Golf Travel Tips - Traveling With Your Clubs

By Julie Moran

[Ed. Note: Because of positive response and interest in this subject, Julie has provided additional information in "More About Traveling With Your Clubs"]

Talk about a ball and chain! Clubs are heavy and make traveling tiring - not to mention special considerations when traveling by plane. But it's often well worth the effort. You can rent clubs at many golf courses, but playing with different clubs is somewhat like playing a different musical instrument than your own, and it can affect your game. If you decide to take them with you, here are a few tips:

Conserve Suitcase Space

Use your club bag to store markers, tees, golf shoes, gloves, a visor, and other golf accessories you might otherwise throw in your suitcase, carry-on bag or purse. This also keeps those small golf items together.

Protect Your Clubs with a Good Sturdy Bag

You can find a travel bag for your clubs at golf shops. They run around $75-$100 for a basic one, but it's important to protect your clubs, which are an even larger investment. If you are really protective of your clubs, which is only natural especially if you have a deluxe custom set, they have sentimental value or something similar, then do what the pros do: get a top of the line golf bag. Although this can run into hundreds of dollars, on the up side you could probably drop the bag out of a plane in mid-flight and they'd still come out fine - and they're even bullet-proof!

Don't Carry-On Your Clubs

First, they exceed carry-on size limits, and would be a significant safety hazard as well. They'll have to ride with your regular luggage, so you'll want to take a few extra precautions, like the sturdy travel bag, and make sure you have protection against loss.

What To Do If Your Clubs are Lost in Trasit or at Your Destination

As with anything you pack as luggage, there is a risk of loss. Golfers should check their homeowners (or other property insurance) policy to see if they have 'off premises theft' coverage, the category your clubs would fall under in this case. If so, check the deductible. If your clubs are lost in flight (or at your destination), your deductible could be more than you paid for them or their current value.

You could also put in a claim against the airline if lost in transit. Claims against airlines are less dependable regarding outcome than those made with insurance companies (since, as the airlines know, most people won't find it worth their while to sue the airline) and will depend on company policy and limitations on loss (e.g., sometimes airlines limit their liability to the cost of the ticket). However, airlines usually will pay something - and of course, since they lost the luggage, they're responsible for at least some of the cost of replacing lost items. So between the insurance company and the airline, many travelers will be covered for their losses.

However, if you have a really deluxe set of clubs, you may need to get special coverage added to your homeowners or property insurance policy - much like jewelry is covered, with a special endorsement, appraisal, etc.

Making a Claim for Losses

Travelers who do lose their clubs should remember to put a claim in to the airline and insurance company for all losses - the cost of luggage, bags, clothing, etc). As usual, it's best to keep purchase receipts for these items. Many people neglect to do this, though you certainly should for something as expensive as a set of golf clubs. No 'proof of loss' will result in having some difficulty proving the amount of your loss, but it won't cause your claim to be rejected.

So don't 'just assume' your insurance or the airline will cover the loss of your clubs. Like the Boy Scouts, ' be prepared'.