This is actually my first post though I've been reading a lot on the forums. I'm new to golf. Just started a couple of months ago. Purchased a set of inexpensive beginners clubs to start with (a set of Strata which is made by Callaway, $200) and took my first lesson and have been at the driving range practicing what I learned.
My brother plays golf and I was hoping that if I see him later in the year I would bring my clubs with me and we could go golfing (in Phoenix). So I started to look at travel covers. Obviously I'm not trying to protect $1K to 2K worth of clubs otherwise I'd be getting pretty much the highest-end soft or hard case. I do know that many hard cases might not fit into the trunk of many cars... though reviewers (either in forums or on vendor websites) don't tell me which car they are using.
Soft travel covers - I've read many golfers saying they stuff clothes, towels, etc. inside around the clubs to provide additional protection. And of course a Club Glove Stiff Arm (or the Bag Boy equivalent) is a must. However I've also read that TSA pretty much opens most golf travel bags for inspection and never puts things back as they found it. To me that kind of means all that clothes or towels you strategically placed to protect your clubs and their shafts kind of goes to naught since after TSA gets through with it the protection isn't necessarily where it should be... as the baggage handlers now take over and toss your bag around while loading and unloading it on and off the plane.
Since my 'golf travel' probably for a while will be no more than a couple of times a year and with fairly inexpensive clubs (for now) I'm considering the less expensive soft bag: the 'Chauffeur 3' by Golf Travel Bags running about $70 to $90. At 1200d polyester its a bit tougher than some of the other bags using only 600d. Along with a Stiff Arm, I'm hoping between the two to protect my clubs. I realize with any soft case, the airlines will make you sign a disclaimer freeing them from liability so any damage to my clubs ends up my paying for a new one (though my replacement would be as expensive as some of you who have much better clubs.
So here's my questions for those with lower/medium priced soft travel bags that have travelled at least a few times (3+ round trips) with it: have you ever ended up with a broken club - when you've protected your clubs with a stiff-arm or equivalent in your travel bag? Any recommendation of a specific model of bag (...other than the higher end ones like the Sun Mountain Club Glider, or Club Glove Burst Proof or CG Last Bag).
For those with hard cases: my questions would be: Do you know if your case will fit in the trunk of a car like the Toyota Camary or equivalent ( I drive a Lexus ES350 which about the same size and same trunk space)? If so which make and model of hard case do you use? I know with hard cases they run from just over $100 to a few hundred. Actually there's even one under $100, the Plano Golf Guard Standard Case selling for $50. The latches on that one won't last for sure but some have bought it and added luggage straps to keep the case closed. Again I don't know if this one will fit in my trunk. Reviewers do indicate in some reviews that it will fit or not fit their trunk but never bother to indicate what car they drive so it doesn't really help.
I have looked into 'hybrids' like the Caddy Daddy Co-Pilot series (all three the standard, Pro and XL). they to be great in terms of protection and priced fairly reasonably though I would then have to rent a golf cart? My concern is the quality control and durability based upon a few comments from some purchasers of them. Some have expressed concern about the carrying handles that they don't appear very durable, that they aren't reinforced and might not last. Any owners out there that have any experience with these hybrids and their durability? Any issues with the handles on the case? They are considered a 'hard case' as far as the airlines are concern correct? You didn't have to sign the disclaimer travelers with soft cases are required to?
thanks for any advise and input.