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How Do I Choose the Best Golf Travel Bag?

By David Bishop
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are many options to consider when purchasing a golf travel bag. Casual golfers may consider renting a set of golf clubs at their vacation destination. More dedicated golfers will want to travel with their regular set of clubs and will need to choose from a hard-shell case or a soft-sided golf bag carrier that will protect their regular bag during travel. Hybrid bags are another option for golfers who travel often but don’t wish to purchase a separate travel bag. Some regular bags may feature club head coverings that are robust enough for light handling but are not guaranteed to stand up to rough air travel.

The soft-sided bag carrier is usually the least expensive and most versatile option for a golf travel bag. Some of these bags are large enough to hold two small sets of golf clubs along with shoes and other accessories. On an extended vacation, this kind of bag also can be used to carry other gear or bring back gifts and souvenirs. In many cases, soft-sided bags offer less protection for clubs and other golf gear, and airlines may have passengers sign a damage waiver for these types of bags. Some airlines also may impose a cap on how much weight can be packed into a bag, limiting its versatility in carrying other items.

A hard-shell golf travel bag offers more protection than soft-sided bags but may be heavier and more expensive. These bags are good for golfers with expensive or delicate equipment such as graphite shafts that will not tolerate rough baggage handling. Hard-shell bags can be locked and often feature wheels to assist the user in transporting the bag through the airport terminal. Many professional golfers use this type of carriers to protect their investment and make sure their equipment arrives at its destination intact.

Hybrid bags are containers that can double as both a golf travel bag and a cart bag for use on the course. Hybrid bags usually have a soft exterior along with hard plastic interior plates to protect the clubs. The size of these bags varies from small, highly portable bags designed to carry only a few clubs to full-size bags that will accommodate a full set of clubs along with shoes, balls and other accessories. These types of golf bags are appropriate for golfers who travel often but don’t necessarily need the protection of a hard-sided case.

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Discussion Comments

By letshearit — On Nov 15, 2011

@manykitties2 - If the bag is a really thick nylon it should be pretty sturdy. I know the nylon bag I have has held up to quite a bit of harsh airline handling over the past few years.

The brand I have is a OGIO golf travel bag and it is not only great against rough handling, but I found the wheels on it can go pretty much anywhere. You really want to make sure that your golf bag/travel bag can withstand being pulled on different terrains.

I think the best thing for you to do is to go to a golf forum online and tell the folks there what you need. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

By manykitties2 — On Nov 14, 2011

Can anyone recommend a good brand for a golf club travel bag?

I have been reading some golf travel bags reviews and there is a lot of conflicting information out there. While I would like to save some money, I don't want to purchase any discount golf travel bags if they aren't going to hold up.

There is a Samsonite golf travel bag I have been looking at and it seems like it would be a good investment. I am worried though because it is a bit pricey, and I am not sure if the nylon material will hold up to frequent hits. Our car tends to get quite crowded with stuff.

By titans62 — On Nov 14, 2011

I honestly think that there is really little discussion on this topic concerning what kinds of golf travel bag to use. It is well known among avid golf enthusiasts that as far as travel bags are concerned the cloth like bags do virtually nothing and are a supreme waste of money.

The golf industry puts out about every type of product that could be thought up and a lot of them are pretty pointless. A cloth carrying bag for golf bags is just one of these simply because all it is going to do is carry the bag within a bag and not protect the clubs any. There are also vinyl like bags on the market and all these accomplish is keeping the clubs dry, but do not protect them any.

Although tremendously expensive the best traveling bag to get is in reality the only option and that is the bulky plastic carrying bag. The one thing I would suggest though is considering you are already going to spend a lot of money on it, is to get one with wheels. You do not want to carry these things through an airport.

By cardsfan27 — On Nov 14, 2011

I have found carrying clubs on airplanes a major hassle and probably not worth the money. When you consider that to be sure your clubs will not be damaged you need to buy an expensive carrying case as well as pay a large fee in excess baggage on top of that to put them on the plane it is just not worth it to me.

However, there are definitely people that have plenty of money to do so and if they are willing to spend the money, without question they need to buy a hard plastic, top of the line, carrying case for their golf bag.

I have seen regular cloth bag like carrying cases and they are in reality a waste of money. They do nothing otherwise than to serve as a bag, which is the purpose of a golf bag to begin with, and do nothing to protect clubs. They are as effective as putting a towel over the clubs on the top of the bag and taping everything together.

By stl156 — On Nov 13, 2011

@TreeMan - I think you may need to give a little more credit to the airline workers that handle baggage. They usually have procedures for how to handle certain types of luggage and golf clubs are no different.

Golf clubs are something of an oddity on airlines simply because they are big and bulky and are more of "toys" than actual things that someone needs on vacation.

Because of the nature of the clubs being breakable and their expense airlines are afraid to be held liable for hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars if they were to break on an airplane in flight.

I personally feel that if you take clubs with you on an airplane they are simply things you don not really need and take at your own risk and expense. If you are truly worried about clubs breaking while traveling invest in a large hard plastic carrying case. However, only do this if you are willing to pay the extra fees, which can amount to over one hundred dollars.

By TreeMan — On Nov 12, 2011

For people wanting to play golf on a vacation where they would have to travel on a plane, I would say it has to depend on the golfer in question.

If someone is just a weekend golfer or not even that I would say they should consider renting a set of clubs instead of going through the big hassle, which I know from experience, of lugging them through the airport and paying the extra fees to to the heavy weight of the clubs.

Also, one thing to consider is that golf clubs are something that can be broken or damaged and I have never trusted how airlines take care of passengers luggage. I almost refuse to sign anything requesting a damage waiver, due to the fact it will only be broken if it is not handled with care.

This is why I suggest that someone rent clubs when they go on vacation, unless they are a big time golfer, in which case they should get a hard plastic case to carry their clubs in. With this case it is very hard for the clubs to become damaged and eases your mind while you are on the plane.

By bagley79 — On Nov 11, 2011

If I am just going to be traveling with a few clubs, I prefer to use a golf travel bag that doesn't have wheels. I think the wheels make the bag more cumbersome to work with.

When I want to throw a few clubs in a bag I just use a cheap golf travel bag that is basically a soft carrying case.

This is less expensive than a bigger bag and easy to throw my clubs in and put in the trunk of the car or even the backseat.

By Mykol — On Nov 10, 2011

I know there are a lot of choices when it comes to travel golf bags, and everyone has their preference when it comes to a hard or soft bag.

The most important thing for me when it comes to a golf travel case is that it have wheels. It doesn't matter if I am hauling it through the airport or to a hotel room, I like to be able to pull it along on wheels.

This is so much easier than picking it up or throwing it over my shoulder. Since I like to use my own clubs when I golf, I travel with them quite often, and would never own another travel golf bag that doesn't have wheels.

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