There are many reasons for packing your clubs, in the best golf travel case you can get, and getting away. I don’t believe there is a golfer out there who doesn’t dream of playing a famous course somewhere far away. And we live in a time of frequent flying. New golf courses are opening all the time. It is a good time for golf travel.
Become an all-year-round golfer
Do you live somewhere with harsh winters? Is your local course under snow for months every year? Then it is time to become an all-year-round golfer. It is a great way to escape the winter and avoid that dead time when you cannot get out on the course.
You will not only have a great break, but you will also keep that handicap down as well. Imagine starting the new golf year in spring being better than you were. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Where to go for the best golf
Some of us like golf history and love to read about how the game started. If that is you, perhaps it is the time to visit the birthplace of golf and head off to Scotland. There you can play those ancient links you have read so much about. You could be heading off to The Old Course, St Andrews Links known as the home of golf. It might be cold, it might be windy, but you will never forget it.
Then there are the masochists among us. Those folk who Google ‘the hardest golf hole to play in the world’. We know you are out there and if you want your heart stopped right now just press this link.
So, you want a challenge? From Carnoustie near Dundee in Scotland (often nicknamed Carnasty) to Ko’olau Golf club in Hawaii, the courses are out there.
How can I transport my golf clubs?
You could be heading to Florida, crossing the pond to Europe, or flying to New Zealand. You might want to visit the beautiful courses of Spain and Portugal, sunny but temperate in the winter. Great golfing awaits. Yet many of us worry about one thing. Our precious, and expensive golf clubs are rattling around the hold of an aircraft and getting damaged.
Fine, we can get our clubs insured. But even insurance doesn’t take the worry away. We like our clubs, we are used to them, we selected them very carefully, and each has its own story to tell. We want to keep them, thank you.
Does that leave only the option of hiring clubs when you get there? We don’t like that idea either. Hired clubs are never as good. If we have spent a lot of money on a trip to play golf in the sun, we want our faithful clubs on holiday with us.
It is worth getting a good golf bag
There is only one solution. Get a fantastic top of the range golf bag. Yes, it is expensive, but so is travelling for our golfing adventures. It is worth it. You will save money in the long-run as your clubs will last for years.
But even the best golf bag in the world will not protect your clubs if you do not know how to pack it properly and look after your clubs. So here are our top tips for you and your golf bag.
How to pack your golf bag
If you are confident, you can put them back together easily, take the heads off any adjustable clubs, cover the heads with the head covers (if you have lost the ones which came with your clubs, order some more, it is worth it).
Use a protection device (these are usually called things like the stiff arm or muscle arm) They are tough steel rods, which often come with a canopy a bit like a miniature umbrella on the top. They will protect the clubs if the bag is dropped on the club head end.
Use soft things you will be taking on your trip anyway for padding. Towels are good for stuffing between clubs to stop them banging against each other in transit. Golf balls are much more robust than your clubs, but they will add weight, so it is best to put them in your general luggage.
Electronic golf equipment, such as laser rangefinders or GPS finders are delicate, expensive and are easy to steal. So, treat them like your laptop or your phone and take them in your carry-on hand luggage.
Wheels are the way
Get wheels that will avoid you having to drop your golf clubs down on the airport floor with a bang. You know that golf clubs weigh a lot. If you are carrying them on your shoulder, then believe me you are going to need to put them down frequently. And if you put your golf clubs down you run the risk that they may be stolen or damaged. Plus, it looks much more sophisticated to wheel your smart new bag smoothly.
Watch the weight of your bag. Especially if you are going to be flying on a low-cost airline, you may be up against the weight restrictions for sports equipment enforced by the airlines. Remember when you purchase a bag to check how much it weighs empty. Some are surprisingly heavy.
As well as damage, unfortunately, you also need to think about theft. It will be pretty evident that expensive and readily saleable items are in your golf bag so make sure it has a good security lock. (Check it is security compliant though, there is no point in having a brilliant lock which the airport security guys tell you is not permitted.)
What to look for in a golf travel case
If you are going to buy a golf travel case, then it is not time to go budget. It is worth getting a very good one. You are making an investment, protect it by getting a bag which is very robust and with an excellent warranty.
