This article first appeared on Golfshake.com in July 2019.
When golf bags were first introduced, the emphasis was on the practical rather than the visual. A golf bag, originally a primitive canvas pencil bag, was for carrying clubs, not making a fashion statement. These days, however, and especially among younger players, a good bag is defined by how it looks as much as by how it performs. Oversized towels, brightly-coloured headcovers and all manner of trinkets and accessories are the order of the day – the fashion-savvy golfer daren’t do without. Unsure of how to spruce up your stand bag? To help you get the right look for your luggage, here are seven ways to pimp out your bag.
Getting the Right Golf Towel
Is there anything so apparently trivial which actually suggests so much about a player as a golf towel? Older players tend to go for the more practicable, clip-on variety; thinner, more rectangular towels that clip onto a bag’s carabiner and hang down at the sides. Don’t follow them. Instead, the hipper thing to do is to buy an oversized standalone towel, perhaps even a bath one, and swaddle it around the neck of your clubs like a scarf. This is the preferred look of serious younger golfers and gives off a professional, but also slightly laid-back vibe. The best colour towel to get is white. However, a brand-new white towel looks too clean and may seem slightly ridiculous. To fix this, scrap a bit of mud over the towel before you go out. You want people to think that you’ve had it and used it for a long time.
Make the Most of Badges
Another great way to get the serious golfer vibe is to deck out your bag with pins and badges. If you’ve played in any high-level amateur events, you’ve probably got a couple of plastic name tags. Get these on the carabiner and ahead of the towel – show off those prestigious name tags with pride! For the average golfer, the emphasis may have to fall more on pins or club badges. Many clubs these days sell metal pins adorned with their logos and these make a real statement when pinned on a pocket of your bag. My preferred area is the ball pocket, and this is also the place to sew on any badges. Why not show your passion for your favourite football club or your country? Pimp out your bag with a Chelsea FC or England badge!
Switch Up Your Headcovers
Standard manufacturer’s offerings are pleasant enough, but there’s nothing quite like bespoke headcovers. Take inspiration from the 80s and sub in a set of retro leather headcovers that resemble a baseball player’s catcher’s mitt. Or unleash your inner cheerleader and purchase some pom poms. Many clubs now sell personalised headcovers, replete with club logos and even the crests of your favourite sports teams. Loud personalities might also consider investing in a (typically) driver headcover themed around an animal. The most famous of these in the pro game is obviously Tiger Woods’s ‘Frank’ the Tiger, however, many other professional golfers including Rory McIlroy (a St. Bernard dog) and Chris DiMarco (an alligator, the mascot of the college DiMarco attended, the University of Florida) also sport animal covers. If they’re good enough for the pros…
Get Your Colour Schemes Right
Flashy animal headcovers are all very well, but the effect will be ruined if they don’t suit your bag’s colour scheme. Like many other elements of golf bag fashion, there are few hard and fast rules here. But a couple of things to bear in mind. First, its true what they say about black being a colour that never goes out of style. An all-black bag will contrast nicely with your oversized white towel and will look particularly good if its also accompanied by, for example, some scuffed brown leather headcovers. Other colour schemes that work well together include: black, red and white; grey and white; and standalone colours like reds and blues can also look nice. On the whole though, darker colours tend to create a more professional look, especially if you’re rocking some snazzy headcovers which will look garish if paired with an also highly colourful bag. This isn’t a Skittles ad: you don’t need to make the rainbow.
Consider a Range Finder
While GPS has its plus points, the extra versatility of laser range finders mean that these should be prioritised when decking out your bag. They also look damn cool pegged to your bag’s carabiner. Bushnell’s models are, in my view, particularly stylish and also have the advantage of brand power. More importantly, they come in a variety of funky but not too showy cases which can add that little bit of extra professionalism to your bag. The orange model is my particular favourite, but watch out that it doesn’t get swiped!
Don’t Forget Alignment Sticks
Not only an incredibly useful practice aid, alignment sticks are also a golf fashion must-have for the image-conscious golfer’s bag. Like your muddied white golf towel, alignment sticks tell fellow golfers that you’re a man who takes his game seriously: when you hit balls on the range, you make sure that you’re properly aligned. Your playing partners will assume that you’re a man of discipline, motivation and focus, well, at least until they see you make a swing! The alignment sticks I personally use are made by Masters Golf and cost £9.99. And remember, as with other accessories, to choose a colour that blends well with the rest of your bag.
Exploit Putter Headcovers
Like driver and wood headcovers, the covers that you put on your putter offer a great chance to spice up your bag. While blade putters look swankier sans headcover, mallets tend to look better when covered and in the bag. The headcovers that go on blade putters can be too thin to carry off some designs, whereas mallet covers have plenty of space for all kinds of wacky and eye-grabbing patterns. In regards to brands, Odyssey offer particularly sexy and affordable designs – some of their most iconic designs such as the Vegas and the No 3 Jacks mallet headcovers can be picked up for only £13.99. If Odyssey’s too mainstream for you, check out hipster companies Craftsman and Swag Golf, especially the latter’s King of Swag mallet cover. An elaborately patterned image of a King of Spades sporting a pair of tight sunglasses, this headcover is guaranteed to add the final touch of sartorial flair to your bag.