How to Travel With Golf Clubs: Guide to a Hassle-Free Golf Trip

Golf travel can take you to some of the most enchanting courses around the world. But as any enthusiast knows, learning how to travel with golf clubs can swing you into rough territory if not managed correctly.

From getting your equipment to the destination unscathed, to navigating airline policies—a little foresight can go a long way. This guide will share key tips for a stress-free experience as you prepare for your next golf trip.

How to Travel with Golf Clubs

Many golfers prefer to travel with their own set of clubs, whether the journey entails hitting the road, soaring through the skies, or navigating the seas. There’s an unmatched comfort and confidence that comes from playing with your own clubs, as they’re tailored to your personal style and preferences.

However, the key to a seamless golfing experience away from home lies in ensuring that these prized possessions remain protected throughout the entire trip. Keeping clubs safe from damage not only preserves their lifespan but also ensures that your golf experience, in any corner of the world, is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

So, how to travel with golf clubs? Let’s find out.

Options for Transporting Golf Clubs

Choosing the right method for transporting your golf clubs can make a significant difference in your travel experience.

Whether you’re considering airline travel, hitting the road, or even the logistics of sea travel, there are multiple options available tailored to your golfing needs. Yes, many cruises offer day long golf excursions, so it’s entirely possible you’ll want to bring your clubs along.

Each method of transportation offers its unique advantages and challenges, from cost considerations to convenience and security.

Understanding these options will help you make an informed decision that ensures your clubs arrive safely at your destination, allowing you to focus on enjoying the game on some of the most beautiful courses around the globe.

One of the most convenient options for transporting your golf clubs is to use a specialized shipping service, such as Ship Sticks.

Golf club shipping services allow you to avoid the hassle of carrying and checking your clubs at the airport. Simply pack your clubs, schedule a pickup, and your equipment will be waiting for you at your destination.

This option is especially beneficial for international travel, where navigating through airports with golf clubs can become even more cumbersome.

However, there is a cost to use these services (varies depending on the destination) and this is the most expensive of the options, so budget minded golfers may not want to factor in this added expense to a golf trip. Still, there’s a peace of mind that comes when you hand your clubs over to professional to handle the transportation worries and many golfers place high value on that.

If you prefer to keep your golf clubs closer, checking them in with your airline is a straightforward option. Before your trip, it’s crucial to review your airline’s policies regarding golf equipment, as fees and handling procedures can vary.

Some (not all) airlines consider golf bags to be oversized checked baggage, and an additional fee may be applied. We’ve got an entire section below on navigating the airline process, so keep reading.

For those looking to blend the luxury of a cruise with their love of golf, understanding the storage options available on cruise ships is essential. Most modern cruise lines are equipped to accommodate golfers, offering designated areas for safely storing your clubs during the voyage.

However, it’s advisable to check with your specific cruise line ahead of time about their facilities and any possible fees for storing sporting equipment. This ensures your clubs are not only secure but also easily accessible for any on-shore golf excursions you may have planned.

You’ll also need to consider the options to get your clubs to the cruise ship itself, which can involve airline transport or shipping them.

For those opting to check their clubs in with the airline, store them on a cruise ship, or even transport them in a car for a road trip, investing in a high-quality golf travel bag is essential. Really, it’s vital. The minimal cost investment in a golf travel bag to protect your clubs is like insurance that every traveling golfer should have.

By considering these options and planning accordingly, you can ensure that your golf clubs arrive safely at your destination, allowing you to focus on enjoying the game.

Choosing the Right Golf Travel Bag

When plotting your fairway adventures, the right golf travel bag will protect your prized clubs throughout their journey.

There are two main types of golf travel bags: Soft Case and Hard Case.

Soft case bags offer flexibility and are often lighter, but may provide less protection than a hard case. Hard cases can offer enhanced protection, but ability to store the bag when not traveling may be more of a challenge.

Consider durability, storage, and wheels for convenience. An Ogio soft case came highly recommended on my husband’s first airline trip with his golf clubs. Under $200, it was a hole-in-one for club safety and portability.

How to Travel with Golf Clubs: Packing Your Bag

If you’re shipping your golf clubs to your final destination, the shipping service should pack your clubs for you as part of the service, ensuring that they are protected throughout their transit.

However, if you’re transporting your clubs yourself through airports or other avenues, knowing how to pack them properly is crucial.

When packing your clubs, take the following steps:

  1. Give each club a good clean and check.
  2. Evaluate if some clubs can be left behind this trip (do you really need them all?)
  3. Vet the contents of your golf bag – this is the time to remove old trash, broken tees, excess golf balls, and other items that you won’t need on your trip.
  4. Put the headcovers on your clubs if you have them. A thoughtful arrangement and club headcovers will prevent editorial mishaps.
  5. Wrap the heads of your clubs with bubble wrap or similar protective material to prevent scratches and dents. Bubble wrap can be used over headcovers, or in lieu of them if you don’t have covers for all clubs.
  6. Fill the extra space with towels or clothes for added protection. You can even add your golf shoes to most travel bags.

