Best Lightweight Golf Carry Bags 2016

I’ve never thought of myself as old. But two things happened the other day that forced me to do a double take. The first incident wasn’t all that subtle. I was washing my hands in the bathroom, and suddenly noticed a grey hair when I looked in the mirror. Then a second. And then a third!

But just before I tried to blame such signs of age on the Mrs, a friend of mine, who was visiting at the time, later marvelled at how long it had been since we’d first come across the then-revolutionary Gemini trolley bag, which had numbered slots for your irons, and, of course, that nifty little seat. Then he said those dreaded words… “It feels like that was just yesterday!”

Goodness, haven’t golf bags come a long way since? And haven’t I aged!

Anyway, you’re not on this page to read about my sad reminiscing. You’re here to find one of (actually only) the best lightweight golf carry bags for you. After all, this is a significant investment which will last you for quite some time, so you want it to be a source of comfort which you’re proud to show off to your mates – not a weight on your shoulders.

Luckily, I’ve had the privilege of sampling five of the best new carry bags on the market at the moment. As you can imagine, each of them get certain things absolutely right, but there’s always scope for improvement in the pursuit of perfection too. It’s just a case of finding what’s best for you, so hopefully the best lightweight golf carry bags analysis below will help your cause.

Don’t have Time to Read On?

Our Editor’s Choice of Best Lightweight Golf Carry Bags 2016 is the Ping Hoofer 14. The Godfather of stand bags and the patented hoofer stand is just a cut above the rest!

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Key Considerations

1. Weight and Comfort

In a 5-hour slog that is this game we all love, your bag needs to be so light and comfortable that you barely notice it. So what is the optimal weight? You should certainly use a benchmark figure of between 1.8 – 2.5kgs (4 – 5.5 lbs) as your guideline for the ideal weight, but there is no substitute for going in there and test driving one of these bad boys yourself. Fill it with clubs and balls too, like you would on a normal day. Still feel like you’re carrying a cloud on your back? Then you’re probably halfway there.

2. Build Quality and Versatility

Arguably the most important factor of all is build quality. You can easily find a cheap knock-off carry bag for as little as $25 if you like. But chances are you’ll be back on the market for a bag again within six months. To get it right first time, make sure you ask the right questions regarding durability. What are the materials made of? How strong is the stand? Is it waterproof? How will it cope during transportation? Is it well ventilated? And can it combine sturdiness while maintaining a sleek design?

Of course, versatility is also vital. You’ll want easily adjustable straps so that you can get it to sit nicely. And even though carry bags are minimalist by nature, every golfer is different, and with different habits and preferences. So any golf bag worth its salt needs to have enough pockets, dividers and other features which cater for your needs.

3. Value for Money

This can be a tricky one to gauge with carry golf bags, as different people place different value on various elements. As a result, finding a bargain price doesn’t necessarily equal value for money. At the same time, you don’t want to pay over the odds, so if you get the feeling that you’re paying a premium, make sure you’re buying the quality that your dollar deserves.

But, as a vague rule of thumb, if you find a bag which ticks all the boxes we’ve highlighted above in spades for less than $180… well, give us a call, because we want to buy one too!

5 Best Lightweight Golf Carry Bags 2016

Alright, let’s cut to the chase… here we go with five of the best lightweight golf carry bags!

Ping Hoofer 14 – From $154.95 – $209.95

As the godfather of the prototype pop-out stand bag in the 1990s, these guys know what they’re doing, and the Hoofer looks to have taken things up a notch once again. It fitted on my shoulders like a glove, and, perhaps by luck, sat perfectly without me having to make use of the fully adjustable straps.

But where this bag really cuts the mustard is its features. It has a 14-way divider, a cart strap and an impressive 12 pockets – all of which are very cunningly located and offer plenty of storage space. Another hallmark of Ping is that the bag stands just as steadily when it’s upright as it does when the stand is extended.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.


PROS:
  • I could go on about the features and versatility of this bag all day. Every single need of yours will be catered for – even the needs you didn’t think you had
  • It’s comfortable, and the Sensor Cool Technology on the shoulder pads will keep any sweat at bay
  • If you play in the wind a lot, you’ll be pleased to hear that the stand has a span of two feet. It will take plenty to blow this puppy over
  • You’ll be lucky to find one of these for less than $225, but, for the peace of mind of knowing you’ve picked a high-class brand, it seems fairly priced

CONS:
  • At 2.5kgs (5.5 lbs), I’d say it’s marginally on the heavy side of average. But hardly a deal-breaker
  • As clever as the elasticized rain hood is, it’s a bit of a hassle to fit it on properly. Also, the material is pretty thin, and might not keep out as much of nature’s H2O as it should

Are you American? Check out special offers on Golfsmith.com (free shipping on orders over $99.00). Second-hand an option? Save $100s of dollars on excellent condition second-hand deals here

Nike Air Hybrid II

Okay, I’m just going to say it straight off the bat. As out-and-out carry bags go, this one wasn’t my favorite. True, it covers most bases with a 14-way divider, 10 pockets (8 of which are zipped) and an oval top of just under 10 inches.

