There are few more enjoyable things in life than a golf trip with mates.
The feeling of packing up your clubs in preparation for spending a few days on the fairways, beer in one hand and driver in the other, is pure bliss.
Some would even call it heaven.
If you’re reading this, it means a golfing getaway awaits you in the not too distant future – lucky you – but it also means you’re someone who has never taken a plane flight with golf clubs in tow.
Don’t worry, you’ll find all the answers here. But the main question that needs answering if you’re planning a golf trip interstate or abroad is: Can you take golf clubs on a plane?
Yes, you can take golf clubs on a plane. Many airlines will allow you to check your clubs in as additional baggage for no extra charge, but some will require you to pay a fee upwards of $30, depending on the weight of your clubs. It’s recommended you use a travel bag to protect your clubs when flying, although this is not mandatory.
So, the good news is, no matter where in the world you’re planning your golf trip, be reassured that you can take your clubs along with you.
However, be mindful you will need to transport your clubs as checked luggage. You will no be able to bring them as carry-on luggage (even single clubs).
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Do airlines charge extra for golf bags?
Many airlines, in all countries, will require you to pay extra to bring your clubs with you on your flight. However, others will allow you to check your golf clubs in as additional baggage, up to 23kg (50lb), which is often included in the price of your initial fare. The conditions and costs will vary between airlines.
The most important thing to remember is if you do need to purchase additional baggage to accommodate your golf clubs, you must do it before arriving at the airport.
You must also weigh your golf clubs at home, inside their bag, before arriving at the airport to ensure they do not exceed the maximum weight restrictions.
Failure to pre-pay for additional baggage, or having an overweight bag when you arrive at the airport could result in you having to pay hundreds of extra dollars in fees in order to check your clubs in.
How much does it cost to bring golf clubs on a plane?
The cost of taking golf clubs on a plane can vary from as little as $30 up to $150, depending on how much other checked luggage you are taking with you.
Here are the conditions and costs for taking golf clubs with you on your flight, as stipulated by some of the world’s most popular airlines.
|American||$30 USD||You can travel with one golf bag containing golf clubs, golf balls, golf tees and one pair of golf shoes. You can’t travel with swingless golf club load strips.|
|United||$0*||You are permitted one item of golf equipment comprising one golf bag containing one set of golf clubs, golf balls, and one pair of golf shoes.|
|Canadian||$0*||One golf bag containing approximately 14 clubs, 12 golf balls and one pair of golf shoes counts as one piece of baggage.|
|Qantas||$0*||Golf bags and collapsible buggies are carried as checked baggage and are exempt from normal linear dimension restrictions.|
|Virgin||$0*||Golf clubs represent one piece of checked baggage. They must not exceed 32kg or oversized fees will apply.|
|Jetstar||$25 AUD||You can bring your golf clubs aboard a Jetstar flight, but an oversized item handling fee of $25 AUD will apply.|
|Air New Zealand||$0*||Golf bags less than 2m (78.7″) long and weighing up to 23kg (50lb) count as a standard bag. Otherwise, excess baggage charges apply.|
|Singapore||$0*||An economy fare aboard Singapore Airlines includes up to 30kg of checked baggage. Your golf clubs count towards your baggage allowance.|
For more in-depth details about each airline, keep scrolling. To skip to answers about travel bag requirements, click here.
You can travel with one golf bag containing golf clubs, golf balls, golf tees and one pair of golf shoes. You can’t travel with swingless golf club load strips.
Standard checked bag fees (min $30 USD) of your destination apply up to 50 lbs (23 kgs) and 126 in (320 cm) – that includes length + width + height – or a $150 USD fee applies from 51 lbs (23 kgs) 70 lbs (32 kgs).
You are permitted one item of golf equipment as a checked bag. An item of golf equipment consists of one golf bag containing one set of golf clubs, golf balls, and one pair of golf shoes. You must properly encase all items in a suitable container. The golf bag must be covered or enclosed in a heavy, rigid carrying case.
Golfing bags measuring more than 62 total linear inches (158cm) – that includes length + width + height – that contain golf equipment won’t be subject to any applicable service charges for oversized checked bags. However, charges for overweight bags are applicable. United charges $35 USD for a first checked bag, $45 USD for a second, and $150 USD for a third.
If it weighs less than 23 kg (50 lb), one golf bag containing approximately 14 clubs, 12 golf balls and one pair of golf shoes counts as one piece of baggage towards the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type. Golf bags may contain more clubs and balls; however, overweight fees will apply if the weight of the bag is over 23 kg (50 lb).
No oversize charge applies to golf bags when flying Canadian Airlines. All other additional checked baggage rules apply – meaning $30 CAD/USD for a first checked bag, $50 CAD/USD for a second bag, and $100 CAD/USD for a third bag.
Golf bags and collapsible buggies are carried as checked baggage and are exempt from normal linear dimension restrictions on Qantas operated services.
