It’s off-season for many golfers within the northern states of the us. Period to take a break from those early morning tee times and take time to do some “in-door” golf, i.e. at computer-generated golf courses or with a short-term indoor putting green within the middle of the living room.
For those golfers determined to play all year round and also are traveling south to warmer climes, a golf travel bag becomes a necessary purchase. Whether you are traveling by plane or train, your golf clubs need protection. (A number of years ago, traveling to Hilton Head for golf, among the women in our group had the head of her very expensive driver snapped off whenever a careless baggage handler tossed her golf travel bag onto the tarmac. The airline gave her some monetary compensation, but as the driver was not brand-new, the total amount was not equal to the cost of replacement. – That is another story.) The point is the fact that your clubs represent a large investment and they need to be protected when you travel.
So which bag is best? Hard case? Soft case? Your choice might rely on the amount you travel with your golf clubs, how much extra space you may need for shoes, balls, towels, etc. (I stuff all kinds of extra stuff in my bag, including my bed pillow! which helps give a little extra padding. And with the airlines charging you extra for that second bag anyway, why not stuff the golf travel bag with clothes also?)
Here are a few types of travel bags you could consider using on your next golf trip.
This style is employed by more touring professionals on the PGA, Champions, and LPGA tours – choose a bag with wheels that can make it easy to maneuver. Check to be sure the padding is extra thick to protect your clubs and choose a bag which has lots of extra pockets with solid zippers so you can carry all those “extra” items.
This sort of bag can be used both the golf course and while traveling. Look for one that offers all the features of a cart bag, and it has a rigid “helmet” you may add when you take it on the road. Choose a bag with in-line wheels for an easier time crossing those long airport lobbies.
This sort of bag has a cloth cover but should be reinforced with some interior lamination, usually using PVC. Soft sides should be well padded. Quilted material is best. And be sure to test the bag strap for easy carrying and also the wheels for a smooth glide. Follow this link to find out more on the topic.
The bottom line in deciding which sort of golf travel bag you purchase will depend on the amount of traveling you plan on doing, simply how much protection you will need, as well as the value of your clubs. Soft cases with a lot of padding are lighter, and easier to handle, and they protect your clubs in many circumstances. Hard cases are often heavier but promise better protection, although they may snap open unless you add strapping for security. Virtually every travel case can fit 14 clubs plus your golf bag, but if you have an extra long driver, be sure the length of the travel bag can accommodate it. You do not want to leave that special club at home!
Ask your golfing friends. Visit an assortment of web sites to find out what they offer. But as always, you get what you pay for. Do you really want to put your thousand dollar clubs inside a twenty nine dollars bag you bought at the local Big Lots.