Flying With Golf Clubs: 4 Easy Tips For Travelling With Sticks

Who doesn’t love a good golf trip? A chance to explore a new town or city and play on courses you have only seen on TV or heard about from friends.

There is only one problem. Flying with golf clubs can be a real pain.

What if they break or what if the airline loses them? The idea of your golf clubs being damaged or lost during your flight will only turn a relaxing trip into a stressful one.

Yes, flying with golf clubs can be tricky, but PGA Tour and LPGA tour players fly to a different tournament every week, so there must be a way to make it easier.

We think we can help. We want you to relax on your flight and figure out how you are going to win a little money from your friends on the course.

Want to learn how to fly with golf clubs?

Read on!

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4 Tips For Safely Flying With Golf Clubs

#1: Make Sure You Have the Right Bag

We aren’t talking about your golf bag. You need to make sure you have a high-quality travel bag for your clubs.

Please don’t simply put on the rain hood that comes with your bag and hand your clubs over to the airline. This is asking for a disaster.

There are two different types of travel bags. Hardshell travel bags and soft/padded travel bags. Both can work when you are flying with golf clubs.

How do they work? They are large enough that you simply place your entire golf bag and clubs inside of them.

There are plenty of options and you can spend between $100 and $1,000 on your golf travel bag. It comes down to your budget and how often you will be flying with golf clubs.

Looking for a reasonably priced travel bag that you can trust? The Players Travel Cover by Titleist is a good choice.

The good news is that a golf travel bag is a long-term investment. Buy a high-quality product and you can use it for years, if not decades.

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#2: Thoughtfully Pack Your Golf Travel Bag

You went out and bought a nice golf travel bag – now it is time to pack for your trip.

The good news is that these bags are designed to protect your clubs during the flight, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tricks to packing them correctly.

First things first, always read the instructions. Golf travel bags have different safety measures in place and you want to take full advantage of them.

Place your entire golf bag inside the travel bag. Leave all of your golf essentials (balls, tees, gloves, etc.) in your golf bag.

When flying with golf clubs we also recommend you place your golf shoes in the travel bag and any outerwear (rain suits, windbreakers, etc.) you are bringing on your trip.

Don’t leave valuable items in your travel bag. For example, remove your rangefinder.

Be a boy scout – be fully prepared before flying with golf clubs!

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#3: Pick The Best Flight For Your Clubs

This sounds like an odd tip – why would your clubs care about the flight you select?

It isn’t about your clubs being “happy”. It is about reducing the chances of you showing up on your golf trip without your equipment.

There is a sad truth about flying with golf clubs. Just like all luggage, the airlines sometimes misplace your bags.

The good news is that they typically locate them in a few hours, but depending on your first tee time, it could get your trip off to a sour start.

If possible, a direct flight to your destination is always better. The fewer times the airline has to move your golf bag, the better.

If a direct flight isn’t possible, try for only one stop. The other thing to monitor is the layover time.

You need time to get from one flight to the next. When flying with golf clubs, you also need to consider the fact that your clubs need to be transferred as well.

We know that there are many factors when you select your flight – we simply recommend you add “flying with golf clubs” to your list of considerations.

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#4: Which Airline Should You Select?

If you have travelled much you know there is no perfect airline. When flying with golf clubs we recommend you consider three factors.

The prioritization of these factors will vary depending on your requirements for the trip. Is the cost your number one priority or do you care more about your clubs’ safety?

The three factors we have in mind are baggage costs, the best flight available, and club safety.

Let’s start with baggage costs. They can vary from free to $200+. It depends on how many other bags you are checking and the weight.

For the most part, you can avoid “overweight bag” fees by keeping it under 50 pounds. Here is a cool infographic from Ship Sticks (more on them later).

As we discussed in tip #3, certain flights (direct) are better for your clubs. If this is an important factor for you, you may need to select your airline based on the best flight available.

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Finally, what are the odds your clubs won’t make it? Do certain airlines lose luggage more frequently than others?

The short answer is yes, but this can be hard to factor into your decision. You can find rankings online, but we would suggest basing your decision on baggage costs and the best available flight.

Related: Ayrshire Golf Travel Guide: Ayrshire’s 7 Finest Links

Alternatives To Flying With Golf Clubs

Do you want to play golf on your next trip, but the idea of flying with golf clubs is just too scary or stressful for you?

We understand your concern. There are a couple of alternatives you should consider for your next trip.

Alternative #1: Ship Your Clubs

Instead of packing up your clubs and dragging them through the airport, what if they could simply be shipped to the course or your hotel?

This is now an option. Several different companies offer this service, but the most popular is Ship Sticks.

Ship Sticks recently won the 2021 Golf Digest Editor’s Choice award for being the best golf club shipper.

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Pretty simple process. You register your trip via their website. Print your label. They pick them up and deliver them to your destination.

The cost of this service is very similar to what you would pay the airline as a baggage fee and you rarely deal with any issues related to clubs being lost or damaged.

Is it possible that the best way to fly with golf clubs is to simply let someone else handle it for you?

Alternative #2: Rent A Set Of Golf Clubs

The other way to avoid flying with golf clubs is to leave them at home. And this doesn’t mean you can’t play golf.

Did you know that most golf courses offer rental sets? They are typically very nice, brand name clubs.

Yes, there is a fee to use these rental sets, but typically less than you would spend flying with golf clubs.

There is one more advantage to renting a set of golf clubs. You get to try out different brands on the course.

It is a great way to give new clubs a test drive and you might even identify the next set you want to buy.

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One important note. When you make your tee time, let the pro shop know that you plan to rent a set of clubs.

You don’t want to arrive at the course only to find out they don’t offer this service or already gave them all out to other players.

If you want, you can also ask them what brands they offer. You might be able to choose from Titleist, TaylorMade, or Callaway.

Playing Golf When You Travel – Always A Good Idea

From our perspective, it is always a good idea to play golf when you travel. Enjoy a new course, try different foods/drinks in the 19th hole, and meet new people that share your passion for the game.

Do you want to use your clubs? Use our tips to fly with golf clubs or try a shipping service.

Do you want to play, but don’t mind trying something new? Try renting a set of clubs.

There is no wrong way to get your clubs to the course. Simply pick the one that works best for you.

Their rental sets may be nicer than the clubs you currently own!

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Your Golf Trip Is Planned – How Is Your Golf Game?

Tee times are booked. Hotel reservations made. You have determined the best way to handle flying with golf clubs – now the most important question. How are you going to play?

Are you a scratch golfer looking to set the course record or are you simply hoping not to slice too many balls out of bounds?

Do you plan to roll in a bunch of birdie putts or are you currently fighting off the yips?

Does it really matter what you shoot? Enjoy the experience. Have a great trip!

How About Listening To Some Golf During Your Flight?

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Ray has been playing golf for 35+ years, including being part of his High School and College golf teams. While he still enjoys playing in amateur tournaments, Ray now focuses on growing the game of golf through teaching and coaching. He has two sons that both play golf competitively and loves spending time watching them compete. Ray continues to play in local amateur golf events and currently has a +1 handicap.

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