From the hassle of hauling them around, to the cash we dole out just to bring them along, flying with golf clubs can be about as frustrating as five-putting. But when it comes to flying somewhere to play golf, most of us would rather go without clean underwear than our precious golf clubs. So, if youre like a lot of people and you cant leave home without them, here are five tips for flying with golf clubs.
1.Carry it on ' Although you dont have a choice but to check your golf clubs, make an effort to carry-on your other luggage. If you have to, take a few items you'd normally check separately and stuff them into your golf bag. At all costs, avoid that second checked bag fee, which is almost always more than the first.
2.Invest in quality luggage ' If you think traveling without quality golf club luggage isnt important, youve obviously never been the victim of a broken driver shaft. Getting your clubs from A to B ' and back again ' is the goal, so why skimp on the luggage? Club Glove is the king of soft carriers and Secure Golf Travel has a solid collection of hard cases. Either one will work but remember, the harder the case, the harder theyll throw it.
3.Do the math ' In some cases, it simply makes more sense to leave the clubs at home. Are you only playing once? Does the golf course have brand new rental sets? What about FedEx? Run the numbers and dont forget: You have to pay to check your clubs to and from your destination. Most airlines charge at least $20 each way; at most courses you can rent a set for less than that. And in the current economy, many resort courses are even throwing in free rentals to encourage golfers to play more golf.
4.Stay calm ' If youre a seasoned golf traveler, you know that airline travel is unpredictable. Dont be surprised if you arrive at your destination and your clubs arent there. Stay calm, and notify the airline of the issue. In most cases, theyll rush your clubs straight to your hotel or golf course. If not, hotels and golf courses are usually so appreciative of your business that theyll work to accommodate you no matter what it takes. Just like a round of golf when youre hitting it crooked, the calmer you remain, the better chance you have of turning it into a worthwhile experience.
5.Fly Southwest ' With policies like open seating, Southwest Airlines is no doubt a maverick in the world of airline travel. It comes as no surprise, then, that it would be the last man standing in the industrys quest to resist charging baggage fees (passengers' first two are free). Smaller airlines jumped on board early last year, and now everyones doing it ' except Southwest. So, if youre looking to cut corners wherever you can ' and who isnt these days? ' consider flying Southwest. It doesnt fly to every city in America, but itll get you to Orlando, Phoenix, Detroit, and many other gateways to great golf.