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There are almost as many styles of bags as there are golfers. Start by familiarizing yourself with your bag, checking out all of the various pockets and compartments.
Bag Types: There are two main types of golf bags, the kind designed for a cart to carry, and the kind designed for you to carry. Cart bags tend to be heavier and offer more storage. They have a short carrying handle on one side and are designed to be strapped to the back of a golf cart. When you stand behind a cart, the carrying handle faces toward you and is considered the front of the bag.
Most of the golf bags designed to be carried are "stand bags". They get their name from the two-legged stand that pops out to keep the bag upright when you set it on the ground. When the stand is engaged, the bags tilts forward at a 45 angle, and the front of the bag is furthest away from the carrying strap.
Bag Configurations: Most golf bags come with a built-in organizer for your clubs. This area is usually divided into three distinct sections, with each section further divided into the individual slots that hold your clubs. In general, you should divide your clubs evenly among these three sections in a way that makes the most sense to you.
There are several ways to organize your clubs in your golf bag. Try several different configurations until you find the one that feels the most convenient to you.
By Shot type: This requires arranging woods and long irons together in one section, middle irons together in another and putting short irons and wedges in the final compartment.
For Protection: Place the longest clubs (woods) in the far back section. This will be the section nearest to the cart on a cart bag, or closest to the strap on a stand bag. Place your irons toward the front of the bag, and your shortest clubs (like you putters and wedges) in the middle of the bag. With this configuration, your bag will remain balanced when carrying it and your clubs are less likely to knock into each other and become damaged.
The Waterfall: For convenience sake, most golfers prefer to waterfall their clubs from tall to short with their woods and hybrids in back, long irons (2 through 5) in the middle, and their short irons (7 through 9) up front with their wedges. If your bag has a side compartment for the putter, keep it there. If it doesn't, you may want to keep it next to your woods, where it will stand out and be easy to see.
When arranging your accessories, it makes sense to keep the things you use most often readily accessible. Whether you are walking or carrying your bag, keep your golf balls, tees, ball markers, and divot repair tools in whatever outside pockets you feel are the easiest to access-preferably the pockets will all be on the same side of your bag. Clip your hand towel to the front or side of the bag so it hangs down when your bag is on its stand. Clips are also useful for things like GPS units and stroke counters. Keep valuables (keys, money, etc.) on your person, or in a small pocket that is less accessible. Use the large pockets in your bag for rain gear, your bag hood, extra gloves, and bottled water.