How to Pack for a Golf Trip

There’s travel—and then there’s golf travel. Besides bringing clubs, shoes, balls, and other gear, we have to figure out the clothes.

A weekend trip to the desert is easy—shirts, shorts, sunscreen. But if you’re off for more than three or four days, or to a part of the globe where the weather can be fickle (hello, Scotland!), getting the most out of the least amount of stuff is key.

For general packing tips, the internet offers countless suggestions. But for golf specifics, we went to the experts: Jeff Herold, president of ClubGlove, maker of travel bags and luggage, and Gordon Dalgleish, president of tour operator PerryGolf. And the Editors of LINKS added a few suggestions, as well. >>

What To Pack

“Most people overpack,” says Dagleish. Both he and Herold suggest going with simple colors that will work together no matter what you wear. And go easy with the “extra” shirts and underwear: It’s not a fashion show so worry less about how you look and more about making it easy to move between courses and hotels.

This isn’t a suggestion, but we’ve been on golf trips with guys who wear the same pair of pants from arrival to departure and, honestly, no one really cares. It might be worth investigating before you go if one of your hotels has a laundry or if you’ll be in one place long enough to get some washing done.

For dealing with the weather, we all agree: It’s all about layering. Notes Dalgleish, “Heavy sweaters take up a lot of space. Sport fabric has evolved over the last few years to cover a wide range of temperatures. Plus, it packs easily in a small space. If you’re going to the British Isles, bring a good old woolly hat.”

We’re fond of rainwear with Gore-Tex lining; it costs more but does a great job of keeping you dry. When heading someplace cold and/or windy, we suggest a compression shirt as a base layer. You also might want to bring gloves or mittens, and don’t forget extra socks and waterproof golf shoes, maybe more than one pair.

How To Pack

“I can do a five-day golf trip with a medium-sized golf bag and a carry-on piece of luggage,” says Herold, who uses his own ClubGlove luggage, of course. “Or I get two suits, dress slacks, and jeans, plus everything else, into a piece of luggage that I put in the overhead on the plane.”

Both experts swear by zippered organizer bags. “I was a little skeptical at first,” says Dalgleish, “but it’s a simple way to pack and unpack, especially if you’re in and out of a couple of hotels.”

“You can stack them on the credenza, on the floor, and put them right back in your bag,” explains Herold, whose company supplies such bags with its luggage. “Hotels today often don’t have drawers or any space to put your clothes; the bags become your drawers.” Extra organizer bags also get more clothes into your golf travel bag.

As for packing technique, Herold prefers to fold his clothes, saying that rolling “doesn’t make sense. You’re always going to have part of a rolled shirt or slacks that’s wrinkled as hell. I fold shirts like they do in department stores.”

Packing Your Clubs

“I use ClubGlove travel cases,” says Dalgleish, “because that kind of fabric makes the most sense. Hard-sided cases are next to useless. They protect your clubs on the airline but they don’t fit anywhere, not in a rental car and barely in the vans we use to drive groups around.

“Depending on where I’m going, I use different sized travel cases,” says Dalgleish. “On a longer trip, I use a larger one and put the dirty laundry in it. But, if you use a luggage service to ship your bag and put dirty clothes in there, Customs officials may look at it as if you’re importing clothes. That can cause a delay and cost extra.”

“When going on a golf trip, check in at the curb,” suggests Herold. “Give the guy $10, tell him to take care of your clubs, and I’ll bet he won’t even weigh them. Most airlines are golfer-friendly. People have used our travel bags for other stuff, like spear-fishing equipment, and they say they are treated differently.”

Herold also recommends wrapping a towel or two around clubs so they don’t move. Many experienced golf travelers use a broomstick or other device, cut slightly longer than the longest club in your bag, to reduce the chance of drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids breaking when tossed around by baggage handlers.

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What are the key items that you pack on a golf trip? Let us know in the comments below!

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