Probably my favorite thing to combine.

Vacation and Golf.

It doesn’t get better than that.

If you are like me who likes to travel and play on different courses around the world, you might have wondered how to fly with golf clubs.

Flying with golf clubs can be challenging and costly for several reasons.

First, golf clubs are bulky and heavy, which means they might not fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat of the plane.

Second, golf clubs are fragile and expensive, which means they might get damaged or lost during transit.

Third, golf clubs are subject to extra fees and restrictions by some airlines, which means you might have to pay more or follow specific rules to check them in.

However, flying with golf clubs is not impossible if you follow some general tips and benefits.

Some of the tips are:

  • Use a sturdy and padded golf travel bag to protect your clubs
  • Pack your clubs securely and remove any loose items
  • Check the weight and size limits of your airline and book your golf bag in advance
  • Label your golf bag clearly with your name and contact information
  • Consider getting travel insurance for your clubs.

Some of the benefits are:

  • You can enjoy playing with your own clubs instead of renting or borrowing
  • You can save money on rental fees or shipping costs
  • You can avoid the hassle of finding a suitable golf shop at your destination
  • You can improve your game by using familiar equipment.

Choosing the Right Airline

Choosing the right airline is more important than you might think and you might wonder how to choose the right airline for your golfing needs.

Flying with golf clubs can be a hassle and a costly affair, depending on the airline’s policies and fees. Here are some tips to help you compare different airlines and find the best one for flying with golf clubs.

Check the airline’s policy on golf clubs.

Some airlines will accept golf clubs as your one allowed bag, provided it comes in within the weight limits. Others will include golf clubs along with other sporting equipment and charge a surcharge. Some airlines will have a specific rate for carrying golf clubs that will be added to your fare. You can find this information on the airline’s website or by contacting their customer service department.

Check the weight and size limits for golf clubs.

Most airlines have a weight limit of around 50 pounds (23 kg) for checked baggage, including golf clubs. Oversized or overweight bags can incur additional fees. You can avoid this by packing your clubs in a lightweight and compact golf travel bag that offers protection and padding for your clubs.

Check the liability and insurance options for golf clubs

Airlines are typically liable for damage or loss of checked baggage, including golf clubs, up to a certain amount. However, they may exclude liability for damage to fragile items, which can include clubs with some carriers. These companies may have specific requirements for how golf clubs must be packed, such as using a hard-shell case or a padded cover. You can also purchase travel insurance that covers your golf clubs in case of damage or loss.

Check the reviews and recommendations of other golfers

You can learn from the experiences of other golfers who have flown with different airlines and their golf clubs. You can read online reviews, forums, blogs, or ask your fellow golfers for their opinions and tips. You can also look for airlines that are known to be golf-friendly and offer perks such as free or discounted golf club carriage, priority handling, or special deals with golf courses at your destination.

Some of the best airlines for golfers are:

  1. Southwest Airlines: Known for its generous baggage policy, Southwest Airlines allows two checked bags for free. A golf bag can be one of your checked bags as long as it’s in a hard-sided carrying case. This can be a boon for golfers who need to bring along their clubs.
  2. Delta Air Lines: Delta generally handles sports equipment as regular checked baggage. So, a golf bag can be used as one of your permitted pieces of checked luggage.
  3. United Airlines: Like Delta, United also accepts golf equipment as checked baggage.
  4. American Airlines: American Airlines treats golf equipment as a single item for the purposes of checked luggage, making it more affordable to travel with your clubs.
  5. Emirates: This airline is popular among golfers as it offers a generous golf bag allowance on top of the usual baggage limit. Golfers can enjoy direct flights to several popular golfing destinations worldwide, such as Dubai, home to many championship golf courses.
  6. Etihad Airways: This airline also offers an additional golf bag allowance for golfers traveling to or from certain destinations.
  7. Qantas: Australia’s national carrier allows golf bags as part of the free checked baggage allowance and also has partnered with many golf events in Australia.
  8. British Airways: Like many others, BA counts a golf bag as one piece of your checked luggage.

Remember, airlines may have specific rules for packaging and weight for golf equipment, and these policies can change. Always check the most recent policy on the airline’s website or contact their customer service before your trip. Additionally, airlines often partner with golf resorts for package deals, so keep an eye out for those.

Packing Your Clubs Properly

If you are planning to travel with your golf clubs, you need to pack them properly to avoid any damage during transit. Here are some tips on how to protect the shafts and heads of your clubs with towels, bubble wrap, socks, etc.

First, you need to cover the heads of your clubs with some protective material. You can use head covers if you have them, or you can improvise with towels, bubble wrap, socks, or even newspaper. The idea is to create a cushion around the heads to prevent them from banging against each other or the inside of the bag.

Next, you need to secure the shafts of your clubs. You can use a stiff arm device, which is a telescopic rod that extends from the top of your bag to the bottom and acts as a spine for your clubs. Alternatively, you can use towels or bubble wrap to wrap around the shafts and create some separation between them. This will prevent them from bending or breaking due to pressure or impact.

Finally, you need to choose a suitable golf bag for the flight. There are different types of bags available, such as hard cases, soft cases, hybrids, or travel covers. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of weight, durability, security, and convenience. You should consider factors such as the size of your clubs, the airline regulations, the cost of extra baggage fees, and your personal preference when choosing a bag.

Some accessories that you might want to include are locks, straps, wheels, handles, and identification tags.

Checking In and Picking Up Your Clubs

If you are planning to travel with your golf clubs, you should follow some tips to avoid extra charges and delays at check-in and baggage claim. Here are some of them:

  • Check the weight and size limits of your airline for checked baggage. Some airlines may charge extra fees for oversized or overweight bags, or may not accept them at all. You can use a luggage scale to weigh your bag before you leave home, and measure its dimensions with a tape measure.
  • Pack your clubs securely in a hard-sided or padded golf travel bag. This will protect them from damage during transit and handling. You can also wrap your club heads with bubble wrap or towels, and use club covers or socks to prevent them from scratching each other. Make sure your bag is not too stuffed or too loose, as this can cause damage as well.
  • Label your bag clearly with your name, address, phone number, and destination. You can also attach a colorful ribbon or tag to make it easier to identify at baggage claim. You should also keep a copy of your itinerary and contact information inside your bag, in case it gets lost or delayed.
  • Arrive at the airport early and check in your bag at the counter. Do not use the self-service kiosks or curbside check-in, as they may not accept golf bags. You should also keep your receipt and tracking number for your bag, in case you need to file a claim later.
  • Inspect your bag and clubs for damage when you pick them up at baggage claim. If you notice any signs of damage, such as dents, scratches, cracks, or missing parts, report it immediately to the airline staff and fill out a claim form. You should also take photos of the damage as evidence. You may be entitled to compensation for the repair or replacement of your clubs.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your golf trip without worrying about extra charges and delays at check-in and baggage claim. You can also ensure that your clubs arrive safely and in good condition at your destination.

Conclusion

Flying with golf clubs can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips and tricks, you can make sure your clubs arrive safely and securely at your destination, and enjoy your golf vacation without any worries.

If you’re short on time have a look at our article about how long it takes to play 18 holes of golf.

Remember to:

  • Check the airline policy and fees for flying with golf clubs
  • Pack your clubs properly with a sturdy flight bag and padding
  • Label your baggage and inspect your clubs for damage
  • Fly direct if possible and avoid tight connections
  • Keep your valuables and souvenirs in your carry-on luggage

We hope this guide has helped you plan your next golf trip. If you have any questions feel free to reach out. Happy flying and happy golfing!