Golf coolers generally can be categorized into three primary types. In this article we rate and review the best golf coolers in each of the following categories:
Push cart coolers: Junior golfers using a golf push cart can benefit from having a cooler either attached or looped onto their push carts.
Backpack coolers: Parents, golf coaches and other spectators walking and watching golf tournaments can benefit greatly from a backpack cooler that is much easier to carry than a bulky or awkward hand held cooler.
Golf cart coolers: If you are driving in a golf cart, there is a huge range of coolers from very high quality coolers to budget priced coolers, that will ensure you have sufficient cold waters, sports drinks and food for your junior - or even for an entire team!
Some golf bags actually have small cooler sections built into them but these generally do not hold as much as a junior will need when walking 18 holes in the heat. The Datrek Trekker Ultra Lite is a one great option for junior, weighing just 3 lbs and includes an insulated cooler sleeve. The Bag Boy Chiller is a 6 lb cart bag that has a removable cooler sleeve that holds up to six 12 oz cans or 3 to 4 bottles of water or sports drinks. Read our golf bag buying guide here: Guide To Purchasing The Best Junior Golf Bag.
+ Quality soft sided cooler that attaches to most push carts using a sturdy velcro strap
+ Compact but can still store up to a twelve 12-oz drinks and some snacks
+ Price range: $30-$40
+ Excellent quality backpack cooler and great value for money
+ Both a carry and a backpack cooler
+ Comfortable adjustable straps
+ Durable 600-denier polyester and thermoplastic rubber (TPE) coating
+ Large enough to hold up to 14 bottles of water or 24 cans of drinks and some ice packs
+ Price range: $30-$50
+ Famous Yeti quality!
+ Smaller size fits perfectly into the back of a golf cart or can be hung on a push cart
+ Waterproof, resistant to mildew, punctures, sun rays
+ FDA-approved food-grade materials and closed-cell rubber foam
+Tough waterproof and leak proof zipper.
Holds up to eight 12 oz drinks and some ice packs
+ Expensive (but will outlast cheaper soft side coolers)
+ Price range: $199-$299
The best golf push cart coolers should be small enough to not add too much weight while still being large enough to hold at least 2 to 3 drinks (e.g. a couple of waters and a sports drink) as well your junior's favorite nutritious golf snacks and possibly some fruit and a sandwich. Some push cart makes and models have coolers that are made specifically for them. While these definitely fit well and look good, in general most quality coolers with an adjustable strap can be made to fit to any push cart.
Some of the best selling and highest quality push carts are the Clicgear range of carts (read more here for a guide, ratings and reviews of the best golf push carts). The Clicgear Push Cart Cooler is a sleek, spacious bag designed to fit Clicgear 3-wheel push carts including models 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5+.
The lower pouch is insulated and can keep up to 6 cans cold. The upper pouch is an easy-open storage for snacks. At 2 lb it won't add unnecessary bulk or weight to the push cart and it fits snug against the cart so doesn't interfere with walking. In order to hold bottles larger than cans some people have cut out the divider - an option Clicgear might want to consider in the future.
Clicgear also make a cooler for the model 8 pushcarts that is similar is shape, size and price. They also have a smaller cooler option called the Clicgear Push Cart Cooler Tube that attached to Clicgear carts, holds 2 drinks and sells for approx. $20.
Price range: $40-$45
Like Clicgear, Bag Boy is another very good quality push cart. While they do not have a cooler that is specially fitted to their carts, they do have a good quality one that attaches to most push carts by using a sturdy velcro strap.
This well insulated cooler can store up to a twelve 12-oz drinks and has two side mesh pockets for storing things like sunscreen or bug spray. User reviews are very favorable and the coolers fits nicely to golf push carts. Like most other soft sided coolers, you should use ice packs instead of ice cubes as water will leak from the bag when the ice cubes melt. If you do use ice cubes, do not store you phone, keys or other electronics next to it.
Price range: $30-$40
The Callaway Golf Cart Cooler is a pretty large, but not bulky and holds up to twelve 12 oz cans or nine 750 ml bottles. It weighs 14 oz and collapses down to 3" for easy storage in the golf bag, garage or pantry when not in use. It fits conveniently in the basket of riding carts and has an easily adjustable strap to hang on push carts. A velcro opening allows for easy, convenient and secure access.
This cooler is built to carry water bottles and there are no extra compartments for snacks but it is big enough to carry enough water for a round with space inside for a Ziploc or Tupperware container with a sandwich or some protein bars.