Consider whether to buy a soft or hard case. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. However, you should be aware that most damage insurance will not cover or fully pay out on clubs carried in a soft bag.
Advantages of a soft case
A soft case will be lighter, so you can pack more equipment and stay within your weight limit. It is also more flexible than a hard case. You will be more likely to use it in your everyday golfing life when you are not travelling on an airplane. It will fit in the trunk of a car much more easily as well.
Advantages of a hard case
A hard case is much more unwieldy, much heavier and you probably won’t want to see it from flight to flight. But its great advantage is the security and protection it offers. It is much more likely your clubs will get to their destination without damage, and they are much less likely to be stolen.
If the worse happens: four tips
- Check your insurance policy
Photograph your clubs and write the brand and number of each and email the list and the picture to yourself. That way there is no dispute if the worst happens and they are lost or stolen.
- Clean your clubs
If you are travelling overseas remember there may be biosecurity laws. These are there to ensure you are not bringing an environmental hazard on your clubs and shoes. Give them both an extra good clean before you leave.
- Arrange your clubs
The club which is tallest is the one which is most at risk of damage, this will probably be your driver. Put that in the middle of your other clubs and put the protection device next to it. If you have any clubs which are missing head covers then get new ones. At a push, you can use socks, but we don’t recommend it. A bit of planning ahead means you can get proper club heads and it is a small expense to protect your individual clubs. You can use clothes to pad out your bag as well though. It is also a way of saving on weight as well. Take as many crushable garments which do not need ironing as you can. Roll them up and put them between the clubs.
- Watch out for airline rules
It’s not an easy time for travel, as we all know. And things are not being made easy for golfers. Airlines are getting stricter all the time. If you can get an airline-branded credit card. If you fly a lot see if you are eligible for frequent flyer benefits. You might escape some of these excess charges.
Otherwise, watch out for ever stricter weight restrictions. Weight your golf bag before you leave home, as a rough guide, a soft bag with fourteen golf clubs, some towels and sweatshirts (used for padding to protect the clubs) will weigh about thirty-five pounds. Many airlines now have a surcharge on any bag over forty pounds, so that doesn’t leave you much leeway.
Another bugbear is the time you spend waiting at the baggage carousel. Have you ever stood there thinking: ‘golf bags are always the last thing off the airplane.’ It might help you to know you are right. Some airlines, United for example, even admit this saying that passengers travelling with golf equipment might experience an extra delay in collecting their baggage.
The alternative to airline travel
If you are asking if there is an alternative to this, then we have good news. There is another option. There are specialized carrier services which will transport your golf clubs for you. Most only operate within the country, and they cost quite a bit. But for your money, you get peace of mind and don’t have to stand in that pesky oversize luggage queue. You will need to plan ahead. Most companies will collect your clubs about a week ahead of your trip. You will also have to go without your clubs for a while when you return. They will take longer than you to get back. (Most carriers do offer an overnight express service, but it costs quite a bit more).
Ship sticks, one of the biggest companies which transport golf clubs, offers the following advice:
Keep the head covers on your clubs. Bundle your clubs properly. Pay particular attention to where the shaft meets the club head. This is the most delicate and vulnerable part of the club. Ship sticks recommend bundling them together and then wrapping them in a towel. You can also use bubble wrap.
Specialized golf trips
With the Internet, many of us book independent trips. But there can be a lot of advantages to booking with a skilled golf travel company. One big plus is that you know your clubs will be well looked after. Companies such a Golf Zoo will organize everything for you and often have tie-ups with golf club shipping companies.
The Best Five Travel Bags
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This high-quality product will carry clubs up to 48 inches in length. It is built of materials which are strong enough to pass military testing, so you should get peace of mind.
Not only will it protect your clubs from banging and rough handling, but it will also keep out rain and dust as well.
The locks are security compliant. You can go through an airport with no worries. It comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee of a million miles and up to one thousand five hundred dollars should your clubs get damaged.
The company offers excellent customer service. Although it is quite a heavy case, it has inline wheels which make it easy to wheel around. The bag has no less than three locks and it looks good, with a sculpted, form-fitting design which also makes it easier to maneuver in a busy airport. It comes in black only.
