How to Travel with Golf Clubs

Traveling with golf clubs can be one of the biggest hassles of a golfer’s life.

Not only do they have to worry about making sure their golf gear is protected, but also how the airline will treat their clubs while in transit.

how to travel with golf clubs

The good thing for golfers is that travel protection has vastly improved over the past several years.

Golf manufacturers have risen to the challenge of finding better ways to protect clubs, and revamped airline policies have provided a clearer understanding of the cost and potential hazards of taking your beloved clubs to your final destination.

In this article on how to travel with golf clubs, we’ll provide a quick tutorial on the best tips for protecting those precious clubs that can carry sentimental value.

What is the best way to pack golf clubs for travel?

When packing your golf bag for travel, you must factor in the weight while also protecting your clubs. Having a 14-way golf bag is an easy way to ensure each club has an individual shaft compartment and grip compartment.

With a 14-way bag, you don’t have to worry about protecting the shaft as much as the club heads and where the head meets the shaft, as that specific area of the golf club can be vulnerable to breakage when traveling for a golf trip.

An additional layer of padding in the form of a larger towel can also help stabilize the clubs for travel. Wrapping the towel through the club heads and inside the golf bag can further protect your golf clubs by restricting movement.

Once the clubs are secured, you should find either a hardshell case made for golf clubs or a lighter and more flexible soft travel case.

Most golfers flying to a longer golfing destination prefer the hardshell travel case because it delivers the most protection possible during a flight. But those cases are also inflexible and heavier, making them harder to carry in a car or via other transportation.

A pliable soft case can work with the storage space you have, allowing you flexibility in placing your bag while in transit.

How do I take golf clubs on a plane?

Once you have the golf clubs in either of the two golf bags for travel, then you’ll need to make your way to a checked luggage desk for storage on the plane.

At this point, the airline employee will measure and weigh your golf gear and let you know if you owe them additional fees for the size of the bag.

Some airlines treat golf clubs as standard checked luggage and will not charge you an oversized bag fee. Sadly, that’s a rarity for most airlines.

So, before you hit the airport on your way to a golfing getaway, make sure to read the fine print to understand what possible extra financial obligation you might have before stepping onto the plane.

After settling the possible extra fees, they’ll place a tag on the handle of your golf club case and send the clubs along a conveyor belt to a central area, where they will be placed on the plane.

If your clubs are damaged, it will likely happen from the moment you send them to the plane and during transit to baggage claim after landing. During those two periods, multiple people will handle your bags, creating the potential for damage.

How much is it to bring golf clubs on a plane?

You can expect to pay overweight fees for your golf bag if it exceeds airline policies about its specifications on oversized bags.

Another solid tip for saving money is to be aware that the “cost-saving” airline company typically charges the most to travel with your golf bags.

For example, Spirit Airlines, a famous low-priced airline company, charges $100 to travel with golf clubs. Any luggage above 40 pounds and over 62 inches in length triggers this checked bag charge on Spirit.

Very quickly, a budget-level flight can run you more than most.

How to fly with golf clubs without a travel bag?

If you decide to fly without a travel bag, you should be aware that you are exposing your golf clubs to potential damage.

If you don’t want to put unnecessary strain on yourself when traveling with golf clubs, we strongly suggest shipping your clubs ahead or spending the money for soft travel bags or hard shell travel cases.

If you decide not to protect your clubs with a case made for traveling, you should find something to secure them at the top of their bag.

Some golfers have been known to take multiple trash bags and cover the top of the bag, then place duct tape around the area where the plastic meets the fabric of your golf bags.

Another possible solution is using the rain hood, which snaps down to cover the clubs. You should use a rain hood to cover important clubs such as the driver and putter.

But be advised, traveling with golf clubs unprotected can create a huge problem at the golf course you’re visiting if your clubs are broken.

pro tip icon


Use a Stiff Arm for Added Protection

We love using a Stiff Arm device when traveling. The arm is shaped like an umbrella, but it uses an aluminum pole that sits in the bag like a club with a rounded disc at the top to help absorb impact from air travel.

When used with a soft travel bag, the device keeps the shell from collapsing onto your clubs.

Most Stiff Arm devices are collapsible, making them very easy to carry in your golf bag or other standard luggage when flying. They are also extremely lightweight, helping minimize adding more weight to the golf bag’s weight limit.

Once the plane lands, where do I get my golf clubs?

Unlike with carry-on luggage, you’ll need to secure your golf bags from an area of the airport known as “baggage claim.” Golf clubs are usually sent through the normal luggage beltway to the carousel for pickup.

However, airline companies sometimes pull oversized checked luggage off the conveyor belt and bring it to a central location that an employee oversees.

Once you reach your destination, if you don’t see your golf clubs within a moderate amount of time, you should inquire with the nearest employee if golf clubs or oversized luggage are sent to a special area of airports for retrieval.

Final Thoughts on How to Travel with Golf Clubs

Traveling with golf clubs can be a nuisance, but if you take heed of these tips, you should experience a rather smooth and effortless trip through the airport with your bags.

Even if it costs you additional money, you should invest in a travel case to protect your assets and save yourself a tremendous headache if your golf clubs are somehow broken while flying.