Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Golf Clubs

LAST UPDATED: 5/11/23 – Tips for Traveling with Golf Clubs

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There are some absolutely amazing golf courses in this world. If you are like me, you want to play as many of them as you can in your lifetime. However, some of these courses may be thousands of miles from where you live. In these cases, bringing your clubs along with you on vacation can be cumbersome and expensive.

Instead of getting discouraged, let me teach you some tips and tricks for traveling with golf clubs. These are tips I have picked up over many years traveling to play golf. By using these tips, traveling with golf clubs will no longer be a big hassle. That will leave you with more time to think about having fun on your trip, and shooting as low of a round as possible.

Traveling With Clubs

If you have some tips or tricks for transporting clubs I haven’t listed, please leave those tips in the comments below. Not only do I love learning from you, but other readers will probably be thankful as well. The golfing community, like the travel community, is a pretty tight knit crowd. Helping each other will only make that community tighter.

Consider Renting Clubs at the Course

Traveling With Clubs

The easiest way to save yourself the hassle of traveling with golf clubs is to not bring your clubs at all.  Instead, most courses will rent you clubs, which can be a really convenient alternative to bringing your own.  Keep in mind, club rentals typically aren’t cheap (especially at the nicer courses).  They can run upwards of $100-$150 for an 18-hole round of golf.

Before you finalize your travel arrangements, check to see if the course offers rentals. I recommend also checking to see how much they cost. If you decide you want to rent, let the course know you are renting in advance. You should also make tee times well in advance with nice courses to ensure you are able to get on and play.

Consider Shipping Your Clubs Instead

Traveling With Clubs

If you aren’t keen on renting clubs, another option is to ship your clubs ahead of you. This gets you out of having to lug your clubs around airports. Again, this can be a convenient alternative to flying with your clubs. However, it can also come with a fairly steep price tag.

If you decide that you want to ship your clubs, make sure you take insurance out on the shipment.  The last thing you want is to be footing the bill if your clubs should get damaged.  I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough. I have known people who have shipped their clubs without having them insured and have been sorry they didn’t.

Use a Hard Case If Possible

Club Hard Case

If you want to bring your clubs with you, your best bet for preventing damage is to invest in a hard case.  Most airlines will not reimburse you for damage to your luggage’s contents unless your luggage was a hard case. 

I had my driver head snapped off on the way back from a trip to California a few years ago. I was stuck with the bill to get my driver re-shafted because I had a soft case.  If you have the money, these cases can be a really good investment.

Golf Bag Hard Travel Case Recommendations

Golf Bag Hard Travel Case
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Use a Club Protection Device

Club Protector3.png

For those who want to travel with clubs, but don’t have a soft case, there is another option. For just $30, you can purchase a club protector to keep your clubs safe.

These protectors work by extending further than the club heads out of your bag. So, if you bag is dropped club head side first, the clubs don’t get damaged. These devices are very effective and affordable. This makes them a good option if you don’t want to splurge on a hard case.

Golf Club Protector Recommendations

Golf Club Protector
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Wrap a Towel Around Your Club Heads

Traveling With Clubs

If you are traveling with your clubs and don’t have time get a hard cover case or a club protector, there is a good way to MacGyver your clubs so that they are protected.

Just take two large towels and wrap them around your club heads in both directions. I illustrated this method in the diagram below.  Then, tape around the towels to keep them securely in place.  I used this method to protect my clubs for years after having my driver head snap off, and it worked great.

Towel Protection for Golf Clubs
You can wrap towels around your club heads to protect them.

Move Your Clubs to a Lighter Bag

Switch Bags When Traveling with Golf Clubs

If you are planning to travel with golf clubs, you need to check the weight of your clubs. You will need to reduce the weight of your clubs to avoid paying hefty excess baggage fees.  A great way to do that is to travel with a smaller golf bag.  If you have a cart bag, you are going to want to transfer your clubs into a smaller carry bag.  The smaller the bag the better.

I keep an old carry bag with shoulder straps around just for these purposes.  It weighs much less than the bag I use now. This makes it the perfect bag to take with me when I travel.  It has saved me a bunch of money in excess baggage fees over the years.

Move Your Balls and Equipment to Your Carry-On

Traveling With Clubs

Another great way to minimize the weight of your golf bag is to redistribute some of its weight to other luggage.  I always pack my golf shoes in my suitcase, as well as my golf balls (usually in a large zip lock bag), rain gear, and other equipment that will fit.  This allows me to stay under the airport’s baggage weight limit and saves me a good deal of money.

Research Airline Baggage Policies

Airline Baggage

When traveling with golf clubs, it is important to understand your airline’s baggage policies before showing up at the airport.  If the baggage limit is 50 or 75lbs, you need to know this before checking in.

That way, you can plan ahead.  Same goes with the physical dimensions of allowed baggage.  If your baggage needs to be under a certain height and width, there isn’t much you will be able to do about that at the airport.

I recommend doing some research on these policies before you even book your airfare.  Some airlines (like Southwest) allow free checked baggage, and some do not. 

Some airlines will give you free checked baggage with status, which is good to know as well.  I have free checked baggage with my Delta status. I also know exactly how big and heavy my golf bag can be when I travel.  So, I get no surprises when I show up at the airport.

Book a Non-Stop Flight If Possible


Whenever possible, it is always good to book direct flights when flying with golf clubs.  Direct flights mean there are less times your bag is loaded and unloaded from a plane, which means less opportunities for your clubs to get damaged.   Because if your clubs get damaged, most likely this is when that damage will occur.

Add a Personal ID Tag to Your Bag

Traveling With Golf Clubs Luggage Tag

The final tip I have for you on flying with golf clubs is to always have a personal identification tag on your clubs.  Should your clubs get lost or routed incorrectly, you will want to make it as easy as possible for the airline to get a hold of you.  That way, the airline can get the clubs to your destination as soon as possible and arrange to have them delivered to you.

Golf Luggage Tags Recommendations

Golf Luggage Tags
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