General checked baggage fees apply when bringing your golf clubs aboard a Qantas flight. The first checked bag up to 23kg (50lb) is included in your fare, but an additional checked bag will typically start at around $30 AUD.
Each item of sports equipment represents one piece of checked baggage. In the case of golf clubs, they must not exceed 32kg. If your golf clubs exceed 23kg, an overweight baggage fee will apply.
General checked baggage fees apply when bringing your golf clubs aboard a Virgin flight. The first checked bag up to 23kg (50lb) is included in your fare, but an additional checked bag will typically start at around $30 AUD.
You can bring your clubs and golf bag aboard a Jetstar flight, but an oversized item handling fee will apply. Make sure your clubs, balls, shoes and umbrella are securely packed into your closed golf bag. The weight of your clubs and golf bag will count towards your total checked baggage weight, so make sure you purchase enough.
For a domestic flight, Jetstar will charge you a $25 AUD/NZD oversized item handling fee to transport your golf clubs on your flight.
Air New Zealand Airlines
Golf bags less than 2m (78.7″) long and weighing up to 23kg (50lb) count as a standard bag. Otherwise, excess baggage charges apply. The maximum allowed weight is 32kg (70lb).
If your golf clubs exceed 23kg (50lb), you will be charged an excess baggage fee. This typically starts at around $30 NZD/AUD.
An economy fare aboard Singapore Airlines includes up to 30kg of complimentary checked baggage. Your golf clubs count towards your baggage allowance. If you exceed this allowance, the usual additional baggage charges will apply.
Excess or additional baggage fees aboard Singapore Airlines generally start at around $30 AUD, but prices can vary.
Do I need a travel bag for golf clubs?
In most cases, the answer is no. You can transport your golf clubs via plane without the use of a travel bag.
The only exception I have found is United Airlines, which require you to protect your clubs in a rigid case.
Almost all other airlines do not state you must use a travel bag for your golf clubs.
But, if you choose this option, you do run a greater risk of your clubs – or items inside your golf bag, such as a rangefinder or sunglasses – being damaged during the flight.
Travel bags are specifically designed with thick padding to offer the best protection for your golf clubs when in transit – and makes packing your clubs a breeze.
It’s why I highly recommend using a travel bag to protect your golf clubs when transporting them by plane.
Here are some of the best travel bags on the market that will be perfect for you:
- CaddyDaddy Golf Constrictor 2 Travel Cover
- AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Golf Travel Bag
- SKB Deluxe ATA Golf Travel Case
- Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian Golf Travel Bag
- Club Glove Last Bag
- Samsonite Golf Hard-Sided Travel Case
- Athletico Padded Golf Travel Bag
In the end, whichever bag you choose will come down to price versus quality/add ons. But all of them will be adequate to protect your golf clubs.
Tips for flying with golf clubs without a travel bag
Thankfully, I have experience flying without a travel bag to protect my golf clubs.
I had ordered by bag before embarking on my last golf trip, but unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time – meaning I had to improvise.
Here’s what you need to do to protect your clubs if you don’t have a travel bag:
- Grab a thick towel (whether it’s a bath towel, or a beach towel) and pack it between each of your golf clubs. This will ensure that your clubs, particularly your irons, don’t bang together and damage each other during the flight.
- Once you have completed step one, grab the wet weather hood that should have come with your golf bag when you bought it (if you don’t have one, you can purchase one for less than $35 AUD on Amazon). Clip the hood over your clubs, and then use masking tape to secure it to your bag. You don’t want it coming off in transit.
- Now that you’ve secured your clubs, it’s time to secure the rest of the belongings in your bag (e.g. balls, shoes, clothes, rangefinder, etc). If you don’t have locks for each zip pocket, wrapping them in masking tape will more than suffice.
If you’ve completed these three steps, you should have successfully secured your golf clubs without using a travel bag.
Can you lock your golf bag when flying?
Yes, and I would highly recommend you do.
Not only will a lock stop items from falling out of your bag during the flight, it will stop people getting into your bag.
Golf equipment is expensive – the last thing you want is to lose some of it, or have some of it stolen.
Can I pack clothes in my golf bag?
Yes, and most airlines encourage you to do so.
As mentioned above, most carriers will permit up to 23kg (50lb) inclusive of your golf clubs.
A fully-packed golf bag with clubs typically weighs from 16kg-20kg (35-39lb), meaning you should have some spare available weight left over that you can use to pack clothes into your bag.
Can you check golf clubs without a travel bag?
Yes, provided you have adequately secured your golf bag by following the aforementioned steps.
As mentioned earlier, the only airline I can find that requires you to use a travel bag is United.
Baggage handlers will treat your clubs like any other piece of luggage, regardless of whether they’re encased in a travel bag or not.
Can you carry on a golf putter/club?
No. Unfortunately, few, if any, airlines will permit you to carry a golf club onto a flight due to the risk it could be used as a weapon.
You will more than likely be asked to store it in your checked luggage – or, failing this, have it posted to your destination so that it is waiting for you upon your arrival.