golf clubs in a golf bag

How To Travel With Golf Clubs: Everything You Need To Know

There’s nothing better than playing golf in a new part of the country or world, but sadly flying with your golf clubs can be a real headache.

Baggage fees, damaged clubs, heavy travel bags, and lost luggage can keep a golfer up at night.

Don’t fret! We want to help you learn how to travel with golf clubs.

We want to simplify the experience and reduce your stress. Follow our advice and your memories will be of beautiful golf shots instead of frustrating travel situations.

Let’s get started!

Top Tips For Traveling With Your Golf Clubs

Double Check Bag Fees & Policies For Your Airline

It’s always a good idea to confirm the policies of the airline you’re flying prior to heading to the airport. Most airlines treat them like any other bag - you pay the normal baggage rate as long as the weight is below 50 lbs.

The cost does vary. It may depend on how many other bags you’re tracking and the length of your flight. Oversized or overweight bags can be very expensive, so always do your research!

oversized baggage sign at the airport

Pro Tip: How much golf do you plan to play on your trip? If you’re going to play casual golf you may want to consider only bringing half of your set. You can enjoy a vacation round with 5-7 clubs. Fewer clubs and a Sunday Golf bag can reduce your bag fees & simplify your travel experience. 

Get A Durable Travel Bag

Your golf clubs are your babies. They’re prized possessions and you don’t want to risk them being damaged. If you want to learn how to travel with golf clubs, the first lesson is you must get a durable travel bag

Always select a travel bag that was designed with one thing in mind: Keeping your golf clubs safe. The airlines don’t always treat your luggage with tremendous care, so you need your travel bag to provide protection. Your golf trip can quickly be ruined by broken golf clubs.

mule golf bag by sunday golf

If you decide to travel light with a Sunday golf bag, we recommend the Mule. It has 4mm ultra-thick foam protection, a concealed valuables pocket, a comfy single strap, and it only weighs 2.5lbs.

There’s a golf shoe & an accessory pocket and a TSA-approved travel lock. You can simplify your trip with a lightweight golf bag and the Mule!

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Don’t Forget To Tag Your Bag

To be honest, we want you to “triple tag” your golf bag.

First, always make sure you have a luggage tag that includes your contact information. If your golf clubs are misplaced, you want it to be very easy for them to contact you once they’re found.

Second, decorate your travel bag with stickers or bright tape. Most golf travel bags look very similar and it can be easy for someone else to grab yours by mistake.

Go crazy - make sure your travel bag has a unique look!

Third, we recommend putting an AirTag in your golf bag. You can get one for less than $30 and you’ll be able to track your golf clubs throughout their trip. Simply pull out your smartphone and you’ll know exactly where they are located.

tagging your luggage with an airtag

Always Try To Fly Direct

We have a simple rule when it comes to traveling with your golf bag. The fewer people that have to handle your clubs, the better. Every time you change planes, your golf bag has to change planes. This increases the chances of them being damaged or lost.

We know it isn’t always possible, but if you can, find a direct flight to your destination. 

Don’t Leave Expensive Golf Gear In Your Travel Bag

Keep your most valuable items close to you. There’s no reason to leave a rangefinder or a GPS device in your golf bag during your flight. Instead, put them in your carry-on bag. Yes, you might have to take them out when you go through security, but that isn’t a big deal. 

Explore Shipping Your Clubs

If you still aren’t comfortable with trusting the airlines, we understand. You do have other options. You can ship your clubs to your destination and they’ll be waiting for you when you arrive at your hotel or the golf course.

Ship Sticks is a company that focuses on getting your golf clubs safely to your destination. The process is quite simple. You schedule a pickup or agree to drop them off. You print and attach a label.

Your golf clubs go on their own little trip and meet you at the golf course. The cost is a bit higher than baggage fees, but you can reduce the cost if you can ship them early.

ship sticks homepage

For example, let’s say you are traveling from California to Pinehurst, NC. If you ship them out 7 business days before you need them, it’d cost you less than $80. If you need them overnight that adds $100. You can find similar pricing with FedEx or UPS.

This solution won’t work for everyone, but if you can live without your clubs for a week prior to your trip, this will make your travel much less stressful.

How To Pack Your Golf Clubs

There are two different types of golf travel bags: soft and hard. The hard ones will provide more protection but can be heavier and harder to maneuver through the airport. Both can work well and we consider this a personal preference.

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Most modern drivers and fairway woods have adjustable hosels that allow you to remove the heads. If this is true for you, write down your club settings, and remove the heads during travel.

Wrap your clubs in bubble wrap and tape the shafts together. Most damage is caused by the clubs hitting each other and these steps will protect them. If you’re using a soft travel bag, we recommend you add a “stiff arm” that’ll help your travel bag maintain its shape. 

Zip your travel bag shut. Make sure you have “triple tagged” it (see above) and head to the airport.

We hope you and your clubs have a safe flight!

What Golf Gear To Pack For A Trip

You want to buy golf souvenirs from the Pro Shop because you love the golf course, not because you forget to bring a critical piece of gear. 

Let’s start with the basics.

You need to pack golf balls, golf tees, golf gloves, and your golf shoes. If you want to lighten your load, you can skip the shoes and just play in your tennis shoes.

Bring your rangefinder or GPS device, but pack that in your carry-on bag, not your golf travel bag. 

You want to be comfortable on your golf trip. Make sure you’re prepared for the climate at your destination. Don’t just glance at the weather forecast, but pay attention to the hourly temperatures.

A high of 70 degrees doesn’t mean it won’t be chilly in the morning!

A good rule to live by is “always bring layering options.” We recommend you pack a nice pullover and a ¾ sleeve windbreaker. If you have rain paints, they come in handy as well. You can put them on in the morning over shorts and if it warms up by the turn, they’re easy to take off. 

Don’t let chilly temperatures ruin your golf. Be prepared with layers and you’ll enjoy your day.

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How To Travel With Golf Clubs: FAQs

Can Golf Tees & Divot Tools Go Through TSA?

Yes, you’re allowed to bring your golf essentials on the plane in your carry-on luggage. This includes golf balls, golf tees, and divot repair tools. 

Can You Carry A Putter On A Plane?

No, you can’t bring your putter or any other golf club on the plane. You’ll need to check them before you head to the gate. 

Can You Lock Your Golf Bag When Flying?

Yes, you can lock your bag when flying, but TSA may ask you to open it so they can check it prior to it being loaded onto the plane.

It’s A Pain, But It’s Worth It!

If you enjoy playing golf, learning how to travel with golf clubs is a necessary evil.

There’s nothing you can do to eliminate all risks, but with the right planning, you can put the odds in your favor. 

You’ve been dreaming of this golf trip for years. Don’t let it be ruined because you didn’t properly pack your clubs. Be diligent. Ben Franklin famously said, “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.”

We want your next trip to be a success! 

Follow these steps and you’ll be on the driving range warming up for your round before you know it. We want your plane ride to be the boring part. The excitement should be on the golf course, not in the baggage claim area.

Get your next golf trip planned today. Good luck and play well!

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