Carrying Golf Clubs

Lugging your golf clubs for 18 holes can be rather tiring and inconvenient.

There are many options available with a selection of stand bags, cart bags, and even lightweight Sunday bags.

Limiting the equipment, accessories, and apparel to the minimum will allow you to reduce the weight and thereby the stress placed on your back and shoulders.

Men’s and women’s golf bags are remarkably similar in size, weight, and construction. Women’s bags are generally an inch shorter and lighter.

Is it beneficial to your health to carry your golf bag?

Many golfers believe that carrying a golf bag is good for their health as they are burning extra calories and improving their cardiovascular health.

The continuous lifting and carrying of a golf bag assist you to build upper body strength and endurance.

Contradicting this widespread belief, a study conducted by Dr. Neill Wolkodoff, medical director of the Colorado Center for Health and Sports Science, concluded unnecessary energy is consumed while carrying a bag.

This could increase your score by more than two strokes per round.

Using a push or pull cart can greatly reduce the amount of energy used and enhance your enjoyment of golf.

Carrying a bag causes lactic acid to build up, muscle fatigue, and ultimately results in injuries. The continuous uploading and downloading of the bag place severe stress on the torso and spine.

📋 Keep in mind: It is estimated that this occurs approximately 50 TIMES during a 9-hole stretch

Tips on how to carry a golf bag

If you decide to carry your bag regardless of the effect it has on your golf, you must strap it correctly to avoid injuries.

Incorrect positioning of your golf bag can cause unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders.

Men’s and women’s golf bags are approximately the same height and size.

The weight of the bag is the first factor to consider for the protection of your back and shoulders.

Many brands offer stand bags in lightweight materials and less storage to keep the weight to a minimum.

  • Adjust the straps to position the bag marginally below the small of your back and the bottom of the bag below the top end of the bag.
  • This will reduce the possibility of your clubs falling out on your walk.
  • Positioning the bag in this manner will spread the load between your upper and lower body thus reducing the stress from your neck and shoulders.

📋 Keep in mind: By limiting the number of clubs and accessories to necessities will lighten your load leaving more energy to create solid strikes and lower your score.

Is carrying golf clubs bad for your back?

Manufacturers continue to invest millions of dollars in research to provide the best-golfing bags and reduce the chances of injuries.

This does not eliminate the risk altogether.

As previously mentioned, research has not found any benefit to carrying your bag. The opposite is true though.

Assessing the straps BEFORE BUYING is essential.

📋 Keep in mind: It will be beneficial to test the bag containing a substantial amount of weight and determine whether it can be adjusted to fit properly.

Benefits of carrying golf clubs

Considering the research, it begs the question of whether it is a good exercise to carry a golf bag?

Although it is difficult to find many benefits, you can reduce the amount of strain by selecting the smallest and lightest bag available.

Caddies were prevented from working on Sundays when religious adherence was almost compulsory. This forced golfers to carry their bags, an activity that did not sit well with most golfers!

To counter this and reduce the amount of strain on their bodies, the Sunday carry golf bag was invented. This is a lightweight bag to accommodate the essential clubs while offering full coverage of the course.

In addition to being lightweight, Sunday bags allows beginners to limit their expenses while evaluating their continued participation in the sport.

📢 Need To Know: Sunday bags are generally designed for 6 to 8 golf clubs.

Carrying golf bag vs pushcart

So, is it better to use a push/pull cart rather than carrying a golf bag?

The studies conducted by Dr. Neil Wolkodoff not only found that carrying a golf bag affects your golf score, it concluded that using a push or pull cart also affects your game.

A pushcart burns approximately 718 calories over nine holes compared to 721 calories burned when carrying your golf bag.

Furthermore, the research concluded that a pushcart reduces the force exerted on the spine as well as the risk of shoulder, back and ankle injury.

📢 Need To Know: Based on the results obtained from the valuable research conducted by Dr. Wolkodoff, the American Junior Golf Association decided in 2009 to allow non-motorized carts in tournament play.

This has a major impact on the longevity of junior golfers while reducing the number of injuries.

Conclusion On Carrying Golf Clubs

Walking with golf clubs holds little benefit to your health and welfare.

The additional stress on your spine and torso will create back injuries in your later years.

Using a pushcart, or even better, driving a mechanical cart will benefit your game and reduce injuries.

Please add your feedback to the comments section below.


Where should a golf carry bag sit on your back?

A golf carry bag should sit at a 20 to 25-degree angle at your back. You can feel its presence in the middle or small of your back. Placing it higher or lower may cause discomfort and hip or shoulder pain.

What is a double-strap golf bag?

A double-strap golf bag is designed to hold golf clubs and other gear. It features two straps on the right and left sides at the back of the pack. Golfers wear these straps over both shoulders, so the weight gets distributed evenly, preventing strain in one joint or shoulder.

How heavy should a golf bag be?

An average or beginner golfer’s bag weighs around 3 to 11 pounds. However, if you are a professional and carry all your clubs, and golf balls, the bag weight should be about 25 to 35 pounds. The bag size does not matter as much as the weight, so you need to keep the weight that you can hold easily.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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