Stand or no stand? What you need to know about each golf bag style

stand or no stand on your golf bag?

Both are good, depending on what you're looking for.

Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help raise your golf IQ and play smarter, better golf.

Since I was a junior golfer I’ve been flip-flopping between using golf bags with stands and golf bags without ’em. I started using a Sunday bag, without a stand, in high school (before they went more mainstream, let the record show).

Then in college, I was forced to use my team’s stand bag, which I ditched at the first opportunity once I entered the work force.

Then, last year, after a caddie told me how much more annoying it is to caddie for stand-less golf bags, I went back to a standing golf bag that’s classified as a “Sunday Carry bag,” which puts me in the middle of both worlds.

All of which is to say I feel appropriately qualified to provide what I consider the arguments for each. One isn’t better than the other, they’re just different. It all depends what you’re looking for. So with the winter approaching — and perhaps a new golf bag purchase on the horizon — here’s what you need to know.

Pros of non-stand golf bags

1. They’re lighter

This is the first and most central benefit of a non-stand golf bag, and it’s a common theme throughout. The lack of a stand means the slimmed-down bag is simply lighter, because one major component of the bag (the stand) is gone. Sure, some intently-designed stand bags can be lighter than some non-stand bags made of heavier material (like leather), but on the whole, the lightest bags you’ll get won’t feature a stand.

2. They’re trendy

I’m not sure how or why, but an army of golf-loving millennials have fallen in love with throwback, high end, non-stand golf bags. If you’re looking to be on the cutting edge of indy golf fashion, a high end Sunday bag would put you there.

3. They’re low-maintenance

No stand on a golf bag means one less thing that could break. And because the designed is tilted more towards the lightweight end of the spectrum, it usually leads to more non-essential features of the bag getting trimmed. That’s sort of the point of them. Sunday bags (AKA, pencil-style bags without a stand) are designed to do two things and nothing: Hold your clubs, and take a beating.

4. They travel easy

Along those lines, one of the true beauties of a non-stand bag is how easily they fit into a travel bags. They’re basically impossible to hit the weight limit with, and there won’t be any struggling to fit the bag itself inside.

Pros of stand golf bags

1. They’re easier on your body

Many lightweight stand golf bags generally only have one strap, which means one shoulder will get more wear and tear than the other. And even when a non-stand golf bag has two straps, the lack of a strap means that if you’re walking, you’re going to have to bend down and pick up your 30+ pound golf bag upwards of 50 times a round.

It can be annoying, and if you have a bad back, bending over and lifting that weight up off the ground may not help matters. Talk to any caddie, and they’ll say this, too.

2. They’re more convenient

Stands may make the bag slightly heavier, but with them comes convenience. There’s no getting around it: Propping up your bag so your clubs are perfectly presented to you makes pulling one out easier, especially on the range.

3. They’re more presentable

Along those lines: A golf bag with no stand, lying on the floor, usually with a towel draped around it, sometimes has a sack-of-potatoes quality that doesn’t always fit in with the vibe. A nice clean golf bag, standing on its own two legs, looks good on any tee box.

4. There are more options

Finally, if you’re not wedded to the idea of having a non-stand golf bag, the world is your oyster in a way that it wouldn’t be otherwise. Stand bags are still the more popular options, which means you’ll have options of all different sizes, weights, colors and pocket configurations.

Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.