget or just starting out. While there’s expensive stand bags like the Titleist Players 4 StaDry, they’re generally more affordable than cart bags.
Cons: Reduced Storage Space
Stand bags are fitted with fewer pockets than cart bags, but they’re typically enough for most people to store the gear and items they need. However, I’d suggest a cart bag if you’re looking for greater storage space.
Con: Fewer Top Dividers
The fewer top and full-length dividers in stand bags is a key disadvantage for me. My grips and shafts become entangled, and it's a struggle to extract my clubs. I personally prefer the structured 14-way tops on modern cart bags, but that does increase the total weight.
Next Steps for Choosing a Golf Bag
After reviewing this article, which golf bag would you choose? Do you want the increased storage space and well-structured top of a cart bag? Or are you drawn to the lighter, easy-to-carry stand bag? Either way, if you have any questions about bags you’d want to discuss, please feel free to reach out to a Curated Golf Expert for further guidance!