It’s off-season for many golfers in the northern states of the us. Period to take a break from those early morning tee times and take some time to do some “in-door” golf, i.e. at computer-generated golf courses or with a temporary indoor putting green within the middle of the living room.
For those golfers determined to play year-round and 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. (Several years ago, traveling to Hilton Head for golf, one of the women in our group had the head of her very expensive driver snapped off when 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 amount was not equal to the expense of replacement. – That is another story.) The point is that your clubs represent a large investment and they need to be protected whenever you travel.
So which bag is best? Hard case? Soft case? Your decision might rely upon simply how much you travel with your golf clubs, just how much extra space you need for shoes, balls, towels, etc. (I stuff all kinds of extra stuff in my bag, including my bed pillow! which helps give just a little extra padding. And with the airline carriers charging you extra for that second bag anyway, why not stuff the golf travel bag with clothes as well?)
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 makes it easy to maneuver. Check to be sure the padding is extra thick to protect your clubs and choose a bag which has many extra pockets with solid zippers so you can carry all those “extra” items.
This kind of bag may be used both the golf course and while traveling. Look for one that offers all the features of a cart bag, and has a rigid “helmet” you can add whenever you take it on the road. Choose a bag with in-line wheels for an easier time crossing those long airport lobbies.
This kind 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 make sure to test the bag strap for easy carrying and also the wheels for a smooth glide. On the homepage of this site is where you can get more information.
The bottom line in deciding which sort of golf travel bag you purchase depends upon the amount of traveling you plan on doing, simply how much protection you need, and the value of your clubs. Soft cases with plenty of padding are lighter, and simpler to handle, and they protect your clubs in most circumstances. Hard cases are often heavier but promise better protection, although also they can snap open unless you add strapping for security. Nearly every travel case can fit 14 clubs plus your golf bag, but should 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 a variety of web pages to view what they offer. But as usual, 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.