Hello everyone and thanks for dropping by. Before I begin… I want to thank everyone for your email. Our Inbox is filled with email right now and SirPutts and I will start responding ASAP. I thought I’d take some time tonight and talk a bit about travel cases. My shop doesn’t really sell a ton of stuff in January and February… the snow and cold temperatures seem to keep the customers away… go figure. We like to call it “Travel Case Season”. The only things that seem to sell are travel cases… tis the season for golf trips. I have been wanting to talk about travel cases for a while and thought tonight would be as good a time as any!
Travel cases used to be really basic nylon bags that basically prevented golf bags from getting scratched during travel. Club protection wasn’t a huge issue… it wasn’t unusual to see a set of clubs wrapped up in a few garbage bags. My how times have changed…
Today’s golf equipment is both expensive and fragile. Thin driver crowns can easily dent, graphite shafts can snap and it doesn’t take much to rip the leg off of a golf bag. Airlines need to move cargo quickly and this sometimes leads to clubs getting thrown around. Consumers are starting to realize that a good travel case can make or break a golf trip. So what should you look for when buying a travel case.
There are basically two types of cases… the hard plastic ones and the soft sided (usually nylon) ones. Hard cases offer maximum protection but very little flexibility. Keep in mind that two or three golfers with hard cases can fill up a rental car in a real hurry. I’ve talked to customers that have had to upgrade their rental cars because their travel cases were so bulky. You can’t squish a hard sided case into a small spot!
Soft cases are a bit easier to pack but they don’t offer quite as much protection. Golfers have to get a bit creative when packing a soft sided case… using shoes, towels and headcovers as extra protection. It’s also a lot easier to throw a soft sided case under a hotel bed!
So which is best for you? I think you really need to look at how much you travel. Someone that travels on a very regular basis might want to consider a hard sided case. If you’re on a plane every month you’re really increasing the chances of a broken club… and a hard sided case will prevent that. Hard sided cases are also really good for the business traveller that travels alone… no need to worry about a full car! The average soft sided case will work just fine for the “every now and again” traveller. They are cheaper, easier to pack, easier to store (when not in use) and offer enough protection when packed properly.
Let’s have a look at some of my favorite travel cases…
Ogio Straight Jacket – The case that I use. It’s built like a tank and can hold pretty much any bag out there. I really like the rollerblade wheels and sturdy construction. It’s also available in some cool colors… a yellow travel case is a great idea when you’re trying to locate it on the luggage belt!
BagBoy TXG – Another solid soft sided option. The buckles really help take a load off of the zipper… a busted zipper is the worst thing that can happen. The molded plastic bottom helps with stability.
SKB Hardtop – This one is kind of cool. It’s a softsided bag with a hard top. It can fold right down and storing it is easy… it actually looks like a sleeping bag when it’s folded up. The hard plastic bottom and rollerblade wheels are a nice touch.
Mizuno Stand Bag Cover – This is one of the better cases out there. It reminds me a lot of the Club Glove. It’s made from really durable nylon and features lots of extra padding.
Anything From Club Glove – Club Glove bags are like the “Cadillacs” of soft sided cases. Sure they’re a bit more expensive but they work almost as well as a hard sided case. These are very well made and I don’t see them coming back for warranty work!
Sun Mountain Atlas – Lots of companies have tried to make a good folding hard case… but only one company has figured it out.
SKB Freedom – A really compact hard case. The Freedom offers maximum protection without the extra bulk.
A few final thoughts… remember that you get what you pay for. Cheap cases are… cheap. They might be good for one trip but they won’t last much past that. Pack your case properly. Fold towels around your clubs. Use your shoes as extra rigidity. Consider packing a broom handle or hockey stick… these can take the brunt of a blow. Also have a look at the Stiff Arm from Club Glove… a great product that makes any soft sided travel case that much better.
Take some time to look at travel cases. Broken clubs can ruin your vacation! Happy travels!