Flying With Golf Clubs: How to Safely Pack Golf Clubs for Travel

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This is the ultimate guide to flying with golf clubs. We answer all your questions about how to travel safely with golf clubs on an airplane.

Included below is information about:

  • Airline bag fees for golf clubs
  • Which airline is the best to fly on with your golf clubs
  • Packing tips for your golf clubs
  • Everything you need to pack alongside your golf clubs when you travel
  • Alternatives to flying with golf clubs: Ship Sticks, Lugless, UPS, and FedEx

If we’ve missed anything, comment below and let us know!

Flying With Golf Clubs: Preparation

Preparing for flying with golf clubs involves several steps to ensure their safety and minimize any potential mishaps.

First, it is crucial to carefully read and understand the airline’s policies regarding golf clubs, including compensation for damage and any restrictions on packing.

Flying direct is recommended to reduce the chances of clubs being lost or mishandled during connections.

To safeguard sentimental items, keep them in carry-on luggage.

Investing in a high-quality travel bag that meets weight requirements and taking protective measures, such as using a stiff arm or placing a bucket over the clubs, can help prevent damage.

Once you feel prepared, you can book those flights and proceed.

Airline Bag Fees for Transporting Golf Clubs

The cost of flying with golf clubs and sports equipment will vary depending on your airline. Most airlines treat golf clubs in place of standard checked luggage. You are then responsible for paying that airline’s baggage fees.

Most airlines have a checked baggage fee of $30-$50. Some airlines offer free checked luggage, which applies to golf clubs, but they usually have overweight fees if the bag exceeds the standard weight limit of 50 pounds.

Delta Airlines Golf Bag Fees

Delta Airlines will charge you $30 for a golf bag if your clothes are in your carry-on bag and $40 if it is not.

delta airlines golf club policy price

Southwest Airlines Golf Bag Policy

Southwest Airlines will let you take your golf bag on its flights completely free because they offer two checked bags with all of their tickets!

southwest airlines checked bag policy for golf clubs

United Airlines Bag Fees

United Airlines will charge you $30 for your golf bag if your clothes are in your checked luggage and $40 if not. These prices go up if you don’t pay for your baggage until you get to the airport.

united airlines golf club bag fee

Average Weight of a Set of Golf Clubs

The average weight for a set of golf clubs and bag is 30 pounds. This accounts for the standard 14-club set inside a standard-sized golf stand bag.

If you carry more or fewer clubs, the weight will shift. The same can be said for the type of golf bag that you have. If you have a more oversized cart bag, the weight of those is more than a standard carry bag.

Checking the Fine Print of Airline Policies

When flying with golf clubs, reading and understanding airline policies is crucial. Most airlines treat golf clubs as standard luggage and allow them to be checked.

However, it is essential to check the specific guidelines of the airline you are flying with. Some airlines may have weight and size restrictions and additional fees for checking in golf clubs as baggage.

All airlines will charge an overweight fee if the golf bag is over 50 pounds. They also limit the linear sizing of your travel golf bag. Familiarizing yourself with these airline policies will ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

What is the Best Airline for Golf Clubs?

Flying with Golf Clubs on Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is different from other airlines regarding traveling with golf clubs. Southwest offers two complimentary checked bags, and this includes golf equipment.

Your golf bag must be in a hard travel case with your golf balls and shoes inside. The free checked baggage fee makes Southwest the best airline to fly with golf clubs.

Other airlines, such as American Airlines and Delta, will charge you a standard airline baggage fee for your golf bag.

Why Booking Nonstop Flights Matters for Golfers

Having a direct flight is always recommended when traveling with golf equipment. This ensures that your golf clubs head directly to your destination, and there is no chance of them being damaged or lost during connecting flights.

That isn’t to say they can’t be damaged during a nonstop flight, but the risk is lower. When you fly direct, the chance of anything happening is lower than with connections.

Should You Check or Carry On Your Golf Clubs?

