Flying with Golf Clubs without a Travel Bag

Traveling can be a daunting task, especially if it is long distance with golf clubs.To save money, you may be thinking about traveling with golf clubs without a travel bag.

Anyone you’d ask would agree that air travel poses problems when it comes to how to pack the clubs for the journey.

Mid-trip, one of the biggest fears you’d have is losing your belongings. This is reasonable as it happens to the best of us, and when it does, it can be impossible to track your luggage.

How to Pack Golf Clubs for Air Travel

The fear of losing your belongings is amplified when you’re carrying valuables, leaving you constantly paranoid. If you’re a golfer, you probably feel this way about your clubs.

Not only are they important to you, but they are quite expensive, too. So, it would be a shame if they were stolen, lost in transit or most commonly, damaged.

It is impossible to prevent them from getting lost or stolen, but you can easily stop them getting damaged. That is why we’ll be discussing how to keep your clubs from harm’s way.

Advantages of Flying with Golf Clubs without a Travel Bag

You might consider not buying an expensive travel bag for your golf clubs and flying without one.

4  Reasons why you should fly without a travel bag:

  1. Save money: Obviously, the most cost effective way is bot to buy a golf travel bag.
  2. It’s heavy: Some travel bags can be heavy.
  3. Space: An additional travel bag takes up more space in your car, plane or hotel.
  4. Inconvenient: You don’t want to carry and extra bag, if you don’t need to

4 Reasons why you should definitely take a travel bag on your next flight:

  1. Damage: If you don’t have a dedicated bag for your golf clubs, you risk damaging them
  2. Protection: A bag is there to protect your irons from dust, rain or scratches.
  3. Size: You may not find another bag that is big enough for your golf clubs.
  4. Secure travel: golf travel bags are the most secure ways to travel with golf clubs.

If you are interested in golf travel bags, check out our guide.

How to Travel with Golf Clubs

You must always be prepared for risks. When you’re flying, you may encounter airline staff that is unhelpful, making communication very difficult if you find your golf clubs damaged. Although the airline has to compensate the damage if a hard bag was used, they may refuse at first.

They might say the goods were damaged before the flight, thus, blaming you for sabotage.

This situation has arisen numerous times with people who’ve flown with their clubs.

That’s why we’ve come up with a trick to help deal with this:

  • Take a picture of the clubs before air travel. This would prove that you didn’t place already damaged items in the bag.
  • If you want to take it further, you can open the bag, and shoot a video at the airport itself.

Now, the airline’s management can’t protest as you have adequate proof.

How Do You Arrange Clubs In The Bag?

With your clubs and desired bag in hand, you’re ready to put them in position. First, get your hands on some bubble wrap.

You need to wrap each club with a layer of bubble wrap, using a piece of fabric as extra cushioning between the clubs. You can take this further by wrapping the whole assortment in a final layer. Instead of this last layer of bubble wrap, you can place the cushioned clubs in a box, stuffing them into the bag.

This final step is not important for a hard-shelled bag but applies when you carry a softer one.

Treat the bag (both options) like a fragile parcel, so cover the top with packing paper. This acts as a final layer of cushioning, readily done by retailers that ship out products.

Golfers created the stiff arm to reduce damage to their clubs when traveling. It is a metal rod that comes in many sizes, so you need to get one that is longer than your longest golf club. Place it inside the bag, right in the center. It acts as a sponge, absorbing any force exerted on the luggage.

When you place the clubs, position the head towards the opening. This prevents any damage from occurring while you’re walking.

Where Do You Place The Bag?

When you’re boarding the plane, try and place the bag on top of your other belongings. This is essential to prevent anything from knocking into it, thus, keeping it damage-free.

Related: Taylormade M3 vs M4 Irons – What is the Difference?

Consider Buying a Travel Bag Anyway

Obviously, you can’t place the clubs in just any suitcase. They’d wouldn’t fit, and would easily be damaged if you’re too rough with it.

Therefore, use luggage specifically designed for carrying golf clubs. Now, there are two options available for this:

They are soft carrying bags and hard-shelled ones.

1. Hard Shelled Bags

As you can imagine, these would provide you with the most protection. The outer layer is made from hardened plastic, protecting your precious clubs from damage.

The bags alone are heavy. So, they’ll weigh much more with the addition of the clubs in them. This will make it uncomfortable to carry around.

Moreover, it would be hard to store. The bag is stiff due to the hardened plastic, so, it can’t fit into tight spaces. You’d have to work hard just to find appropriate space to fit it.

If you’re considering getting your hands on one of these, know they’re expensive as well. Compared to their soft-cased counterpart, the price is much higher because of the safety ensured.

Unfortunately, nothing is certain, so your clubs may get damaged inside the case. If this happens, there is good news. The airline will reimburse the amount because of  the case’s protective presence as they know the damage must have been caused by them.

Now let’s move onto soft golf bags.

2. Soft Cased Bags

They do not come with a hard plastic case but have a fabric exterior. So, there’s no protective barrier against the clubs and the outside world. Because of this, it is not the best option if safety is your ultimate requirement.

However, it makes carrying golf clubs very easy. As the bag is made from a soft textile, you can easily move it, fitting it into most spaces with ease.

As it doesn’t wear a shell, it is comparatively lighter. This means you can carry more clubs and always have the bag on you, without being weighed down.

Which Bag Is The Best?

From the above-mentioned points it’s obvious why a hard-cased bag is the best choice to store your clubs in during air travel. To summarize:

  • They have a protective exterior
  • Damages insured by airline
  • You can rest easy when traveling

However, a soft bag is also great, because:

  • It’s lightweight
  • Can carry more golf clubs
  • Cheaper alternative

Questions and Answers

How do you travel with golf clubs without a bag? If you want to travel with golf clubs without a bag, you will have to pack them in another type of bag. However make sure to check the airline fees and limitations first, because so airlines will consider it an oversized bag.

Do you need a golf travel bag to fly? No. You can pack them in any time of bag, just make sure it’s safe. Keep in mind that most airlines allow up to 50 pounds however some budget airlines allow only 40.

Can you take golf clubs on a plane? Yes, you can take golf clubs on a plane as checked baggage. Some airlines consider it an oversized bag.

How much does it cost to fly with golf clubs? First of all a fun fact: according to Forbes, it is no cheaper to ship your clubs, instead of flying with them. It can cost you $35 – $150 to fly with your golf clubs.

Do airlines charge extra for golf bags? If you bag is within their limitations (weight and size), then they will not charge you extra.


You can see that traveling with golf clubs really isn’t a very difficult task. There are many things you can do to prevent them from getting damaged. So, If you follow the above-mentioned points, you’re sure to have a stress-free trip.



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