how to travel with golf clubs

Travel Tips: Flying with Golf Clubs

Have you ever wondered how to travel with golf clubs so your clubs arrive safely to your destination?

Traveling is a love-hate relationship for most people. Once you arrive at a destination, it’s fun but getting there and back is a hassle, especially if you’re traveling with clubs.

When you bring your sticks, you have to buy a travel bag, pay for checked luggage, and hope they make it safely to your destination. But the alternative of renting a set isn’t much better. If you going to play an exciting new course, the last thing you want is a set of irons and woods that you’ve never touched or aren’t similar to the ones you love at home.

Usually, if you’re playing an awesome course while traveling, you want your own weaponry for the adventure. Here’s how you can learn how to travel with golf clubs and make sure they end up safely at your destination.

How to Travel With Golf Clubs

Before I get into the details of traveling with your sticks, I recommend that you always evaluate if you need your clubs vs. the cost of renting ones while you’re there. While renting isn’t ideal, if you’re new to the game or aren’t playing a tournament, sometimes renting is easier. Make sure to call ahead to the course and see if they have rentals, what is available, and reserve them if you choose.

But if you decide to travel with your own set, you want to always prepare for the worst (i.e. having your clubs lost, stolen or damaged). Airlines regularly lose luggage (including golfers prized possession) and damage can occur to your precious clubs. While this doesn’t happen often, it’s part of the risk of flying.

When it comes to traveling with golf gear there are two main goals; get them there safely and make it as cost-effective as possible. 

Here are some of the best strategies to traveling with golf clubs:

Fly Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is great for a host of reasons; great service, low cost, and the best feature for golfers is the no checked bag fees! You can check your golf bag for free and check another bag or use it as a carry-on. Other airlines charge between $25-$50 for checked bags and have strict weight and size limits which makes it expensive if you’re bringing multiple sets.

Book a Nonstop Flight

There isn’t much worse than having to sit in an airport during a layover or run off your plane to catch your next one. If you’re rushing to make it to your connecting flight, don’t forget your clubs have to make it as well. This is the time where baggage handlers might get a little sloppy and do some serious harm to your sticks.

So if your gear is going with you, I suggest booking a nonstop flight. Not only are nonstop more convenient for you, but it’s also less likely that anything happens to your favorite set gets as there is less transit time.

Plus, it makes it easy to incur less damage as your bag isn’t being handled between connecting flights. Pay the extra few bucks by booking a direct flight so you can get there faster and easier.

Also try to find a flight with less busy airport times so you don’t have to worry about long lines either.

Get a Durable Travel Bag

When it comes to actually getting your bag on a flight, you need a dependable travel bag. Most airlines allow bags under 50 pounds which is plenty of room for each club, shoes, and gear. But some discount airlines, such as Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines, only allow bags up to 40 pounds.

This is something you want to look at in advance so you don’t have to try to clear ten pounds from your bag as your arrive. Otherwise, you might get a little bit angry and flustered at check in (I say that because this has happened to me before). I couldn’t get my bag below 40 pounds so I had had to pay an extra $50!

Also, before you pack up your bag, I recommend taking pictures of your bag, every club in the bag, and other gear for your records. This will help if something happens to them in transit and you need to file a claim with the airline.

Depending on what type of bag you have, I’d recommend possibly switching bags if possible. Use a sturdy cart bag than a stand bag that is thinner and more likely to have your sticks damaged as they tossed around by baggage handlers.

Another good tip is to pack your bag with extra towels in between all of your irons and wedges as your woods should have headcovers. Or you can also put your socks for the trip on your irons and wedges for added protection.

Best Golf Travel Hard Case

There are two main options when it comes to picking a travel golf bag; a hard case and soft travel case. The hard cover case provide the most protection for your clubs but are also heavier, bigger, and might not fit in every car.

