The Best Golf Travel Bags: 3 Options for Every Budget Level
Golf is a sport made for travel. It might be a golf-buddy trip or a bucket list dream vacation. These days many golfers are looking forward to retaking golf trips. What they probably aren’t looking forward to is how to travel with their clubs.
For any serious golfer, renting a set at the destination course isn’t a legitimate option. Services like Ship Sticks exist to deliver your clubs to you, but many might be hesitant given recent news on shipping delays across the country.
In the end, the simplest option might be to bring your clubs with you as luggage. To take this route, you’ll need a decent quality travel case to ensure your clubs are protected. Here are a few top options.
Best Premium Option: Sun Mountain ClubGlider Journey
There are two key factors in making a good travel bag. The first is protecting the golf clubs. The second is making the bag as easy to navigate through a crowded airport as possible. The ClubGlider Journey from Sun Mountain shines in both these areas.
The stand-out feature of the ClubGlider series is the retractable landing gear-like wheels that make the bag incredibly stable and easy to maneuver. When extended, the wheels give four points of contact with the ground, meaning the bag will stand up on its own and be steered through the crowds. Another bonus is that the setup allows you to load your golf bag into the ClubGlider without stooping over. The wheels fold into a recessed molded tray for travel.
For protection, the ClubGlider Journey has tough, padded polyester. While it’s not a hard case, it should still provide good protection for your gear. Additionally, the Journey model is designed to fit a stand bag or standard cart bag. For those with a staff bag or who want a lot of extra space to stow more golf gear, you may need to go for one of the larger ClubGlider options.
At $249.99, the ClubGlider Journey is definitely one of the more expensive travel bag options, but for frequent travelers, the convenience it provides is probably worth it.
Best Hard Case Protection: SKB Deluxe Standard Hard Traveling Case
While soft-sided cases with decent padding should provide adequate protection for air travel, flyers with horror stories about how their baggage has been handled might disagree. For those looking for a bit more indestructibility from a travel case, the SKB Deluxe Traveling Case should meet their needs.
SKB made the case from thick, hard-formed plastic. To back up their protection claims, SKB includes a “million-mile” guarantee against the case breaking and $1500 coverage for club damage during travel. With heavy-duty latches and a TSA-approved locking mechanism, the SKB case is built to last.
At 48″, the SKB case is about as long as you can find hard cases. Those with long-shafted drivers might want to measure the total length when it’s in the bag, though. Additionally, it’s important to note that hard cases like this are heavy. The SKB case weighs 16lbs on its own, so you’ll need to be careful to keep the bag under airline weight limits to avoid extra fees.
The SKB Deluxe Traveling Case is available for $234.95. This price is up there in the “premium” category for travel cases, but buyers should be wary of hard cases sold significantly cheaper. Most of these are made from thin, low-grade plastic, which can crack and break easily.
Best Budget Option: Amazon Basics Soft-Sided Golf Travel Bag
For the majority of golfers, travel with clubs is going to be infrequent. They might just be looking for an option for a single trip. In these situations, the Amazon Basics travel bag may work out just fine without breaking the bank.
The bag has soft sides and thick padding to help protect your clubs. Beyond that, the bag is as simple as you can get, with side pockets for additional storage and wheels for pulling through the airport. The Amazon Basics travel bag should handle a standard carry bag, a pair of shoes, and maybe a couple of changes of clothes without issue. The bag is an Amazon Choice selection with a ~4.5-star rating from over 1700 reviews.
Golfers with larger cart bags or staff bags might need to look for a larger option. Additionally, don’t expect the bag to hold up for more than a few trips. At just $60, though, the Amazon Basics travel bag provides a cost-effective option to fly with your clubs.
Best Soft Bag Accessory: Intech Crossbar Golf Travel Bag Support Rod
Soft-sided travel cases have a lot of advantages over hard case counterparts. They are lighter, easier to store, and generally can hold more stuff. Additionally, soft cases should protect your clubs just fine under most circumstances.
The one situation where a soft case won’t protect your clubs, though, is a compression impact on the top of the bag. For example, a baggage handler tosses the bag into hold on its side, and the bag slams into a wall or other bag. All that force might be taken by your longest club (the driver), and a shaft could snap. The solution to this problem has something longer in the bag to absorb the impact.
There are plenty of DIY solutions out there (like a broomstick and coat hanger). This travel bag support rod from Intech is a great option out of the box. It is fully adjustable up to 52″ to fit your bag. Additionally, the rod has a wide top cap to shield your clubs. This type of device is a must-have accessory for any soft-sided travel case.