Remember, how you pack can mean the difference between a smooth set-up on the green or a dreaded snap at the tee.

How to travel with golf clubs involves packing well and minimizing movement. This image is a box with a broken dish inside, as the analogy was used in reference to how to pack your golf clubs for travel.
Broken kitchen plate in a damaged cardboard box. view from above

On a recent trip, we wrapped our club heads in bubble wrap and then filled remaining gaps with clothes and jackets. It worked like a charm and everything arrived perfectly intact.

The key point in how to travel with golf clubs is to minimize movement – similar to how you’d pack a box of dishes for a move across the county. You wouldn’t want the dishes sliding around or clinking against each other, and the same is true for your golf clubs. The less movement, the more likely they are to arrive unscathed.

Navigating Airport and Transportation Challenges

Airlines are as varied in their treatment of golf clubs as courses are in terrain. Stay up-to-date with fees and policies, and plan for check-in time.

I once checked into a flight behind a guy who was traveling with his golf clubs. Unfortunately, he brought only the clubs in his usual golf bag and no protective outer golf travel case. He assumed the airline would throw a plastic bag over the clubs and send them on their way.

Instead, the airline flat out refused to accept his clubs without a fully zippered protective bag. He actually had to leave the check in line and go figure out next steps. I don’t know if he made his flight or not, but I do know this was a massive inconvenience. This type of airport nightmare is completely avoidable with some advance research.

If you don’t remember anything else in this article, remember this point right here: Before your next golf trip, visit the airline’s website in advance to find out the policies and requirements for checking your golf bag.

How to Travel With Golf Clubs: Guide to a Hassle-Free Golf Trip
3d illustration of a golf ball that approaching hole with an airplane flying overhead
  • Book a direct flight if feasible. This minimizes the handling of your clubs during transport and eliminates the chance they’ll be lost during a connection.
  • Find out the airline’s policy for packaging your golf clubs for transport. Some will require a protective travel case.
  • Determine if any excess baggage fees will be charged due to the size of the clubs. Some will levy a fee while others will treat your clubs as a regular checked bag. Be sure you know any cost to transport your golf gear.
  • Be aware that most airlines will disclaim damage liability for damaged golf clubs.
  • Find out where to pick up your golf clubs upon arrival at your destination.
  • Track your golf clubs using an AirTag or other tracker.

Understanding airline policies in advance will reduce headaches at the airport.

For those road-tripping, consider your vehicle’s storage capacity for safe transit. And, for anything beyond a short local jaunt, a protective bag is still the golden recommendation.

Driving 4 hours to Vegas for your golf weekend? The longer the trip, the more likelihood there is for bumps and jolts to clink those clubs together and cause damage. Even one bad pothole can wreak havoc. The short of it is, protectively pack those clubs for all golf trips, regardless of the travel method.

  • Use a Sturdy, Padded Golf Bag: Invest in a high-quality golf bag that offers plenty of padding and support. This ensures your clubs are snug and secure, reducing the risk of damage during transit.
  • Wrap Heads Separately: For extra protection, individually wrap your club heads with soft materials such as towels or specialized head covers. This prevents them from knocking against each other and causing scratches or dents.
  • Strategically Arrange Clubs: Place longer clubs towards the back of the bag and shorter ones in front. This arrangement not only makes it easier to find the club you need but also helps in evenly distributing weight, minimizing strain on the bag during movement.
  • Utilize Golf Bag Support Systems: Consider using a backbone support system that goes inside the golf bag. This acts like a spine, providing extra rigidity and protection to your clubs from sudden jolts or impacts.
  • Secure Loose Items: Ensure all accessories such as balls, tees, and gloves are stored in the bag’s pockets and not left loose. This prevents the annoyance of rattling during the drive and keeps your equipment organized.

Transporting your golf clubs to a cruise ship requires careful planning and attention to detail, much like flying with them. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your clubs arrive safely and are ready for your ocean-bound adventure.

  • Check with Your Cruise Line: Before anything else, contact your cruise line. Each line may have different policies regarding large sports equipment. Confirm the size and weight restrictions for luggage, and ask if special arrangements are needed for golf clubs.
  • Invest in a Quality Golf Travel Bag: To protect your clubs during handling, invest in a durable, hard-sided travel bag. This is essential for preventing damage when your clubs are being loaded onto or off the cruise ship.
  • Label Your Bag: Clearly label your golf bag with your name, cruise cabin number, and contact information. This makes it easier for cruise staff to deliver your clubs directly to your room or the designated holding area.
  • Arrival and Check-In: On the day of departure, arrive at the cruise terminal with plenty of time. During the check-in process, inform the staff you are traveling with golf clubs. Depending on the cruise line, you may be directed to a special handling area.
  • Security Screening: Just like at airports, your clubs will likely go through a security screening. Be prepared to open your golf bag if requested. Having an easily accessible lock can save time here.
  • Storing Your Clubs: Once on board, your clubs may be stored in your stateroom or in a designated sports equipment area. If space is limited, contact guest services to see if special accommodations can be made.
  • Enjoy Your Trip: With your clubs safely on board, you’re all set to enjoy your cruise—and, of course, some fantastic golf at your port destinations.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your golf clubs will be with you and ready for use, adding an unforgettable golfing experience to your cruise vacation.