Here is the hard shell golf travel bag I recommend:

Soft Case

The other version to travel with is a soft case that doesn’t have as much protection for your equipment but is a much lighter and easier solution to transport. Personally, I’ve used both and now alway use a soft case as it’s easier to get into cars and haven’t had anything broken (knock on woods).

Here is the best soft case travel bag:

For a deeper rundown, check out our full review of the best golf travel bags.

Another great accessory to add to your bag is a Bag Boy Backbone Travel Cover. This aluminum rod goes into your bag and extends past your driver. This gives your soft cover more structure and less likely to snap a shaft in transit. This device is relatively inexpensive and will help protect your woods and it will last a long time!

What to Pack

Aside from your 14 sticks, you also want to pack your shoes, towels, balls, tees, sweater, and rain gear if needed. Your bag itself is usually easily under the weight limit, I also pack liquids to make it easier to go through TSA as well.

Lastly, don’t leave any expensive items in your bag such as a GPS watch, rangefinder, personal items, or other expensive accessory just in case something happens.

Flying with Golf Clubs

How to Fly With Golf Clubs

Once your bag is packed and secured, don’t forget to add a carry ID on the outside of the travel case. Your travel case should have one pre-installed but maybe add an extra one as well for safety. Always add your full name, email address, and phone number.

Another good idea is to add something that makes the case easily identifiable such as a ribbon, sticker or something else. The last thing you want it another eager golfer at baggage claim to take your bag instead of his.

As you can probably tell, this entire process might sound like a lot of work for some people, especially if you live in any area of the country where you don’t have a car. Luckily, there are more alternatives to help you travel so you can keep travel day as easy as possible.

How to Ship Golf Clubs

Do you want to avoid the hassle of traveling with your set entirely?

Not to worry, now you can use a third-party for assistance.

Since travelling in general is such a hassle with TSA, baggage fees, etc, a few companies created a solution to make it easier for golfers like us.

Instead of lugging them in your car and the airport parking garage you can ship directly to your destination. There are tons of different services that make it easy to get your sticks from A to B with less hassle and worry.

If you want to keep your travel day headache free, you may want to learn more about the services below.

Ship Sticks

Ship Sticks received the 2016-2018 Golf Digest Editor’s Choice Award for “best golf club shipper” so you know it’s trusted way to ship your clubs.

Here’s how the service works:

  1. Schedule your shipment using their online software
  2. Print and attach your shipping labels to the correct bags
  3. Drop off bags or allow them to be picked up by a Ship Sticks provider (not available in all areas)
  4. Enjoy your on-time bag arrival. Plus, you can track them along the way for added peace of mind.

Plus, your clubs are fully insured and include an on-time guarantee and shipment protection, unlike airlines which don’t offer much, if any, protection. You’re protected up to $1,000 and can pay a nominal fee to increase your insurance to $3,500.

This is a huge perk of using Ship Sticks!

Price of Ship Sticks

You’re probably thinking, this all sounds great but how much does Ship Sticks cost? It depends on how quickly you need your clubs there and where they are going.

In general, the prices of Ship Sticks are:

  • Next day delivery – $119
  • Two-day delivery – $109
  • Three-day delivery – $79
  • Ground shipping – $39

Planning your trip in advance and using ground shipping will save you tons of money and is much less expensive than a checked bag fee on most airlines.

Also, when you enter your email address and join, you can refer friends and receive $10 coupon code for future trips. Share with a buddy to start saving money!

Lugless

Lugless is another option to ship your set directly to your destination. When using Lugless, it’s the same process as Ship Sticks of printing, shipping, and having your clubs meet you at the course or hotel.

Since the site ships all luggage, not just clubs, the price are based on your travel destination. I suggest that you check out their pricing page so you can decide if it’s worth shipping your clubs.

Ship Golf Clubs UPS or FedEx

The last option to ship your clubs is using a major service like FedEx or UPS. You’ll have to visit a FedEx or UPS store near you to drop off and to ensure your clubs are packed correctly. The price is based on the weight, destination, and amount of time needed to arrive.

