Relax your game with an uncluttered golf bag

Golf is a leisure activity for most people, yet some golfers I’ve played with end a round more stressed than they began it. And, no wonder, they’ve just spent four hours lugging 50 pounds worth of equipment around a couple miles of grassy hills.

How can you expect to be on top of your game if you’re tired and sore by the time you make the turn to the back nine?

If you’re a pro, you hire a caddy. But what about the rest of us? Should we be expected to lose out on the exercise aspect of the sport by driving around in silly little cars with our enormous overflowing equipment bags strapped to our backs?


The standard golf club set is based on the idea that each golfer should have one consistent swing, and vary the club to achieve the desired result. If you spend three days a week swinging a golf club, this may be the case for you, but most people have a slightly different swing for each club.

I’ve been swinging a golf club since I was four years old, placed in tournaments, and played on the team in high school. I still consider myself a decent golfer even though I play only for fun now, and I’ve NEVER had a consistent swing. I regularly became frustrated with the inconsistency and the hassle of dealing with a big golf bag full of clubs.

So, two years ago, I ditched most of them.

That’s right, I now have a lightweight bag with only a driver, 23 degree hybrid, 5, 7, 9, PW and putter. And, my game has not suffered. In fact, now that my bag is lighter, and I don’t have to worry about deciding whether my six iron or seven iron is the right club for a shot, I’m having much more fun. By limiting the number of clubs I carry, I’m able to better master each one.

There’s an old golf joke about a golfer in a thunderstorm holding aloft a two iron to protect him from lightning. “Not even God can hit a 2 iron,” he explains. It’s funny, because for most people, it’s true. Why are you still carrying a two iron in your bag? Get rid of those clubs you rarely use, leave the cart and your frustrations at the clubhouse, and love the game again!

8 Comments for “Relax your game with an uncluttered golf bag”

  1. posted by Devan on

    Brian, I can certainly attest to this. When I first sought to purchase a ‘real’ golf set many years ago, I was not all that flush with funds, so the golf pro suggested I buy one or two club every couple of months and slowly build up my bag. I ended up playing for years with almost exactly the same clubs as you mentioned above and having a ball.

    Eventually, when I _did_ build up my kit to the full complement, I found exactly the same problem you described – there were just too many choices for each shot and my game enjoyment took a dive. Time to simplify again.

    Still, one of my good friends and golfing buddies regularly walks around the course with no bag – just a five iron and a putter over his shoulder!

  2. posted by Scott on

    I’m very new to the game, and I’ve decided to stick to the pitch-n-putt and par 3 courses exclusively, in order to keep it simple. At most, I’m toting four clubs (All gifts from golf enthusiast friends who have way more equipment than they need).

  3. posted by Michael G on

    I don’t have to worry about this one. Tried the game, and it just wasn’t a good fit for me. So I never got beyond the boyhood set of clubs that my grandfather got for me.

  4. posted by Pete on

    I am not a fan of 18 holes. @scott – I do love the pitch & putts. But when you have to play 18 holes, even if you have a cart, by the time I reach the back 9 I have usually given up any hope of being good.

    Oh well, at least my bag will be better organized!

  5. posted by RJ on

    I always take a full golf bag, mostly for the exercise.

    Don’t rip on the 2 iron, I had a wonderful shot from the rough, with my 2I hybrid, landed 10 feet from the green.

    Long time reader, first time comment. Great blag!

  6. posted by Brock on

    Brian, I 100% agree. I get comments all the time regarding how few clubs that I carry. I simply explain that if I never use the clubs – why bother to carry them all?

    My bag: Driver, 7-wood, hybrid, 7, 8, 9, PW, putter.

    …and my game has improved!

  7. posted by Drew on

    I have to disagree about removing half the clubs from your bag. I’m by no means an exceptional golfer (probably about a 16 handicap) but I definitely hit each of my irons a different length and removing any of them from my bag would leave a gap. For instance, I hit 7 iron 140-150 yards, 8 iron 130-140 yards, and 9 iron 120-130 yards. If I ditched my 8 iron to save weight, I’d be in trouble on a 134 yard par 3.

    Where people can make a big difference though is all the extra crap they fill the pockets of their golf bags with. No one needs 2 dozen balls, a weighted warmup club, 1000 wooden tees, 6 ball markers, 20 old scorecards, 4 green repair tools, a roll of lead tape, 4 Sharpies in various colors, a pack of golf shoe cleats with cleat wrench, and 3 extra gloves to play a round of golf but plenty of people carry all that and more around in their golf bags at all times.

    The only things I keep in my golf bag at all times are my clubs, a green repair tool with built-in magnetic ball marker, a bottle of Alleve, a club cleaning brush, and a single glove. Before I play a round I put in ~10 tees and a half dozen marked balls. If rain is threatening, I’ll put in an umbrella; if exceptionally sunny, I’ll put in a small travel bottle of sunscreen. Clip a clean golf towel to the bag, grab my shoe bag, and out the door.

    For golfers who frequently walk instead of ride, a lightweight bag with two backpack-style shoulder straps is a much better solution than leaving half of your clubs at home.

  8. posted by EKIM7103 on

    The most fun I have on the course is our annual 7 iron challenge. 7 iron and putter, that is it. The better golfers are still scoring in the mid 80’s without all the other clubs. Ultimately it is the amount of practice a person puts into the game. For most of us, the differences in equipment doesn’t add up to a major difference in your score.

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