When you go shopping for a golf bag, you will notice that there are many compartments, pockets and add-on opportunities for all kinds of golf paraphernalia. Just look around any golf store and you will get an idea of all the items golfers bring with them out on the course. Some items, like clubs, balls and tees, are necessities, and some items are definitely optional.
Deciding what to bring is an individual decision, but after playing for a while you may decide to place some additional items in your bag to make playing convenient and fun. What you should not bring is an iPod or a cell phone, unless the ringer is turned off and you do not make or accept calls. These types of items are prohibited on many golf courses.
The Bare Necessities
Even If you decide to travel light, you will still need to decide on which clubs to bring. The United States Golf Association or USGA rules that a golfer is allowed 14 golf clubs in his or her bag. For most, that means a driver, a couple of fairway woods like a 3-wood and a 5-wood, some irons, a pitching wedge and a putter. Hybrids have replaced the 3, 4, 5 and 6-iron for many golfers, so you may use a 3 or 4-hybrid, a 5-hybrid and a 6-hybrid in addition to irons like the 7, 8 and 9.
You will also have a pitching wedge and a sand wedge, and of course, a putter. Some players like to carry a specialty club like a lob wedge. Once you decide which clubs to carry, it makes sense to arrange them in a particular order that will make it easy for you to put your hands on the club you need. In addition to golf clubs, you will need golf tees, ball markers and a divot tool to repair marks on the green. Always take along some extra balls, in case you lose them in high grass, water or other hazards.
Preparing for the Weather
A brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun is important when you are playing golf. Remember, a regulation game of golf is played in approximately four hours, and that is a long time to be out in the hot sun. Sunscreen with an appropriate SPF for exposed skin on your face, arms and legs is also necessary. Some golfers find that suntan lotion that is sprayed is best, because lotion tends to make your hands slippery and that makes it harder to grasp the golf club properly. Sunglasses are also a necessity on a sunny day.
It is no fun to be caught out on the course without the proper clothing or equipment if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Areas like Florida can be a paradise for golfers, but rain clouds may roll in at a moment’s notice. Savvy golfers carry a large golf umbrella and raingear like a jacket or a poncho.
Water and Emergency Items
Before you tee off, be sure to take some regular or vitamin water along with you. Some courses offer ice and water at the first tee and around the course, but others expect you to come prepared. In warm weather, a large, insulated cup filled with ice water can make your golfing experience a lot more pleasant. You may also want to throw in an energy bar or two.
Since you will be out on the links for several hours and you may not be close to the pro shop most of the time, you may want to take along some emergency items to cover unforeseen situations. Antihistamine cream and pills can help for the unexpected bug bite, and adhesive bandages or tape can go a long way in preventing a small blister from ruining your game. Injured and older players know that carrying pain medication is also a good idea.
These days, there are scores of items to make your time on the golf course easier. GPS systems, sometimes rented along with a golf cart, tell you the distance to the flag as well as to and over hazards like water and fairway bunkers. A golf ball retriever is good to have if you play in an area with a lot of water, and most players take along a golf towel or two to clean their clubs between shots. Head covers protect expensive golf clubs both on and off the course, and most golf bags come with a zippered covering for all the clubs in the bag. If you are trying to improve your game, you can purchase a video camera that fits on the cart and films your shots for analysis later on when you get home.