Best Golf Coolers
Updated by Brandon F. on June 16, 2019
One activity that goes hand in hand with a cooler is the sport of golf. For decades, passionate golfers have been hitting the course to enjoy this American pastime with friends, family, coworkers, and in tournaments.
But golf, particularly in the summer, can be a pretty hot sport. Not only are you oftentimes forced to wear pants and collared shirts to meet the dress code of the golf course, but you are out in the open sun in the warmer months of the year. This can mean some serious heat which is why you have to stay hydrated.
And whether your favorite way to stay “hydrated” is with an adult beverage of water, it is important to have a cooler that is up to the task.
This article will be discussing some of the best golf coolers in the industry. But first, here is a table of some of our favorite golf coolers. For larger reviews of each item, hop on below the table or click on the link in the Table of Contents to be taken directly to it.
- 1 Best Golf Coolers
- 1.1 What is a Golf Cooler?
- 1.2 Golf Coolers: What to Look For
- 1.3 Callaway Org 14 Golf Bag
- 1.4 Bag Boy Golf Chiller Bag
- 1.5 FlexiFreeze Golf Bag Chiller
- 1.6 Callaway Golf Cart Cooler
- 1.7 McNick Golf Cart Cooler Bag
- 1.8 Igloo Quantum 12 Quart Cooler
- 1.9 Polar Bear 12-Pack Cooler
- 1.10 Summary
What is a Golf Cooler?
This might seem like a silly question, but sit down and really think about it for a second. What exactly is a golf cooler to you? Is it a golf bag with a cooler built into it, a specialized cooler that hangs off of your golf bag, or a traditional cooler that is sized to fit on the back of the golf cart?
All of these types of coolers could fit the mold of what a golf cooler is! Because of this, it is important to look at each one and discuss their pros and cons.
Golf Bag Cooler
This is what many people likely think of when they picture a golf cooler: a golf bag with a cooler built into it. This takes away the need to purchase two separate bags: one for your golf clubs and one for your cooler. It also helps to reduce how much storage space your cooler will take up since it will typically ride on the back of the cart.
In addition, it is a great way to “sneak” drinks on a course without being detected (if you happen to be playing at one of the courses that don’t allow outside food and drinks). Plus they look awesome!
On paper, this might seem like a great idea but there are some challenges associated with this type of design.
First, the built-in cooler can’t actually be truly built in. It has to be able to be easily removed to be cleaned and to dispose of melted ice. If this wasn’t the case, then you would have to tilt your golf bag upside down each time you want to empty the water. Because of this, most golf bag coolers will have a small removable cooler located inside one of the pouches. Check out the image below to get an idea of how it works.
These cooler bags are quite small: they are designed to hold anywhere from 6 to 10 cans normally (along with a little bit of ice). Don’t bring your golf bag cooler along and expect it to have enough room to hold drinks for an entire large group!
The other common complaint about golf bag coolers is their overall size. To make room for the internal cooler, the bag has to be a good bit larger. This can mean a bulky bag that will take up more room in your golf cart or vehicle that you are transporting it in.
Finally, the ice retention ability will be heavily dependent on how thick the insulation is. And since these coolers are meant to take up as little room as possible, the insulation thickness is oftentimes on the thin side. But for a typical 4 or 5 hour day on the course, they will do just fine.
Golf Bag Cooler Add-on
These type of golf coolers are designed to mount or hang off of the side of an existing traditional golf bag. The main benefit with these types of golf coolers is that they don’t require you to go out and buy a totally new golf bag. Many people are partial towards their existing bags (for many reasons including preferring showing off their name brands) as well as simply not wanting to spend the 3-figure cost that most golf bag coolers run these days.
In addition, a golf bag cooler add-on can be much more flexible in its size and shape. You will notice in the image above that this cooler is designed to be long and slender. The result is a bag that can hold a lot more items than many smaller built-in coolers but it doesn’t really take up all that much more space. It can also be removed from the golf bag and used as a soft cooler for other events outside of golf.
The major cons with this type of golf cooler are that it does require transporting an additional bag. And from a looks standpoint, it definitely won’t be winning any awards. Finally, for those who are trying to be conspicuous about your drinks on the course, it doesn’t get much more obvious than this.
Golf Cart Cooler
A golf cart cooler is designed with the golf cart in mind rather than the golf bag. These coolers are shaped in a way that makes them able to sit comfortably inside the storage basket on the back of a golf cart.
The main selling point of these is that they maximize storage volume. It is very easy to fit 12 to 18 cans of soda or beer in these which makes them much more versatile for larger groups.
