In the words of Benjamin Franklin - lets make sure that there is place for everything and everything in its place. Golf is difficult enough as it is without the added frustration of being unorganized. This article will make sure you know how to pack your golf bag and what to include in/on your bag.
One of the core requirements of the game of golf is pace of play. In junior tournament play it is monitored and you are penalized if you are not keeping the pace of play moving along. In a practice or social round it is important to keep pace of play for the enjoyment of the field. Sometimes holding up the field is unavoidable (spending 5 minutes looking for a ball in the woods will often do it) but scrambling around looking for clubs, balls, markers etc in your bag because you don't know where they are is avoidable if the golf bag is packed efficiently.
The benefits of a well packed golf bag:
- Golf is a game of personal responsibility. Having a bag that is light, well packed and containing all the essentials allows the player to carry or push their own bag, taking full responsibility for their clubs and golf accessories.
- Having place for everything allows for just a quick look to determine that all the necessary equipment and accessories including balls, tees, clean towel, rain gear, range finder, spare battery, emergency snack etc. are present and accounted for.
- Not having to search for clubs or accessories whilst trying to focus on the game.
- Improved pace of play and overall enjoyment of the round.
- An uncluttered and well organized bag sets the right tone and puts the junior in the right frame of mind to be able to focus on the game.
Set out below are some basic steps for juniors on how to pack your golf bag most effectively. You would be amazed at how many times juniors arrive at a tournament missing key items like gloves, range finders (or spare batteries), umbrellas etc. This is stressful for all concerned and negatively impacts overall enjoyment and ability to focus on the game.
Analyze Your Mess
Over time golf bags tend to be dumping grounds and get filled with all sorts of unnecessary items. Start organizing your kids golf bag by first emptying all the contents on the floor. You will be surprised to see how many superfluous things that are increasing the weight of the bag. We sometimes find dozens of golf balls in our boys bags - many more than they need on any particular outing and all adding much unnecessary weight.
Consolidate All The Necessary Items
The best way to do that is first to stack everything into piles so that you exactly know what to carry and the quantity you each item you need to carry. This will quickly give you a good idea of what items are duplicates or unnecessary.
For example, you probably don't need a pin sheet from a golf tournament you participated in two years ago or a yardage book. Discard unnecessary items but be careful not to get rid of your child's favorite ball (even if it's a scratched scoobie-do logo ball) and make sure to leave in their favorite ball marker too.
Decide On What To Keep
Once you have nice, organized groups of items, start by purging the things you don't need. You can potentially cut the pile by more than half, making the bag much lighter. You don't need 24 golf balls - two sleeves of balls are usually enough.
Similarly, you only need two golf gloves with you, one for playing and the other as a back up (especially needed on warms days or wet days).
The same story with towels, you don't need more than one towel (except in wet weather). If you are looking for light-weight golf towels we recommend a good microfiber model.
Bag tags (especially those metal one from "nicer" courses such as Pebble Beach or TPC Sawgrass) tend to weigh a lot and are not necessary to have hanging from a carry bag - leave them for the cart bags. One light weight bag tag is sufficient and a good idea for the bag drop attendants and identification of stray bags.
A fully loaded junior carry (stand) bag with 14 clubs should weigh less than 20 lbs (much less for younger juniors with smaller clubs and/or less than 14 clubs). Compare this to the approximately 40 lbs for the PGA Tour bags!
Below is a printable checklist of the main items you should consider for your junior golfer's bag:
Select A Pocket
This step will help you make things more convenient for your junior to find. Place items that you use more frequently in pockets where retrieving the items can be quick and easy. For example, do not put small items like tees and ball markers in the large side pockets - you will likely never see them again! Use the large side pocket on your golf bag to store your rain gear or extra gloves.
Juniors (and adults) often have a hard time finding a favorite ball marker, tee, sharpie etc. Seeing the frustration of digging into those small pockets and having to empty all the contents out to find a specific item, this company has made wonderful see through golf pouches with colorful borders (and even some with various country and state flags). See more below on this recommended item.
Categorizing Your Golf Clubs
When playing a tournament, make sure your junior does not have more than 14 clubs in their bag. This is the maximum allowed in tournaments and they will incur penalty strokes if they have more than 14 clubs in their golf bag. It is not uncommon for golfers to be penalized in tournaments for having too many clubs, even at the pro level - just ask Ian Woosnam who's error cost him 2 strokes, a second place finish at the Open Championship and £218,334! His caddie was looking for a new job the next day (don't be "that" caddie..!).
Most golf bags have anywhere from 4 to 14 golf club compartments. Most junior carry bags designed for small clubs will have 4 or 5 club compartments. Place the heaviest and tallest golf club at the back of the golf bag (the side closest to the strap) and the lightest and shortest in the front - so driver and woods at the back and wedges and short irons in the front. This way, you will be able to view and access your choice of club without unnecessary digging or moving other clubs. Having a set location for each club makes it easier to see if you are missing a club or have more than 14 clubs.
Placing The Umbrella
Most bags have a sleeve or cord at the side of the golf bag that is designed to hold an umbrella. Try to keep the umbrella outside the golf bag, especially if it is wet. If you place a wet umbrella inside the golf bag you will get the golf club grips wet and your child will experience difficulty gripping the club. Again, don't be "that" caddie! If you are caddying for your child and pushing a cart we recommend packing two umbrellas, one for the cart/clubs (push carts usually have an umbrella holder on the handle) and one to hold to walk around with to keep you and your child dry.
Four Golfing Essentials for Juniors
Having these 4 items will take a lot of pressure off a competitive junior player.
A Good Light Weight Stand Bag
Look for ones that are less than 5lbs and have good shoulders straps to carry. Read this article on Purchasing The Best Golf Bag For Junior Golfers.
An Quality Umbrella
A good quality golf umbrella is a purchase that you will not regret. They are used year round for protection from the sun as well as the rain. Look for one that is long enough to place into a golf push-cart holder and still allow you to see ahead when you are walking. It should be light enough for a junior to hold even when it is wet and it should be made with quality materials that will not break the first time the umbrella blows inside-out. We recommend a two layer (AKA "vented") model that allows wind to pass through without flipping the umbrella inside out. The Gustbuster is a popular model that is rated to withstand 55 mph winds. It comes in a 62 inch (large) and a 68 inch (X-Large) diameter.
When traveling remember to with and take your umbrella. It is one of the most frequently forgotten items when travelling for golf. Note that if you are 100% sure that you are not going to use the umbrella you can leave it and your rain gear in the trunk of the car, but be warned that many a blue sky day has turned wet unexpectedly, especially in the summer months with afternoon thunderstorms.
Hat Clip Ball Marker
These are very convenient and juniors especially love to use them. Having the ball marker on their hat eliminates the need to dig into pockets frantically trying to find their marker while someone waits to putt.
A Golf Pouch
A see-through golf pouch for your child's accessories is a great addition to a junior's bag. These pouches are perfect to supplement your golf bag with some extra storage. They are the only see-through Golf Pouches on the market and are made from tough reinforced see-through vinyl mesh. The two zippered compartments allow for some larger items (we mostly use it for tees, pencils, sharpies, chap-stick etc.) and the smaller compartment for other small items such as an assortment of favorite ball markers. The light-weight durable construction is perfect for juniors and they even have different colors so you can choose your favorite school colors. They are sold at TheGolfPouch.com, through MyGreaterShop.com and appear to be on eBay also.
So, this is all you need to know how to pack your golf bag and how to best organize your junior's golf bag like the pros do. This way your junior will always be prepared with the right items when playing a junior golf tournament or even just a round of golf with friends.