Checking your golf clubs for air travel can be costly as well as cumbersome. Be aware that if your golf bag weighs more than 50 pounds there can be an extra fee of $150 instead of the $50 charged for bags under 50 pounds.
In addition, many airlines restrict what you can put in your travel bag.
Also, to retrieve your clubs at some airports, you have to go to another stop at the “oversize baggage” area. Before traveling, be sure to check your airline’s baggage policy to obtain the price of extra baggage.
Jack and Barbara Simpson of Bluffton have traveled the United States playing golf. Their goal is to play golf in all 50 states and so far, have played in 19 of them.
“We have carried our clubs through the airport and it was not a great experience,” Jack said. “Transporting them to our hotel was also difficult. The Uber driver did not have room for two golf bags and our luggage.”
Barbara believes that renting clubs was the way to go. “When we went to Hawaii we contacted the golf course and were able to rent great clubs from them,” she said.
The Simpsons have traveled with golf clubs on a plane and said that Southwest Airlines was the most reasonable.
If you decide to take your clubs on a plane, it would be best to have a hard travel bag. If you have a soft bag, the airlines will not ensure that your clubs won’t be broken. When you load your bag, put extra towels around the club heads of your woods.
You can purchase a club protector that has a dome head that protects your woods and can extend to fit any soft golf bag.
Airlines will not guarantee that your clubs will arrive with your luggage. I have had my clubs not arrive at the airport with my other luggage; the airline said if they arrive within 24 hours after I arrive, they are not responsible.
The airline would not pay for my rental set either. Personally, this is not acceptable to me. To be safe, pack your glove, shoes, balls, and tees in your suitcase in case your clubs don’t arrive with you.
There are other costs associated with taking your clubs with you. Some taxis often charge extra to move clubs to and from the airport. If you are renting a car, you might need to get an SUV to accommodate clubs in a travel bag.
An alternative is to ship your clubs ahead of your trip through a golf shipping company. Ship Sticks will ship your clubs anywhere in the world. Your clubs are fully insured, and there is an on-time guarantee. They also include $1,000 worth of insurance coverage. It can be costly but the convenience may be worth it.
Luggage Forward is another leading service. They work closely with FedEx and other carriers. If you want to play with your own clubs on international trips, Luggage Forward is a good option.
FedEx and UPS are other shipping alternatives. Check with your local companies for prices. It takes longer using these services but the price might be less.
Renting golf clubs is also an alternative. Club Hub is a rental service that rents only Taylor Made Clubs. Clubs to Hire rents many major brands. Club Lender has Callaway and Taylor Made clubs.
Of course, you can always contact the course you will be playing and see what kind of rental clubs they have available to rent and their prices.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com