Price range: $30-$35
Our junior golfers have used the Intech Golf Bag Cooler and Accessory Caddy for years. They are light (1.6 oz), very durable, and hold the exact amount of water and snacks my boys need during a round.
This golf cooler also has extra compartments that can be used to store sunblock, bug repellent and other golf accessories. The insulated storage area can hold about ten 12oz cans and the large zippered pouch can be used for snacks. The small zippered pouch is a secure place for valuables, keys and cell phones.
Price range: $25-$40 (depending on colors)
The ProActive Sports Golf Cooler is a budget friendly option at less than $20. They are sleek, have a nice design and hold up to 6 cans or 3 bottles. You could fit a water, sports drink and some snacks into this cooler.
This golf cooler has a strap that you can use to attach it to a golf push cart and also has a clip that you use to attach it to a golf bag in the event your junior is carrying their bag as opposed to pushing a cart. At only 8 oz this is not too bulky or heavy for juniors to carry.
Price range: $15-$20
When you are walking 18 holes watching your junior golfer play a tournament it is helpful to have hands free to perhaps help look for lost golf balls or at least carry your little golf seat stick. Our junior golfers push golf carts (and put a little cooler over the cart) when playing tournaments (unless the particular golf course venue does not allow them) but the majority of junior golfers carry their bags.
A lot of golf parents and coaches carry a backpack cooler to replenish their player's water or give them a snack on the course if necessary. Golf backpack coolers are seen more and more these days and they certainly are a good idea.
The Tourit Backpack Cooler is a waterproof, light, durable, large capacity (30 cans) insulated cooler that measures 15.8" x 13.0" x 7.5" and weighs just over 1 lb. It has multiple pockets to store valuables and comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. It is made of high quality tear resistant fabric that is easy to clean with padded, adjustable straps for comfort.
It is leak-proof but putting ice directly in the cooler is not recommended. Ice packs are a better bet. High-Density insulation material and a leak-proof liner inside of the insulated backpacks work together to make sure anti-leaking and keep food hot or cold for up to 16 hours. Color options include black, blue and grey.
In addition to the Tourit cooler backpack pictured, they also sell various models of cooler backpacks ranging in price from $35 to over $150.
Price range: $50-$60
We see a lot of Igloo cooler backpacks at junior golf tournaments. Igloo is renowned for quality backpacks that are reasonably priced.
While there are quite a few different types of Igloo backpack coolers, we like the Switch Marine model for a number of reasons including the fact that it is both a carry and a backpack cooler and the adjustable straps are made from padded air-mesh straps which really helps when carrying a heavy load of liquids.
It is made from very durable 600-denier polyester and has a thermoplastic rubber (TPE) coating that will ensure it lasts for many years. It has a coupe of side and front pockets for storage of snacks and accessories. It is quite large and measures 13” wide, 9” deep, 17” tall - and can hold up to 14 bottles of water or 24 cans of drinks and some ice packs.
Price range: $30-$50
Yeti has somewhat of a cult following and fans rave about their coolers. The Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 is one of the highest quality backpack coolers available and is priced accordingly! It will almost certainly outlast many other cheaper backpack coolers .
The Yeti Backflip is made from tough durable fabric that is waterproof and designed to be resistant to mildew, punctures, and harmful sun rays. The inside materials are an FDA-approved food-grade material. The Backflip cooler is able to keep drinks cold for extended periods of time thanks to closed-cell rubber foam not found in other soft coolers. Contributing to its effectiveness is a quality tough waterproof and leak proof zipper.
The Yeti Hopper Flip 8 measures approx. 14” × 19” × 8.5”. At approx. 5 lbs It is on the heavier side compared to other backpack coolers. It fits up to 20 drinks and ice packs and is ideal for a team or group of golfers or spectators.
Price range: $299-$399
ICEMULE backpacks are modeled after the classic "dry bags" that are used for boating, kayaking, fishing and other water sports. The tops rolls up and folds over to ensure a 100% waterproof and airtight closure. These rate as among the most trendy coolers available. An ICEMULE cooler is a great option if you are looking for a quality cooler that you can also use for water sports, camping or other outdoor activities.
The ICEMULE straps comfortably to your back and is a high performance soft-sided cooler with impressive capacity. It comes in three sizes (L, XL and XXL). The smallest size (L) measures 17"x 11"x 14" and weighs 3 lbs. The materials and construction are high quality and as a result the cooler is very durable. Some users expressed concern with the straps holding up to heavy weights when the cooler is fully packed and therefore care should be taken in picking it up when fully loaded.