Most airlines will not let you take golf clubs on board as a carry-on bag. This means they must be part of your checked luggage and go down where the other luggage is. Golf bags are usually found at the baggage claim for oversized items.

Packing Tips for Traveling with Golf Clubs

  1. Choose a durable travel bag: Opt for a hard travel case if you want maximum protection, as airlines usually only cover damaged clubs in hard cases. They will cover soft cases, but you must usually sign a limited waiver.

  2. Remove club heads: For adjustable clubs, it’s recommended to remove the heads and store them separately to reduce the risk of bending or breaking.

  3. Prevent movement: Cover the irons and wedges with socks and weave a towel through the clubs to minimize movement. Use bubble wrap or packing materials to fill empty spaces in the bag and prevent the clubs from rubbing against each other.

  4. Take direct flights: Whenever possible, choose direct flights to minimize handling and reduce the chances of damage.

  5. Use a stiff arm or broom handle: Place a stiff arm or a broom handle inside the bag to absorb impact if the bag is dropped headfirst.

  6. Pack additional padding: Fill the extra space in the bag with clothes or towels to provide additional padding and protection for the clubs.

How to Choose the Right Travel Golf Travel Bag

Hard Case vs. Soft Bag: What’s Best for Flying?

When deciding between a hard or soft golf travel bag, there are several factors to consider.

Hard cases provide more protection and security for your clubs, making them ideal for air travel with a higher risk of damage during transit. They are more secure, durable, and lockable. However, hard cases are often more expensive and less flexible when fitting into small spaces.

On the other hand, soft cases are more affordable and flexible, offering more accessible travel and storage options. Soft bags are generally lighter and easier to maneuver. They also often come with wheels for easy transport and extra room for storing additional items. However, they offer less protection than hard cases do.

Regardless of the type of bag you choose, it is essential to ensure that it provides ample padding and protection for your clubs.

Best Hard Golf Travel Bag

Our favorite hard golf bag is this CaddyDaddy Enforcer. It has a hard ABS molded top, but a softer bottom to stay lighter overall.

Best Soft Golf Travel Bag

Our favorite software golf bag is this Himal soft bag. The framing of the bag is sturdy enough to keep your clubs safe on an airplane.

Extra Storage Space for Clothing

One other thing you should look into when considering purchasing a golf travel bag is the extra storage space throughout the bag. You can bypass a second checked bag if you have room to include your clothing.

Carry-ons are usually free, so this is where you can keep your prized possessions and personal items with the most sentimental value. As long as adding clothing to your travel bag does not put the bag over the maximum weight, you will be fine on your way to your destination.

Clothing is an easy way to add protection to your golf clubs as possible.

Essential Items to Ship With Your Golf Bag

In addition to your clubs, there are several other things to remember to pack in your travel bag:

If you are going through the effort to ship your own set of precious clubs on your golf trip, the least you can do is remember all of your golf gear.

items to ship with your golf bag

Alternatives to Flying with Golf Clubs

One alternative way to travel with your golf clubs would be shipping them directly to your destination. The good news is that plenty of shipping companies specialize in shipping golf clubs. A few of these companies include Ship Sticks and Lugless.

Ship Sticks Overview

Ship Sticks is one of the most popular golf club shipping companies worldwide. The process is very straightforward, and they provide an upfront quote and delivery estimate based on your travel schedule.

Once you schedule your shipment, you can print off the shipping label, drop the clubs off or arrange a pickup, and reunite with them at your destination. Ship Sticks will also protect your clubs.

The shipment is insured up to $1,000; you can pay to increase that amount.

Click here to try Ship Sticks.

Pricing

The pricing for Ship Sticks depends on where the pickup is, the destination, as well as the type and weight of the travel bag.

For example, shipping from New York to Phoenix costs $49.99 each way with the ground service. This requires three business days to do so.

You can also pay more to expedite your shipment.

