The week long golf trip you have wanted to take for years is finally going to happen, and you cannot wait. Whether you are going to Florida, the Carolina’s, Arizona, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Bandon, or Hawaii, it is going to be a great trip. One of the things to consider as your prepare for this par filled adventure (remember you are still at par at this point) is how to best pack your prized clubs for traveling. The purpose of this article is to review different types of golf club travel cases and point out some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
There are basically three types of travel cases. Soft sided, hard sided, and all-in-one travel bags and then within each type there is a broad range of features and prices. Once you decide which type is right for you, choose that which provides the features you want within your budget.
All-In-One Travel Cases. These cases are both regular golf bags, ideally for use with a motorized golf cart or push cart and feature a regular golf bag at the bottom, with a hard cover that latches on to protect the club heads. These are not bags that you would want to carry, as they are generally going to be heavier. These offer excellent club protection, however the there no real protection provided to the bag portion of the case as it is exposed. The advantages are that you really don’t have to store a travel case when it is not in use since it can serve as a regular golf bag. Another advantage is when it used when not traveling, it provides greater club protection that a regular stand or cart bag out of the travel case. These bags tend to work very well for people who travel and play frequently, and when playing at home tend to use a golf cart.
Soft Sided Travel Cases. Soft sided travel cases are generally made of denier nylon or heavy canvas like material, are light weight and offer various degrees of club protection. Lower priced cases generally do not provide any padded or reinforced protection at the top for the club heads. If one of the less expensive bags, you can still achieve good club head protection by wrapping spare clothing (sweaters, sweatshirts, etc.) around the club heads. The advantages of the soft sided travel cases are: 1) require significantly less storage space when not in use while traveling or at home (most even come packaged in sturdy live resin carts boxes that can be used for storing the case); 2) lightweight; 3) wide variety to choose from; 4) most are roomy enough to pack additional gear (shoes, foul weather gear, etc) in them as well.
Hard Sided Travel Cases: Made of fiberglass or fiberglass like resin, most hard sided cases are will provide maximum protection for your clubs. These are made with some type of foam padding at the top to provide even greater club head protection. The down side is they take up a lot of space when traveling or stored at home. I have also seen cases that have cracked from rough handling by luggage crews, and while most manufacturers have warranties covering this type of damage, it can make the flight home difficult.
One other note on travel cases. While there is nothing wrong with name brand cases marketed by club manufacturers, they really don’t provide any more protection than cases provided by independent manufacturers, yet they can cost $100 or more. Personally, I think this $100 or more could be put to a better use, like a new putter.