Are you a golf enthusiast who likes to travel?
If so, you’re likely wondering how much it costs to bring your clubs with you on your next flight.
Airlines often charge generous fees for checked baggage, and those fees can add up quickly if you’re traveling with a lot of luggage.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the airline fees for checking golf clubs, as well as some tips for saving money on airline baggage fees, and we’ll deep dive into some interesting questions golfers ask.
Whether you’re planning a vacation or just taking a business trip, read on to learn more about flying with your golf clubs.
Shipping Fees on different airlines
|Airline||Overweight Bags Cost||Weight Limits|
|American Airlines||$150||50 lbs (23 kg)|
|Delta||$150-200||50 lbs (23 kg) – 70 lbs (31 kg)|
|Southwest Airlines||$75||50 lbs – 100 lbs (45 kgs)|
|United Airlines||$100-$150||50 lbs or 70 lbs with Business Class|
|British Airways||$100||50 lbs (23 kg)|
|JetBlue||$150||51 lbs – 99 lbs (44 kg)|
Let’s look at one of the major airlines in the space. You can travel with 1 bag (per passenger) which includes: golf clubs, balls, tees, and a pair of shoes. If you travel with American Airlines, you won’t be able to bring a swing-less golf club.
As long as you’re golf bag does not exceed 50lbs (23 Kg) you’ll enjoy the standard check luggage, which should be around $30 to $50 in most cases. For overweight bags, a $150 fee might apply. Yes, even if your bag is 51 lbs. So try to pack only the necessary.
Like American Airlines, for golf bags under or at 50 lbs of weight or 115 linear inches (length + width + height), these will be treated like standard luggage at the base fee.
The base fee starts at $30. For second baggage the fee increases to $40. Both are under 50 lbs or 115 inches combined. For overweight baggage, the fee is $100 for bags between 51 and 71 lbs. If the bags weigh more than 70 lbs, then the fees increase to $200.
Southwest airlines make a clear point stating that checking golf gear on soft cases might be accepted but after consideration. So it’s to play it safe and protect all the equipment in hard case travel bags.
For overweight or oversized checked luggage, a $75 fee will apply for luggage between 50 and 100 lbs.
Similar to American Airlines and Delta, United airlines strongly recommends enclosing golf gear in a rigid case to protect the content.
Although it might sound obvious, it’s always best to minimize scratches or dings on your valuable clubs.
The standard checked bag fee is, again, 50 lbs for economy passengers. If you travel in Business or First class, that limit increases to 70 lbs. Anything beyond that will be charged as overweight.
Overweight fees will be charged from $100 to $150 for a maximum of 115 linear inches (length + width + height).
British Airways’ checked baggage allowance is pretty generous, but it could also depend on your ticket type and destination. As usual, they allow luggage up to 50 lbs.
Baggage heavier than 50 lbs will be charged extra at $100 per luggage and one-way trip. Round-trip would be charged twice.
JetBlue offers varied travel options when it comes to luggage. Depending on your ticket you could have 1 bag for free. If not, the basic fee starts at $35 per bag and one-way trip.
They do offer a $5 discount if you add up to 2 checked bags in advance. In this case, you should book the checked bags within more than 24h of departure.
Besides the basic cost, oversized or overweight bags will be charged $150 per bag and trip. This is pricey compared to other airlines, so we’d suggest sticking to the weight and size limit.
Do airlines charge extra for shipping golf clubs?
In most cases, airlines will charge a fee for checked baggage, regardless of what type of bag it is. However, there are some exceptions.
For example, American Airlines, United, or Delta will not charge a fee for checked golf clubs if they are under 50 lbs and fit within the standard dimensions for checked baggage (62 linear inches/157 cm).
If your set of golf clubs is over 50 lbs or doesn’t meet the size requirements, you may be charged an overweight or oversized baggage fee. These fees can range from $50-$200 per bag and one-way trip.
Make sure to always read the checked bag fees of your destination as these can greatly vary.
Great Alternatives for Shipping Golf Clubs
To avoid some of these high fees, you could consider shipping your golf clubs ahead of time using a service like ShipSticks or UPS. These can be a great option if you’re traveling to multiple destinations or plan on playing golf often during your trip at different golf resorts.
Both Ship Sticks and UPS offer package tracking, so you can easily keep an eye on your clubs while they’re in transit.
For reference, shipping your clubs from Ohio to Florida (a one-way trip) starts at $65 by ground, and takes 4 business days to deliver. The same trip in 2 Business days sits at $144.
Another example is shipping from New York to California, which starts at %75 with 6 days delivery, $144 for 2 days delivery, and $179 for ‘Next day Delivery’.
As you can see, the quotes are pretty tight to their service.
Here’s how ShipSticks works:
- Visit Shipsticks website and select the destination and dates.
- Print and attach the shipping labels on each of the bags you plan to ship.
- After that, you can either drop off the bags yourself or have ShipSticks pick them up at your home. NOTE: The latter might not be available in certain areas.
