Proper Prior Planning…
Whether you’re taking a trip with your buddies, fleeing bad weather, or checking courses off your bucket list, you need to be prepared. That’s why we created the PluggedInGolf.com Golf Travel Checklist. We’ve not only identified the pieces of gear you cannot afford to be without, we’ve also made recommendations for the best items in each category and provided you with some of our best travel tips.
Layers, layers, layers. You’re bringing a rain jacket, but make sure you also bring a sweater or pullover, plenty of polos, and some base layers, depending on where you’re headed. Opting to bring one bulky jacket means you’re going to play the “Jacket off, too cold. Jacket on, too hot” game all day. Dressing in layers gives you options. Also, if you trust the weather report and bring only short sleeves, prepare to shell out $100+ for a crappy pullover in the pro shop.
PluggedInGolf Recommends: Dunning Golf. Their layering system is among the most technologically advanced, and it looks great. Each piece, from the merino wool base layer to the sweaters and pullovers, is thin and designed to move, so you can stay warm without losing mobility. Invest in quality gear now and reap the benefits of being comfortable in any weather for years to come.
Whether this is an annual outing or a trip to a bucket list course, you’re not going to let a little rain keep you from playing golf. Also, it’s a scientifically proven fact that being prepared for rain decreases the chances of rain by at least 50%.
Gloves: HIRZL gloves. These aren’t rain gloves per se, but they perform better in the wet than any rain glove you can find. Buy one for each hand and forget about packing different gloves for rain and shine.
If you’re going to play a lot of golf, you’ve got to take care of your dogs. There are two main things to consider when picking shoes for a trip: comfort and all-weather durability. This is NOT the time to test out the new shoes you got for your birthday. Stick with a pair that’s broken in and reliably waterproof.
PluggedInGolf Recommends: Nike Lunar Control. This shoe blends comfort, traction, performance, and excellent waterproofing like few others can.
Do you know what happens to the guy with great shoes and terrible socks? He ends up getting blisters on the afternoon 18. Don’t be that guy. Socks are every bit as critical to your feet’s well-being as your shoes, so don’t skimp.
PluggedInGolf Recommends: Kentwool socks. Whether you prefer low cut, tall, thicker, or thinner, Kentwool has a sock for you. They’ve even got a bunch of color choices for you fashionistas. No matter which pair you pick, your feet will thank you.
Sure, you could rent clubs, but, to quote Chris Rock, “You could drive a car with your feet if you want to, that don’t make it a good idea.”
When you travel with your clubs, getting them there and back safely is of the utmost importance. This is NOT the area where you should skimp. Invest in a quality travel set up and you’ll have it for the rest of your life.
PluggedInGolf Recommends: Honestly, we can’t make a recommendation here. Sorry, but the choice between hard and soft cases involves too many variables. Soft cases are infinitely more convenient when it comes to storing them and fitting them into your rental car, however, if a club does break in transit, good luck getting the airline to cover it. Hard cases offer superior protection, but they’re heavy and won’t fit in anything less than a full-sized sedan with a big trunk.
Pro Tip: If you have the choice, pack a cart bag instead of a stand bag. Even the best travel bags, hard or soft, can’t prevent the legs on a stand bag from being broken. Yes, I speak from experience.
Pro Tip: Put the socks you’re packing for the trip on your irons as headcovers. This will prevent unnecessary bag chatter. Also, wrap a towel or two between your clubs to further reduce club movement.
You’re going to take a golf trip to escape the snow, and you want to bring the clubs you just got for Christmas. The problem is that you’ve never used them before, and your old faithful set is looking at you with puppy dog eyes wondering why you would leave them behind. What do you do?
PluggedInGolf Recommends: Bring at least one club, probably a hybrid or fairway wood, that you know you can count on. Feel free to experiment with the rest, it’s just a game.
Bring a lot. No one likes overpaying for golf balls at the resort because they didn’t bring enough.
PluggedInGolf Recommends: Play whatever ball makes you happy, but bring at least a dozen more than you think you need. If nothing else, it’s a show of humility to the golf gods.
Pro Tip: Don’t pack all your balls in your golf bag unless you want to pay extra for a bag that weighs over 50 pounds. Put some clothes or shoes in your golf bag, and put some balls in your carry on.
Odds and Ends
Your painkiller of choice
A rangefinder or GPS (make sure to load the courses you’re going to play in advance)
Camera (not mandatory, but I like having one. Also, having a real camera means I can leave my phone in the car)
Off the Course: Comfort & Class
As the world’s greatest MC reminds us, “You can pay for school, but you can’t buy class.”
With that in mind, it’s incumbent on me to remind you to NOT be one of the thousands of guys in Myrtle Beach wearing his golf shoes and smelly polo to dinner. Bring a pair of comfortable shoes to let both your feet and golf shoes recover, and don’t forget some nice, comfortable clothes so you can look good during your evening feast.