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The great bag debate, Part 3: Stand or no stand

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Welcome to the third and final installment of the great bag debate: stand or no stand.

We kicked off the series with top divider systems, and it became an interesting topic to follow since every golfer has his/her own preference for organizing clubs and the accessories.

As far as divider systems go, the market is littered with options—from minimalist all the way up to a full 14. We narrowed it down to the most popular four and the poll results can be found below.

This led me down a path into the culture surrounding carry bags and what people are really looking for when they carry their clubs. In a way, it’s kind of like shopping for a car: you pick the style you are looking for, analyze the available brands, price points, and options, test for fit, comfort, and cargo area, then scrutinize the details of every button, clasp, and handle until to choose your winner.

Just like with picking a set of new clubs, you should take the time to make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

Part two: Single or double-strap?

The subject of straps is easier to tackle because there are only two options: one strap or two, and the bags they are attached to often mirror their approach with single straps more akin to being minimal, and dual straps for larger designs—although there are plenty of smaller bags with a dual strap option too.

You may assume the easy way to settle this would be to purchase a dual strap bag and only use the one strap but just like Channing Tatum in “21 Jump Street,” “two strapping” isn’t for everyone.

Some companies do offer both strap options interchangeably on the same bag, and they are some of the most popular designs. So, if you are on the fence keep an eye out for those next time you are shopping for a bag.

I remain a neutral party since I walk with both a dual strap and single strap bags depending on the day, but GolfWRXers certainly had their voices heard and dual strap won in a landslide 3-1 vote.

After dividers and straps, there is only one more place to go when it comes to figuring out what you want in a bag and that is the stand.

Part 3: Stand or no stand

This could be the most polarizing of the three debates, especially considering the growing popularity of golfer playing less than 14 clubs (long live the half set). Using fewer clubs doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t use a stand bag, but considering one of the main goals is to reduce weight when carrying, the stand is usually the first thing to go.

Now, if weight management and a stand are still a priority, there are very lightweight stand bags already available under three pounds—and more to come—like the Ping Craz-E-Lite (below). But for those seeking the most minimalistic option, a stand is still something many won’t even consider.

On the other hand, the biggest pro-stand argument is from those who play early mornings when dew is at its peak: having a stand can be a necessity to assist keeping clubs dry and off the ground. The counterpoint is many of today’s modern stand-less bags are fully waterproof or have a waterproof belly to keep grips and anything else in the bag nice and dry regardless of the ground conditions.

Just like with the previous single vs. dual strap debate, I am lucky to own both styles and use them equally depending on where, when, and how I plan on playing. To me, fewer clubs late in the day means I’ll be going stand-less to minimize weight, while early morning for a more competitive round I prefer a stand to keep things off the ground and carry a few extra pieces of gear just in case.

Whatever side of the debate you “stand” on, we want to hear from you!

Stand or no stand?

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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Looey

    May 7, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Sun mountain 2.5 is almost perfect. Plenty of room. Plenty of pockets. And as long as you don’t fill up the pockets, the bag is very light. It has a double strap which in my opinion should be more easily convertible to a single strap.
    However, the original Joannes bag with just three pockets and adequate room for a full or almost full set is perfect even though it has no stand. The single strap is well padded and can easily be carried for nine or 18 holes. Score is a 10 on the coolness scale!

  2. 15th Club

    May 6, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    I can understand some North American golfers’ failure to understand why a carry bag would not have a built-in stand.

    They have never played in Scotland when the wind is really up.

    My last trip to Scotland; my old Ogio Reilly got blown over in heavy East Lothian wind and both legs were broken. It’s not s stand bag anymore.

  3. ChipNRun

    May 6, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    In the pre-stand days, I used to hate:
    * Laying bag down on ground on muddy days.
    * Seeing trace fertilizer on my bag and golf shirt after a round on spreading day.
    * Picking the bag up and down 10 times to switch clubs when hitting a bucket of range balls.

    These days, I’m more likely to carry my bag on a par 3 course or a gently rolling nine-hole layout because I have stand bag. With the stand bag, raising and lowering onto shoulders takes half the energy as picking a bag up off the ground.

    Yes, I like stand bags.

  4. Fergie

    May 6, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    My problem with stand bags is that they tend to have smaller diameters. I use +1/8 oversize grips and like 14 way dividers, so I’ve never found a stand bag that allows me to pull a club without it getting stuck. I also use a trolly, and the hinge that holds the stand legs gets in the way of securing the bag at the top.

    • ChipNRun

      May 6, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      Understand your point. My brother has jumbo grips on his clubs. He is searching for ANY carry bag that will allow the thicker grips to go in and out of the bat without hanging up.

  5. Greg V

    May 6, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    The Sun Moutain 3.5 Plus is a lovely, light walking stand bag. I use that most often, but I also mix it up with a Ping Moonlite.