- Once shipped, you can track your luggage anytime.
- Pick up your luggage at the destination.
When deciding whether to fly with your golf clubs or ship them ahead of time, consider the cost of shipping versus the fees you would pay to check your clubs at the airport. In many cases, it’ll be less expensive to ship your clubs than it is to pay the airline fees. And who likes all the hassle to wait and check the bags?
Tips for saving when flying with golf clubs
Flying with golf clubs doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a few tips to help you save money:
1. Check with your airline before booking your flight to find out their policy on flying with golf clubs. Some airlines charge a fee, while others allow you to bring your clubs for free. This will make a big difference since some airlines can easily charge $150-$200 per trip and bag.
2. If your airline charges a fee, consider shipping your golf clubs instead. This can be a cheaper option, especially if you’re flying with multiple bags. Extra bags at some airlines cost $80 each, which can quickly add up.
3. If you decide to bring your golf clubs on the plane, make sure to pack them properly. This will help avoid any damage during transport. Also important, make sure your clubs are covered by travel insurance in case they are lost or stolen while you’re away.
4. Be sure to check the weight and size restrictions of your golf clubs before checking them. Many airlines have strict limits on how much weight you can bring on the plane. It’s always wise to err on the side of caution to avoid any hefty fees.
5. As you probably know, traveling during the off-season can also help you save money. If your plane ticket includes free luggage up to 50 lbs, paying less for the same ticket in the off-season will surely make you happier.
Following these tips can help you save a bit of money that you can invest in the entrance fee for some country clubs. With a little planning, you can make sure your golf clubs arrive safely and without breaking the bank.
How do you prepare and protect golf clubs for travel?
1. To avoid dents or dings on your gear, use preferably hard cases for extra protection. This is also good if you’re planning on shipping your golf clubs by plane as most airlines won’t cover damages if you use soft cases.
2. If your clubs allow, remove the club heads from their shafts. Before unscrewing, mark their setting so all clubs will be adapted to your game easily. Put the heads back on their head covers and keep them safe in the golf bag or another suitcase.
3. Now comes the moment to protect your clubs, like irons, wedges, putters etc. You can use a towel or even bubble wrap placed around the club heads and fix it with tape.
4. Use a stiff arm or a broomstick for instance. But always make sure it’s taller or longer than your golf clubs. This item will absorb all possible impacts.
Do you need a golf travel bag?
If you’re shipping or flying with golf clubs, we suggest using a high-quality travel bag to protect your precious golf clubs. The last thing we want as golfers are for our clubs to get damaged en route to our vacation or business trip.
These bags typically have a padded interior and room for a few other items like golf balls, tees, and even shoe pockets.
Some airlines allow you to check one golf bag as one of your free checked bags, while others charge a fee. If you’re flying with golf clubs, be sure to check with your airline in advance to find out their policy and fees.
Can you check golf clubs without a travel bag?
The short answer is no, you do not have to buy a golf travel bag in order to check your clubs.
You can simply use your own bag that you typically use to transport your clubs around the course.
However, we strongly recommend using a golf travel bag when checking your clubs as it will offer much better protection during transit.
It really is a wise investment. What if one or several of your golf clubs arrive at your destination bent, broken or damaged?
Do golf clubs come out at baggage claim?
Yes, they will probably be dropped on the standard carousel where all the other suitcases come out.
Be patient and wait until all the pieces have come out before starting to look for yours. If by any chance your golf clubs haven’t come out, go to the Lost and Found counter.
Should I remove my driver’s head when travelling?
Yes, it’s always best to unscrew the head of your driver and any other clubs that can be taken apart.
This will avoid any accidental damage that could happen during transit. Once you get to your destination, simply screw the heads back on and you’ll be good to go!
Always make sure to mark the club settings before unscrewing them so you can easily put them back together.
What happens if an airline loses my golf clubs?
In most cases, you qualify for compensation if your golf equipment has been delayed or lost for more than 24 hours.
You should file a claim detailing the specifics of what happened and the content in your golf bag.
Note, however, that most airlines have compensation limits. For US domestic flights, the highest compensation is $3,800.
For international flights, is set at $1,780.
Can you carry-on golf clubs on a plane?
Airlines don’t approve golf clubs as hand luggage as they could potentially be used as a weapon. You will most likely have to check it in as luggage and pay the checked baggage fee if your flight ticket does not include a free checked suitcase.
Always make sure to read and check the airline’s policy and regulations before flying with your golfing gear, especially the sections that talk about overweight and oversized bags.
Here you have some of the most popular airlines and their luggage policies:
It’s time to pack your clubs and hit the road. But, before you do, make sure you protect your investment with some of our best tips for traveling with golf clubs.
By following these simple guidelines, you can be assured that your clubs will arrive at your destination in the same condition as when they left home. If you have any questions or need help preparing your clubs for travel, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Have a great trip – just be sure not to leave your drivers at home!