Ship Your Clubs
When Rhode Island’s Ed Kirby was still chasing the dream of playing on the PGA Tour he spent a lot of time traveling the globe. Kirby never quite made it as a full-time touring professional, but he had some great moments and he has earned a very nice living working in the golf industry as a club professional. One of his best travel stories involved playing on one of the Asian Tours, where he was sitting in an airplane as it was about to take off. He said he looked out the window and there, laying on the tarmac, were his golf clubs. How many of us, when going on a golfing vacations have said, “I don’t care if the luggage gets lost, but please don’t lose my clubs.”? Its the inbred nightmare of all golfers who take their dream vacations. Regardless of who you are, or how you travel, you worry not about whether you will make it to golfing paradise but whether or not your beloved Pings arrive with you.
This is NEGM’s annual travel section, where we try to enlighten our readers as to the best golfing destinations, how to get there and how to maximize both your experience while minimizing the hit to your bank account. If you choose to travel by using your own personal vehicle than don’t bother reading any further, but if you are like most folks who go on vacation and use the airlines or even the rail system, take heed. Air travel used to be pretty simple. Before 9/11 you got on a plane and went where you wanted to go. The only issue was the cost of the fare. You still worried about your luggage arriving with you, but the hassles were not as great.
Now there are other ways to ship your sticks and you don’t have to lug that heavy golf travel bag to the check-in or pick it up with you other luggage at these damn carrousels that always seem to separate your underwear/toiletries bag from your golf bag. In the true American spirit of entrepreneurship we now have services that will transport your golf clubs, bag, balls and shoes to wherever you are going and have them waiting for you upon your arrival. The most widely known, because of advertising and the gorgeous brunette who is featured, is ShipSticks, which for a modest fee of $39.00 will transport your golf equipment wherever you desire. There are others, such as LuggageForward.com, which says it will ship to 200 countries and FreightDynamics.com which boasts 20 years of experience.
Now there are some people who would never let their clubs too far away from them, but there are very real reasons not to trust the airlines. Since 9/11 and heightened security measures you can no longer attach locks to your golf travel bag or any other luggage. All pieces are subject to inspection and believe me, once those golf clubs go out of your sight they get inspected really thoroughly. I have returned from golf vacations only to find that the three dozen Pro-Vs I had stashed away in my travel bag had dwindled down to two or one. Yeah, I notified the airline and got both an apology and a promise of an investigation, but I have yet to receive any compensation. Once I lost a brand new Titleist driver to the “inspectors” and once, when I arrived in Myrtle Beach and had a tee time booked for later that day, discovered that my clubs were coming on a later flight and would be in the terminal about the time I should have been making the turn at Caladonia.
So my advice is ship those sticks and then relax.
(Tim Geary is a R.I. based freelance writer. He lists his golf clubs as his next of kin).
But there are more reasons to consider in this matter, Tom Gorman argues why you should take them in his article.