My first golf bag wasn’t even really my bag; the bag was shared with my sister and brother. It was a jaunty red, black & white tartan patterned “Sunday” bag and held our 7 or 8 slightly undersized clubs along with a supply of golf balls and tees in a single zippered pocket. The bag eventually was consigned to the basement when we graduated to a standard set of clubs. I remember occasionally sighting it stowed away under the basement stairs. I imagine it got tossed when my parents moved to Florida several decades ago.
The first full-sized bag was a gray, somewhat square-shaped, fake leather, single strap bag. My friends and I almost always walked rather than pay for a cart. Since “stand bags” were not invented yet, when we arrived at our ball we just laid the bag down on the ground or propped it against a tree (according to Sun Mountain, the first bag with built-in legs was introduced in 1986).
As a late adopter, it was likely well into the 1990’s until I converted to a stand bag. Once I had one, I was hooked, no more laying my bag down in the dew laden grass. Managing one’s clubs became easy as you no longer had to lift the bag to remove or insert a club.
By the late 1990’s I faced a crisis, the dual strap. Beginning in 1996, dual strap systems became more & more popular. Having played golf for over 30 years, I had a problem getting acclimated to the dual strap. My biggest issue was that you had to always approach the bag from the left. With a single strap I could pick the bag up from either the left or right side. For a while I would buy a dual strap bag and swap out the dual strap for a single strap. Eventually I gave up and adopted dual straps and got in the habit of approaching the bag on the left. Frankly, the dual straps are a huge improvement as far as weight distribution.
As a frugal golfer, I tended to try to hunt out bargain bags. One time I got a particularly good deal. I made the transfer from old to new but ran into a problem. I could not find the umbrella holder. Apparently the designer in Indonesia or Vietnam decided I did not need to carry an umbrella. For years after, when I would look at a new bag I would double check that there was a system to hold an umbrella.
So what do I look for in a bag, other than an affordable cost (and an umbrella holder!!)? Number one is weight. I don’t want to lug around an extra 5 pounds for 4 hours if I can avoid it. Another preference is for the legs to spread far enough apart so as to give the bag a stable “stance” on hills and in wind. I have owned a number of bags with non-adjustable legs that could barely stand up to a 10 mph breeze or a 3% incline. Never again! Other than that, as long as there are a couple pockets, one of which is large enough for a rolled up rain suit, I am good to go. In a perfect world the color scheme would be subdued but I have owned a yellow & black bag in the past (dubbed the “Bumble Bee”).
So what does everyone else look for?