The Smart Golfer Podcast

New to Golf Travel? How & What Essentials To Pack For Your Golf Trip

December 29, 2022 Greta Anderson Season 1 Episode 10
The Smart Golfer Podcast
New to Golf Travel? How & What Essentials To Pack For Your Golf Trip
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

It's always a great time to take a golf getaway, but the winter season is a very popular time to do so. If you are thinking about taking a golf trip but you're new to packing up, then this episode is for you!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to safely travel with your clubs on a road trip
  • Factors to consider when deciding if you should BYOG (Bring-Your-Own-Gear) or rent
  • Send ahead vs. bring along
  • How to ship golf gear
  • 15 essential items for your golf bag during a golf trip


So whether you're taking a short jaunt or an around-the-world excursion, this episode will help you arrive well-prepared!


Links & Resources:

*Disclosure: I may recommend products that I have used and love; all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Dr. Greta:

Welcome to the Smart Golfer podcast, where we help aspiring golfers improve their skills, strategy, and knowhow for better performance, fun, and play. I'm your host, Dr. Greta Anderson, and I am beyond excited to help you move from just hitting balls to playing your best golf. So let's get to it. Hey, there is Dr. Greta Host. Hope you're doing well today. We're in that time of year where lots of us may not be able to play golf at home. It's wintertime now. It's December, and so you may have snow, you may be in great weather, maybe you live somewhere else. But this is the time of year where a lot of us are traveling or getting ready to travel. And so why not consider playing golf when we travel or maybe even plan a trip expressly for taking golf and of course, taking in some other fun activities? But no doubt about it, traveling has gotten a bit more complex and stressful in recent years, especially when it comes to baggage and golf clubs. From making decisions about how to transport golf equipment to what to take, there's just a lot to figure out. But the good news is that is this I am here to help you. So in today's episode, we're going to talk a little bit about traveling with your golf equipment, tips for transporting them, along with some good tips on exactly what you need in your bag during a golf travel experience. Okay, so today we are going to talk about the 15 items that I believe every smart golfer should travel with. Now, to be clear, we're focusing on those essential items in your golf bag. I mean, obviously, we know that we've got to have golf clubs, right? But we're talking about some other things. The item list covers a lot of what you would do well to have in your bag anytime at home in your local course. But these items are really important to have during travel to make things easier for yourself. I mean, after all, who wants the stress of realizing that you forgot to bring along any of these important items in the middle of a round or that type of thing? So we're going to talk about that. Now, before we talk about these essential items to have in your golf bag as you prepare to take that golf trip, let's spend a bit of time discussing strategies when it comes to actually transporting our golf equipment. There are a couple of things to consider as you make decisions on how to transport your precious golf cargo. So if you're traveling by car, you don't necessarily have to use an additional travel bag in supporting items. You can just throw your bag in the back of the truck or the car and you're good. But just make sure to treat your clubs with care. Remember, these things do not, I repeat, do not file heavy suitcases and cargo on top of your golf bag. Golf clubs are pretty fragile, especially if you have graphite shafts. But even if you have steel shafts, you can bend them, the club head can get bent, all that stuff. We don't want to do that. Secondly, don't try to cram your golf clubs into a lengthwise space that's just not long enough, and such forces the clubs to bend even a little bit. Again, clubs are malleable, and that's a good thing when we're playing, but not so good when we're forcing them into a space or something like that. And then thirdly, remember, don't leave them in a hot trunk or a really hot place for prolonged periods of time. Clubs are sturdy but fragile and clubs can fall apart. The Epoxy on them can loosen up because of heat. The Epoxy that holds that grip onto the club doesn't like extreme heat for prolonged periods of time and that type of thing. So remember those things if you are traveling by car. Now, no matter where you live on this earth, there are, statistically speaking, more golf and travel destinations that require air travel than not. Now, I guess that makes sense to you. And that's one of the great things about golf, right? Golf is truly a global sport with an array of amazing opportunities to play and stay at some pretty cool locations. So when it's time to hit the skies and travel for golf, we've got a few more choices to make. Choice number one. Are you going to even travel with your own bag or are you going to use rental equipment at your destination? So what are the pros of using rental equipment? Surely it's convenient, it's basically hassle free, and it's potentially cheaper than transporting your own clubs for use. Now on the downside, what are the cons as the equipment that's available for renting? Is it a match for you? Do you like it? Do they have clubs that may be more amenable to the ladies? For my lady listeners there? What