Golf is a great game on many levels. As much as it emphasizes technique, integrity and personal responsibility - at its core it requires a very practical approach to equipment. You want the equipment to stand up to the elements so look for quality materials and functionality.
Kids also like their things to look good and fortunately kids' golf bags come in all sorts of colors and designs these days. This article will outline what factors make the best junior golf bag and some quality options for you to consider.
For very young kids (e.g. younger than approx. 8 years old) you will likely need a junior specific golf bag since smaller golf clubs are not yet long enough to fit into a standard size golf bag. Once kids are over approx. 8 years old they can start transitioning into a standard size (adult) bag.
Alternatively, if you are using an adult golf bag for smaller clubs you may need to stuff some packaging foam (or similar light weight material) into the bag to prevent the clubs from slipping down into the bag (clubs can be very tricky to get out if they do slip through the bag dividers and down into the bag).
To help you make the right decision, we have compiled this buyers guide that contains all the information you should consider prior making a purchase. We have also included a list of some of our favorite junior golf bags at the end of this guide for your convenience.
The Benefits of a Good Bag for your Junior Golfer
Reasons to put some effort into buying the best junior golf bag for your child:
Your child's golf bag is what they see and thus associate with more than any other piece of their equipment. You will want them to have a bag that looks good, is light weight and has enough functional storage (but not too much).
How a junior feels about their golf bag can potentially improve their desire to play and practice. In addition, carrying around a heavy golf bag can wear out a junior and cause injury, thus affecting their ability to execute quality golf shots and keep a good attitude.
Prevents Fatigue and Injury
Unlike fully grown adults, middle-schoolers or even some high-schoolers may find it difficult to carry a heavy golf bag on their shoulders. To ensure your child does not strain or potentially injure themselves, it is essential you invest in the right golf bag that is light weight and has good quality adjustable straps. We do not recommend middle school and elementary school kids carry a golf bag for 18 holes (or even 9 holes) if they have the option to use a push cart.
We advise you purchase a bag that is made using durable and quality fabrics that are resistant to wear and tear that will last them for a number of seasons.
A good quality golf bag that is efficiently packed will help your junior golfer stay organized and focused on the course. It will help pace of play and contribute to the overall enjoyment of the round.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Junior Golf Bag
When shopping for a junior golf bag for your player, you will find that there are plenty of different types available. To ensure you make the right decision, pay attention to the following features that all contribute to making the best junior golf bag:
If your player won’t be using a cart and intends on carrying the golf bag around the course, you should pay special attention to the weight of the golf bag. While older kids may be able to carry around a heavier bag, it may be a significant deterrent for younger kids. Even if your child is planning on using a pull or push cart, maneuvering the cart becomes easier if you have a lightweight golf bag. We highly recommend using a push cart with one exception, if the course is extremely hilly it is sometimes easier to carry than to push.
Ensure you have purchased the right size golf bag according to your child’s age. Some junior golf bags are designed for a specific age group and will be a more suitable size and weight option for your child. For example, golf clubs for a six year old will be too short to fit into a full size (regular size) golf bag. Once kids reach the age of about 8 you can start using a full size golf bag even if you have to stuff some foam or other packaging material down into the golf bag to keep the clubs from falling all the way in.
You can't always predict the weather so make sure your child's golf bag includes a rain hood or golf bag rain cover for added protection. If a rain hood is not part of the bag package, we suggest you invest in either a rain hood or full bag cover separately. If your child plays in a relatively dry part of the country (e.g. California or Arizona) then a full cover is likely not necessary. If, however, your child plays in a wet part of the country (e.g. the Pacific North West) or travels a lot for tournaments then we recommend a full bag cover. A rain cover can also come in handy if your player practices frequently on damp grass or in the early morning. Golf clubs are expensive so it is a good idea to protect them as much as possible.
Types Of Golf Bags
When investing in a golf bag for a junior golfer, parents can choose from these three types:
Investing in a golf stand bag is an excellent option. These bags include a standing mechanism of two retractable legs that are usually on a spring loaded mechanism to automatically pop out so that your child doesn't have to lay the bag flat on the ground. This allows easy access to golf clubs and accessories and prevents the bag from getting dirty, muddy and wet. Almost all junior golf bags are stand bags - a stand bag is the best junior golf bag for good reason.
When investing in a golf stand bag, opt for a model that features dual backpack-style straps that are designed to distribute the weight of the bag evenly across the shoulders. Check that the straps have good padding and also look for a hip pad that will make carrying more comfortable. While stand bags are designed primarily for carrying they can also be used with a golf cart and a push or pull cart. However, if you are attaching to a golf cart or push cart make sure not to damage the legs or the stand mechanism at the base of the stand. The legs and stand mechanism can be damaged easily by forcing the bag onto a cart.