Learn more about these services on the FedEx golf club page and the UPS golf club page for more information.

Flying with Golf Clubs

Flying With Golf Clubs FAQ’s

Got more questions about traveling with golf clubs? Check out the most common ones here so you’re ready for your first excursion.

How much does a set of golf clubs weigh?

If you’re like most golfers about to embark on a trip, you’ve probably asked, “How much do golf clubs weigh?”

According to Golf Storage Guide, “In short, the average set of golf clubs weighs around 30 pounds (13.6 kilos). This accounts for a complete set of 14 clubs inside your average sized golf bag. A standard golf bag accounts for 3 to 5 pounds of the figure.”

Most airline carriers require that your bags are under 50 pounds but some airlines are even less so it’s important to double check and weigh them at home first. Typically, the standard set of steel-shafted clubs, bag and gear weight are close to 35 pounds. Graphite shafts and a stand bag might weigh even less at roughly 25 pounds total.

For example, graphite vs. steel shafts. The latter will a slight increase to the overall weight. Also, your bag itself can make a difference. If you have a stand bag, it’s usually much lighter than an oversized cart bag.

Each set of clubs is different so use a scale at home to weigh your gear so that you can minimize fees at the airport.

How much does it cost to take your golf clubs on a plane?

It depends on the airline but fees can range greatly. Here is a great baggage fee infographic provided by Ship Sticks that breaks down each airline baggage fee. In general, it’ll cost between $50-$150 depending on the number of bags and total weight. Like I mentioned before, using ground shipping and planning in advance is the cheapest way to go.

How do you pack golf clubs so they don’t break?

The easiest way to to protect your clubs are covering your irons and wedges with towels and socks. If you want to buy additional supplies, you can also buy bubble wrap and wrap each club but it does require more time on your end. If you have expensive shafts, you can also wrap them as well for added protection.

Another way to protect your woods while traveling is to unscrew the heads and store them in your bag wrapped in towels. If you do this, don’t forget to write down or take a picture of the settings for each clubs. There isn’t much worse than finally getting the right settings and then accidentally forget the settings!

The last strategy is to use a telescoping shaft that extends to the bottom of your bag and sits above the tops of your golf clubs. This is a good idea if you’re using a soft cover bag to ensure it doesn’t get crunched in transit.

What’s the price to fly on Easyjet or Jet2?

If you’re travelling internationally, you might book with these two providers as well. For Easyjet golf clubs, it’s around $40 euro and about the same for Jet2 golf clubs.

Final Thoughts on Traveling with Golf Clubs

I hope these travel tips can help make your next flying a lot easier!

Maybe you want to finally book that Scotland bucket list trip? Or perhaps you just want to escape playing golf in the snow and head to a warm destination?

Regardless, there a ton of options when it comes to traveling with your clubs instead of checking them through the airline. If you’re going to bring them with you, try to fly Southwest if possible and get a direct flight. Then, invest in a high-quality travel bag to protect your clubs in transit.

If you’re shipping clubs, I’d recommend Ship Sticks as it’s hassle-free and their entire business model is based around shipping golf clubs. They clearly know what they are doing and understand what it takes to protect your clubs to ensure they get from point A to point B.

But if you’re more familiar using UPS or FedEx, you can also use them as well. I suggest that you do a price comparison among all three providers so that you can get the best deal. Plus, they will pack your clubs to ensure they arrive safely.

Whichever route you decide to go, pack them tightly with towels, socks, or bubble wrap for maximum protection. And make sure that you have pictures beforehand in case anything does go wrong.

Otherwise, have a great time traveling and hopefully you can start playing your favorite golf bucket list courses around the world!

2 thoughts on “Travel Tips: Flying with Golf Clubs”

  1. Thanks for the tips,awesome. You may call me pedantic, but for the price we pay for our “sticks” these days, and the quality, could you please refer to them as golf clubs as apposed to sticks, a term I find offensive, told you I was pedantic!,

    Regards Lex

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