Traveling with Golf Clubs: Ultimate Checklist!

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Golf trips with your buddies are an excellent way to reward yourself after a busy month of work. Whether you’re playing a bucket list course or just trying something different, it’s likely that you want to take your golf clubs with you.

But what’s the deal with traveling with golf clubs? Is it expensive? And what do you need to do in advance?

To ensure you don’t get any unwelcome surprises at check-in, we explain everything you need to do to travel with your golf clubs and suggest some of our top tips for making the process as hassle-free as possible.

Can I Travel with My Golf Clubs?

Yes, if you’re playing golf at a course in a different part of the country or overseas, then traveling with your clubs is a great option. After all, hire clubs aren’t always in great condition, and borrowing someone else’s irons will likely affect your game.

You can pack your golf clubs in the car if you’re driving, and you can also check them into the hold on an airplane if the destination is that little bit further.

Some people worry about damaging their clubs but provided you purchase a travel cover; you shouldn’t have any issues.

All airlines permit you to take your golf clubs with you, but you need to check their terms and conditions, as well as details about any additional costs associated with transporting them.

So, to ensure you don’t get any unwelcome surprises when you’re taking your clubs to a new location, we explain everything you need to know about traveling with your golf clubs and provide you with answers to your most pressing questions.

How Do You Transport Your Golf Clubs on a Plane?

The best way to transport your golf clubs on a plane is to prepare them for the hold. Your first job is to order a golf travel case that is big enough for your bag. You can buy these online or from most major golf retailers, and they’re relatively inexpensive.

Next, decide which clubs you want to take with you and remove any non-essential items from your bag. Also, make sure your bag isn’t weighed down with extra golf balls, as you need to keep your bag as light as possible.

Be sure to take any valuables out of your golf bag, be it your rangefinder or any other expensive tech that you usually carry in your bag. You can add these to your carry-on luggage if you want to take them with you.

When you’ve packed your clubs, invest in a padlock for the cover bag and secure your clubs before heading to the airport.

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You will also need to check the terms and conditions of checking in golf clubs in advance, as well as the price, as we explain below.

Cost to Bring Golf Clubs on a Plane?

Every airline is different, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 and $50 to check your golf clubs into the hold each way. For instance, if you’re checking your golf clubs in with American Airlines, it costs $25 for your first bag and $35 for your second bag.

You also need to be mindful that the weight of your golf clubs will affect the price. Using American Airlines as an example again, if your golf clubs exceed 50 pounds, you are required to pay an additional $150.

As you might imagine, airlines are really specific when it comes to the weight of your golf clubs, so don’t exceed the stipulated weight, or you will have to pay the fee for oversized baggage.

The key takeaway here is that every airline has different conditions in regards to checking in and paying for your golf clubs, so you will need to do your research in advance.

The table below shows the correct price for some of the biggest airlines at the time of writing:

AirlineCost of checking golf clubs (first bag)
American Airlines$25
Delta Airlines$30
United Airlines$25
Allegiant Airlines$45
Spirit Airlines$30

Can You Bring Golf Clubs as a Checked Bag?

If you’re heading on a weekend golf break with your buddies and can pack your clothes in your carry-on, you can take your golf clubs as a checked bag. Just be mindful of the fact that you will need to pay a fee ranging, on average, from $25 to $45 per checked bag.

You can also check your golf clubs as a second bag, but you typically have to pay slightly more for the privilege. Again, every airline charges slightly different prices for second checked bags, so you will need to check in advance.

Another thing to note is that you should declare that you’re checking in golf clubs before arriving at the airport.

Many airlines charge really high fees if you check excess or oversized baggage at the terminal, so it’s much better to arrange things online in advance.

So, in the week before your trip, make sure you prepare your golf clubs for travel and declare to the airline your plans to travel with your clubs before arriving at the airport.

How Much Does a Bag of Golf Clubs Weigh?

Most golf bags with clubs, balls, and accessories weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. Most airlines stipulate that you can only travel with golf clubs weighing 50 pounds or less, or you will be subject to an oversized baggage fee.

If you typically play golf with a heavy cart bag, it’s a good idea to invest in a much lighter carry bag that you can travel and comply with the US airline golf bag weight limits.

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If you arrive at the airport and the weight of your clubs exceeds the 50-pound limit, you will be stung with expensive charges. 

Another tip to reduce the weight of your clubs is to think about whether you need to carry all of your clubs and accessories with you. Although you’re allowed fourteen clubs in your bag, you might be able to do with 10 for your upcoming trip.

This will ensure you’re well within the stipulated weight range and means that you will be able to avoid surprise charges at check-in.

How Much Does it Cost to Mail Golf Clubs Ahead of Traveling?

Shipping golf clubs are often expensive, regardless of the agent you work with. For instance, domestic shipping with FedEx can cost around $100 each way, and your clubs will take up to four days to arrive at the destination.

You also need to take into account things like insurance, which can increase the price considerably.

UPS also charges around $100 to ship your golf clubs, which is significantly more than the costs associated with taking your golf clubs on the plane.

One of the cheapest ways to ship your golf clubs ahead of time is to use a service like Ship Sticks, which is a much more affordable option than the big-name carriers like UPS and FedEx.

So, although shipping golf clubs is a viable option if you’re not traveling yourself, it’s much better value for money to check them in on your flight, as we explain below.

Overall, Is It Better to Ship or Fly with Golf Clubs?

The best option is to fly with your golf clubs when you’re traveling, as it’s much cheaper than shipping them ahead of time. Flying with your golf clubs costs around one-third of the price of shipping them.

Another thing to recognize is that if you ship your golf clubs, they take 3-4 days to reach your destination, so you will need to plan ahead of your trip.

Of course, if you check your golf clubs into the hold, they will arrive at your destination at the same time as you!

So, overall, it’s much better to fly with your golf clubs, and shipping them in advance should only really be a backup option.

Conclusion

Whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, traveling with golf clubs is a relatively straightforward process, and you’re unlikely to experience any issues.

The key thing to remember is to do your research in advance to check the cost, terms, and conditions outlined by the airline, as every company is different.

You can then arrive at the airport without worrying about being stung by additional charges and enjoy your weekend golf trip as planned.