Thoughts and tips on walking and carrying your own golf clubs

Carrying my golf bag was once a chore I despised, but now, I’ve mastered the art and uncovered some valuable techniques.

I used to feel a little intimidated by golfers carrying their golf bags.

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

A form of golf snobbery, if you will.

But for the past year, I have been walking and carrying my golf bag. And I love it.

Before you call me a golf snob, let me tell you about my experience. In particular, there are several things about carrying your golf bag no one told me that would have had me carrying years ago.

Let me add that carrying your 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 want to try it out, 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, it’s made for a more enjoyable way for me to play golf.

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

I had carried my golf bag around many times before, which was never delightful because I had a large, heavy golf bag. I remember my rented golf trolley falling to pieces on the 2nd tee at Lost Farm, and I decided to carry it 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 golf bag began when I was trying to find a way of fitting my golf clubs into the car on family road trips. The more oversized 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 the slot down behind bikes, tent and esky.

If you’re going to try walking and carrying, grab 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 if this were just a fad or something I’d want to keep doing.

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

A load of stuff I used to think was essential 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 their way to the garage and are yet to return.

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 grabbing 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 carrying your bag, not just in the direction of your golf ball.

I’m more inclined to 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 hit the fairway.

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

You’ll be more interested in golf course design if you start walking and carrying your golf bag.

It may not be for everyone, and on some golf courses requiring a substantial walk between holes, it may not be a practical option. Still, 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 now there is an extra spring in my step on the golf course 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.

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