The world is full of incredible golf courses. Whether you want to head to the Scotland or Ireland for some truly iconic green, or to the United States for some classic courses, you’ll need to pack your gear to go.
Taking you golf clubs abroad may not be as simple as you think, so we’ve created a little guide to help you out. Between making sure that they are correctly packed, to checking in and getting them to the right destination, here is everything you need to know about taking your golf clubs abroad.
Taking Your Golf Clubs Abroad VS. Hiring Golf Clubs
When taking a golfing trip abroad, you’ll need to decide whether to take your own golf clubs, or hire some when you arrive. For most serious golfers, taking their own clubs is usually preferred, however, there are some limitations and costs involved.
Taking your own clubs can be beneficial as you’ll be used to playing with them, and won’t have to spend money and time on hiring them once your arrive. However, depending on your airline and budget, taking your own clubs could be more hassle than what’s it worth.
If you’re playing an important game, or participating in a competition, taking your own clubs may be worthwhile. However, if you’re just taking a vacation, and looking to get in a good game of golf, it may not be necessary to bring your own gear.
Read on for a breakdown of the costs associated with taking your clubs abroad, as well as some tips for cutting the costs and making things a little easier.
Different Allowances From Different Airlines
This airline charges £30 for golf clubs if you book your flights online, and £35 if booking in the airport. The maximum weight of the clubs is 20KG but if you go over the limit, expect to pay around £10 per kilo.
This airline allows you to use your free checked baggage allowance for your golf bag. However, if it weighs more than the allotted amount, expect to pay an extra fee. The price varies depending the on your destination and the class that you’re flying. For example, first class is allowed two free checked bags, neither of which can weigh more than 32KG. Economy class passengers can only have one free checked bag that cannot exceed 23KG. Golf bags cannot exceed 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in.)
This airline will transport your golf clubs for free as long as you use them within your normal baggage limit. If you fly economy, you can bring a bag that weighs no more than 23KG and not pay extra. However, if you fly first class, you can bring three bags weighing 32KG each without being charged extra. If you want to take your golf clubs along with other baggage, you should expect to pay around £50 extra for each trip. There are limitations within this too however. For this extra fee, you can bring a pair of golf shoes, tees, golf balls, and one set of clubs.
This airline charges a ‘sports equipment fee’ that allows you to bring a bag that weighs no more than 32KG. If you opt for the ‘small sports equipment’ package, you can transport equipment that weighs no more than 20KG, but this will cost £30 each way.
This airline considers golf equipment to be standard checked luggage and doesn’t charge extra for it. For economy passengers, the weight limit is 23KG and for business class, the limit moves up to 32KG. If you exceed the limit, you will need to pay a fee which depends on where you’re traveling to. Travel within Europe will cost you a fee of £70 each way. It’s also important for you to get the customer service approval of the airline before taking your golf equipment on the plane.
Another cost to keep in mind when it comes to flying with golf clubs is the insurance costs. You’ll want to get insurance just in case the clubs get lost, stolen, or damaged while traveling to your destination. However, these fees can often be quite steep. The costs will vary depending on the cost of your golf equipment, but £60 is a good figure to go by.
It’s also important to take a look at the overall fees of hiring golf clubs versus bringing your own, and deciding which one is cheaper for you.
For example, the baggage fees and insurance on golf clubs flown on Air France is £160 more expensive than just hiring a caddy and some clubs. And, when comparing these prices for all airlines mentioned, the situation is the same. Plus, if you hire instead of bringing your clubs along, you will be dropping any stress that may be associated with packing them. This, for some people, is enough to leave the clubs at home.
Tips For Taking Golf Clubs on an Airplane
While you may recognize that the savings and stress are greatly reduced when you hire golf clubs, you may still want to bring your own. It’s understandable that you want to hit the green with the clubs you know and love.
So, if you just can’t stand to part with them, here are some tips for taking golf clubs on an airplane.
Golfing Travel Insurance:
If you look, you’ll find that there is actually specific travel insurance just for golfing. This kind of insurance will provide plenty of coverage for your clubs but also other important factors as well. Insurance for a golfing holiday often includes: damage or loss of your clubs, theft, coverage for the actual transportation and vacation, and coverage for loss of green time that you paid for.
Clearly Label Your Golf Bag:
Labeling your golf bag is just as important as any other kind of luggage. You will want to put a luggage tag on both the inside and the outside so that it can be identified by both you, your hotel, and all airplane staff. Put as much information as possible on the tag as well. Write down your name, phone number, hotel name and contact information, home address, and flight information. This will help you make sure that your clubs are returned to you if they get misplaced.