Carry bags are very basic ultra-light weight bags designed for walking a course and do not work well with golf carts or push carts. They are generally less rigid, some do not have legs or a stand, and have fewer pockets and club dividers than a stand bag. Also called Sunday bags they weight approximately 2 pounds. Occasionally you will find juniors using these for tournaments where they are not allowed to use push carts and have to carry their bags, such as the GA PGA Junior tournament held annually at Sea Island where push carts and are not permitted so juniors from age 11 and up have to walk and carry their bags.
If you are looking for an ultra light bag and settle on a carry bag, pay attention to the straps and padding to ensure it has dual straps and is comfortable enough for your child to carry around.
As the name indicates, cart bags are golf bags that are designed to ride on the back of a golf cart and not to be carried. We do not recommend cart bags for juniors as they are heavier to carry and not as practical. Cart bags generally weigh between 6 and 10 pounds (or more) and therefore are not the best junior golf bags.
Cart bags a good choice to adults that never have to carry their bag further than from their car to the golf cart. The advantages of cart bags are that they are made from premium materials (thus heavier) and this quality of build will generally last longer than a carry bag. They also have more storage space to pack spare accessories, balls, rain gear etc. Even though it has more pockets, you want to make sure that you still pack your golf bag efficiently.
Kids generally do not clear out golf bags regularly and tend to collect a lot of golf balls, accessories, rain gear, yardage books etc. In addition, most golf bags have more pockets than juniors need! Because they will be carrying around the weight of the golf bag, it’s crucial your child only stores the absolute essentials in their bags including tees and balls.
If your child plays golf in places where it often rains, you will want to make sure your golf bag has an apparel pocket (longer and larger side pocket to store larger items such as rain hoods and rain gear). An umbrella sleeve or holder is another important feature to have if you live in an area in which it rains frequently.
Beverage Holster/Hydration Pouch
It is very important for kids to stay properly hydrated on the golf course. This is especially critical in summer when they are walking in the heat. For this reason, it highly recommended that you invest in a golf bag with a beverage sleeve or holster. Some bags also feature a cooler pocket that allows kids to store more than one drink and will keep their water or sports drink cold.
Note, the majority of kids will be using a push cart and can attach a cooler over the handle of the cart or store drinks in the cart's drink holder. If this is the case then a drink holder in/on the bag is not as important.
The number of dividers may vary depending on the specific model. So, ensure you have purchased a golf bag that will cater to your child’s needs. A divider system will eliminate the need for your child to fumble inside the bag to find the right club.
Some larger bags (e.g. cart bags) feature up to 14-dividers, but you do not need that many and more dividers equals more weight. A 4 to 5 divider system is sufficient for most junior golfers. Most golf bags do not offer a full-length divider system but rather a top divider system which works fine.
A water resistant material is a nice feature for a golf bag. Most golf bags are somewhat water resistant and a few are made from special water proof materials such as the light weight Sun Mountain H2NO model pictured below.
This feature is fairly uncommon but can prove useful in the long run since the putter is taken out and put back into the bag so frequently. Putter wells offer a designated space for putters and keep them from bumping against other clubs and getting damaged. They also protect the putter grip, many of which are oversized and thus more susceptible to damage, from rubbing against other clubs and causing wear and tear.
Rain Hood or Bag Cover
A rain hood or full bag cover is a must if your junior is going to be playing in wet conditions. The best junior golf bags come with a light weight removable clip-on rain cover that is easy to attach and when detached can be rolled up and stored in the bag. This is usually sufficient unless your junior is playing in predominantly wet conditions such as those found in the Pacific North West of the USA, in which case you should consider investing in a full rain cover.
If you decide to buy a full rain cover make sure it has panels to easily access the lower and side golf bag pockets. Rain covers are also available in a clear plastics that can be convenient. Most full bag covers are able to fit onto a golf bag that is on a push cart and some covers also have a more rigid top flap that provides easy access for a junior to their golf clubs. The Rain Tek Cover pictured and linked below is a good example of a golf bag cover with these options and great reviews from buyers.
Best Junior Golf Bags Reviewed
To assist you in choosing a good junior golf bag we have compiled a list of some of the best and most popular bags on the market, including a variety of different types of bags such as high quality carry bags, a smaller junior bag (for younger golfers under the age of approx. 8) and also an ultra light weight carry bag (Sunday bag):
Winner: PING Golf Hoofer Bag
The PING Golf Men's Hoofer Bag is a popular light weight golf bag for juniors that also has an excellent design for securing it to a golf cart. The Hoofer offers a convenient 5-way club divider and 12 pockets for accessories. Thanks to the 2-full length dividers, your junior can easily organize their golf clubs. The golf bag weighs about 5 pounds. You will see many juniors using these bags at tournaments that require juniors to carry or push their bags.
Ping has a great team program where they provide discounted Hoofer bags to school, college, academy and other teams. For example, our older son has a personalized Ping Hoofer bag through the AJGA, our younger son has a personalized Hoofer bag through his golf academy (pictured below) and our high school golf team also has personalized Hoofer bags.
