25+ Golf Essentials: The Definitive Checklist
Written by Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.

Updated on December 12, 2023

I experienced a golfer’s worst nightmare last year while visiting my Dad.

We were scheduled to play in a 4-man best ball scramble. I opened my golf bag and learned I had forgotten to pack my golf shoes!

I ended up having to play the tournament in my tennis shoes. While that wasn’t necessarily the end of the world, I could’ve avoided this calamity if I’d used a checklist.

Speaking of checklists, we’ve created one to ensure that you won’t forget any golf essentials. Whether you’re headed out to play 18 holes at your favorite muni course or about to go on an extended golf trip, use this list so that you won’t make the same mistake I did.

 

Need to Have

1. Golf Tees

You can’t tee it up on the first hole without a tee! Most golfers like to keep a variety of short and long tees in their golf bags. The tall ones are better when hitting the driver, and the shorter tees are useful when teeing off on Par 3 holes.

2. Golf Balls

This may sound elementary, but always make sure you have enough new balls in your bag. This is especially important if you’re playing a challenging golf course for the first time. You may lose more balls than you think, so pack some extras. I like to keep at least a couple dozen in my golf bag to be safe.

3. Golf Bag

You can’t lug around a set of clubs without a golf bag.

4. Golf Shoes

Sure, you can be like me and play in sneakers, but why look like a goofball if you don’t have to? Golf shoes make it so much easier to pivot during your swing.

5. Golf Polo

Most courses require you to wear a collared shirt, so a good golf polo has become a staple essential.

If you’re looking for a recommendation here, check out this polo from Three Sixty Six. It’s affordable, comfortable, and wicks moisture well:

Top Pick
Three Sixty Six Dry Fit Short-Sleeve Polo

Lightweight, breathable and has unreal stretch providing superior comfort all day long, on and off the golf course. Moisture wicking fabric technology moves sweat away from your skin and onto the dry areas of the shirt.

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6. Ball Markers

You’d be surprised how many folks get to the first green only to find that they don’t have any way to mark their ball. Avoid that embarrassment by stocking your golf bag with lots of coins and other ball markers.

7. Golf Towel

On a hot summer day, you may need a couple of good golf towels to wipe away sweat during your round. Even in the cooler months, you need a towel to clean your irons with after hitting them.

8. Golf Glove

Can you play golf without a glove? Sure, but you run the risk of getting some painful blisters. Don’t let that happen!

9. First-Aid Kit

Keeping a first-aid kit in your golf cart is always a good idea. You don’t need a huge one, but having access to adhesive tape, ointments, pain relievers, and bandages is essential.

10. Sunscreen

We’re listing sunscreen as a must-have. Whether it’s a sunny day or there’s a chance of rain in the forecast, it never hurts to have a small bottle of sunscreen in your golf bag. A round of golf can take up to 5 hours. That’s a long time to be in the sun unprotected.

11. Cold Water

Staying hydrated is vital to you shooting your best score on the course. Keep a couple of bottles of water in your bag at all times. Most golf courses will have water coolers throughout the course so that you can refill your bottles at those stations.

12. Scorecard

It’s standard procedure for most golf courses to store a scorecard in your golf cart. However, make sure that your cart has one before pulling away from the pro shop.

13. Pen and Pencils

Keeping a pen or some pencils in your bag also doesn’t hurt. Throw a permanent marker into your bag as well. If you and one of your playing partners use the same brand of golf balls, mark up your ball so you can tell the difference between the two. I like to draw a smiley face on mine!

14. Extra Socks

Socks may not sound essential, but you never know when you may step out of your cart into a small puddle. No one wants to play a full round with soaked socks. Also, an extra pair of socks can keep your feet warmer in winter.

15. Sunglasses

This one is self-explanatory. Since most golfers play on sunny days, it makes sense to pack a nice pair of shades to protect your eyes.

 

Nice to Have

1. Rangefinder

A reliable rangefinder is one of the most convenient luxury items a golfer can have. Being able to quickly find out how far you are from the pin is pretty sweet. We highly recommend any of the Bushnell rangefinders since they are known to be the most accurate in the industry. Most of them come with a slope option that can be toggled on and off.

Bushnell Tour V4 Slope Laser Rangefinder

Pin seeker with jolt Technology provides you with short Vibrating bursts to reinforce the laser has laced onto the flag. Patented slope Technology provides compensated distance based on the incline or decline of the hole. Accurately ranges from 5 to 1,000 yards and 400+ yards to a flag within one yard.

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2. GPS Golf Watch

If you’re not a fan of rangefinders to zero in on your distances, GPS golf watches may be a better device for you. These allow you to look down at your wrist to get the necessary yardage.

3. Golf Cart

No, having a golf cart isn’t necessary, but it saves a lot of cart fees. If you play several times a month, having your own cart could save you hundreds of dollars per year.

4. Push Cart

If you prefer to walk your rounds on the course instead of driving, a push cart is the way to go. This will keep your muscles from getting too taxed from carrying your bag the entire round.

5. Cart Bag

This item is nice to have if you have a push cart. Cart bags are slimmer than standard golf bags, so they’ll fit in a push cart. We like the following option from Titleist!

 

For The Folks Who Love Gear

1. Waterproof Jacket

Since you never know when an annoying popup shower may hit, it may make sense for some folks to keep a waterproof jacket in their bag. If you are in the market for a new golf jacket, make sure it repels water at a high rate.

2. Extra Layer of Sleeves

Keeping yourself warm and comfortable is another key to playing your best golf. If you play a lot of rounds in the spring or fall, you need to be prepared for volatile weather changes. An extra set of long sleeves in your golf bag will be handy.

3. Umbrella

Keeping an umbrella in your bag is almost a must if you play in tropical climates. You don’t necessarily have to splurge on a huge golf umbrella, but a small one that will easily fit in your bag can help keep you dry when rainy weather strikes.

4. Rain Gloves

Have you ever tried to hit a golf ball with slick hands? It’s not a fun experience. Rain gloves have some extra tack on them so you can keep a firm grip on your clubs.

5. Extra Golf Polo Shirt

This is an extra item I love keeping in my golf bag. I often play in 100-degree temperatures and sweat profusely. I keep a different golf shirt on hand so that I can sometimes change after the front nine.

6. Golf Cart Cooler

Bringing your own snacks and drinks to the golf course can save you a ton of money. You can also find plenty of options small enough to comfortably fit inside your golf cart.

 

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Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.