about us lefties? I'm a leftie and I'll tell you, you better ask because sometimes they're not there. Or are there any rental clubs available, especially when you're traveling at peak times? Clubs and resorts may have lots of clubs but confirm availability and do they allow you to reserve a set for your specific tea time? Right, so that's that choice. You got rental, the rental option. Okay, choice number two, you want to travel with your own clubs and equipment, but you decide to ship them. And this is where companies like, of course Ups or FedEx come into play. But there are companies like Ship Sticks who literally specialize in golf. Club transportation is very popular now. Now obviously the pros to that, it definitely makes travel and transport easier. You don't have to lug your clubs to the airport, manage them in them, keeping track of the oversized baggage along with your other bags, that type of thing. You'll set it up send them off, and they will be at your hotel or even the golf facility where you plan to play. Now, there's a downside to everything, and one of the big cons to traveling and shipping your clubs is, one, it is not an inexpensive option. Literally, shipping your clubs can be as much as cheap plane ticket. I mean, right, they're flying a lot of times, especially if you're going to a tropical destination, the island destination. Clubs got to get on the plane just like you did. Now, alongside that, the quicker you'd like them to get to your destination, the quicker the cost. So let me clarify that a bit. If you're a golfer and maybe you're practicing at home and you're playing and you want to be in good stead when you get to your destination, you may not want or have the option to send your clubs off a week in advance. So if you want to send your clubs a day or two before you're planning to arrive at your destination, you're going to pay for the convenience of having that quick turnaround. So just something to consider and factor in if you're choosing to ship your clubs. Okay, so then option three. You have decided to travel with your own gear, but you feel like your chance to play your best golf is with your equipment and you want to practice for as long as you can. So you're going to travel with them on your own. You're going to take them alongside with you on the airplane. No problem. Tons of people do it all the time. So it's a real advantage. Again, you have much more control over the timing of everything. Your clubs are going to be right with you. The downside is that transport is transport, and there's always that risk of damage or loss. Okay, so we have those three options. Let me give you the three options real quick. If you're going to travel right, you can rent equipment. You can travel with your own clubs and have them shipped by a company like Ups FedEx or ship sticks, or you can bring them along with you on the airplane, okay? So you've got to make those decisions. And once you have made a decision, you proceed. But let's just say you're doing like many golfers continue to do, and you've decided to travel with your own gear and you're going to take them along with you as you hop on the airplane. Great strategy. You're going to need some golf specific travel gear. And so let's start with the basics. A golf travel bag, you might say. What is a golf travel bag? Dr. Greta I have a golf bag. A golf travel bag is just a little bit different. It's the travel grade bag in which you secure your actual golf bag for travel and transport. Your golf bag and its contents need protection for the ride. Needless to say, your golf bag is great but imagine if you tried to put that bag alone up under the plane. It would be a nightmare of a scenario. So we don't want that. Now, generally speaking, you have two options in terms of the type of golf bag you purchase. We have soft side or hard case. Soft side bags are lighter in weight. They take up less storage space, which is important. You consider these things because most of the time the bag is going to be in storage at your home, right? It takes up less storage space and it generally tends to hold a bit more. Again, it's a softer bag, so you can kind of stuff it and that type of thing, but not too much because the airlines will not allow you to do so. But you simply slide your regular golf bag, with all of its typical context, into the soft side golf bag and there you go. Now, this is really important to know. You will need to grab a protective shield to provide adequate support to your clubs. These are often described as a stiff arm. These devices, they're long poles that go literally into the middle of your golf bag that have this kind of round shield. It will almost remind you of an umbrella that shields the top of your bag. So all of your clubs will fit underneath this kind of shield. This umbrella, in the event that your bag lands on its end during transport, that shield serves as a shock absorber of sorts to prevent club damage. And it's a really, really you do not want to use a soft side bag without one of these because the likelihood is very high that that bag can be thrown or land on the end. So you just imagine if someone took, let's just say, your driver and you were holding it in your hand and the club was, you know, the club was pointed downward and the club head was closest to the ground and then someone just jammed it like a jackhammer straight into the ground. I promise you, at the weakest point of that hozzle, that club is going to snap. So the same thing can happen in the bag without that stiff arm or that shock absorber. So you definitely want to get those if you're going to use