If you have been on enough golf trips, chances are you have had a moment of frustration at an airport where you realize everything you desperately want to take on your adventure is massively overweight vs. what the airline allows (normally 50 pounds or 20 kg in most parts of the world, but do you research as this can vary). Before you know it, you are unloading your Pro V 1’s and dirty golf shoes in the middle of the airport, pondering what is acceptable to wear as a second layer or fill your pockets with on the plane.
Rest assured, with a bit of planning and creative packing; you will get everything you need to your dream destination by following these top tips.
Get yourself a decent golf travel bag.
Put simply, without a decent golf travel bag; your job just got a whole lot harder. Your travel item becomes your golf bag itself, and your room for excess items is limited to what you can squeeze in the extra pocket space. With a proper golf travel bag, you will easily pack up to your weight limit, and normally the challenge is what not to take. Some golfers will swear by hardcover travel bags, but this will normally be a compromise against your weight limit as a hard case normally will tip the scales at more than a soft bag.
Do your research
This starts with the airline itself. What is your actual weight limit? Some golf-friendly locations around the world deliberately offer excess weight options when you travel there. Some courses even offer loan bags if you can bring your clubs in a pencil travel bag. It’s also worth thinking about everything from weather to what you can easily access at the other end of your travels. Do you need to take your own umbrella, or will you be in carts? Can you easily buy more balls on-site at a reasonable price? Does the course offer free towels? Are you prepared to buy toiletries once you arrive? Every bit of weight counts!
You may also need to consider specialty items that could add more weight. For example, are you playing a club that requires a dinner jacket to visit the clubrooms after you round?
Give yourself time to plan and pack properly.
Easy to say, hard to do at times, but you can ensure you take just what you need if you give yourself the time. From establishing exactly how many outfits you really need to pack in an efficient manner, time is your friend. Top tips include rolling clothes to conserve space and stuffing smaller items and socks into shoes.
Also, with time on your side, you can pack accordingly to protect your all-important clubs by placing suitable soft items around the tops of your delicate shafts and driver heads.
Versatility is key
I love a bold golf outfit as much as the next guy, but when on a trip where weight is an issue, clothing that can double up as evening wear is key. Ideally, the golf outfit you wear allows you to go straight to the restaurant without screaming, “I’ve been at golf all day.” Especially with your layers, such as golf pullovers, picking relatively plain colors allows those items to be worn at any time.
Carry on luggage is your friend.
This bit of advice will vary hugely from airline to airline depending on whether carry-on luggage is weighed, but certain golf items weigh a lot, for example, a crisp box of golf balls. Wedging these in your carry-on is a great idea for weight conservation.
Also, if you are traveling early and plan to play that day, there is no shame in wearing a golf-friendly outfit for transit that day.
Put golf first
If you are forced to decide what to take and what to bring, ensure you put golf priorities first. Playing 36 holes a day and thinking the second set of shoes is required for comfort? Pack them. Have some special warm-up aids you are used to using every round at home? Take them. It’s a golf trip, after all, and you won’t regret doing what it takes to play your best even if you look less than fashionable at night.
Another idea to consider, perhaps with your buddies, is shelling out for an extra bag that you can all share. If you are going away on a decent trip, I promise the small cost for the extra convenience will be quickly forgotten.
Don’t forget to check out our checklist for your golf trip!