The 9 coolest things I found rummaging through Tour pros’ golf bags

August 15, 2019

If you’re a current GOLF Magazine subscriber or have seen my posts on social media, you know we’ve completely revamped the look of the popular “What’s in the bag” spread. It’s eye-catching and gives you a glimpse into what exactly Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and other high-profile names carry in the bag each week beyond the gear.

But having just completed eight new bag shoots at Medinah, site of this week’s BMW Championship, I figured it’d be fun to highlight some of the items that stuck out as we rummaged through the bags of the Tour’s best and brightest.

Here’s what we found:

That’s not a lighter

Remember the scene in Crocodile Dundee where Mick Dundee pulls out a giant machete after a street hooligan attempts to mug him with the help of a switchblade? “That’s not a knife,” he says. “THAT’s a knife.”

Shane Lowry could do his own impersonation with a lighter I found in his bag. Seriously, it puts every other lighter I’ve ever seen to shame. It’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 inches in length — I’m serious. My guess is he probably needed it to light up a few cigars after the masterclass performance he put on during the Open Championship.

Go with the hot hand

Justin Thomas rotates between three coins to mark his ball, depending on how the round is going. One of the coins is a custom Alabama-inspired piece with “RTR” (Roll Tide Roll), “Bama” and Thomas’ initials stamped inside an outline of the state. There’s also a peace sign coin. And the one that surprised me the most: a $1 coin featuring former President James Garfield.

Who knew JT was such a big Garfield fan.

Good vibes

Only one item made me audibly gasp. Tucked inside the front pouch of Lowry’s staff bag was a green Masters valuables pouch containing one item: the Irishman’s player credential from Portrush. Lowry and his caddie Brian “Bo” Martin made a lifetime of memories that week.

Jonathan Wall

I love that Shane keeps a special memento from the Open Championship in the bag to remind him of an event that changed his career trajectory.

You win

Adam Scott appears to be committed to the broomstick putter at the moment, but if he does decide to revert back to a conventional-length model, might I suggest the one with the needlepoint Winged Foot headcover? It was hands down the best-looking headcover I saw during the shoots. Scott said he picked it up last year when he played the course. I would’ve done the same thing.

I’m hurting

Pounding balls for hours on end is part of the job description when you’re a professional golfer — unless you’re Brooks Koepka. To combat the aches and pains, every player we photographed had at least one bottle or a handful of Advil packets tucked away in a pocket. They’re as common as tees. Tour players — they’re just like us!

Go Dawgs

Some guys choose to show off their school spirit with custom wedge stamping or a logo headcover. Others go the unconventional route and make their yardage book cover an ode to their alma mater.

Keith Mitchell’s red University of Georgia cover is easy to spot on the course. Charles Howell III also had a cover with Oklahoma State black and orange. If you’re a “tour mid-am” or just want to look like a pro, there are shops, like Fairway Leathers, that can create custom covers.

Webb’s woods

Next to Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 Forged irons, I’d argue Webb Simpson’s 18-degree Titleist 913 Fd fairway wood was the oldest club I stumbled upon. The sole and face wear gives you a good idea of how important this club is to Simpson. I still remember Rory McIlroy telling me once that fairway woods were the toughest club to get out of the bag once you found something reliable. Webb’s 5-wood is a perfect example.

And speaking of Webb’s woods, he regularly carries five of them — which is at least one or two more than the average Tour player — including a 23.5-degree steel-shafted hybrid.

“I have always had trouble getting my long irons in the air and spinning them enough, so the hybrid has always been a better option for me over the driving iron,” he told me in 2018. “The last hybrid I added was a 23.5-degree that replaced my 4-iron at the 2016 PGA Championship. [Titleist Tour rep] Jim Curran had the idea to make me a 4-iron hybrid, so we cut it down an inch and put a steel shaft in it and it had the perfect mix of a long iron flight and feel with the benefits of a hybrid.”

Ryder Cup route

Ian Poulter doesn’t have to remind the U.S. squad how the 2018 Ryder Cup played out. All he has to do is gesture toward his putter cover and the discussion is over. It’s the ultimate power move.

Jonathan Wall

Which way home?

Next to Augusta National pencils and over-the-counter pain relievers, one of the more popular items was your standard run-of-the-mill compass. No, players don’t get lost on the course. (Although, that could be a good excuse when a group gets put on the clock.)

Jonathan Wall

Most told me they use it to verify wind direction, which seems fairly common. But a few said the compass serves a dual purpose, acting as a wind direction gauge and starting point for where they might hit a shot or putt (depending on the slope).

And if you want to see these bag spreads in print, be sure to pick up a GOLF Magazine subscription.