  6. Pelling

    May 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Single strap, single divider. No stand. Jones makes a great bag. MacKenzie, too, if you have money to blow. Have a great Mizuno Sunday bag, Ping are great, Titleist, too. Try walking, take 7-8 clubs. Get some exercise. Bending over is working the core.

  7. BadaBing

    May 6, 2020 at 11:46 am

    I’m not a golfer, I’m an athlete. Bending to pick up my bag doesn’t bother me, carrying a stand bag doesn’t bother me. I prefer one strap bag with no stand. My moon-lite keeps the grips dry and allows me to add or remove a strap.

  8. rob

    May 6, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Walking without a stand bag is nuts. i dont care how light the standless bag is, the additional weight of a stand is easily offset by not having to bend all the way to the ground after every shot.

    Stand bag all the way if you are walking

    • stanley

      May 6, 2020 at 11:14 am

      yea i agree with this guy

    • Jarlaxle

      May 6, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      If that were the case, wouldn’t you expect to see stands on the bags carried on Tour? I mean, a stand would be even less of a weight factor since those bags are already so heavy. And because they are so heavy, not having to lift them off the ground would be an even bigger advantage.

      • rfo

        May 6, 2020 at 12:22 pm

        Its a completely different story when you aren’t the one thats carrying the bag.

      • ChipNRun

        May 7, 2020 at 12:41 am

        I worked as a course marshal at the 2013 PGA Senior Championship at Bellerive CC in St. Louis, won by Koki Idiki of Japan. At least half the players had medium-weight stand bags, not huge staff bags.

        In 2017, I caddied in the Decatur/Forsyth (IL) tournament on the LPGA developmental Symetra Tour. In this event, well over half the women had lighter carry stand bags. (In some events, they may end up without a caddie).

        My player had a lightweight Ping stand bag. Problem was, she traveled so light that the bag’s stand legs wouldn’t deploy unless I pressed down on the bag to engage the base plate. My own bag deploys easily because it’s 10 pounds (?) heavier.

  9. Nick

    May 6, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Love my PING Moonlite, I can see myself gaming this model for years to come. I like the Jones Carry Bag look too though so either would do it for me. Plus they fit on carts (walking and riding) just fine. Lastly with a 12 club set up, minimal tangle among grips, I am with Jordan, less is more!

  10. SV

    May 6, 2020 at 9:53 am

    At this point in my life I can no longer carry. Prior to this my body told me that 2 straps and a stand are the way to go. Spread the weight and don’t bend over so much.

  11. Tee Lassar

    May 6, 2020 at 9:42 am

    I voted for stand overall but I am fortunate enough to have both options stand and no stand. No question stand bags are the favorite for early morning dew-sweeping rounds or rain days. Weight is not the issue as there are several stand bags under 3 lbs .
    Best of both worlds: Beeyootiful Mackenzie single strap bag with no stand—acccesorized with a simple inexpensive “x” shaped lightweight wood “trestle” for those times when a stand is needed. Simply the best

    • Jarlaxle

      May 6, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Agree, think the author missed the mark by ignoring trestle sticks. Best of both worlds IMO. Toss them in the bag if its wet or leave them at home if its dry.

      I would also argue that, in general, non-stand bags tend to be made of more durable materials that will hold up better over time because they aren’t trying to save every little gram of weight. I looked long and hard at the Craz-E and the Mizuno K1-LO but what put me off was the fact that they were so lightly built it seemed highly unlikely to me that they would still be in good shape after a few years. There are better built bags that could last a long time (like a Ping Hoofer light for example) but they are 5 lbs or more.

      I am making the switch because I like to carry and I want bag that will get better with age, not deteriorate.

  12. Funkaholic

    May 6, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Here in north Georgia, it is too hilly to walk, cart bag is a must and 14 way divider is the only way to go. I rarely ever tote my whole bag to the range unless I drive it there before a round. I just grab a couple of irons when I am working on fundamentals and spend the majority of my practice time chipping and putting.

  13. Eric

    May 6, 2020 at 9:27 am

    I love the look of the sunday/no stand bag- particularly the jones player series. Just have a hard time telling my back we’ll be walking 18 holes and bending over between 75-85 times!

  14. golfraven

    May 6, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Tried pencil bag but just did not work for me so ditched it (can’t be bothered that my clubs get soaked) and got a traditional standbag (stadry) – 5-6 dividers. Otherwise I have a smaller staff bag which I use with a pushcart.

    • tee l

      May 6, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Can’t imagine why you would need a staff bag unless you are on a staff or on tour. Why not just drive an SUV onto the course if you need that big a bag!

  15. Jordan

    May 6, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Less is more. 14 divider stand bags are nuts. There is a simple beauty to the Jones carry bags. I’m slowly beginning to use my Hoofer only to go the range and my Jones bag is my playing bag.

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