The stand is much improved from previous Nike golf bags too, and it’s fairly well balanced when standing up. But, quite simply, it weighs 7 pounds, and I’m not sure it offers enough to compensate for this.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.


PROS:
  • It’s a hybrid bag, and the dual-durometer base ensures it will fit nicely onto a variety of carts – if that’s your preference
  • It has an impressive rain hood, which to me looks bulletproof, never mind waterproof
  • You’ll like the Equaflex Max Air Curved strap, which is really comfortable, and distributes the weight of the bag evenly

CONS:
  • 7 pounds! What were they thinking? Hope you’ve got strong shoulders
  • It lacks the creativity and features of its rivals
  • The best price I could find was $160, which seems mediocre bang for your buck

Are you American? Check out special offers on Golfsmith.com (free shipping on orders over $99.00). Second-hand an option? Save $100s of dollars on excellent condition second-hand deals here

Callaway Hyperlite 5 – From $149.00 – $204.95

The Hyperlite family has had a bit of a dubious numbering system, so when the Hyperlite 4.5 came out two years ago, we expected the 5 to arrive sooner than it did. Instead, they puzzlingly reverted to a new version of the 4. Weird, huh? Anyway, we got there in the end, and the 5 looks to be a decent step up from its predecessors.

At 5.2 pounds, it’s the heaviest in the bloodline, but still very light in the grand scheme of things. And it’s oh-so comfortable too! It also has 5 dividers, with a 2-2-1 split, including one full length.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.


PROS:
  • It’s light, and the shoulder and hip/back pads offer ample comfort
  • It has 9 pockets – there’s plenty of storage space for apparel, and clever fobs and pouches for valuables, water bottles etc
  • It’s available at around $180, and that makes it hugely competitive in this market

CONS:
  • The legs seemed a bit flimsy to me, and didn’t retract well. Be sure to test this with clubs in the bag. You don’t want your towel to get caught in there while carrying

Are you American? Check out special offers on Golfsmith.com (free shipping on orders over $99.00). Second-hand an option? Save $100s of dollars on excellent condition second-hand deals here

Titleist 2015 – from $184.99 – $209.00

When you think of Titleist, you think solid. And that’s exactly what this bag is.

In typical Titleist fashion, this ticks all the boxes, and although it doesn’t necessarily have the bells and whistles of some of its competitors, you know exactly what you’re getting if you choose to go down this well-travelled road.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.


PROS:
  • It’s a looker! It will definitely catch your eye when you see it in the flesh, and I’d recommend the navy, white and medium blue colour combo
  • From top to toe, the materials ooze quality, and the velour-lined valuables pocket is a nice touch. I’m told this bag is very water resistant too
  • Pockets and room galore. Enough said
  • It’s available at around $210, which, for another Titleist gem, shouldn’t scare you away

CONS:
  • It clocks in at just over 6 pounds, which is a touch on the heavy side. Straps could be better padded too

Are you American? Check out special offers on Golfsmith.com (free shipping on orders over $99.00). Second-hand an option? Save $100s of dollars on excellent condition second-hand deals here

Taylormade Purelite – from $99.00 – $189.95

The virtues of the TaylorMade brand are well documented, but it’s fair to say that bags isn’t an area of the game where they are particularly dominant. The Purelite is an interesting little number though.

Because of the very square top, it probably won’t be winning any beauty pageants in the near future. But it uses its 4.9 pounds pretty efficiently, and the more I noticed things like the custom embroidery ball pocket, nylon-webbing trunk handle, and, best of all, the anti-split stand system, the more it began to grow on me.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.


PROS:
  • This bag is wonderfully light, while the so-called ‘crush resistant’ construction gets a thumbs up from me
  • The Air Mesh shoulder strap provides superb balance and comfort. It also felt really easy to carry on one strap too, should the urge ever arise to do that
  • The stand is a real winner. Aside from the anti-split, those legs have plenty of life in them, and extend/retract in a flash
  • Paying $180 feels like a bargain these days, and that’s exactly what this bag is – good value

CONS:
  • The proof is in the pudding, but I’m a bit sceptical as to the quality of the materials used. Take from that what you will
  • The design leaves room for improvement, both in terms of aesthetics and easy access to pockets when carrying

Are you American? Check out special offers on Golfsmith.com (free shipping on orders over $99.00). Second-hand an option? Save $100s of dollars on excellent condition second-hand deals here

Still Confused? Ask Questions In Comments

I hope my best lightweight golf carry bags 2016 review has helped you make an informed choice on the right lightweight bag for your game, but if your still have questions just leave a comment below and we will respond within 24 hours!

Mike fell in love with the game from a very early age – a passion that hasn’t diminished ever since. He earned provincial colors throughout his junior years, but by the time he reached Varsity, the realization set in (thanks largely to some cold ales) that it was time to favor the pen rather than his clubs. He now writes for GA along with a few other sources.

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