How to Keep Beer Cold in a Golf Bag | 8 Easy Methods

There’s nothing better than reaching into your golf bag after finishing a round of golf and cracking open an ice cold beer to enjoy with your friends. Similarly, there’s nothing worse than reaching into your golf bag, expecting to feel an ice cold beer can, and instead finding a beer that has gone hot throughout the day.

If you’re simply heading to the pool or the beach, nothing is stopping you from grabbing the giant rolling cooler, a couple of bags of ice, and packing up all the drinks and snacks you want. However, when you’re going to the golf course there are some more limitations.

Not all golf courses allow coolers and those that do often have regulations on the size and type of cooler that is allowed. In addition to this, some golf courses do not allow you to bring your drinks, asking that you instead purchase any drinks from their on-site store.

To get cold drinks onto the golf course, you’ll most likely need to store them in your golf bag. Fortunately, there are several tips and tricks that you can use to keep your drinks cold, even if you have to keep them in your golf bag.

How Do You Keep Drinks Cold in a Golf Bag?

When you are out golfing on a hot summer day, it is necessary to have a cold beer or bottle of water with you at all times. However, after standing in the sun all day on the golf course, it is difficult to keep a beer cold for more than a few hours.

The seemingly simple solution is to bring a cooler with you onto the golf course. That way you’ll be able to carry all the drinks that you want and won’t have to worry about them getting warm over the day. However, at most golf courses this won’t work.

The majority of golf courses have a no cooler policy. This means that if you want to bring some drinks with you on the golf course, you’ll need to fit them into your golf bag. The golf bag is also the best place to hide drinks if you are not technically allowed to bring your own.

A cooler full of ice-cold drinks on a warm summer afternoon

Ways to Keep Drinks Cold

Use a Golf Cooler Bag

The single best way to keep your drinks cold on a hot day is by using a golf bag that has a cooler built-in. This will allow you to only carry one bag on the course and keep your beers cold at the same time.

Golf cooler bags usually have one of their pockets toward the end of the bag modified to be a cooler bag. It will have insulation and a waterproof interior. To get the cooler to keep your drinks cool your will need to add in extra ice or an ice pack. The insulation will help to keep the cold in and the heat out which helps to keep your beers cool all day long.

The main downsides to this solution are that the built-in coolers can be difficult to clean and don’t hold as many beers. This means that within a few uses, you may be dealing with a cooler that is full of various debris and grime that is difficult to clean out because of the limited maneuverability of the cooler bag.

To try and counteract this, some golf cooler bags have a built-in drain at the bottom of the golf cooler bag. That way, at the end of the day, you can simply open the drain and let any of the excess water or debris that may be inside drain out. You can also use this when cleaning to flush the cooler out using a hose or pitcher of water.

They also tend to have a pretty drink small capacity. Most built-in coolers can only carry 4-6 drinks. On the upper end of that, you may find some that can carry 9 but very few that will carry more than that.

Golf bags that include a beer cooler also tend to be more expensive, especially if it’s a high-quality cooler bag. If you are on a budget, you may be better off utilizing one of the other solutions on this list.

two golfers walking with golf bags - How to Keep Beer Cold in a Golf Bag | 8 Easy Methods

Throw in Some Ice Packs

If your golf bag doesn’t come with a dedicated cooler pouch, then you won’t be able to throw a couple of cold beers into your bag and expect them to stay cold throughout the day. However, most golf bags have plenty of extra storage, even if they don’t have an insulated pocket.

Ice packs are a great alternative to regular ice. They do not melt like regular ice so they will not cause damage to your golf bag in the same way that ice will as it melts throughout the day.

For a little to no cost solution that will keep your beers cold all day, you will need a plastic bag and an ice pack. Just throw your six pack into the plastic bag and add your frozen ice pack to the bag with the beers.

The ice pack will make sure that you have a nice cold beer even after playing an entire round. The plastic bag will help to prevent moisture from dripping onto your golf clubs and accessories to prevent water damage.

Use plenty of ice packs

Since your regular golf pockets do not have insulation, you will need to use significantly more ice packs than you normally would in a cooler. This is because, in a cooler, the material is specially designed to reflect the cold back into the cooler. This helps to keep the ice packs or ice from melting too quickly.

Since a regular pocket does not do this, you will need to include double or triple the number of ice packs that you normally would keep your drinks cold in a cooler.