soft side bag. Right. Now, if you choose a hard side golf travel bag, you'll find that today's options are super lightweight and durable. Remember though, those hard sides don't expand and you won't be able to cram as much into the bag. So if you tend to overpack every single bag when you travel, a hard side bag might not be for you. Now, over the years, I've traveled extensively with both soft and hard side golf travel bags with great success. Yes, I've had some broken clubs, and I do have to say these problems occurred only when I was using a soft side bag. Now, an important note, airline policies regarding coverage of golf club damage has changed and continues to change. So be sure to check with your respective carrier to get all the details. Read those disclaimers and related fine print to avoid a nightmare scenario from which you can't come back without pulling out your credit card. Because again, the airlines change things from time to time. And so once you check the bag, you have basically agreed to those disclaimers whether or not you have read them. So do read them. Okay, so now that you've decided how or if you're going to transfer your golf bag for your golf trip, let's talk about those must have items for your bag to make things easier for yourself. After all, being prepared can go a long way. Sure, you can likely run into the clubhouse and grab some of these items, but convenience can come at a cost, especially at resorts and travel destinations. With just a bit of planning and preparation, you can have everything you need, the exact brands and types of the stuff you want for every item and accessory you might need. So here we go with the top 15 essential items for your golf bag. Okay, we will start from 15 and work our way up here. So number 15 golf balls. Yes, it sounds so basic, but extra golf balls, you're going to want to take some because let me tell you, if you notice in the clubhouse, golf balls sometimes cost a bit more and especially in the resort situation. So extra golf ball. Number 14 smart snacks. Again, what you prefer or what works for your body might not be consistent with what is sold in the clubhouse and that type of thing. So smart set snacks. And of course, I'm a fan of eating healthily. I know if you're traveling, you're probably on vacation. But if you want to play your best golf and have fun and feel good out there, smart snacks are a way to go. Okay, number 13 hydration packs and tablets. Again, you want to feel your best now, particularly if you're coming from a colder climate or something like that. And then all of a sudden you're in, you know, 80, 90 degree weather. It's going to take a little bit of adjustment, number one, but you want to make sure that you stay properly hydrated. So whether it's noon, tablets or I could go on and on with the list, but take something nice and simple. There are tons of great options now where you can just have that in your bag, hydration packets or tablets, right? Twelve along the lines of hydration. I like to travel with my own cup because I like to be able to mix things up and sometimes water bottles. The narrow opening is just complicated. I like to keep things nice and cold. I want to put ice in my cup, that type of thing. Insulated cup. Stick one in your bag and it's a great travel partner, you can use it the entire trip, right? Number eleven, a device charger, or cord. Now, today's golf carts, especially traveling great resorts and that type of thing, I can almost guarantee you that there's going to be an outlet there to keep your device charged. And now with so many of us listening to music, using our phones and devices for distance measurement and all bluetooth, all of these things you're going to mute in the course of an 18 hole round or even a nine hole round, you may very well need some juice. So make sure that you bring your own cord to fit your devices. Number ten, bug spray. We all have our own tolerance, but I don't know about you, but I don't want to be bitten up while I'm playing a round of golf. And so whatever your preference is, some of them are more organic than others. See, once again, this is why it's important to bring your own, because whatever your preferences are doesn't mean it's sold in the clubhouse. So buck spray, just to keep yourself feeling good and enjoying that nice warm weather. Number nine, sunscreen. Now, I don't have to say a lot about this, I hope, because you all are smart golfers and we've all learned so much in recent years about the dangers of getting too much sun. We need to keep sunscreen on. I don't care if your skin is brown or less brown or whatever the case may be. Sunscreen for all, okay? Number eight, lip balm, right along the lines of that sunscreen. We all need protection there. The lips are sensitive, and so we've got to make sure that we manage that. Number six, extra socks. Now this might be something that you may not have heard about having in your bag. Let me explain why extra stocks are so important. One, sometimes people, everyone's feet act differently, but there are instances where your feet may get a little bit wet, and wet feet is just a horrible feeling. So you may go years and not use these socks, but in the one time where you need them, you want to have them, and you want to have socks that are comfortable for you, because we all, again, wear different types of socks. So extra socks. Number six, rain gear. We know this as golfers, right? It can start out sunny, the skies can open up, and we want to be able to keep moving, right? If you're out on a golf course, as long as there's not electricity in the air, we know