Some notable features of the product include:
- Five-way club divider reinforced top
- Water resistant pockets for carrying accessories and water bottles
- Adjustable shoulder pads with SensorCool technology for additional comfort
- Hip pad for carrying comfort
- Attached rain hood
It is constructed using polyester and nylon materials and also features a water-resistant pocket for valuables, water-bottle pocket, sunglasses pocket, rangefinder pocket, and much more. These additional pockets come in handy for organizing golf accessories along with your other personal belongings.
It features an attached rain hood that snaps into a pouch and rests underneath the cushioned hip pad. Similar to other ergonomic bags in Ping's lineup, this model features two sliding shoulder pads along with a strap slider.
The adjustable straps are a backpack-style carry, ensuring a comfortable fit. The legs have reinforced brackets to prevent breakage.
The 5 top dividers are an ideal amount of sections for a junior golfer with approximately 3 clubs in each section.
Stand Bag: Callaway Hyperlite Stand Bag
The Callaway Hyperlite Stand Bag is among the most lightweight full length golf stand bags on the market today, weighing only3 pounds. Some notable features of the product include:
- 4-way full length dividers and 7 pockets that allow juniors to organize their clubs and accessories easily.
- Comfort Tech Strap system for a padded light weight carry on your junior's shoulders.
- Weighs just 3 pounds making it one of the lightest golf stand bags on the market
- Includes a matching rain hood which protects your golf gear from stormy weather conditions.
The full length dividers keep clubs from bumping and rubbing, ensuring the clubs don’t damage each other. Callaway has introduced the Optifit hip pad for extra comfort when carrying your clubs. This Callaway bag also features a ergonomic comfort strap system.
The soft mesh padding on the straps is easy on the shoulders, allowing kids to carry around the golf bag with ease. The soft padding helps with posture and supports the back. The golf bag has a total of 7 pockets and includes a few large pockets where junior golfers can store larger personal belongings. A water-resistant and a velour-lined pocket provides good options for storing valuables.
The golf bag is an attractive design and is available in numerous colors so your junior can pick one that they like. It also includes an easy lift handle which is convenient for short carries. At only 3lbs this is a great option for juniors.
Stand Bag: Sun Mountain 3.5 LS
Sun Mountain is considered among the leading brands when it comes to manufacturing quality light weight golf bags, and the Sun Mountain 3.5 LS Stand Bag is a perfect example of why. Some notable features of this product include:
- Seven pockets including one that is water-resistant and one that is velour-lined
- A hydration pouch which makes it easier for junior golf players to remember to stay hydrated on the course
- Padded carry straps made with a high-density foam that is contoured to suit the wearer
- Full-length apparel pocket for added convenience
- X-strap System which is easy to take on and off. It also features a new plastic strap guide which makes it easier to control strap fitting and adjustment.
The golf bag has a four-way top, full-length divider. It also features a special E-Z Fit Dual Strap System along with high-density foam straps. This feature ensures maximum comfort for the user. It also has an efficient strap system along with a cushioned hip pad.
Stand Bag: OUUL Python Super Light
Stylish designer looks meet functionality in this super light weight bag. These bags are made by Belding which has been making quality leather golf bags in the USA for almost 50 years.
Some notable features of this product include:
- Very light weight!
- Cool hand crafted vibrant color prints that are unlike other golf bags
- 8.5" - 5 way top with Multi-handle design
- 3 good size pockets with an insulated beverage sleeve
- 4 point light weight dual strap
- Extra sturdy flex foot stand system
At less than 3 lbs this is a great light weight yet sturdy bag for juniors. They are unique designs, no logos all over the bags - and definitely have the cool factor for kids. The OUUL Python Super Light also has a large plastic ring for towels, brushes, rangefinder etc., as well as a marker/sharpie slot and a place to hold an umbrella. The only complaint we have heard is that some would prefer more pockets. Ultimately you also need to like the design as it is definitely on the unusual side. At less than $150 (plus free shipping) this is a great deal for a stylish light weight bag!
Younger Kids Alternative: US Kids Tour Series Tournament Bag
The US Kids TS bags are ultra-lightweight bags that are ideal for younger juniors. They are made from lightweight, water-resistant materials and feature a14-way club divider with plenty of pockets for storage of balls, markers, water, snacks, rain gear etc. The club divider will hold clubs in place so even shorter clubs will not fall through to the bottom.
The adjustable dual strap with extra shoulder padding makes carrying easy for young kids and their caddies. The lined valuables pocket is a nice touch as is the dedicated rain hood pocket. There is also an insulated drink holder, velcro glove patch, and pen/marker holder.
Buying advice: You can usually find these new direct at the US Kids site. However, buying these new is pretty expensive (better to buy as part of a kids club packaged set), but you can often find relatively new, lightly used US Kids bags at Ebay.
A good quality golf bag will last kids for at least a few seasons. Given that kids are carrying the bag around all the time on the range and the course, we highly recommend a quality light weight bag that your junior likes the look of.