You might be wondering “Well how is this any different than just grabbing my small cooler from home?” Well, your typical small cooler isn’t designed in a way to fit optimally in the back of a golf cart. You may find that many small coolers are either too long or too wide to fit in. And the ones that do fit still allow gaps between it and the basket that are robbing you of valuable cooler storage volume while being too small to really fit anything else in. The image below gives you a good idea of how it works.
There are some negatives with this type of ice chest as well, however. The most obvious one is that it takes up your golf cart basket. People like to put their golf balls, golf club covers, etc. in this basket and you won’t be able to do that in most cases when you use one of these. The other issue is that most golf cart coolers are designed to be flexible so that they can easily slide in and out.
This means thin insulation so your ice life won’t be very long. Again, for a 4 or 5-hour golf game they should work but if you have a large group who are constantly opening and closing the cooler then you may have to top it off with some more ice when you go to the clubhouse after 9 holes.
The final type of golf cooler that we are going to discuss is simple personal or small coolers that can double as golf coolers. This is likely what is most common on a golf course since most people don’t bother with purchasing a specially designed cooler just for golfing (but the fact that you made it to this page tells us that there is a good chance that you don’t fall into this category!).
The obvious benefit of using a standard personal cooler is that you likely already have this at home! We hate to recommend that you DON’T purchase a golf cooler bag on a golf cooler bag review article but the simple fact of the matter is that, in many cases, a standard ice chest will do just fine.
The second largest pro of a normal cooler is that your ice life will typically be much better. Even standard soft-sided coolers will commonly have more insulation than most golf bag coolers. This means you shouldn’t have to worry about having ice still available when you are teeing off on the 18th.
But this doesn’t come without some negatives as well. The most common problem that people run into is that their existing hard-sided cooler simply won’t fit in the back of their golf cart basket. This will require you to get creative with bungee cords, rope, or even duct tape to properly fasten your cooler to the back of the golf cart. You also run into the issue of trying to be inconspicuous. Finally, you have to plan for extra room in your vehicle to lug around the larger cooler.
Now that we have gone over the various types of Golf Coolers, let’s briefly discuss what to look for when purchasing your next golf cooler.
Golf Coolers: What to Look For
We always tell people that before purchasing their next cooler, they should sit down and make a quick note of what their wants and needs are. How large of a cooler are they after? What kind of ice life are they needing? Are there any particular features that are must-haves? What kind of budget are they trying to stick to? Once they have a better idea of the specifics, it is much easier to direct them to a list of coolers that will meet their needs.
While to a lesser extent, that process is no different here. So let’s go over a few:
How much space do you need? This will vary from person to person. Are you needing room for a single person to have a bottle of water? Or are you looking for something large enough to accommodate 4 adults drinking water and beer?
If you only need a small amount of space than any of the coolers we discussed above will work for you. However, if you are needing to maximize your storage volume then we recommend sticking with either a golf cart cooler or a traditional hard cooler.
We combined two features into one here since they are closely related. How mobile do you want your golf cooler to be? Are you ok having it attached to your golf bag or do you prefer something that doesn’t require you to carry around an additional cooler?
Related to this, does your cooler need to “blend in” so as to not be detected? Typically, the most mobile coolers will be easier to hide since they will either be built directly into a golf bag or can be easily tucked away in the golf cart basket.
Ice life is always important but less so on a golf range. This is because most golfers will only be out on the course for a few hours. Most coolers (even soft-sided examples) with a semblance of an insulation layer should be able to handle that with proper ice.
But if you plan on carrying a lot of drinks for a lot of people then your cooler is going to be opened much more often. This puts a major strain on the ice and can cause your ice life to plummet.
So think about how many people will be using the cooler and how often they will be accessing them. If you plan on having a “busy” cooler then spring for something with thicker insulation such as a traditional hard-sided cooler or a robust soft-sided cooler. If your cooler is going to stay shut most of the time then any type should do.
Asking price is always a consideration as everybody is on some sort of budget. While we don’t know of any golf coolers that will cost as much as many of the larger premium rotomolded coolers that we have reviewed, there is still a pretty nice range in asking prices.
If you are trying to stick to a certain price point, first figure out what that number is.
Typically, your golf bag/golf cooler combos products are going to be the most expensive. This is because they are a lot more than just a cooler: they are a place to put all of your other golf items as well! On the opposite end, golf bag add-ons will typically be among the most affordable.
