Whether you know it or not, your golf bag and clubs speak volumes about you as a player.
After playing for 20 plus years, I can pretty much look at someone’s bag on the range and guess their handicap before watching them take a swing. Needless to say, first impressions on the golf course are very real.
If you play a lot of golf and want to make a good first impression, follow these rules. Here is a breakdown of how each component of your golf bag describes you as a golfer.
Golf Bag and Accessories
Before going into the clubs themselves, let’s talk about the golf bag, as that usually says a lot as well. Here’s how I think of it:
Tour bag – If you aren’t a touring professional, never, ever use a Tour bag. They’re massive and not functional for the average golfer.
Cart bag – Someone who is at least a 15 handicap, if not more. If I see a ball retriever, I know they’re shooting in the 90s on a good day and triple digits on a bad one.
Hybrid bag – Someone who likes to walk nine holes with a push cart occasionally, but not enough to go all in on a stand bag. Likely shooting in the high 80s or 90s.
Stand bag – This type of bag usually means you’re a solid golfer who is shooting in the 70s most of the time. Even if you never walk, a stand bag is usually a sign of an established golfer.
While there are some exceptions to the rule, these are usually pretty standard when it comes to golf bags. The accessories on your bag also factor in too.
Custom name on bag – Having your full name embroidered on your bag is fine. But having something like John “Big Time” Smith is tacky and unnecessary. I fully expect that type of person to miraculously find their golf ball in the trees and talk about how good they were in high school.
Gadgets – If you have multiple gadgets, training aids, and other accessories hanging from your bag, I’m a bit worried. Keep it minimal with a club brush, maybe a bag tag from your favorite course, and 1-2 towels.
Driver and Fairway Woods
Your big stick and other woods don’t always say as much about you as your irons do. With woods, most golfers play big brands (Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, etc.).
But the shaft is usually a more telling sign of who you are a golfer. If you see someone playing an X-stiff shaft or one you know is super stiff, like the HZRDUS green, they’re usually a good player.
Irons and Wedges
Irons are usually the easiest thing to spot when another golfer sees you. Good players tend to have blades or small cavity back irons.
While mediocre golfers who shoot in the 80s or 90s play a larger cavity back, sometimes with graphite shafts. And golfers who shoot 100+ almost always have a hybrid set, massive cavity back irons, and lightweight graphite shafts.
Wedges don’t say a ton as most golfers play standard, blade wedges. Some older players or high handicappers might opt for a small cavity back to match their irons.
But if I see some gimmicky club like the Spin Doctor, a 2-sided chipper, or Square Strike from the Golf Channel infomercials, I’m absolutely terrified. These types of clubs usually mean you suck around the greens and I will always make sure to stand behind you in case you shank one.
Please, I beg you, do not use iron covers – no matter what they look like.
Anytime I’m playing solo and get paired up with a group and I see iron covers when I’m’ warming up, I know I’m in for a long day.
Iron covers are tacky and completely unnecessary. They instantly show everyone at the golf course that you’re a high handicap golfer who doesn’t know much about the game.
I don’t care if you’re playing $3,000 PXG irons, skip the iron covers entirely (because clearly you can afford new ones). The only exception is if you’re traveling on an airplane and want to protect your investment, otherwise burn them immediately.
Finally, your putter also says a lot about you as a golfer.
In general, solid golfers tend to take care of their putters much better than someone who shoots in the 90s or 100s. If I see someone with a ton of scuff marks, I know they’re making 3-putts look easy.
Meanwhile, established players keep a headcover on at all times, usually have a newer grip, and don’t throw it.
After reading this, what does your golf bag say about you? Is it giving a good first impression, or do you need to make some adjustments before you head out to the golf course?
Let me know in the comments!
Written by Michael Leonard