If you’re hitting the road for a girls’ golf trip in the 48 states or scheduling family travel internationally or to Hawaii or Alaska, the question to ask is whether or not to bring your own clubs.
A full golf bag can certainly weigh you down and take up space in your car but leaving them home and playing with a rented set isn’t ideal for your game. So, what’s a golfer to do? The good news is that having your golf clubs shipped to your destination is easier than you think. It’s a convenient option that can save your time (and your back) while allowing you to have your trusty sticks with you wherever you play.
Here’s the low-down on shipping your golf clubs, ladies.
1. Choosing a Shipping Service
There are several services available that specialize in shipping golf clubs, such as Ship Sticks, Luggage Forward, and FedEx. It's important to research the different options and compare prices to find the best service for your needs. Whether you use the online fee calculator for each service or call their customer service line, just be sure they answer all your questions so you aren’t hit with any surprises.
Here’s how the shipping services stack up:
Extra Baggage Airlines
Where They Ship:
180 countries and anywhere in the domestic US.
Worldwide to 200 countries, domestically to any zip code in the 50 US states, and any golf course worldwide.
Anywhere in North America and many locations worldwide.
Where ever you’re traveling since they are stowed under the plane in the cargo hold.
Base rate for ground shipping as low as $44.99 for a standard golf bag under 42 lbs.
Pricing increases dependent on weight, destination, and transit time/speed of shipping.
$164.99 for next day delivery. $74.99 for ground.
Domestic ground shipping rate of $109 for small golf bag (under 45 lbs) and $119 for large golf bag (55 lbs).
Prices increase based on destination.
Offers rate matching plus $25.
Packing: Specialty golf club box is $14.99 on it’s own.
Packing service with specialty box is $26.99.
Fragile packing with extra cushioning and a “FRAGILE” label is $31.99
Depending on shipping service level, you could be paying between $100 each way for domestic ground shipping and several hundred for expedited shipping.
Fees for 2nd and 3rd bags can run between $35 and $150 depending on airline.
Factor in overweight and oversized luggage fees between $75 and $200 for each consideration and your total could easily run into the hundreds of dollars.
$1,000 complimentary insurance with additional coverage up to $10,000 for a fee.
$500 complimentary and up to an additional coverage up to $25,000 available for a fee.
$100 Complimentary insurance with more available for a fee.
Insurance options vary by airline but they are required to compensate passengers if bags are damaged, delayed, or lost up to $3800.
Check with your individual airline about available insurance.
Next day availability and options up to ground shipping (normally within 4-5 days).
Options for ground within 5 business days and up to one business day for express.
Same day, overnight, 2-day, and ground shipping (can take between 1 and 7 business days) options available depending on destination.
Day of travel but account for extra time at check in and baggage claim.
Proper packaging is essential to ensure that your golf clubs arrive at your destination in good condition. While you can choose between a soft travel bag, hard case, or a box, it’s best to confirm with your chosen shipping service about their requirements. Some services require that golf clubs be shipped in a hard-sided case, which can be rented or purchased. If you’ve purchased a hard case or use a box for your clubs, you cut down on worry about packing materials since you won’t need to provide as much wrapping for the bag itself.
Pack the clubs securely with bubble wrap or foam padding to prevent damage during transit. Cushion all around and between the clubs, especially the club heads, to minimize shifting and jostling. This helps ensure they won’t knock against one another and cause damage. Consider removing the heads from your clubs, especially drivers and fairway woods or use club covers to minimize dings or nicks.
If you are using a hard case or box, ensure there is cushioning below and on top of the bag before sealing so it won’t be tumbled around inside.
3. Shipping Time
Shipping time varies depending on the service and the destination. Most services offer expedited shipping for an additional fee along with more affordable ground transit that can take several days for delivery. Be sure to plan ahead and allow enough time for your clubs to arrive before your tee time.
Compare the on-time guarantees for each service. It’s no fun to do all the work of planning ahead only to have your clubs held up and not arrive on time. Ship Sticks offers a $200 late bag policy to cover club rentals. Luggage Forward offers double your money back if there is any delay in delivery barring some limitations such as Customs delays and extreme weather.
Using a shipping service eases the hassle of drop-off by using local locations or even doorstep pick-up options versus lugging your clubs to the airport. Getting your clubs home can be easy too with shipping service pick-ups available from hotel, golf course, and even a cruise ship!
Consider purchasing insurance for your shipment in case your clubs are lost or damaged during transit. Some shipping services include a base level of insurance in their pricing, while others offer it as an add-on.
Look into the process for each to verify if there is a maximum liability. For instance, airlines won’t exceed repair costs or depreciated value and will negotiate reimbursement costs based on the value of the lost or damaged bag. It’s important to know the process for filing a claim to determine if you’ll end up with even more of a hassle trying to get reimbursed.
Shipping your golf clubs can be expensive, especially if you're shipping internationally or using expedited shipping. Factor in the cost of shipping when planning your golf trip to avoid any unexpected expenses. This means planning out your trip ahead of time to avoid expedited shipping and inquiring about all potential situations so you aren’t surprised with hidden fees or double fees.
For instance, if you want delivery arranged to a hotel or resort, call to confirm their policy on accepting packages for guests. You’d hate to have your golf clubs turned away because you weren’t hip about whether you must already be checked in for the destination to take receipt.
There can also be associated fees for processing and holding a package so confirm ahead of time with your hotel. This service is often arranged through the clubhouse or pro shop so just confirm and know before you go. This is a standard service with Luggage Forward and Ship Sticks so you don’t have to fuss with coordinating drop-off/pick up.
If you're shipping your clubs internationally, you may need to deal with Customs regulations and fees. Make sure to research the customs requirements for your destination country and prepare any necessary documentation to avoid delays or extra fees.
One extra service that separates some services from others is the white glove treatment that is completing Customs forms on your behalf. Ship Sticks and Luggage Forward both take on this responsibility to make your travel as easy as possible.
Be aware that all bags going through Customs will need to remain unlocked and know that how you have packed your golf bag can potentially lead to delays. We’ve heard the tip to use extra clothing and non-golf items as packing materials for your clubs but this practice can cause hold ups both at airline check in counters (some limit the number of clubs and balls you can stow in your bag!) and with Customs.
Most shipping services provide tracking information so you can monitor the progress of your shipment. Make sure to keep an eye on your tracking information and notify the shipping service immediately if there are any issues with your shipment.
So what does all this mean for you? Well, your golf trip just got a whole lot easier. Doing your homework and choosing an inclusive shipping service can save you time, money, and wear and tear on your clubs so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
What’s next? Enjoy!
There’s nothing better than a golf getaway, so however you choose to manage the golf club logistics: enjoy!