After considering these and other criteria, you should have a better idea of what type of golf cooler you should be looking for. And without further ado, here are a few of our favorite golf coolers of various types.
Callaway Org 14 Golf Bag
The Callaway Org 14 is the Cadillac of golf bags with coolers. It looks great and comes with the respected Callaway name. And seeing how this a reputable golf brand, all of the various features that golfers look for will be there. It comes with a host of features including a magnetic range finder pocket, multiple magnetic valuables pockets, and 14 different slots to put your clubs.
The “cooler” on board is very limited, however. It is essentially a couple of insulated beverage pockets that have drain ports. These are very flush and mobile but ice life and storage volume will be quite limited.
Bag Boy Golf Chiller Bag
The Bag Boy Golf Chiller Bag isn’t quite on the label of Callaway when it comes to name recognition or build quality but it is also more affordable and utilizes some additional features. It has plenty of storage slots for your golf clubs (15 in total) as well as an impressive 9 separate pockets to store anything and everything that you could think that you may need for a round of golf.
The removable insulated cooler is also bigger: you will have enough room to hold around six 12-ounce cans as well as some ice. This is a great middle-of-the-road golf cooler bag.
FlexiFreeze Golf Bag Chiller
The FlexiFreeze is designed for those who either already have a golf bag or don’t want to buy a golf bag cooler. It is intended to be either hung off of your existing golf bag or simply thrown around your shoulder like a traditional soft-sided cooler. The secret to its ice life comes from the 60 FlexiFreeze ice cubes that are built into the insulated walls of the cooler.
You simply throw this cooler in the freezer a few hours before your tee time and you have a potent little cooler that should keep your beverages cold throughout. It is a bit limited in storage volume, however: you will only have room for around 4 cans. But it is also one of the cheapest golf coolers that you will find.
Callaway Golf Cart Cooler
The Callaway Golf Cart Cooler is designed to be a separate entity than your golf bag. Instead, you will take advantage of the available storage space on the golf cart itself. This handy little bag is shaped in a way that allows it to slide easily in most golf cart baskets. The easy-access Velcro top means that you will be able to get to your drinks or food without having to bother unzipping the entire top.
This helps with convenience and also to minimize how much exposure your ice gets to the hot outside air. When not in use, it can be collapsed to around 3”, making it a breeze to store. And it is the largest ice chest of this review so far: you will be able to fit 12 to 14 cans in it without issue.
McNick Golf Cart Cooler Bag
If you are wanting something even more flush with your golf cart’s basket then consider the McNick Golf Cart Cooler Bag. This big is optimized to sit comfortably in a standard golf cart basket. This means that you will maximize your storage volume and also help to make this cooler less noticeable when it is not in use.
Since you can tap into more storage volume, this bad boy can hold up to 24 cans including ice. And there is a leak-proof liner with quality material to help avoid any of that melted ice from leaking all over your clubs. Plus, it is very affordable!
Igloo Quantum 12 Quart Cooler
For those who want to stick to the basics and employ a traditional hard-sided cooler, then have no fear! There are some personal-sized coolers out there that we have tested and know will fit comfortably in the back of most golf carts. One of our favorites is the 12 Quart Igloo Quantum. A cousin to the Igloo Ice Cube, the Quantum shares many of the same traits that allowed it to be one of the highest-rated personal coolers that we have ever tested.
There will be enough space for around 12 to 14 cans (with ice) and the thick plastic walls mean that this ice chest will outperform just about every soft-sided golf cooler when it comes to ice retention. And with Igloo you will enjoy quality manufacturing that will last for plenty of rounds out on the course.
Polar Bear 12-Pack Cooler
Finally, for those who want to go with a traditional soft-sided cooler, then we can’t say enough positives about Polar Bear Coolers. These are another cooler that we have reviewed that received an outstanding rating. These robust soft-sided coolers implement surprisingly thick insulation and come with some very impressive build quality that makes them ready and able to handle anything that Mother Nature can throw at them.
We recommend going with their smaller model, the 12-pack, as it will have no problem fitting in a golf cart. There are some larger models out there (such as the 24-pack) but you might have to get clever with finding room for it. These soft-sided coolers offer great ice retention (over a day in some cases) so a day on the golf course will prove to be no problem for them.
We hope that this article helped to lead you towards finding the best golf cooler to meet your needs. There are quite a few different options out there that vary in size, shape, and application but they are all after the same goal: giving you a convenient place to store your water, beer, and food while on enjoying your favorite hobby. Any of these models we mentioned in this review have been tried and tested and work. It is just up to you to figure out what your specific needs are!