Lugless Overview

Lugless is another shipping company like Ship Sticks. From personal experience, Lugless is also slightly cheaper than Ship Sticks.

Lugless also allows you to add services with extra protection you want to pay for or decline if you save money. You can print your labels, drop the clubs off yourself free of charge, and waive any insurance coverage on your clubs.

You can also pay extra to insure your shipment or pick up the clubs.

Click here to try Lugless.

Pricing

Like Ship Sticks, Lugless pricing depends on where you are going and how fast you want to get your clubs there. Like our example above, going from New York to Phoenix would cost around $40 each way.

Shipping Golf Clubs with UPS or FedEx

UPS and FedEx also offer the option to ship your golf clubs through them, but in our personal experience, they are considerably more expensive than Ship Sticks and Lugless.

Shipping golf clubs through UPS or FedEx will cost upwards of $100 each way, with ground service taking at least four business days to reach your destination. This could be more efficient and cost-friendly for your golf travel.

The best deal for shipping your golf clubs will be through other companies.

When Shipping is a Better Option Than Flying

Shipping golf clubs can be better than flying with them in several scenarios:

  1. Shipping is often cheaper than checking an extra bag with airlines, especially for smaller flights.

  2. Shipping eliminates the uncertainty and potential headaches of checking in luggage at the airport.

  3. It may be safer to ship clubs as most airlines do not assume liability for damage to soft-shell golf travel bags.

  4. Shipping is convenient for international travel, avoiding the need to claim and recheck bags and eliminating the risk of other passengers taking your clubs at the baggage claim.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Golf Clubs

There are many pros to shipping your golf clubs ahead of time. Shipping companies offer much better protection for your clubs as opposed to airlines. These companies also protect your clubs should anything happen to them in transit.

Shipping before your trip will also provide less hassle on travel day. You can also ship your clubs directly to your hotel or golf course, meaning you don’t have to lug your clubs around on public transportation after leaving the airport.

There are also some cons to shipping your golf clubs. Shipping golf clubs will usually cost considerably more than checking them in with the airline.

You also must plan the shipping ahead of time because there are travel days in between when you will be without your golf clubs. It also adds one more thing to arrange on top of your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Flying with Golf Clubs

How much does a set of golf clubs weigh?

An average set of golf clubs weighs about 30 to 35 pounds, including the bag.

How much does it cost to take your golf clubs on an airplane?

Most airlines charge a checked baggage fee of $30 to $50. The exception is Southwest Airlines which offers two free checked bags, which include your golf clubs.

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

Choose a durable, hard-cover travel bag and put socks on your irons with a towel weaved between the clubs. This will offer maximum protection.

How do you fly with golf clubs without a travel golf bag?

Use a sturdy duffle bag or hard case, cover your clubs with bubble wrap or socks, and wrap your clubs in towels to ensure little movement.

Are golf clubs included in baggage fees?

Most, if not all, airlines include golf clubs as checked baggage.

How do you check in your golf clubs at the airport?

Head to the airline desk, where they will put a luggage tag on your travel bag, which will be sent off with your other luggage. Golf clubs usually arrive at the airport in the oversized or overweight bags area instead of the usual luggage carrousel.

What are some alternatives to traveling with golf clubs on a plane?

If you don’t want to travel with your golf clubs on the airplane, your only other options are shipping them before you fly, renting clubs when you get to the course, or skipping golf during your trip.

Ryan William
Ryan William

With over 25 years hands-on experience in the golfing world, Ryan is not just an avid golfer but a topical authority. His journey has had him delve deep into the nuances of the sport, from mastering the swing to understanding new golf technology. As an entrepreneur, Ryan is at the forefront of the latest golf trends, reviewing all new clubs, accessories, and training aids. His insights and expertise are backed by a prolific writing career, with over 1000 articles published across various platforms. Ryan's commitment is clear: to guide and inform the golf community with unparalleled knowledge and passion.

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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