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What to Carry in Your Golf Bag

December 9th, 2013

There’s a lot more to golf than simply wearing the right clothes and picking up a set of clubs. Having a bag full of the right kit can really help to improve your game and aid you throughout the round.

Towels play a surprisingly important role during golf. The primary use of a towel for many seasoned golfers is cleaning a dirty club. Dirty clubs make for bad shots. While a club brush or the point of a golf tee can help to remove clumps and caked dirt from a club head and grooves, nothing does a job of thoroughly cleaning a club while on the course quite like a damp towel. Some experienced golfers use a towel for just that purpose after every shot, regardless of weather, to keep each club in top condition. A damp towel is just as useful for cleaning balls when a ball washer isn’t nearby. Some golfers are turning to microfibre towels for such cleaning jobs because of the material’s ability to hold water longer. Many players choose to have multiple towels with them in their bag, often having one dry and one damp. Standard golf bags often have a specific hook or ring for this purpose on the outside of the bag.

Golfers use dry towels for absorbing moisture and drying objects such as their ball, clubs and hands. If the green is wet, it’s common for a golfer to dry the ball off with a towel after putting out. If playing on a wet or dew-covered fairway, drying clubs between shots can help reduce the risk of them getting rusty. Some golfers feel that a dry wipe-down can increase the friction on the golf grip, meaning they have a better hold on the club. On a hot day, a towel serves as a way to remove the sweat from hands and face before taking a shot, and also to wipe down the grip of the club. Many players will keep a separate towel for their own personal use, rather than using the same one for the clubs.

Playing a 9 hole course can be tiring and even more so if you’re playing an 18 hole course. You’ll walk on average 4 to 5 miles around the entirety of the green, plus around 80 swings to complete your game. All that exercise adds up to a lot of energy you’re burning. Keeping your body hydrated and your energy levels up is essential, especially due to the outdoor nature of golf where you may be exposed to extremes of temperature in addition to the wind. You should always carry a water bottle in your golf bag, and ensure you drink and refill it regularly throughout the round. Most golf courses provide water for you, but it is a good idea to have your own as a precaution. Some professional golfers carry electrolyte tablets to take with their water to ensure they don’t get dehydrated. Having a light snack in your bag is also beneficial to maintain your blood sugar levels and stave off those hunger pangs half way through your game. Many PGA Tour players bring peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, although some prefer a slightly healthier alternative of dried berries and nuts. Yani Tseng carries chocolate-covered almonds. Jim Furyk eats energy bars, while some pros go for bananas.

Protecting your body from the elements is important for the duration of your game as well as your overall health. Sporting a bad sunburn with outlines from those wraparound sunglasses you bought won’t do you any favours. Burn badly enough and it can stop you playing golf all together, not to mention putting you at risk of melanoma and sunstroke. Always carry a form of sun cream or lotion with you in your golf bag, and choose one with a high SPF for prolonged exposure. Once-a-day formulas can be helpful to apply before you start your round.

Other helpful extras to keep in your golf bag include:

  • Spare golf glove
  • Medical tape
  • Spare socks
  • Insect repellent
  • Pencils and sharpies
  • Umbrella
  • Painkillers
  • Ball markers
  • Tees
  • Plasters and blisters pads
  • Rule book
  • Rain bag cover
  • Groove cleaner – a toothbrush can also be a good substitute if you don’t have one
  • Tissues
  • Spare cash and some extra change
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