that, right? But a waterproof jacket and maybe even a rain hat just to have in there in one of those side pockets so that you can keep moving. And then once the rain subsides, you can put it right back in the pouch and it's like it never happened. But there's nothing worse than being saturated with rain and have another eight holes to play or whatever the case may be. So rain gear to help prevent that. Number five, along our water theme here right now, the ball retriever. Hey, they make ball retrievers now that are so small and compact, yet open up to 40ft so that you can grab the ball that may go stray or something like that. Now, again, we know we're not going to hold up play trying to grab a ball, but hey, sometimes we can see the ball has gone astray and we just whip out that retriever, save ourselves a little bit of money and that type of thing and just grab it. So ball retriever. Number four. Over the counter pain relief. Again, things happen. You may have a headache, gotten a little bit too much sun, whatever the case may be. You may be an advil person or a tylenol person or a motoring person, whatever works for you. You just want to have that on hand. Over the counter pain relief. Number four. Number three, extra golf gloves. Particularly, again, if you're traveling to a warmer climate and that type of thing. Gloves, we sweat through them, they get wet, you drop them in the mud, you forget them, it falls off the cart, all types of things. Again, in the clubhouse, that glove is going to have a substantial markup on it, so why bother, you know? You're going to need an extra glove anyway, or extra gloves. So just keep a few in your bag, extra gloves. Number two, I've carried a first aid kit in my golf bag for years, and people always laugh sometimes when they see it. Buddies will laugh until they need something from it. Things happen out on the golf course, incidental. Cut, splinter, blister, you name it, it can happen. And so, no, I'm not carrying an ambulance out there, but I do have a first aid kit that can help with those minor things. And so that's an important piece. And boo, boom. Boo, boo, boom. That's the drum roll. That was a bad drum roll. Let me do that again. And drum roll, please. Boom. The number one essential item is a toiletry goodie bag. Now, I'm sure the guys are going like, but ladies, hey, you need to have and feel comfortable about having whatever it is that you need to feel comfortable while you're out and about in the world. And the golf course is no exception. Now, I'm presuming you're traveling to some wonderful places and spaces, but again, you want to just know that you have what you need to feel comfortable for yourself, right? Period. So let's just say that and the number one essential item for your golf bag is your own toiletry goodie bag. You want to make sure that you have whatever it is you need to be comfortable. And ladies in particular, pack your bag and do you, because you just never know what you're going to need or what you gonna want, what makes you comfortable, so pack it yourself and keep it moving. So those are my top 15, and I do have two honorable mentions. Now, they may not go in your golf bag, but if you're traveling for golf, I think it's great to take these two along with you. Number one, a percussive massage gun or device. Maybe that's your thera gun or whatever device you have. But hey, if you're out traveling, you're playing golf and that type of thing, you probably or potentially, I should say, muscles get a little bit worn down and you need a little bit of a stretch. They are great if you have one. You know, they are great devices to just help you stay loosened up to help work out a nod or two so that you can play your best golf and enjoy that golf trip. And then the other honorable mention item that you may want to carry with you for your golf trip is the laundry bag. So many people forget this, hey, you've been out there playing golf. You want to probably sequester those golf club those golf clothes after year round, so just have a separate little golf laundry bag. I always do that. I have my laundry bag, and then I have my golf laundry bag, right? So I hope this is helpful and maybe even a bit inspiring. If you've been thinking about taking a golf trip or getting away to play a little bit and enjoy the game, I hope this is pushing you in that direction. So if you do, be sure to DM me when you post those pictures or even tag me at Dr. Greta Golf on Instagram because I love to see it. It's the perfect time of year to enjoy some of these amazing golf destinations out there, so I want to see them. So tag me or send me a DM. In the meantime, enjoy. Bye for now. Thanks so much for joining us this week on the Smart Golfer Podcast. Make sure you visit our website at Dr. Gretagolf.com, where you can subscribe to the show using your preferred podcast platform so you'll never miss a show. And while you're at it, if you found value in the show, we'd appreciate a rating on the platform. Or if you'd simply like to tell a friend about the show, that could help us out, too. And if you like this show, you might want to check out more of our learning programs at academy. Dr. Gretagolf.com.

Episode overview
Safely packing your clubs for a road trip
BYOG or rent? The Pros and Cons
Club Shipping 101
Flying with Your Golf Gear As Baggage
What is a golf travel bag?
Soft side golf travel bags
Hard case golf travel bags
Why it's important to read the airline's disclaimer before checking your golf clubs!
The value of being prepared for your golf rounds during travel
15 ESSENTIAL Items to have in your golf bag during your trip