How to Pack for a Golf Trip

By Garry Smits

Some people go on vacations to far-off resorts and pack shorts and t-shirts. Traveling to a golf destination is always going to be more involved, and not just because you'll be lugging a golf bag with you. New baggage regulations on airlines also make the issue more complicated than it used to be. However, with some planning, the process can be relatively worry-free.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Purchase a travel container. There was a time when airlines allowed golfers to check in their golf bag with only a soft cover over the clubs, if any cover at all. No longer. Due to more restrictive regulations, all golf bags must be within a hard-cased container of plastic or metal, with study fasteners and locks. Almost all golf retail stores sell these containers. While there are very high-end models that cost in excess of $200 as of 2009, there also are more economical versions that can be an inexpensive as $50.
Step 2
Decide how much to stuff in your golf bag before putting it into the travel container. If there was ever a time to adhere to the 14-club rule, this is it. Settle on as few clubs as you believe you will need, plus pack a minimum of golf balls, tees and gloves to minimize the weight. Extra baggage fees will come into play, depending on how much your bag weighs. Most airlines now specify that a bag can only contain 14 clubs, a dozen balls and one pair of shoes, or it will be subject to extra charges.
Step 3
Pack for the dress code. If you're traveling to high-end golf resorts, keep in mind that there are strict dress codes for those facilities. That means shirts with collars and khaki pants and shorts for men, and skirts, khaki pants or shorts and tasteful shirts for women. Since most people travel to warm-weather sites, extra clothes may be in order since you will have to change clothes for the evening after a hot, sometimes humid day on the golf course. It probably won't hurt to pack a few extra tees, balls and gloves in a side pocket of your suitcase.
Step 4
Consider not taking clubs at all. Almost any high-end resort or golf destination facility will offer rental clubs. If it's at the upper echelon of courses, the rental sets likely will be brand-name clubs such as Callaway, Nike, Taylor Made or Titleist. However, check the clubs and make sure you're getting something similar to your clubs. For example, if you hit a driver with 10.5 degrees of loft, you won't have a good time hitting a rental driver with a loft of 8 degrees. Also be advised that rental sets will cost as of 2009 at least $25 for the round, and higher, depending on the resort or club.
Step 5
Remember that if it was a chore packing for the trip to the resort, you still have to pack for the return. In other words, keep luggage space and extra fees on the airlines in mind if you purchase shirts, hats, clubs or other souvenirs at the resort pro shop.
Step 6
Check the website of your airline to learn about their golf equipment travel policy, and double check the TSA.gov guidelines.

Tips & Warnings

Do not pack non-golf related items in golf bags. In other words, don't try to sneak some duty-free bottles of alcohol where your putter usually is. Depending on how valuable your clubs are, consider taking out insurance on them.
Do not pack non-golf related items in golf bags. In other words, don't try to sneak some duty-free bottles of alcohol where your putter usually is.
Depending on how valuable your clubs are, consider taking out insurance on them.

About The Author

Garry Smits has covered the PGA Tour and professional and amateur golf since 1995 for the "Florida Times-Union" in Jacksonville. He has earned 29 local, state and national writing and editing awards, including six from the Golf Writers Association of America.
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