Store All Equipment in One Bag:
Most golfing bags have extra pockets and space for storage. You should definitely take advantage of this when flying with your golf clubs. Put all of your accessories and shoes in one bag so that everything is ready for you when you get off the plane. You won’t have to worry about your gear or wonder if you left one of your shoes back at home.
Packaging That is Secure and Safe:
Make sure that your bag is in tip-top shape before trying to bring your golf clubs on a plane. If there are cracks, holes, broken zippers, or pointed edges sticking out, your bag could be refused by airport officials.
Know The Weight Allowances:
Each airline has their own restrictions when it comes to transporting golf bags. Weight is a primary concern, and you should know the allowances and associated fees before even booking a flight. We break down some of these weight restrictions in the previous sections, but it all depends on the airline and their exact procedure. Knowing and understanding how their golf equipment fees work can save you a ton of money and stress on the day of travel.
Golf Club Protection While Traveling:
You’ve probably spent a good deal of money on your golf clubs, and if you’re bringing them on a flight, you probably are a bit emotionally invested in them. Be aware that just like luggage, your golf bag will get tossed around a lot by the airline staff as they enter and exit the plane. In this case, you’ll want to make sure that your clubs are protected by a hard case. If you typically use a soft one, it may be time to upgrade for your flight. See our guide to the best golf travel bags here.
Checking Your Golf Clubs:
Don’t expect to keep your golf clubs with you on the plane. They need to be checked just like your luggage. This is vital to know so that you can prepare accordingly with a hard case and a budget for the checked bag fees.
Booking Your Golf Clubs Onto a Flight:
Booking your clubs onto a flight is pretty straightforward. While booking your ticket, look for the ‘sports equipment’ option, which should be available on most airlines. You’ll find out all of the weight and size restrictions, as well as the costs. While being charged for your ticket, the airline will take care of the fees for your golf clubs too.
Tips on Saving Money
Taking your golf clubs with you on vacation can get costly. However, there are a few tips and tricks to cut down on the fees. Here are a few ways that you can cut costs, enjoy your golfing vacation, and still keep to your budget while doing it.
Two Sets in One Bag
If you’re able to fit two sets in one bag without exceeding the weight limit, you should definitely try it. This will save you massive amounts of cash as two bags will be twice as expensive. Even if it does exceed the weight limit, it may actually still be cheaper to pay the weight fee instead of paying to take a second bag on the plane.
Use a Pencil Bag
These types of bags are known for being light-weight and easy to handle. You could cut down on some of the bulk of a regular golf bag by opting for one of these. You may be able to fit two sets of clubs is this kind of bag more easily than others too.
Wear Your Golf Clothes
A great way to cut down on fees associated with overweight baggage is to wear your golf gear. It doesn’t really matter what you wear on the plane, so why not save yourself some cash by throwing on your gear. You could double up on shirts, add a jacket on top, and make sure to wear your golfing shoes and hat. You may just find that you have enough room in your bag for another set of clubs.
Buy a Second Set of Gear and Keep it Where You Travel
If you travel to the same destination often, it may be worth it to purchase a second set of golf clubs and keep them at your holiday destination. The upfront costs may be high, but it will pay off over time when you don’t have to pay any of the fees associated with bringing your golf clubs abroad.
Research and Hire Golf Clubs
If you do the proper research, hiring a set of golf clubs might not be so bad. It’s usually much cheaper to hire the gear once you arrive in your destination, and if you do the proper research, they should be just as good as the ones from home.
Shipping Golf Clubs
Depending on where you’re going, and what service you plan to ship with, it could save you money to ship the clubs instead of bringing them on the plane. Consider this option while planning your next trip and find out the exact fees for your location.
Research Airline Fees Beforehand
Before purchasing plane tickets, make sure to do plenty of research beforehand. You can avoid fees by switching up which airline you choose to fly with. Some have more expensive fees than others, so choose wisely.
Consider a Road Trip
Do you really NEED to take your golf clubs on the plane? Unless you’re going on a long-haul flight, why not consider taking a road trip to your holiday spot of choice instead of flying. It could save you cash and end up being pretty fun too.
Taking golf clubs abroad can be tricky. Make sure to do the proper research, weigh the pros and cons, and be in-the-know when it comes to airline fees before booking your next golf holiday.