Use a Separate Soft Cooler

Another great option to keep beer cans cool all day long is using a soft carry cooler. These are usually lightweight, easy to carry, and can keep drinks cold for several hours. Unlike the golf bags with a built-in cooler, a separate cooler is easy to clean out and you won’t have as many issues with mold or mildew growing from excess moisture.

All you’ll need to do to use a soft cooler is pack it with some extra ice or an ice pack and a few beers. The soft cooler will keep the ice from melting too quickly which will prevent too much of a mess from being created. The inside of the insulated bag should also be waterproof so that even if the ice melts, no water should leak out.

When picking a soft cooler that you’ll be carrying make sure to pick one with wide, padded straps. After several hours, a non-padded strap can begin to rub against your shoulders which can be pretty uncomfortable, especially when playing golf on a hot day.

One of the benefits of using a soft cooler is that, due to their small size, you can usually fit them in your golf bag. This not only makes them easier to carry but also allows you to sneak in a cooler more easily without having it searched or confiscated. They also come in colors to match your golf bag which makes them even harder to spot.

Read the rules

Before you decide that a soft cooler is the solution to your problem, make sure to read the rules at your local golf course. Lots of golf courses don’t allow coolers, but this may just be limited to rolling coolers to protect the grass.

If you show up with a cooler that isn’t approved, they will likely confiscate it and any drinks that you may be carrying inside it. If you’re not sure whether or not your cooler will be approved, the best thing you can do is call ahead and ask. You can even send them a link with the specific model so you can try and get them to approve it.

If they do approve it try to get them to send an official email saying it’s approved. That way if you go and other staff are working, you won’t have trouble trying to get your cooler into the golf cart.

A golfer stands with a golf bag over his shoulder and an ice cooler bag in his hand

Freeze the Drinks

This trick won’t work if you are trying to carry carbonated or pre-bottled beverages such as sodas or beers. However, it’s a great option for water, sports drinks, or anything else that you have packaged in your own bottles.

If you are playing in a tournament and want to make sure that you have cold refreshments available all day long, one easy way to keep your drinks cold is to freeze them. All you’ll need to do is pack your drinks in bottles making sure to leave at least 20% of the bottle open. You don’t want to fill your bottles all the way or they could end up exploding as the drink freezes.

Water is a liquid that expands when you freeze it. This means that if you take cans of beer that are completely full and freeze them, the beer will expand until it explodes the can. This is why you should always leave extra space in your bottles when freezing them, that way the liquid has room to expand as it freezes.

After your drinks are frozen you will be able to throw them into whatever bag and they will stay cold. As they melt, you will be able to drink them. Since you’ll have to wait several hours for them to melt, even if it’s a warm day, this method is best for the days when you’re not expecting to crack open your first beer within an hour.

Use a Golf Bag with Light Colors

This option isn’t the best if you are planning on spending a full day on the golf course. However, it’ll work if you’re only playing 1 round and need to be as subtle as possible. For this method, all you’ll need to do is toss your cans of beer into your golf bag and hope for the best. The key to this is picking the right bag to toss your beer into.

When you are picking a golf bag, it can be tempting to pick the sleek, black bag. This bag also won’t show dirt or stains as easily, which is a bonus. However, black, and other dark colors, attract and absorb more heat from the sun.

Instead, try picking a light colored bag. Light colors naturally do not absorb as much heat as dark colors do. That is why you’ll notice that most sun shirts and hats are light colors, this helps to deflect as much of the heat away as possible.

It’s even better if you can get a reflective bag as these will help to bounce the sun’s rays away from the bag and keep it cold without adding more ice.

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Three golf bags at driving range

Use an Add-On Cooler Bag

If you already have a golf bag and it doesn’t feature a cooler, you can use an add-on cooler bag. These bags function just like a regular soft cooler bag, but they are designed to slip around the bag and blend in with the bag. This makes them a great option for golf clubs that are strict about the cooler rule and will confiscate any obvious coolers. Since the cooler blends into the bag, you shouldn’t have as much of an issue getting it into the club.

Another benefit to using one of the add-on cooler bags is that they can fit more drinks than a built-in cooler bag. Most golf bags with a cooler only fit around 6 beers, even the largest only fits 9 or so. However, add-on cooler bags can often fit more than 10 beers making them a great option if you’re a big drinker.

