Best Golf Club Travel Bags for Airlines
Most golfers would agree that finding the best golf bag for airline travel is crucial. Nothing will sour the experience quicker than arriving at your destination only to discover your clubs have been damaged in transit.
Air travel can offer unimaginable opportunities to damage golf clubs. Many may recall the memorable American Tourister commercial that displayed a lowland gorilla “going ape” on a piece of luggage. Unfortunately, this perfectly sums up what can happen to your beloved clubs.
Pulling your favorite driver out of the bag on your first day of vacation and discovering a broken shaft is no way to kick off your golfing festivities. Modern travel bags come with two choices – a hard shell and a soft-sided bag. Let’s take a look at each.
Hard Shell Golf Club Travel Bags
While hard shell options offer paramount protection for your golf clubs, they are not always the easiest to travel with. Before making your decision to go hard shell, learn more about the pros and cons of these sturdy, plastic cases.
You can rest assured that nothing will happen to your clubs packed inside of a hard shell plastic case. If it is absolutely imperative that no misfortune befalls your golf clubs, the hard case is the only way to travel.
Additionally, most airlines will accept liability for damaged golf clubs only if they are housed in a plastic shell. So if you’re worried about potentially damaging your clubs, it is always good practice to snap some digital photos of your golf gear when you travel in case you do need to file a claim.
The downside of this degree of protection is diminished maneuverability. Planning is required to accommodate the proportions of the hard shell travel bag at every point in your journey including rental cars, golf shuttles, and everything in between. When it comes to packing, you also won’t have any leeway for squeezing extra gear into the plastic confines.
Best Hard Shell Bag for Airline Travel
If a hard shell case sounds like the right case for you, you might as well aim for the best. A golfers’ favorite in travel bag durability is the Sun Mountain ClubGlider Journey Travel Bag. Crafted from long-lasting 1200 denier polyester, these shells feature adjustable straps inside to keep vulnerable golf bags tightly secured. Legs extend automatically to make loading and unloading from automobile trunks simple. And to boot, caster wheels pivot smoothly to enhance mobility on the ground.
Soft Shell Travel Bags
Soft shell travel bags, while typically easier to travel with, may not offer everything you are looking for in a travel golf bag. Review our pros and cons to make sure you are getting the right golf club bag for you.
Soft shell bags have made leaps and bounds in quality over the years. Today’s soft-sided travel bags are almost as durable as a hard shell bag and offer greatly increased maneuverability.
Additionally, a typical soft-shell travel bag can do double duty as a piece of luggage. Most come with an array of pouches and pockets to handle hats, shoes, sunglasses and other paraphernalia you need on that distant first tee.
The lighter, more convenient soft shell club cases may have made significant improvements in durability, but it is still more vulnerable to damage during your flight than it’s sturdier relative.
However, if you’re willing to investigate add-ons, there are some ways you can bulk up your soft shell’s protective features.
How to Increase a Soft Shell Bag’s Durability
One approach one could take to increase durability is by adding a Club Glove Stiff Arm. It is longer than your driver and brings additional vertical strength to any soft sided golf bag – so if any brunt force meets your travel bag, the Stiff Arm will be the likely victim and not your driver.
For even more protection, stuff golf towels and clothes (or dirty laundry on the trip home) around the heads of your clubs to offer a cushion from any blows during air travel.
Top Soft Shell Travel Bag
The popular Club Glove Last Bag has earned its position as a soft shell bag favorite within the traveling golfer community. This bag features extra-thick foam padding and two shoe pockets with two shoe bags. The Last Bag® is available in 18 different color combinations and all can be maneuvered smoothly with the aid of in-line skate wheels. In addition to coming with a limited lifetime warranty, these durable bags all include a free Stiff Arm®.
Finding the Best Golf Bag for Airline Travel
No matter if you choose a hard or soft shell golf club bag, the important thing is that you can get your clubs from one place to another. Whether that means you have to make travel plans in advance for a bulky hard case or purchase extra features to add bulk to your soft shell, your golf travel bag needs to suit your personal preference as a golfer on-the-go.