Traveling to play golf courses all around the world is one of the great joys of playing this game. Unfortunately it requires lugging around your bag and clubs, which presents a huge problem for almost every player. Several years ago, Ship Sticks entered the marketplace to ease this headache for golfers, and I recently tried out their shipping service.
There is simply nothing worse than dragging around a 30-40 pound golf bag through an airport. Additionally, the anxiety of waiting for your prized possessions to show up at baggage claim is not fun either. Every golfer can sympathize with that moment when you unzip your travel case and hope to see fourteen clubs completely in tact.
Ship Sticks seeks to take this undesirable process off your hands by acting as an intermediary between some of the major shipping carriers, and making sure that your clubs go from Point A to Point B in a timely, safe fashion.
I am in a situation that many of you reading this can sympathize with (when it comes to travel).
I’m married, and have two young children. When we travel anywhere the amount of luggage that is required is mind blowing. Car seats, diapers, bottles, wipes, clothes…it’s quite tiring just thinking about it.
This past holiday season we took an extended trip down to Florida. Calculating the space required for a trip to the airport, it became quickly apparent that there was no space to even fit my clubs in the car.
Ship Sticks was always in the back of my mind, so I decided it was time to give them a whirl. While some golfers use their service merely for the convenience, it was a necessity for me on this trip.
There was no way I was going to get my clubs down to Florida unless I shipped them.
To clarify any misconceptions, Ship Sticks is not an actual shipping carrier. They are an intermediary for golfers to book the shipment of their clubs with major companies like Fedex and UPS.
The process of setting up a shipment is fairly straightforward on their site.
You can either have your clubs picked up from your house or drop them off at a UPS or Fedex location. Additionally, you can set up your destination to a residential or business address.
Ship Sticks has existing relationships with thousands of golf facilities around the world, which makes things even easier. You can send your clubs straight to the course, and have them waiting for you when you arrive (they recommend contacting the course beforehand to make sure they know they are coming).
I found the process of setting up shipment to be quite easy. Within 10 minutes I had arranged a round-trip shipment to Florida.
When you are finished they will alert you which shipping company you will actually be using (UPS or Fedex), and details about arranging the clubs for pickup or dropping them off.
Personally I chose to drop the clubs off to a local UPS location. I would caution you to expect some extra expenses if you ask a UPS store to properly box up your clubs. You have the option of just sending them in a travel bag, but I was a bit paranoid that it wasn’t enough. So I paid an extra $20 to have them place my travel bag in a box with shipping peanuts.
While you get $1000 of insurance included, I also chose to add $3500 of additional insurance just to be on the safe side.
Here were the total costs of my shipment:
UPS Ground Shipping Round Trip - $120
Packing Expenses - $20
Extra Insurance - $10
Long story short – I packed up my golf clubs and slapped a UPS label on the box. They showed up in Florida unharmed, and returned to my house unharmed.
Why Use Ship Sticks?
There are two basic questions that most people would have about Ship Sticks:
1) Why wouldn’t you just arrange shipment with UPS or Fedex directly?
There are a few ways to answer this, but I’ll hit the larger points of what value Ship Sticks actually provides:
- They use their bulk purchasing power to arrange lower shipment prices from UPS and Fedex. You can pay as much as 40-60% more if you went to them directly because golf clubs are so heavy, and generally that is charged at a larger premium than smaller shipments.
- You get shipment protection if your clubs are delayed for any reasons. Ship Sticks will actually pay for rental clubs, balls, etc if your clubs don’t show up on time.
- You get $1000 of insurance without any extra cost (you can pay for more). UPS and Fedex would only give you $100.
- Ship Sticks employs third party logistics companies who can act as a courier service to pick up your clubs if they get held up at a UPS or Fedex warehouse to make sure your clubs arrive to your destination.
- While I didn’t experience it on my shipment, if anything goes wrong you have someone to talk to at Ship Sticks customer service whereas anyone who contacts UPS or Fedex customer service knows it’s a painful process.
- You have the option to have your clubs picked up at home at no extra cost
Ship Sticks has tried to create a layer of value and customer service that UPS and Fedex would not offer a golf customer directly.
2) Why would you use Ship Sticks rather than just bite the bullet and bring your clubs on your flight?
Let’s take a look at the cost factor.
There is no question that you are going to pay more using Ship Sticks than if you checked your clubs on most airline carriers. If you take a look at this summary of baggage frees from Kayak, you can see that the cost for a checked bag (let’s assume you will have to check two) is going to run between $50-$80 round trip.
With the way things are going with the airlines that number will likely increase over time.
Now let’s compare those costs to a quote from Ship Sticks.
Here are the costs to ship my clubs from New York to Florida. You can see that things can add up pretty quickly (as much as $300 round trip to overnight them).
It all comes down to a matter of convenience really. Are you willing to pay a bit more, and not deal with the hassle and worry of traveling with your golf clubs?
Personally I can’t answer that question for you, but I can tell you that after using Ship Sticks, it is a pretty nice convenience.
That’s not to say that nothing can go wrong using their service. Your clubs could still get damaged in transit, or not show up on time. However, you’ve got a company behind you that will do everything in their power to prevent that from happening.
Overall I think their service is worth it for golfers who are willing to spend the extra money to remove a major headache. I had an extremely positive experience using their service, and if you want to find out the cost for your next trip you can get a quick quote on their site here.