Ensuring Safety and Security

Your prized irons deserve vigilant security measures. Luggage locks and tracking devices are a small overhead for peace of mind. Additionally, look into insurance options that cover the arc from tee-off at your home course to the 18th hole abroad.

Arriving at Your Destination

Upon landing, make inspecting your clubs as ritualistic as surveying a new course. Take a look before you leave the airport, and document any damage or issues with photographs.

When not being used, ensure your clubs are safely stored away.

Pro Traveler Tip: Equip your golf travel bag with an airtag. When we recently traveled to Phoenix, we placed an Apple Air Tag in the zipper pocket of my husband’s golf bag. Upon arrival, we went to the oversized baggage area to collect our golf travel bags as instructed. Mine was easily found, but his wasn’t there. Panic ensued, and we were able to track the bag using the Air Tag. It showed it near the baggage area, but not in it. When we checked with airline representatives, they couldn’t find it. We eventually had to show them the tag and a picture of the bag and point them to the location.

How to Travel With Golf Clubs: Guide to a Hassle-Free Golf Trip
Golf course on tropical vacation

How to Travel with Golf Clubs: Pro Tips

After several golf trips, I’ve formulated many overall tips to make the whole experience easier. Consider this a checklist of things to you can due to ensure a smooth trip, at least for your golf clubs.

  • Check airline and cruise ship policies in advance.
  • Ask your hotel what options there are for storing golf clubs.
  • Use a golf travel bag.
  • Track your golf travel bag yourself with an AirTag
  • Take a photo of your golf travel bag at the airport – this will help if your bag isn’t easily found on the arriving end.
  • Snap another photo upon arrival, as you inspect your clubs’ condition.
  • Pack a small, collapsible bag inside your golf travel bag. This gives you the flexibility to carry your personal items around the course if you decide to rent a cart or if you’re playing a course that’s walkable.
  • Bring plastic bags for transporting dirty or grassy golf clubs back home – this will keep the rest of your bag clean and dry.
  • It’s also beneficial to familiarize yourself with the golfing regulations and facilities of each destination in advance. This preparation ensures that you’re not caught off guard by dress codes, spike rules, or the lack of certain amenities.
  • Remember, the more informed you are, the smoother your golfing experience will be.

Returning Home With Your Golf Clubs

Upon concluding an enjoyable golf trip, ensuring your golf clubs’ safe return is equally important. Here are tips to facilitate a hassle-free journey back home with your golf equipment:

  • Inspect your clubs before leaving. Make sure all your clubs are accounted for and inspect them for any damage incurred during your trip.
  • Clean your clubs and bag. It’s easier to do this before you head home than after, especially if you’ve played in sandy or muddy conditions.
  • Repack your golf bag thoughtfully. If you’ve acquired any new items, such as souvenirs or extra golf balls, make sure they’re securely packed in your golf travel bag.
  • Check for any updated travel policies. Airlines or cruise ships may have updated their policies since your departure, so it’s wise to verify before your return flight.
  • Use your AirTag again. Ensure that your AirTag battery is still charged and that it’s in a location within your bag where it can easily be tracked.
  • Keep a list of your golf club serial numbers. In the unfortunate event that your clubs are lost on the return trip, having a record of their serial numbers can help in the recovery process.
  • Confirm your oversized baggage claim area at your destination airport. This can sometimes change, so it’s best to verify once you arrive.
  • Consider a post-trip maintenance check. After traveling, having your clubs checked by a professional for any misalignments or necessary repairs can keep your equipment in top condition for your next adventure.

Post-trip club care will keep rust at bay and maintain integrity. Address any damage proactively—after all, your clubs are an extension of your golf prowess. Each travel experience is a course in itself, collect learnings for your next sojourn.

Wrap Up

Solid prep is the key to ensuring your clubs fly as smoothly as your drives. With these tips on how to travel with your golf clubs, your only focus will be on enhancing your game, not fretting over the safety of your sticks.

Here’s to teeing up for adventure, with the confidence your clubs will make every trip as successfully as they make the rounds. Happy travels, fellow golfers, and may your swings be as unrestricted as your wanderlust!

Remember to:

  • Choose the right travel bag that balances flexibility with protection.
  • Pack with care, using headcovers and padding.
  • Check airline policies ahead and plan your travel day accordingly.
  • Secure your clubs with locks and tracking devices.

In the words of legendary golfer Ben Hogan, “The most important shot in golf is the next one.” Ensure your next shot isn’t hindered by the unnecessary strain of damaged clubs.

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