Editors' Choice: Gear & GadgetsApril 12, 2017

Best Golf Bags

Think of your golf bag as your caddie. It carries your clubs and houses the other things you need on the course. Carry bags have become more efficient with double straps that go on and off the shoulders easily, shock absorption and weights that continue to plummet. With cart bags it's about pockets, dividers that won't damage graphite shafts, and handles to make getting in and out of the trunk easier. Every bag has subtle differences, and those differences are what make a superior product. It's also why 13 bags earned an Editors' Choice designation across seven sub-categories.

Callaway's Hyper-Lite Zero and Sun Mountain's 2Five shared the top spot in Lightweight/Ultra-Lightweight. Each weighs just 2.5 pounds. Light fabrics and a carbon-fiber stand help the Callaway bag keep off the weight, and the use of high-density foam and high-strength-to-weight plastics assist the cause for Sun Mountain.

Our top choices in Carry bags are the venerable but unmatched Ping Hoofer, and Ogio's Cirrus, at 3.2 pounds the lightest bag in the company's line. Sun Mountain's 3.5LS is a pound heavier than its 2Five model, but that's because of a thicker shoulder strap, a more cushioned hip pad and three additional pockets.

Of course some people prefer to ride, making Sun Mountain's updated C-130 cart bag worth a look. The big improvement here is the addition of "Smart Straps" that eliminate the need to run the strap through the bag handle to secure it to the cart. Hybrid bags can be used on a cart or carried and need to have attributes that appeal to a dual audience. Sun Mountain's 5.5LS is light enough at 5.5 pounds to carry but has features such as a velour-lined GPS pocket and clear phone pocket and a thermo-formed front panel that can take any beating a cart provides. Bag Boy's Chiller has, not surprisingly, a removable cooler that can accommodate up to six 12-ounce cans of your favorite beverage.

Creating something in a smaller package often is more difficult than it might seem. That was certainly the case in our Standless/Sunday bag category. Callaway overcame the lack of size in its Hyper-Lite 1+ Pencil with a three-way top, a trio of zippered pockets, and manual-release short stand to keep the bag off the early morning dew. Ping's Moonlite doesn't have a stand but uses water-resistant material.

Golfers are used to adjustable drivers, but an adjustable golf bag? Our winner in the Specialty category, October Golf Gear's Stand Bag Kit, has 15 optional components, including pouches for cigars, range finders and even an iPad, that can be attached to the bag and removed to make room for another item.

For those wishing to class it up a little, Links & Kings Classic 2-Pocket Walker is manufactured from American and European leather hides. Our other Editors' Choice in the Classic category is the functional Jones Original. Its simplistic single strap and two-way divider provide a look that says you belong on the back tees. After all, you have your caddie with you.

Lightweight/Ultra-lightweight: Callaway Hyper-Lite Zero, $220
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Lightweight/Ultra-lightweight: Sun Mountain 2Five, $220
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Carry: Ogio Cirrus, $200
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Carry: Ping Hoofer, $200
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Carry: Sun Mountain 3.5LS, $230
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Cart: Sun Mountain C-130 (2017), $230
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Scott K. Brown

Hybrid: Bag Boy Chiller, $180
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Hybrid: Sun Mountain 5.5LS, $239
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Standless/Sunday: Callaway Hyper-Lite 1+ Pencil, $120
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Standless/Sunday: Ping Moonlite, $90
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Specialty: October Golf Gear Stand Bag Kit, $200
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Craig Wagner

Classic: Jones Original, $140
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Nate Christenson

Classic: Links & Kings Classic 2-Pocket Walker, $875
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