T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
What every golfer should carry in his or her golf bag
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013 | 12:01 p.m.
Is there anything better than walking the golf course? I don't think so. But, if you're not going to take a push-cart, heaving a golf bag that feels as though it's weighted down with cinderblocks is no fun.
It doesn't have to be that way.
If you're interested in getting more exercise and carrying that lightweight bag, we've got a list of tips to make sure it stays lightweight, aside from those 14 clubs you've got.
1. Leave the umbrella, rain gear and headcovers in your car trunk. Assuming it's nice out, of course, all they're doing on a nice day is weighing you down.
2. Just because your awesome new bag has 50 pockets doesn't mean you need to use all of them. Take advantage of the lined valuables pocket though for your cell phone, keys and wallet.
3. Carry only the number of golf balls that coincide with your handicap (within reason). For instance, if you're a 9-handicap, do you really need more than nine golf balls in your bag for 18 holes? Likewise, if you're a 30-handicap -- surely, or at least hopefully -- you're not losing 30 golf balls per round. You don't want to run out of golf balls, but you don't need two dozen in your bag for a single round either (we hope).
4. A Sharpie marker. Not to sign autographs after your round, but to mark your golf ball to make it easily identifiable. Better yet, mark your golf balls in advance and leave the Sharpie in the trunk too.
5. Have a clean towel, wet on one end, along with a brush. It'll keep your clubs and golf ball clean, resulting in more solid contact and hopefully lower scores.
6. A ball marker. This could be as simple as a coin from the spare-change cup in your car. But don't forget it -- keep one in your bag at all times. There's nothing more annoying than a playing partner on a green who uses a tee to mark their ball -- like you weren't having a hard enough time negotiating the green on a putt -- and says, "Sorry, I don't have a ball marker." Don't be that person.
7. A divot tool. It weighs practically nothing, but everyone playing in your group and all those playing behind you will appreciate you fixing the marks your ball leaves on the greens.
8. A GPS device or rangefinder. Level of ability doesn't matter here. For the higher-handicap player, the GPS -- some of which come in the form of a watch now -- are the better option. They give you a very good idea of how far you are from the hole or from trouble. The rangefinder is great for better players, as they provide pinpoint accuracy. Both save you the time of having to walk off yardages, allowing you to keep moving forward with that bag on your shoulder instead of backtracking and zig-zagging. They're light too.
9. A snack of some kind -- trail mix, an apple, a banana, a peanut-butter sandwich. Whichever you'd like. It'll give you some energy out there during a long round.
10. A bottle of water. Stay hydrated.
Now enjoy that walk.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.