If you have ever traveled with your golf clubs (and who hasn’t wanted to golf while on vacation), you know that some extra thought must go into the practice before doing so. It’s much more than simply zipping up you bag cover and heading to the airport. Consider these helpful tips for traveling with golf clubs.
Get the Right Travel Bag
The first and most important decision to make is the kind of protective travel bag for transporting your clubs. Both hard and soft bags have their advantages. Hard travel bags, which are generally more expensive, offer the most protection for the clubs, as the protective outer shell can prevent the clubs from damage. But they can be a little restrictive, and you should probably packs some clothing inside around the club heads to keep them from moving around during transport.
I prefer a soft bag for its flexibility, there is plenty of room for an extra pair of golf shoes, golf balls and even space on the way home for things I have picked up on vacation. The soft bag raises the potential for damage to the clubs in transit, so it is key to include a golf club protection device—a stiff metal shafted product with a hard plastic “umbrella” covering the club heads to keep the shafts from bending during handling.
In addition to head covers for all your clubs, it is not a bad idea to pack some extra clothing around the clubs to keep them from moving in your soft bag. You might also want to book a non-stop flight, as the less handling of your clubs by airport baggage departments, the fewer opportunities for damage.
Since the clubs are oversized baggage, they are handled differently, so you have to pay attention where the pickup area is for those big bags. When you get to the baggage area, it’s a good idea to ask where oversized bags can be picked up, as the clubs won’t come tumbling down on the baggage carousel.
Make sure the travel bag for your golf clubs has plenty of identification on it. Some of them have places for to slide in a business card, but putting your name on the bag is important, particularly if it gets misrouted during your travel. On one trip, I had to wait a day for my clubs to arrive, and having my contact information on it certainly helped in identifying it. Even more important is to have your cell phone number on the bag, as that may speed up the process.
Ship Ahead of Time
Some of these problems can be avoided, however, if you decide to use a shipping company to send your clubs on ahead of you. Clubs such as Ship Sticks, Luggage Forward, UPS and FedEx can transport your clubs to your destination before you arrive. It saves on the headaches, alleviates the need to haul your clubs through the airport with your other bags and will offer some peace of mind. It will cost you a bit more, but it might just be worth it.