Thoughts and tips on walking and carrying your own golf clubs

I’d tried carrying my own golf bag before and hated it. But now I’ve learned how to do it properly and learned a few tricks along the way.

I used to feel a little intimidated by golfers who would carry their own golf bag.

It felt like they knew something I didn’t. Like they knew more about the game of golf, their own game and my game than anyone else did. It was as though they’d just shunned the more modern methods of transporting your golf clubs around the golf course just to hold one over you.

A form of golf snobbery if you will.

But for the past year, I too have been carrying walking and carrying my own golf bag. And I’ve loved it.

Now before you call me a golf snob let me tell you a little bit about my experience. In particular, there are a number of things about carrying your golf bag I was never told about that would have had me self-looping many years ago.

Let me add that carrying your own golf bag is not for everybody. And like playing the game of golf itself I’m not one to laud its brilliance and urge others to try it out. If you feel you want to try it out, then give it a go.

But before you do, here are a few things I’ve learned and loved about carrying my golf bag. 

Each, in isolation, does not probably amount to a compelling enough reason to make the switch. But each is not in isolation. And on the whole, they’ve made for a more enjoyable way for me to play golf.

Firstly, let’s talk about the golf bag itself.

I had carried my own golf bag around many times before and it was never very enjoyable because I had a larger, heavy golf bag. I still distinctly remember my rented golf trolley falling to pieces on the 2nd tee at Lost Farm and I decided to carry the rest of the way.

I’ve never felt so sore walking off a golf course than at the end of that round.

My path to carrying my own golf bag began when I was trying to find a way of fitting my golf clubs into the car on family road trips. The bigger bags weren’t cutting it and I lost count of the number of times I had to leave them behind. I needed something small to sneak in slot down behind bikes, tent and esky.

If you’re going to try walking and carrying, grab yourself a small, narrow, lightweight golf bag with a good shoulder strap. Bag stand, small bag stand, no stand – it doesn’t matter. Just make sure it’s light. Ideally less than 1.5kg.

Rather than fork out for an expensive one, I found a cheap version from a big sporting store to test out if this was just a passing fad or something I’d want to keep doing.

To keep the bag as light as possible carry only what you really need.

A load of stuff I used to think were required items in my golf bag has now been whittled down to a few essentials plus a handful of balls, glove and tees.

Just for fun and to lighten the load I tried playing a few rounds with just half a set of golf clubs and I’ve found myself sticking with the half set many times since.

Trying to manufacture shots with just the clubs I have in the bag has been a load of fun and surprisingly made little to no difference on the scorecard.

The purge was such a revelation that several clubs have found there way into the garage and have yet to return to the bag at all.

I’ve loved how easy it is to access the golf bag with it hanging over my shoulder. Again, it’s just another small benefit, but being able to grab the water bottle, sun cream or snack without breaking stride has been another unexpected convenience.

Then there’s the walk itself.

You get to see more of the golf course when you’re carrying your own bag, not just in the direction of your own golf ball.

I’m more inclined to go check out someone else’s golf shot and look for a playing partner’s golf ball. And as a certified golf design nerd; see the depth of that bunker, check out the undulations and the view across the adjoining fairway, or the best angle into the green had I actually hit the fairway.

As someone who has taken a keen interest in golf course design and course rankings, it’s been another bonus to carrying the golf bag.

I’m guessing you’ll get more interested in golf course design if you start walking and carrying your own golf bag.

As I’ve said, it may not be for everyone and on some golf courses that require a substantial walk between holes it may not be a practical option at all but I can honestly recommend it to any keen and fit golfer who hasn’t tried it before. Especially if you try just using a half-set occasionally.

It’s not wildly different from pulling a cart along as most Australian golfers do, but there is an extra spring in my step on the golf course now with the bag on my back.

Somehow it all seems less serious, more relaxing and maybe the way the game was meant to be played all along.

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