The great guarantee and warranty give peace of mind. It is very robust and hard wearing. This makes the high price worth it.
All that strength does add weight. At eighteen pounds this is a heavy case. This means you will need to check your weight allowance. It may not be big enough for all golf bags and clubs, so check before you buy.
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This is a soft cover bag. The manufacturers claim that this is the most popular golf bag amongst PGA and LPA tour professionals. It has great looks, a lifetime warranty and a choice of colors.
It is made of Cordura, a nylon-based fabric technology produced by Du Pont. This is frequently used in military settings and has been formulated to take punishment in all weather conditions. It is also very sturdy.
This golf travel case will stand up to wear and tear. The design is very resistant to bangs and scrapes as it has extra padding around the space where the clubheads sit. While it is relatively light, at ten pounds it’s roomy.
You should be able to get some of your golf clothing and shoes in the bag as well as your clubs. Other useful features include specially designed buckles. These ensure that your clubs stay secure and do not bang against each other. It has very robust zippers and locks which make it very secure and will give you peace of mind. It is easy to move around the airport, with inline skate wheels.
Sturdy and light. You can get extras in the bag without having to worry about your weight allowance.
Very expensive, probably because of its popularity among top professionals.
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This is a soft cover bag. It is very light, at eight pounds, and it folds up small when it is not in use. Not only that but it is easy to maneuver as it stands up straight.
It is big enough to take all standard clubs, including long drivers and its well designed interior has well-protected spaces for the various clubs. What’s more it’s very roomy, with big side pockets in which it is easy to fit golf shoes and golf balls.
Interior cushioning gives your clubs good protection. It is best to use an umbrella golf protector as well and to protect your clubs with clothing and bubble wrap.
The case is easy to maneuver, but the wheels could be more robust. It comes with two handles, which make it easier to carry. The external straps can be adjusted to hold the clubs firmly in place. The heavy-duty zippers have two pulls which are designed so you can fit an extra padlock if you require. (Make sure it is security compliant though).
Roomy and easy to use. It has excellent protection for the club heads.
The material can tear after heavy use.
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This is a great bag for older people. If you are not young and strong and find it difficult to handle a heavier golf bag, this is for you.
This stylish looking golf case has two sets of wheels, which pivot. This means it is effortless to wheel around the airport. Steering it with just one finger is possible. It also stays in position when you are checking in, for example.
Its easy-to-reach angle means you can get inside without having to kneel down on the ground. The wheels lock easily to keep it in position.
The bag is made of heavy-duty nylon, with extra reinforcement around the areas which will get most wear and tear. What’s more it has dense padding to further protect your clubs. Not only is it roomy inside with space for extra clothing it also comes with a one-year guarantee. An added benefit is that it folds down small for storage.
The case is on the light side, at eleven pounds. It comes in a wide variety of colors. It is sizeable but may not take the longest clubs.
Looks great and is very easy to maneuver, gliding with ease around the airport.
The main zipper is not designed to add a padlock. The side pockets are on the small side.
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This case is made of durable acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS Shell. This is a strong and durable polymer. This shell will protect your clubs form anything an airline can throw at them.
It measures fifty-three inches, so can accommodate even the longest driver. It is roomy inside, enough to allow you to carry clothing alongside your clubs.
With a high-quality quilted interior, it has extra foam cushioning to protect the club heads. It is easy to either push or pull around the airport with multidirectional wheels. The four wheels enable you to push it upright, and they pivot for extra manoeuvrability. What’s more, two additional wheels, let you pull the case behind you when you want.
The internal compression strips will hold your clubs firmly in place during transit. For extra ease of use, it has top and side handles. These make it straightforward to load the case into a car.
A competitive price for a hardcover golf travel case It is light and easy to maneuver,
It has only a five-year warranty. The straps may break off during transit. You will need a sizeable SUV to transport it, as it is long.
Best golf travel case summary
We really like the No products found. This is expensive, but its beautiful design and robust construction mean it should last you a lifetime. And if you have any problems, it has a bulletproof guarantee from a company which offers excellent customer service.
You can travel the world with this case and feel confident that your golf clubs will arrive safe and ready for action.