A beginner can easily lose track of his game if he has to scramble around his bag to search for anything. Sooner or later, such a player will find his golf bag as a storage bag rather than his golf base. It’s not about being perfect, but being effective in organizing things that reduces clutter and saves time.
A good golfer needs to ensure that he carries everything that he needs while playing is an 18-hole game on the golf course.
Choosing the type of bag
Choosing a golf bag is like choosing a friend. It should be reliable, sturdy and durable. A player needs to decide which type of golf bag is suitable for him by reviewing his style and the frequency of his game. Let’s have a look at some basic types of bags that a golfer can choose:
- If a golfer intends to compete on a championship level, then the tour bags are the preferred choice. It’s true that they are heavy, but professionals usually have aides who carry it for them.
- If a golfer wants to have a bag which he can stroll around on the golf course, the cart bags can come handy.
- If a golfer wants a bag that he can carry around and balance on any type of terrain while playing, he can select the stand bag, which is the most popular one among golfers. Thinner versions of stand bags are called pencil bags.
While each bag has its own advantages, all the different types of bags will have the following features:
- Dividers for keeping different types of clubs
- One or more pockets to keep golf accessories like the balls, tees, etc.
- Umbrella Holders for protection during rains
- Towel Loop for keeping the towels
Once a golfer chooses the bag, he needs to carefully setup or organize his bag to ensure that accessories remain safe and can be located easily.
Setting up the Game Essentials
While deciding which clubs to carry, one needs to remember the legalities surrounding it. If a golfer is playing for tournaments, then he should carry 14 or fewer clubs, as anything more than 14 is considered illegal by the USGA. In fact, the golfer needs to play the game with the same 14 clubs that he started with. He cannot change them during the course of the game.
Let’s understand the proper way to organize the clubs in the standard Stand Golf Bag.
Many Stand bags come with five, seven or fourteen dividers for keeping your golf clubs. While 14 dividers would seem cumbersome, a five divider bag would be feasible for all golfers. Stand bags need balance, hence all of the shorter clubs like the pitching wedge, the sand wedge, and etc. should be placed in the bottom end of the first divider of the golf club.
Next would be the middle divider where mid-length clubs can be placed. It would be good to place the 7, 8 and 9 clubs on the right and 4, 5 and 6 on the left. With this setup, the shortest clubs would be in the middle, the mid-length clubs would be on the middle right and the longer irons in the middle left.
Longer clubs should be kept in the top or the last divider section of the bag. This helps in balancing the golf bag and helps the golfer locate and pick his clubs with ease.
What about putters?
If the bag doesn’t have the putter holder, it can be kept in the top of the bag with the longer clubs, so that it doesn’t bang with the irons and get damaged or chipped. So when you pick up the stand bag, the longer and heavier clubs are at the top or back of the bag and the shorter and lighter clubs are at the bottom or the front.
What would be the position of the golfer is using the Cart Bag? Since the golfer isn’t carrying the bag, the clubs need to be kept in an inverse manner compared to the stand bag, since the bag faces the other way. So when the golfer is pushing the bag forward, the heavier and longer clubs would be in front of him and the lighter ones at the back.
Is the job done once the clubs are arranged? Far from it! The supplementary accessories play an equally important role while setting-up the golf bag. A golfer who knows how to set up a golf bag is aware of all the different accessories that go with it.
Which golf clubs should be kept in the bag?
There is no rule book that lays down which combination of golf clubs goes in the bag. It’s the combination of the player’s skill, swing, and handicap that decides the type of clubs that go with the bag. A golfer with a high handicap can keep more hybrids (4, 5, 6) and irons (7, 8, 9) and one wood, wedge, and a putter. A mid handicapper can use 2 hybrids and 4 irons. He can also keep a driver along with his wood and putter. A low handicapper, who has all the necessary skill, can comfortably go with one hybrid, one iron and maybe two or more wedges.
Organizing the Game Accessories
- Name Tag
While it may seem unessential, having a name tag on the golf bag identifies you as its owner. Many retailers design custom tags and logos that add a touch of personal style to the golf bag.
The next item for your bag is an inexpensive and versatile tool – your towel.
During summers, it is good practice to carry a towel to wipe the sweat off the hands and another towel for wiping the golf clubs dry. Antimicrobial cotton towel with the water-proof feature is highly recommended as it also comes with a rain shield. The towel should be hung on the loop attached to the bag which can come in handy while playing the game.
- Golf Brush and Club Cleaner
- Golf Balls and Sharpie Markers
- Pitch mark repairer and Coin/Chip
An unclean club can be a reason for an ineffective shot. No golfer would want any other material to be in-between the clubface and the ball. A simple yet important accessory is the golf brush and club groove cleaner. One needs a cleaner that complies with USGA regulations and can clean any type of groove design on the face. The cleaner can be kept in one of the pockets provided on the bag.
It is not recommended to directly keep the tees with its plastic cover in the bag. A very small hole can spill out all your tees. A zip-lock bag or a pouch can be used to keep the tees in the bag pockets. While playing the bag with the tees can be put in your right pocket so that the glove-free right hand can be used to easily remove it. A dozen or so tees would be enough for a game.
Many golf bags have a storage pocket to keep the balls. New balls can be kept separately in its box while old balls can be kept in a separate pouch for regular practice sessions. Some golfers keep a minimum of 3 new and 3 old balls. To avoid confusion while playing with multiple golfers on the course, it is recommended to keep ball markers to mark your ball for better identification. Some players also keep a marker removal to erase marks on their balls.
A divot tool or a pitch mark repairer should be kept in the bag pocket along with a coin or a chip for ball alignment. These tools are very small so they should be kept in the pocket where the golfer won’t need to rummage through.
- Golf Bag Rain Cover
- Range Finder
Rain can ruin the bag accessories, so a rain cover should be kept in the bag during the monsoons to protect the bag from getting damaged.
Golfers discuss their scores and their handicap regularly. After a successful game of golf, a golfer needs to enter his scores on the scorecard. A pencil will come in handy for the task.
A compact rangefinder can help the golfer stop the guesswork and measure the distance accurately. A rangefinder has its own place in every golfer’s bag pocket.
Setting up the First-Aid and Health-Related Accessories
- Sun Screen and Lip Balm
- Water and Snacks
- Band-Aids and Pain Killers
- Bug Repellents
A golfer needs to remain protected from the sun during sunny days when golf is in full swing. The water surface on the pond and the sand can reflect harmful UV rays which may cause considerable skin damage. It’s highly recommended that golfers keep sunscreen and lip balm along with a bottle of water in their golf bag.
Protection from the sun demands that the golfer also remain hydrated. Since players spend hours standing and moving around in the golf course, a bottle or two of water with some quick snacks between swings can mean a lot.
A small strip of band-aid is needed if a blister comes in unwelcomed after a shot. This is for cases when players hit with their non-glove hand. A serious wound may call for a pain killer or a relief spray.
While the lush green terrain of the course gives serenity to the game; the weather condition, the bushes, and the pond may host different types of bugs and insects which may irritate the gentleman playing the game. An insect repellent will help the golfer to play peacefully even in sub-tropical climates.
A player should empty his bag and list down all the necessary accessories in the perfect order. Golf bags are quite spacious, so all the items can be placed and located effortlessly. Even a beginner who understands the nuances of the game can determine how to set up a golf bag.
Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”. A golfer who starts with an organized golf bag proves that he is in control of his game. A messy or a cluttered bag can be detrimental and can make the journey to his target longer. So, rather than simply moving things around the bag, it is necessary for every player to customize it. Let’s remember, it is easy to organize, but it requires the self-discipline to stay organized.