The game of golf is difficult. In fact, it’s been known to cause fits, lead golfers to lose large sums of money and otherwise raise stress levels in its participants. One way to combat these on-course challenges is by being prepared. Fortunately, golf requires the use of a large golf bag to help you lug your clubs and seemingly countless other items around the course.
But, what items will you need for your round of golf? What will help you get through your round unscathed? To help, we compiled a list of the 25 must-have things you need in your golf bat at all times:
You’re not going to get much golf in without your clubs. Under USGA rules, you’re allowed 14 clubs in total. The typical breakdown includes a driver, fairway wood, hybrid, eight irons, sand wedge, lob wedge and putter — but fill your bag as you and your game see fit.
It’s crucial to stock your bag with the proper amount of golf balls. If you tend to hit a lot of balls in the woods or water, carry extra balls with you. If you’re a lower-handicap player, you can save weight by carrying only the necessary ammunition.
Hitting tee shots is hard enough. Limit your tee-box stress by ensuring you have an ample amount of tees before your round begins. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling for half-broken tees before each tee shot. Bonus tip: tees also work well as ball mark repair tools and golf club groove cleaners.
4. Divot repair tool
Don’t leave the green full of indents and bumps. Please repair your ball marks with a divot repair tool. A good rule of thumb on each and every green is to replace your ball mark and one other.
5. Ball marker
Mark your ball while on the green with a proper ball marker. Your fellow playing partners don’t want to be navigating a green with large tees sticking out of the ground.
If you’re swinging correctly, you’ll be making divots in the fairway. That will lead towards dirt and grass getting caught on your club heads. Clean after each shot to ensure your clubs remain in good shape and your grooves aren’t getting gunked up with dirt.
7. Ball towel
If you play early-morning rounds or in generally wet weather, you’ll also want to carry a towel with you to the green. Grab yourself a smaller towel to help clean the ball before putts and to help keep your other clubs’ grips free from moisture.
8. Rain cover
Most bags come stocked with a rain cover that either snaps or velcros to your bag to protect your clubs from wet weather. Ensure your bag has one before stepping out on the course. It’s also good practice to keep your clubs covered when storing them for the offseason.
In this day and age, you’re a step behind if you don’t carry a rangefinder. Whether it’s a laser, GPS watch or an extra device, ensure that you have a rangefinder in your golf bag. It’ll help you dial in accurate distances, improve your game and speed up the process now that you don’t have to waste time pacing out yardages from sprinkler heads.
10. Extra pencil
Prior to each round, you’ll receive a scorecard and pencil from the pro shop or the golf course’s starter. You’ll likely lose this pencil. Carry an extra one so you’re able to keep score throughout the round.
Speaking of writing utensils, carry a Sharpie or permanent marker in your bag. During rounds with players using the same golf ball, the marker will serve as the perfect tool to “mark” your ball with a customized marking to ensure you’re always playing the correct ball.
12. Cold weather gloves
Whether you’re teeing off in the early morning before the temperature reaches its high point for the day or you’re simply playing in frigid weather, it’s good to keep a pair of cold weather gloves in your bag. The cold weather gloves offer an additional layer of warmth while still allowing the proper feel and grip on your golf clubs.
13. Wet weather gloves
Speaking of gloves, it’s important to also carry gloves that will give you proper grip during wet weather. Many golf glove makers also produce rain-friendly gloves. These gloves come in pairs and offer supreme grip traction during rainy or wet weather.
14. Rain gear
It’s also good practice to keep rain gear in your golf bag. You never know when wet weather is going to hit. Many golf apparel companies that make outerwear will have rain shells available. You can purchase matching pants and jackets to help keep you dry from any weather. Note that during summer months, it can get quite warm wearing rain gear. Adjust accordingly.
Spending four-plus hours outside in the sun can be extremely dangerous and damaging to your skin. Ensure you’re protecting yourself by keeping sport or sweat-proof sunscreen in your golf bag.
Golf is an activity that often takes a long time to complete. Ensure your nutrition is powering your game appropriately — especially if you’re walking the course. Trail mix, energy bars and fruit are the perfect snacks to bring on the course.
Make sure your golf bag always has a refillable bottle of water. Most golf courses will have water stations every few holes. Hydrating yourself is nearly as important as any other aspect of your golf game — especially during summer months.
18. Rules of golf
Knowledge is power. Power yourself with the official rules of golf, which come in a bag-friendly design from the USGA. Carrying this small booklet will ensure you’re taking the proper action and scoring appropriately no matter the situation.
19. Bottle opener
Whether you bring your own or buy from the beverage cart, it’s smart to keep a bottle opener in your bag for those desperate times. Lest you’ll be finding a rock to pry the cap off your beer!
20. External power charger
Whether you use your phone to track statistics, dial in yardages or simply listen to music while on the golf course, make sure your battery doesn’t drain by carrying an external power source.
Provided your playing partners don’t mind, it’s also smart to keep a small, battery-powered speaker in your golf bag. This will allow the group to listen to music during the round — a trend that is growing at many clubs across the game.
If you’re a cigar smoker, you never want to be stranded without the ability to make fire. Keep a lighter in your golf bag for your mid-round stogie.
23. Throw-away balls
Whether you’re simply not playing well or you’re facing a shot that will more-than-likely result in a lost ball, you may want to keep a few “throw away balls” in your bag. It would be crazy to try and drive that green over water with an $8 golf ball!
Arm yourself against the beverage cart, cart return attendees and lost bets by stocking your bag with some cash.
Having a few quarters in your golf bag ensures you’ll always have a ball marker for the green — and the ability to grab a pack of crackers at the turn!
— Ben Larsen