Golf tourism is now a huge industry in many parts of the world, with millions of golfers taking domestic and international trips each year. There are many reasons why people enjoy golf tourism, it could be to play on a famous or prestigious course, to visit a historically important golfing country (Scotland has over five hundred courses and seven of the fourteen venues on which the Open Championship has been held!) to experience new courses where the climate and conditions present a new challenge or simply to play in better weather than usual. At the same time golf is a growing sport and it’s increasingly possible to squeeze a round in on a regular holiday instead of going for a completely golf-centered trip. There are a lot of destinations around the world embracing golf tourism now too, aside from the usual destinations around Britain and Europe, and this means more courses, more options and more scope to add golf to even the most traditional holidays.
Our Favorite – OGIO Golf 2017 Mutant Travel Bag
WheresMyCaddie.com editor rating: [usr 4.9]
This is our top pick for the best golf travel bag for airlines!
Features a large main compartment that comfortably fits stand and tour bags, lots of padding for extra protection and an easy open design. It also has two exterior pockets that are large enough to hold some of your golfing accessories that you want to travel with in addition to the clubs. Comes in a few different exterior color options. (image via Jet.com).
It follows then that more and more people also want to take their own set of clubs along with them for the purpose, rather than hiring a set once they have arrived and potentially having to use unfamiliar clubs. This is especially important for those golfers whose clubs are highly personalised or custom-fitted. The problem is that golf bags are notoriously bulky and heavy, not to mention usually very valuable, and so the issue of how to transport them can give some golfers a real headache, especially when flying. The last thing any player wants is to arrive for their much-anticipated golf holiday only to find that some energetic baggage handlers have damaged their bag or, worse still, broken a club.
Fortunately there are travel bags and cases designed to prevent exactly that. Here we will look at what to consider when choosing a travel case or bag so that when it’s time to go and play somewhere exotic the only thing you’ll have to worry about is your scorecard. You can also see our recommendations on the best golf travel bags and covers for the money in the chart below.
Types of golf club travel bags
The first thing to consider when looking for a travel case is what your needs are. If it’s just to protect your set of clubs from dirt and prying eyes or whether you need something tougher for genuine protection from damage and rough handling. There is a wide spectrum of cases and a massive range of prices so shopping for a travel case can seem to be a daunting task.
The main distinction between the different types of travel cases is whether it is soft, hard or a compromise between the two. Soft cases are usually well padded but do of course offer less protection than a full hard-bodied case. Soft cases usually weigh less than hard cases however, making them more manageable and convenient, and some also fold for storage when not in use which can be helpful.
It’s also common now to see cases that are a mixture of hard and soft materials, which can offer a compromise between the sturdy security of a hard case and the lightweight convenience of a soft case. Which type is right for you will depend on your needs; for example how often you will travel with your clubs, whether you will be flying or taking another form of transport, your budget and so on.
One other useful tool when travelling with your golf clubs is a product such a the Club Glove Stiff Arm, which is essentially a strong, metal, protective pole which is adjusted to be slightly longer than your longest club and goes in your bag to protect the clubs in the event that the case lands upside down at any time. It’s an excellent additional layer of protection and is relatively cheap, especially compared to a new driver!
What to look for when buying a golf club travel bag
- Size: One of the most important parts of choosing your travel case is ensuring the fit of your current golf inside the case is good. Too small and your existing bag won’t fit inside, too large and your bag could be moving around inside and you may damage your clubs in transit, as well as having more to carry. It’s important to measure your golf bag before you buy anything or, if possible, try the case with your own clubs inside at a store.
- Weight: Generally speaking hard cases weigh much more than soft or hybrid designs. The majority of travel cases do have wheels but there will be some lifting so make sure your case, when full, is not unmanageable. Some airlines have weight limits for golf bags too, so always be sure to check this with your airline if flying.
- Material: As discussed this is one of the main factors in narrowing down your options. Some soft cases do not have wheels but are much more lightweight. Hard cases offer the most protection but can be cumbersome. Hybrid options vary in their padding, size and weight. Almost all varieties of travel case are water-resistant to some degree too.
- Wheels: Wheels are recommended. Golf cases can get very heavy and when travelling the ability to roll your clubs along can be a lifesaver. Some of the larger cases even have four wheels to make it even easier to transport your case from A to B.
- Straps and handles: The chances are that your case will be heavy and that you will be using the handles a lot during your journey so it’s important they’re comfortable and strong. Some rotate for extra comfort and some of the smaller cases have shoulder straps for ease of use.
- Storage space: Depending on the size of your bag and your other needs when packing, extra storage space can be extremely useful, it can even be used as overflow from your main luggage. Most bags have some storage space for your golf shoes at least, but extra storage pockets are a common feature. Again, how much you require will depend on your personal needs.
- Padding: Padding, both external and internal, and internal straps to secure your bag can make all the difference in terms of keeping your clubs safe and secure in transit. Too much space for movement inside the case and your clubs might get damaged. Some people also like to use towels or clothes as extra padding to be safe.
- Security: Some cases come with built in locking systems but others will have a place for padlocks at the very least.
So there you have it. What kind of case is best for you will depend on your needs, predilections, budget and taste. Finally, remember to check with your travel company for their own regulations concerning golf clubs and always make sure your clubs are properly insured!
Clubs in sports car image licensed at Shutterstock