A set of quality golf clubs is not an insignificant investment. Traveling with your golf clubs on a flight can be immensely stressful.
We have all seen the unparalleled destruction that TSA and baggage handlers can impart on a piece of checked luggage. We curated this list of helpful traveling suggestions for your next golfing excursion.
- Use Headcovers
The first step in protecting your clubs is a basic one. Start by simply putting the headcovers back on your clubs. You do not need to purchase iron headcovers unless your local airport regularly backs 737’s over your luggage. Your irons and wedges are steel and durable. You really just gotta worry about your thin hollow woods from getting cracked or dented.
- Get a Sturdy Golf Bag
A common point of failure during travel is the shafts of golf clubs. These shafts simply snap because they cannot handle the lateral forces imparted during travel. In other words, when Joe Schmoe baggage handler punts your clubs onto the runway, your golf shafts act like my parents and split unexpectedly. The solution is years of therapy and getting a sturdy golf bag. A strong bag, like a large cart bag, will resist bending and protect the weak point of your clubs.
- Purchase a Quality Travel Bag
This one seems obvious, but so did in hindsight some red flags in my last relationship. Having a quality travel bag with adequate foam padding is imperative. This is the first line of defense. It doesn’t need to be a hard shell travel bag (although those do an excellent job), just make sure to get a sturdy bag with plenty of foam on the top half. Sun Mountain, Bag Boy, and others make good travel bags. Just make sure to get one with excellent user reviews.
- Install a Support Arm
A travel bag and golf bag both protect against lateral forces, but a softshell travel bag is susceptible to a top (compressive) force. A support arm sits in your bag like a club and extends taller than your clubs to protect them from being crushed. It’s a small investment to protect against tons of sadness. It’s much like a puppy in that way. If you cannot get a support arm, then remove the heads off of your woods and wrap the ends of the shafts with a t-shirt or other protective wrap.
- Pack Some Paper or Bubble Wrap
Even with headcovers and a support arm. The empty void that is my personality and interior of the travel bag can cause issues. Therefore, it is a good idea to pack paper or bubble wrap around your clubs. This will prevent them from rattling, as well as provide a secure barrier of protection from impacts.
- Write Your Name, Address, and Phone Number
Luggage gets lost frequently when traveling. It is good practice to clearly write or attach your name, address, and phone number in several places on the golf clubs. If something happens or your set gets separated from you, this enables airport personnel to contact you.
- Lock Travel Bag with TSA Approved Lock
I fully understand that a TSA lock is as easy to break into as a ziplock bag. However, it is at least a hindrance to someone trying to steal anything from your bag. Think of it as a belt. Everyone can remove a belt, but it keeps your pants from falling down accidentally. Hence, we recommend installing some TSA-approved locks on any important zipper on your travel bag.
- Install Apple Airtag
The release of the Apple Airtag enables people to track and locate important items. For the relatively low cost of an airtag, you can secure your golf clubs and help find them in case they get lost. You can easily just toss an airtag into one of the outer pockets. If you cannot find your clubs, the airtag will often help. Much like the TSA lock, it provides a little peace of mind while traveling.