Top 5 Reasons to Bring Golf Clubs when you Travel
Do you normally bring your own set of clubs when you travel?
Reason # 1 - Affordability
Most golf courses you travel to will have rental clubs for you to rent. If you are travelling to the Big Island of Hawaii, the Waikoloa Beach Resort offers rental clubs at $55 for the first round and $35 for subsequent rounds. They have both men and ladies' clubs for rent and they even specify the type, 2013 Nike Covert clubs. Nike irons are as good as the next set of irons but they do play differently than your own set.
Clubs are not equal and feel different from set to set. If you feel you can hit anything, go to a local golf shop and try hitting clubs from different manufacturers. In no time, you will discover whether you can hit one set better than the next.
Remember Rory McIlroy, World No. 1 when he switched to Nike brand? He had to adjust his swing and rediscover how to work the ball with his new set of irons. He found hitting a set of Nike irons was different than what he was used to. Eventually he got used to them but for awhile, he played as though he was new to the game.
You can see renting clubs at golf courses is not economical. Renting a set for one day is double the price of the luggage fee ($25) that airlines charge. It is only convenient if you play just one round but if you want to play subsequent rounds and on multiple courses then the rental of clubs can get expensive.
Reason # 2 - Accessories are not included
Most rental sets consist of a putter, SW, PW, 9-iron, 8-iron, 7-iron, 6-iron, 5-iron, 3-wood, 5-wood and driver with graphite shafts. Some courses have both men and ladies' sets but some of the smaller outfits only have men sets.
But missing from a rental set are the essentials that you need to play a round of golf with. Golf shoes, gloves, tees and balls are items that you have to pick up. Most courses sell shoes rather than rent them so expect to pay premium for a pair of shoes that you need to play with.
Reason # 3 - Availability
Most courses have a limited number of rental sets on hand. Palm Royale Country Club in La Quinta, CA for instance carries 3 sets of men clubs and 3 sets of ladies' club which may sound sufficient but they manage to rent them all on busy days. You may have tee times but no rental sets available when you check in. That would be a bummer!
Most courses do not take reservations for rental clubs. It is a first-come-first-serve basis, so if you need rental clubs for the day, be sure to check in early. That is the price you have to pay when you don't have your own set.
Reason # 4 - Costly
Golfing on vacation can get expensive if every round depends upon renting clubs. The $50 surcharge on top of green fees and a cart will drain the pocket book relatively fast.
An alternative is to rent your clubs from a Sport Rental company. In Hawaii, rental clubs are available from Snorkel Bob's who have golf equipment as well as water sport equipment. At Snorkel Bob's, there are regular sets and premium sets. Regular sets are a mish-mash of clubs from different manufacturers whereas premium sets are brand name equipment. Snorkel Bob's provides weekly rentals for about the price of a 2-day rental from a course.
Reason # 5 - Lack of Fitting
If your arsenal includes hybrids, chippers and longer irons then you might be out of luck. Golf courses try to accommodate the masses by owning sets that both men and ladies can use. They choose graphite shafts because either gender can play the same set of irons.
Lacking are exotic clubs with specific shaft flexes that you may have in your own bag. If you require steel shafts or a certain stiffness in your woods then you are better off with your own clubs.
Tips and Advice
Here are some packing suggestions:
- Find a sturdy travel bag to carry your clubs. There are two types of bags available: golf travel cover and a golf travel bag. Make sure you choose the latter. A good travel bag will be made of thick padded material.
- To prevent your shafts (especially graphite) to be broken or snapped in half, use a towel and intertwine it between the shafts in your golf bag. Make sure the clubs don't move around or fall out when your golf bag is turned upside down.
- Bring a minimum number of balls with you because of the weight restriction of the bag. If you are travelling to a destination where there is a Walmart or K-mart to buy golf balls then bring 2 sleeves at the most (ie. to cover your first round).
- Sometimes TSA will take apart your golf travel bag to see what you have packed. Make it easy for them by keeping everything together in your golf bag. Put gloves, balls and even your shoes inside your golf bag. Reduce the amount of loose pieces that may be lost or forgotten when the bag is repacked.
- If you have other sport items (eg. snorkel gear), put them in a bag then pack the bag into the golf travel bag.