Here’s your cut-out-and-keep golf essentials guide to what should always be in your golf bag.
No need to state the obvious here, but how many is too many? Some of us tend to panic and fill out the bag, while others are that annoying species who are always on the borrow by the turn.
You should have an idea of your own skills, and even on a horrific day, nobody should need more than 10 balls.
You’re out there a long time, and you need sustenance. The experts say you should get carbohydrates into you at least twice a round, so after maybe the 4th and 14th holes. There also needs to be some protein at the turn. This will help to keep you focused and performing for all 18 holes rather than making a mess of the last few.
Drinking water should be part of your routine on every hole. When the putter comes out, have a drink of water. We often come off the golf course dehydrated, but you can avoid it.
Plasters are an absolute golf essential. A decent pair of shoes should render them futile, but we have to break new shoes in at some point, and golf can be played over some rough terrain.
Invest in some blister plasters to make sure you won’t struggle. Odd things can happen on a golf course, but you’ll be popular in the fourball if you’re carrying a box of plasters.
Similarly, some back-up for when the aches and pains crop up is essential. Again, it wouldn’t be unheard of for you or your fourball to start complaining about some back or other ache, so make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.
6. Bite repellent
This is another easy win and won’t take up any room in the bag. You might only need this once a year, but when you do, you’ll certainly be glad you’ve packed it.
We should all be aware of why this is so important. Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun, and melanoma rates have doubled in the UK in the past 30 years.
Worryingly, though, only 42% of golfers use sunscreen—a sobering thought when as many as 44 people are diagnosed with melanoma every day.
Waterproofs are so thin these days, and golf bags are so roomy that there’s no excuse for getting caught short in a downpour.
A good tip is to pack your bag neatly so your balls and gloves aren’t spilling over into your other compartments. If you look to pack the kitchen sink for every round, then invest in a cart bag which has room for all of these accessories.
Some golfers don’t like using an umbrella as it involves a lot of faff and getting your hands wet but similarly, most of us don’t like getting wet in the rain either.
Invest in something sturdy here as, if the umbrella is going up, you can be assured that the elements are pretty rubbish.
If you want to irritate your playing partners, asking to borrow a tee on every hole is a good way of going about it.
Have plenty to hand and keep them in a pouch to stop them from littering your bag, and get into the habit of putting them in there after each round.
We all have our preferences regarding tee shapes but make sure you’ve got some short ones for the par 3s, and if you use the castle-type ones, check with your pro to make sure they’re the right height for your swing path.
Most of us have a few of these sitting around after a visit somewhere. Put them to good use and use them for your gloves, tees, balls and other bits so everything is easy to hand.
If an old glove doesn’t serve a purpose, chuck it out. Other than in very hot or very wet weather, there’s no need to clutter up your golf bag with ten gloves, so have three neatly tucked away instead.
If you’re really good, keep the original packet your glove came in and always put it back there to keep its shape. Be sure to also have a decent wet-weather glove or two as well, as these will ensure your game doesn’t fall apart when the weather does.
13. Pitchmark repairer
This is another key addition to your bag. Don’t rely on a tee that might break—get a pitchmark repairer and use it as often as possible. Your fellow players and greenskeepers will thank you for it.
14. Lip balm
You only need to look at the lips of some tour pros to realise what the sun can do to your lips. Lip balm rehydrates the lips and makes sure you’re constantly moisturised.
Marking your balls is part of the game. You only need a couple of penalty shots to realise its importance. You only need to do it once, as the marks tend to last forever—so they’re great value.
Wet your towel before you go out so you can keep your clubs and balls clean throughout the round. You’ll find it a lot easier to keep your grooves in good order with a wet towel. Likewise, you’ll want a towel when applying sunscreen, too.
17. Wire brush
Like your Sharpie, these cost next to nothing but can help to keep your clubs in much better nick. Again, this should be a habit—hit your shot and clean your clubface.
Look at the tour pros and caddies, for example. They’re always tending to their clubs, even though they get new ones every few months!
18. Ball marker
Another golf essential. Get a few of these as you’re guaranteed to lose a few, either by loaning them to your mates or it slipping to the bottom of the bag.
You can get a free ball marker if you take out a golf insurance policy with Golf Care.
Like tees, anyone asking for a pencil every hole will get some antagonised looks.
They’re in every pro shop and cost nothing, so fill your boots and ensure you’re well covered. Like ball markers, these have a habit of getting lost, so keep stocking up.
Even in these modern times, some loose change can be handy to either mark your ball or pay off a few fun debts from the round.