Traveling north for a golf vacation in Minnesota is worth the trip. The state boasts numerous high-end, well-conditioned and challenging courses in a variety of locales (city, lakes, or wooded courses) that will suit anyone’s idea of great destination golf. But golf in Minnesota can be a little different than the golf in other areas of the country, so if you are traveling there, take note of these five things you might want to pack for your Minnesota golf vacation – and some pro tips on traveling with your golf clubs.
Pro Tips For Traveling with Golf Clubs
Since the clubs are oversized baggage, they are handled differently, so you have to pay attention to 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.
Use Extra Padding
Soft bags are better for travel than hard bags because they weigh a lot less, but you’ll need extra padding to protect your clubs from the perils of baggage handling. First of all, headcovers are a must (for all of your clubs). Beyond that, use towels, clothes or padding to wrap around the club heads, which could get banged around when being handled. Several manufacturers also make a metal apparatus that is slightly longer than a driver to withstand the impact on the top of the bag and prevent damaged clubs.
Make sure your travel bag has plenty of identification on it. Some of them have places to slide in a business card, but putting your name on the bag is important, particularly if it gets misrouted during your travel. Nobody wants to rent clubs on the first day of a much-anticipated golf trip and having contact information in an easy to find spot certainly helps.
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. Companies such as Ship Sticks, Luggage Forward, FexEx and UPS 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.
Packing List for a Minnesota Golf Trip
1. Sunscreen with mosquito repellant
Perhaps you have heard stories about the size and number of mosquitos in Minnesota (after all, they are jokingly known as the state bird). Well, those small pests do live in Minnesota, but their reputation is slightly exaggerated. They are generally under control and aren’t nearly as annoying to locals as the stories about them. It always pays to be prepared, so a little sunscreen with some DEET in it will be worth having on hand. Why sunscreen? Well, contrary to more Minnesota “lore,” the state does have plenty of sunshine during the golf season.
2. Rain gear
You could get some rain while venturing to play golf in Minnesota (just like in other locales), so pack some rain gear for the trip. It’s certainly not anything like you might find on the coast of Ireland or Scotland, but the great tracks of Minnesota are just that because of the excellent growing conditions in the state. The upside is that the courses drain quickly and it is rare when you might completely wash out an entire day of Minnesota golf. If you are coming in the fall, the course conditions are at their peak, so pack some long-sleeve shirts or a pullover so potential cool temps won’t dissuade you from any scheduled rounds.
3. Golf directory
Golf-crazy Minnesotans make hay while the sun shines in this part of the country, so it is possible that your preferred tee time might be filled when you get to town. The Minnesota Golf Association puts out an annual Golf Course Directory of the more than 400 courses throughout the state, and it’s your perfect guide to find the place, time and challenge for your next round. Check out the Minnesota golf course search for a comprehensive course listing with amenities, directions, prices and everything else you need to line up your entire trip of golf. For a more select list of the best public access courses in the state, check our EMGA map of places to play.
4. A healthy beer palette
The craft beer craze has taken Minnesota by storm and it seems like every other week a new microbrewery or brewpub opens up somewhere in the state. The list of great Minnesota craft beers – from Mankato to Duluth – grows constantly and the golf courses are catching on to the trend. If you want to find a tasty brew after 18 great holes of golf, Minnesota is ready to pour. Here are some of our favorite places to pair a course with a brewery.
5. A fishing pole
Some golfers refer to them as Minnesota’s 10,000 water hazards, but chances are that you will be playing golf near one of the state’s great 10,000 fish-filled lakes. If the golf isn’t going so well, there is always an opportunity to haul in a sunfish, walleye, bass or northern pike for dinner. If you get tired of counting strokes, try counting bites and filling a stringer of fish before you head home. If you’re looking for suggestions, here are some great golf/fishing options.