How should I set up my golf bag? | Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask

proper push cart organization

Make accessing your essentials easier by organizing your golf bag

Welcome to Gear Questions You’re Afraid to Ask, a series produced in partnership with Cleveland/Srixon Golf. This week we discuss how you should (and shouldn’t) arrange things in your golf bag.

How should I arrange and setup my golf bag? – Caleb R., Maryland

This is the exact type of question we like to answer because we have some strong thoughts and opinions on this very subject. And while the easy answer is to say there isn’t one way to do things and you’re free to arrange your clubs, golf balls, tees and so on however you want in your bag, we’re pretty adamant about how we arrange things. And you should be, too.

Let’s break it down with a few simple tips to ensure your bag is equipped properly.

Bigger clubs don’t always have to go in the top divider.

We once scoffed at players who put their driver and woods in the lower section and irons on the top. But when we finally asked why they do it (yes we’ve seen more than one person do this), it was a eureka moment that we felt silly not fully understanding prior to asking. The main reason you might consider putting your bigger clubs (driver and woods) in the lower divider has to do with how you attach your bag to a golf cart. Attached with the pockets facing out, having the shorter clubs in the upper divider makes everything much easier to reach.  We understand this array isn’t right for everyone, but if you ride in carts most of the time, you gotta try it.

Woods in the back irons and wedges in front
Driver and woods in the back to make irons and wedges easier to reach? Yes please. Ryan Noll

Don’t open your extra golf glove until you need it. 

Carrying at least two golf gloves is a smart move, especially if you play in wet or humid conditions and your glove gets wet. But remember this — gloves are packaged in such a way to limit exposure to air and moisture (which invariably will cause it to dry or rot out in the long run.) Make sure you grab the right size and keep your spare glove in the sealed package until you need it, or at the very least, store your extra gloves in a plastic bag (more on these below). And in case your glove gets wet, always let it dry out before you stash it away in your bag.

You’re not a PGA Tour caddy. You can leave the oversized towel at home.

Is the oversized towel fad over yet? We hope so. And while we’ve been known to carry a caddy-sized towel on occasion, most of us don’t really need that much terry cloth to keep our clubs clean. And, unless you actually are a caddy, a large towel can get cumbersome and take up space. Instead, stick with a smaller towel that has a clip or carabiner that attaches to your golf bag. A smaller towel is easier to manage and you’re less likely to lose it.

Cleveland golf towel with carabiner
Large towels are cumbersome and get in the way. Go smaller and you’ll have more room. Cleveland

Plastic bags are your friend.

As mentioned already, plastic bags are great for storing your gloves. But we think plastic bags are great for protecting virtually everything else, including first aid items, pain relievers, eye drops, sunblock and so on. Golf bags may be able to endure rain, but that doesn’t mean the pockets are impervious to water getting in. And we know from experience: there’s few things worse than a leaky tube of sunblock or bunch of soggy pain relievers caking up the inside of your bag. A simple plastic bag will help you avoid this dilemma and will keep your necessities dry. Better yet, opt for a heavier/thicker freezer bag. They last a lot longer.

Ziploc freezer bag
Freezer bags are more durable and do a great job protecting your stuff. Ziploc

Headcovers should stay on whenever possible.

Funny how often we see this. If you’re carrying your bag or riding in a cart and leaving your headcovers off your driver and woods, not only are you destined to ding, dent or chip your clubs, it’s also incredibly loud and irritating to hear your woods clattering around. Instead, be sure and put your headcovers back on your woods and keep them on anytime you’re not using them. Same goes for your putter, too.

This is neither a good look or a good sound. If a club has a headcover, keep it on whenever possible. Supplied

Carry an extra hat (or visor).

You may not think of this as a necessity, but for those of us who play in sunny weather regions having an extra hat is a godsend. Forgetting your hat at home or in the car is the worst, which is why we always have a backup lid in the bag. And for the matter, maybe it’s not you but a playing partner who forget to bring his/her hat. Lucky for them you’re a great friend and have a spare on hand. Better yet, maybe consider carrying a visor. They’re easier to pack and great for hot and humid days.

A visor is easy to pack and carry, just in case you forget your hat. XXIO

Store your golf balls in the big pocket facing out and always carry enough to balance your bag.

Ultimately, you can pack your bag any way you want that works best for you. But, having golf balls in the big lower pocket makes the most sense not only because it’s the easiest place to reach for them, it’s also the best spot to balance out your bag. We know that most golfers want to carry a bag that’s as light as possible, but it’s a real drag to carry a bag that’s top heavy. To prevent unnecessary club spillage, make sure you have enough golf balls on the opposite end of the bag will to counterbalance the weight of your clubheads, which in turn will make matters much easier and far more comfortable when walking and carrying your gear.

Srixon's limited edition golf bag
Store golf balls in the large outer pocket towards the bottom of your bag for better balance. Srixon

Finally, always loop the cart strap through the bag handle.

Last and definitely not least, be sure to use your bag handle loop when attaching your bag to the golf cart. Doing this is not only more secure, it also prevents the bag from twisting and drooping as you play. If you have a cart bag, it’s possible you have a strap slot somewhere that you didn’t even know you had. If not, go with the handle.

Clubs attached properly to a golf cart
This strap is a must for holding your golf bag securely on the golf cart. Noll

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below!

generic profile image

Ryan Noll Contributor

Unleash your full golfing potential with brand-agnostic, precision club fitting.