Planning your next golf trip? If you're flying to your golf destination, here are some tips that can save you time, aggravation, and money.
First, clean out your golf bag . Remove any items you have not used during the last six rounds of golf. Get rid of old golf balls; remove any balls you will not use during your trip. Take a maximum of 4 tees for each round you plan to play. Take 2 ball marks. Take 1 pitch mark repair tool. Can you get rid of any clubs? Do you really need the 4-iron that you rarely use?
Pack golf shoes, your golf glove, and six golf balls in your carry-on bag. If your golf clubs are delayed, you can rent clubs at almost any course; but do you really want to buy another pair of shoes?
Protect yourself from theft. We hate to say it, but theft by baggage handlers is a reality. Some of our friends have had individual clubs (putters and drivers) stolen during air travel. Use a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved padlock on your golf travel bag to help deter thieves. You can get a TSA approved padlock on-line or at most stores that sell luggage. Look for the TSA logo on the lock to ensure it can be opened by a TSA agent. Otherwise, they will cut the lock if your bag is chosen for inspection.
Weigh your luggage before you leave home. Most airlines charge extra fees for bags weighing more than 50 pounds (22.6 kg). Redistribute items between your golf bag, your suitcase, and your carry-on bag so you do not have to take your bags apart in the terminal or pay for overweight bags.
Make sure your luggage tags are securely fastened to all your bags , including your golf bag and your carry-on. Then put a business card inside each piece of luggage. If your bag is misrouted, and the luggage tag gets torn off during handling, airport security will be able to contact you.
Buy travel insurance. Travel insurance is inexpensive, but it can save you a ton of money if you have to cancel your trip, your flight is delayed, or you or a family member has medical problems, or your clubs or luggage is lost.
Be prepared for bad weather. You're more likely to play golf in the rain when you're on a golf vacation than when you're playing at home. So here are some tips on what to do to be prepared for inclement weather:
- Change the spikes on your golf shoes before you leave home and put a couple of extra spikes and a spike-wrench in your golf bag. Beside giving you more stability during your swing, new spikes can make all the difference in the world if you're walking on slippery hills. A few extra spikes and the wrench weigh next-to-nothing and will come in handy if you lose a spike.
- Check the grips on your golf clubs, including your putter. If you have not changed your grips in over a year, it's time! In bad weather, a new grip can make the difference between hitting it stiff or watching your favorite wedge pin-wheel into a pond after it slips out of your hands.
- Invest in good rain gear, including a waterproof hat and rain gloves. Do not skimp on cheap rain gear or you might end up with gear that is not fully waterproof (just ask the members of the 2010 USA Ryder Cup team!) Put an umbrella in your bag.
- An extra golf glove, towel and socks are also good if you have room. Put them all in a zip-lock bag inside your golf bag to ensure you're not going to pull out soggy gear.
- Consider leaving your driver and fairway metal head covers at home and wrapping another towel around the club heads. This will ensure that your head covers do not get soaked if it rains or that your favorite head cover (the one your daughter bought you for your birthday) does not end up in the bin in some far-away starter's shack. And it also gives you an extra towel should the weather not cooperate. If you bring your head covers with you on the trip, consider leaving them in your travel bag, the trunk of your car, or in your room before heading to the golf course.
Hopefully, these tips will help you for your next golf trip to Florida, Myrtle Beach , Phoenix, Ireland, or wherever you may be traveling.