High tech insulation keeps beverages cold for 24 hours and the ingenious IM Airvalve allows for air to be added to the insulating layer for increased insulation and to be released for ease of rolling up the cooler for storage. Be sure to clean out and dry the inside before rolling it up for storage or it will become moldy.
Price range: $100-$150
The ColemanC003 backpack cooler is excellent value for money at less than $25! Coleman is well known for very good camping supplies and equipment.
The C003 backpack cooler has excellent padding on the back and on the adjustable straps. It also has a waist strap that helps distribute heavier loads between the shoulders and the torso. The C003 backpack cooler measures 12" X 6" X 19" and it can hold up to 22 cans and some ice packs. The front pocket is great for storing snacks, food and small accessories.
Overall this backpack has great user reviews. As with most other soft side coolers, you should use ice packs and not regular ice as the bag can leak when ice melts. A few users noted that it does not have quite as good insulation as some of the more expensive backpack coolers and therefore will not keep drinks quite as cold for extended periods.
Price range: ~$25
When you're following your junior golfer around a golf course you can be out there for a good 5 hours alternating between walking and waiting. We sometimes carry a little golf seat stick (if we remember it). It's nice to be able to walk ahead and find a shady spot and catch your breath from time to time.
More and more we see parents carrying a folding cooler and stool backpack. The Gigatent Folding Cooler and Stool Backpack is durably constructed with nylon, cloth and stainless steel tubing. The frame is elevated so the cooler does not touch the ground.
The cooler has a fully insulated foil lining which will keep drinks and snacks cool through a golf round. It weighs about 2.5 lb and its open dimensions are 5.5”D x 11”W x 16.5”H. A front storage compartment is a good place to store valuables or snacks.
It comes in grey or red and will definitely add a level of lightweight comfort to the golf round and is very reasonably priced.
Price range: $25-$30
These golf cart coolers are great designs for high school coaches or parents following around a golf team.
The Nivel Front Mounted Golf Cart Cooler is constructed of Marine grade vinyl. It is durable, UV resistant and easy to clean. Putting it on and off the front of the golf cart is quick and secure.
The cooler holds enough drinks for a school golf team and has multiple pockets for snacks, dry goods and accessories. It is the ideal high school golf team or PGA Junior league cooler and we have seen these used in various school tournaments.
Price range: ~$100
Yeti has somewhat of a cult following and fans rave about their coolers. The Yeti Hopper 8 is one of their smallest coolers and fits perfectly into the back of a golf cart and can even be hung over a push cart.
The Hopper 8 is made from tough durable fabric that is waterproof and designed to be resistant to mildew, punctures, and harmful sun rays. The inside materials are an FDA-approved food-grade material. The Yeti cooler is able to keep drinks cold for extended periods of time thanks to the closed-cell rubber foam not found in other soft coolers. Contributing to its effectiveness is a quality tough waterproof and leak proof zipper.
The Yeti Hopper Flip 8 measures 8” × 10 1/2” × 11 1/2” and weighs a little under 3 lbs. It can accommodate eight 12 oz drinks and some ice packs. These are expensive coolers but will outlast 2 or 3 other cheaper soft side coolers.
Price range: $199-$299
Even with the best intentions most soft insulated cooler bags will leak at some point with ice in them. The best way to get around this is to use reusable ice packs. There are thousands of options when it comes to reusable ice packs for coolers including hard sided plastic ice packs, soft-sided gel packs and flexible freeze sheets.
The "Stay Cool Reusable Ice Packs" are a pack of 6 slim, lightweight hard sided ice packs that are are not too bulky or heavy and are ideal for golf coolers. At less than $15 for a pack of six, these are also very affordable.
Another great option are CoolerShock Ice Packs that are scientifically designed to make things colder over time thanks to their 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-8 degrees Celsius) temperature.
The non-toxic, child safe CoolerShock gel formula is shipped dry. Simply add tap water and seal the gel packs with the provided cork and screw cap. The pack turns to gel in 15 minutes and lasts 24-48 hours under constant opening and closing of your cooler. A pack of 5 costs around $20.
An added benefit of gel packs is that they can also be used to relieve pain and reduce swelling of common aches and injuries such as twisted ankles or bumps and bruises.
Whether your junior is pushing a golf cart with a cooler attached or you are carrying a cooler of drinks for your junior golfer between holes, you want a cooler that works well and will last more than one season. A decent cooler is a must for juniors playing in the hot summer months. Let us know what your favorite golf cooler is!