What I Keep In My Golf Bag for a Day on the Course

Golf Expert Jason Starkey shares what he keeps inside of his golf bag so that he's always prepared and organized when he's playing.

Hole #8 at Crumpin-Fox, Bernardston, MA. Photo by Jason Starkey

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You’re on the tee with water on your left and out of bounds on the right—you must hit the fairway. All of a sudden, one of your playing partners is shuffling through their bag to grab the right club and look for a tee, a battery for their range finder, or their special ball marker. Annoying, right? Well, I want to show you a few tips and tricks and share the items I carry in my bag to ensure you don’t become “that guy!”

We all tend to carry the essentials. What else can you bring with you to make your round as enjoyable as possible? Can you find these items in a hurry or are they simply tossed in your bag? I find that being prepared and organized is not only assuring, but it also keeps the round stress-free.

Let’s start with the bag itself.

The Bag

The author's image of his golf bag looking straight down on it and the clubs inside of it.

Photo by Jason Starkey

Whether you have a nine-way, 14-way, or some other top to your bag, having your clubs in the right place is key. Always know what clubs are in the bag and where they are, so you don’t struggle to find the right one. This is important not only for speed but also for making sure that you haven’t left anything behind.

Personally, I carry the Ogio Ozone bag with the Woode system. The brand calls it “stadium seating” for organization. I absolutely love this bag. Woods and the driver are found on the side and irons are arranged in descending order in the middle. The bag also has a nice spot for the putter. I know exactly where each club is, can find them in a flash, and at the end of the round, I can take a quick glance and know that I still have them all. Another feature of this bag I absolutely love is the ball caddy on the spine. It holds three balls, so I can have quick access to a new one if needed. No digging into a pocket after an errant shot!

The Essentials

We all have some similar essential items for our golf bags, such as tees, balls, ball markers, maybe an extra glove, and a club wrench for a quick adjustment pre-round. However, I also make sure I have plenty of other items to go along with them. For example, I always have a permanent marker handy to mark my golf ball. Being able to identify a ball as yours ensures no unnecessary penalties. If you wear glasses like me, a cleaning cloth is a good idea; there’s nothing worse than not being able to see while playing.

One other item I would call essential, especially these days, is a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Some courses have nice restrooms with sinks to wash your hands, but others have simple portable potties. We all know how clean those can be! But that is not the only reason it’s important to have hand sanitizer on you. Courses are often covered in fertilizer and pesticides, so it is always good to have clean hands during and after your round. The last thing you need is to end up getting sick because of chemicals on the course.

Being Prepared

An image of a glasses cleaning cloth, hand sanitizer, bug spray, and sunscreen sitting on a countertop.

Photo by Jason Starkey

Next, I want to talk about a few items I carry that fall into the category of being prepared for any situation.

Since golf is played, for the most part, in the summer and warmer months, staying hydrated is important. It is also good for keeping your energy up. I like to have small pouches of Gatorade water additives in my bag so I can fill a bottle on the course and make my own Gatorade. With that, it's good to have some sort of snack. Every time I play with my dad, he grabs a “back-nine banana” on the way out the door — always makes me giggle. I try to keep a granola bar, a small bag of nuts, or fruit with me.

Staying hydrated is important, but the sun can be a killer as well. I have a bottle of sunscreen in my bag at all times. I prefer to use sport sunblock in a spray bottle that has a non-greasy formula. It’s easily applied at the start of your round and can be reapplied at any point. Plus, you can share with your group.

Next, I keep a bottle of bug spray. Bugs can be so annoying when you’re playing early spring rounds and later in the summer, breaking your concentration and making you uncomfortable. One thing to note here: when applying bug spray, make sure you apply it either in the rough or on the cart path. Overspray can quickly kill grass, so be aware, and please don’t apply it on the tee or near the green. Your course superintendent will thank you!

If you carry a range finder, like me, the absolute worst thing that can happen is the battery dying mid-round. And seriously, how many of us actually check the strength of the battery prior to the round? Having extra batteries for your device in your bag is a great idea! Just do a quick battery change on the course and you are good to go.

The last item I have to be prepared for any situation is a small first-aid kit. This may seem excessive, but it is good to have, just in case. It may not be for something serious, but it’s great to have Band-Aids, tape, gauze pads, and antiseptic gel on hand. You’ll thank yourself for being able to treat something as small as a blister on your foot to a small cut from looking for an errant shot, or the worst-case scenario, if you get hit after missing someone yell “FORE!” Help can be pretty far away sometimes, so being able to treat something quickly could prove to be important.

Stay Organized

Small plastic containers sit on a countertop. One has batteries in it; another has first aid supplies; another has tees, etc.

Photo by Jason Starkey

With all of this stuff now in your bag, how can you keep it organized, easy to find, and at the ready? Simply tossing things into a specific pocket is not good enough for me. I found great little boxes at a local craft store. Technically, they are crayon boxes, but they’re the perfect size for my tees, Gatorade pouches, and first-aid kit, and there are different colors available. I opted for blue for hydration, red for first-aid, and clear for tees. I also bought a couple of mini boxes for my small tees and batteries. Now, everything is nice and tidy and easy to find in the bag. I keep the boxes on one side of my bag and hold sunblock and bug spray on the other.

Now we are ready to get out and really enjoy the game! If you have any questions or are looking for a great bag or other golf essentials, don't hesitate to reach out to a Golf Expert here on Curated! Keep hydrated, keep your energy up, and be ready for any situation.

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Written By
Although I played as a young child, I really got a passion for the game in my early 20's. Playing every day, learning more and more, and searching for that perfect round. This lead me to learn as much as I could about my own game, what I was doing wrong, and how I could get better. Through the cours...

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