Try a Beverage Chiller

This is going to be one of your best options if your golf club is particularly strict about alcohol and will even check insulated pockets. A beverage chiller is a type of thermos that will hold liquid and keep it cool for many hours.

To use one of these you will usually have to pre-chill the beverage chiller. This allows the internal insulation to freeze which is what keeps your drinks cool. The morning of your next golfing day you’ll simply pull your beverage chiller out of the freezer and fill it up with your drink of choice. Then simply screw the top on, toss it in your golf bag, and you’ll be good to go.

Most beverage chillers on the market promise to keep your beverage cold for at least 24 hours with some promising up to 48. This makes it a great choice for long golf weekends where you don’t have a lot of time to spend refilling your coolers with ice or picking up fresh, cool drinks.

The main downside to using a beverage cooler is that you aren’t able to carry as many drinks with you as you would with a cooler. However, it is a great, incognito option especially if you’re worried about the staff searching your bag. All they’ll find is what looks like a regular thermos.

Cups and Ice

This strategy won’t necessarily keep your drinks cold all day, but it will allow you to enjoy a cold beverage whenever you’d like.

Most golf courses have drink carts all around the course. At these drink carts, you can go and buy anything from a beer to a soda to a mixed drink. To make sure that all of these drinks are ready to go, the carts are stocked with plenty of ice and disposable cups to serve the drinks in.

Take your beers with you and throw them into one of your golf bag’s pockets, but don’t worry about whether or not they stay cold. Then, when you are ready to start drinking beer, you can go to the drink cart and ask for a cup of ice.

Some drink carts may let you have the cup and ice for free while others may require you to purchase a drink. In that case, you can purchase a bottle of water or a soda, the two cheapest options, and ask that they serve it with a cup of ice.

Then you can take your cup of ice, pour your drink over it, and enjoy a cold beverage on the golf course.

This isn’t the perfect option as you will need to spend a small amount of money to get it to work, but it can still be a great way to get a cold drink if the other options don’t seem feasible.

A hand picks up a beer from a drink cooler box filled with beer


Why aren’t rolling coolers allowed on golf courses?

Every golf club has a different rule on this, but generally speaking, most golf courses do not allow you to bring coolers onto the actual golf course. This is for two main reasons, preventing damage and improving business.

When you pile a bunch of drinks and ice into a rolling cooler, it quickly becomes very heavy and the wheels are not designed to be delicate. If you drag the rolling cooler over the tender grass of the golf course, you could accidentally cause damage to the grass. This is one of the main reasons that golf courses don’t allow you to bring large coolers.

The second reason is that allowing players to bring their own drinks is bad for business. Golf clubs make a lot of money from the drinks and snacks that golfers buy while they are playing. If everyone begins to bring their own food and drinks, the golf course will not be able to bring in as much money.

Can you drink beer on the golf course?

Some golf clubs are alcohol-free; however, for the most part, you are allowed to drink beer and other types of alcohol on golf courses. The main rule is that you need to stay sober enough that you are not causing problems for the golf course staff or other golfers.

Technically, most golf courses do not allow you to bring your own alcohol. They want you to purchase any alcohol directly from the country club itself. So, drinking beer is okay, but where you get the beer from could be a problem.

Do ice packs or ice stay cold longer?

There is a common misconception that ice packs are better than regular ice because they keep your beer cold longer. However, this is simply not the case. A similar amount of ice will keep your beer cold for just as long as a similarly sized ice pack. The main difference between the two is reusability and cleanup.

Ice packs are reusable, which makes them a great option if you frequently use coolers or don’t have access to an ice machine. They also do not melt, and the biggest mess that they’ll make is from condensation building up on the inside of the cooler.

Final thoughts on How Do You Keep Drinks cold in a Golf Bag

Keeping your drinks cold in a golf bag isn’t the easiest thing in the world. If your golf bag has a built-in cooler pouch, you’re in luck and all you’ll need to do is add ice. However, many golfers don’t have the funds necessary to purchase a brand-new golf bag with a built-in cooler. Fortunately, even without the cooler, there are several tips and tricks that you can use to keep your drinks cold in a golf bag.

Some of the easiest things you can do to keep your drinks cold in a golf bag are freezing the drinks beforehand, using ice packs, or using an add-on cooler bag. These methods will all allow you to keep your drinks cold without having to drag in a large cooler that is likely to be confiscated.

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