The 10 Best Golf Coolers
This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in April of 2016. The only thing better than spending a day out on the course is being able to drink while you do it. These golf coolers allow you to carry along your beverages of choice, so you can have some refreshment every few holes, without having to suffer a warm beer or soda. They won't help improve your handicap, but they can help make it so that you don't care about it anymore. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 21, 2020:
For this update, we removed the Callaway Cooler after discovering it had extensive leak issues. We replaced it with the CaddyDaddy Compact, an affordable product with a slim profile that can easily slip into the accessories compartment of your golf bag.
Due to complaints about the poor design of the Clicgear Push Cart Bag, we replaced it with the Bag Boy Cooler. This model still attaches to manual push carts, but its improved velcro design allows it to stay securely in place. If this setup sounds appealing to you, these push carts can be an affordable alternative to motorized models, and can add a bit more exercise to your golf outing.
We kept our two full-size golf bag coolers, the Bag Boy Chiller Cart and the Bucket II Collegiate Cooler Cart. These are ideal for those who don't want to hassle with a separate cooler bag, though they are much more expensive.
If you're less concerned about your cooler being golf-specific, these soft coolers could provide you with a little more variety.
The Right Cooler For A Day On The Links
But the slight sacrifice that comes with choosing a bag that serves two purposes means less added weight than using two separate storage systems.
While at the outset of a game of golf you might not know if you'll make par, you can rest assured you'll want some chilled beverages at some point during the day.
The first consideration to be made when choosing a golf cooler is the manner in which you and your fellow golfers will traverse the course; you have to know whether you are walking from hole to hole or riding in a golf cart. If you'll be on your feet -- and without a caddie, no less -- then a larger cooler might not be the right choice, as loading it to capacity might mean too much added weight for practicality.
This issue can be ameliorated by ergonomically designed coolers that can be worn over the shoulders or on your back, but the type of cooler that attaches to you golf bag will likely add too much weight for a game where you walk the links.
If you're traveling from tee to tee via cart, then weight is no issue. There are golf coolers that can collapse for easy storage yet when unfolded can hold a full twelve back of cans (beer or soda, your choice) or as many as nine standard wine bottles. Pop up coolers like this can't conveniently be carried once laden with drinks (or foods) but they are right at home in the back of the cart.
Another way to help evenly distribute the load of golf gear and chilled beverages is to select a cooler that has additional storage pockets for balls, tees, scoresheets and the like, or to select a golf bag with a dedicated cooler pocket. Both options have their drawbacks: the former offers less golf supply storage space than a true golf bag, while the latter means extra weight added to your bag. But the slight sacrifice that comes with choosing a bag that serves two purposes means less added weight than using two separate storage systems.
The Surreptitious Golf Cooler
Most golf courses have policies prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages while players are out on the links. However, most courses have unofficial policies of not enforcing their official alcohol policies in any way. If you are playing at a course that does in fact monitor for illicit drinking, or if you simply want to be extremely subtle in your tippling while on the course, there are multiple golf coolers available that can help to conceal your activities.
Most golf courses have policies prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages while players are out on the links.
The simplest way to subtly transport drinks onto the golf course is to use a golf bag with a built in cooler pocket. These bags look for all intents and purposes like normal golf bags, and their pockets tend to be both insulated and feature handy drainage ports. The cooler pocket can conveniently be used for other gear when not laden with drinks and ice.
You can also choose a slim cooler that hooks to your golf bag and presents itself much the same as regular golf bag. But there is a more subtle, sneaky approach to be considered as well: there are coolers that consist of a long, thin beverage reservoir and a tap shaped like a golf club that can be slid down into a golf bag for the ultimate sly self service. (Note that these "clubs" must be filled with drink ahead of time, meaning potential loss of carbonation and a sticky cleanup with anything but water.)
The Entwined History Of Golf And Drink
The first "modern" games of golf were played in 1764 at the course at St. Andrews in Scotland. While golf had been popular for generations already, that was the year the current 18 hole standard was set. A likely apocryphal but nonetheless delightful belief is that the 18 holes of a golf intentionally correspond the approximately 18 shots that can be served from a single fifth of whisky. While there may be little to no credence to the notion that liquor played a part in the framing of the sport's rules, it would be folly to pretend beverages have not played a huge role in the allure of the sport since its very conception.
Thus nonalcoholic drinks are important, too, and chiefly water.
The fact that golf involves leisurely strolls or rides from tee to tee and green to green makes the casual consumption of a drink easy. Whereas it would be impractical if not impossible to enjoy a cocktail during an active basketball game or soccer match, there is plenty of time for a player to stand back and sip while another member of the group takes his or her swings.
In the inherently social setting of a golf game, it's almost standard operating procedure for amateur golfers to enjoy alcoholic beverages while playing, but of greater importance is the need for proper hydration while playing golf. While the sport might not see the same levels of physical intensity as other activities, a game of golf can last many hours and sees players spending that time in the hot sun. Thus nonalcoholic drinks are important, too, and chiefly water.
One of the most famous beverages associated with golf is named for arguably the most famous golfer all time: Arnold Palmer. He is credited with devising the elegantly simple beverage that is a blend of iced tea and lemonade. And whether or not Palmer conceived of the drink, it bears him namesake nonetheless, and remains a popular drink both at the clubhouse and elsewhere around the world.
Regardless of whether you're looking to enjoy a beer, cocktail, an Arnold Palmer, or just some water while you and your foursome stroll the course, chances are that you're going to want your beverages cold. That means you need a great golf cooler along for the game.