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ArchieL

Travel Bags - Soft / Hard and TSA

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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.

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This probably won't answer all of your questions but: I've got a BagBoy soft case, with the TSA-approved locks. It cost about $70, IIRC. I didn't have a problem with the TSA rearranging my stuff any more than the fact that the bag wasn't completely snug around my golf bag, so the stuff I tucked in there did move around some when I was wheeling it. Again, though, not much of a problem with stuff moving around, and no club damage. It does not fit in my trunk (I've got a VW Passat, but the 4WD model, so you lose some trunk space; if I'm driving to the airport I'll put the bag in my back seat). I've never had a club snap, and I used one of those stiff arm things they sell in the travel bag section (which I realize was dumb).

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I've had my Samsonite soft side bag for what seems like forever. I've never had an issue with damage. Preparation is the key. I DON'T use a stiff arm, but I have bubble wrap, towels, etc... available in the bag when it's stored in the closet- In a MUCH smaller space than a hard case would take up, BTW. There is some padding near the top, but extra is always good. As for the TSA "approved" locks you can buy- a waste of money as far as I'm concerned. My bag has been opened approximately 50% of the time domestically, and about 75% internationally. I bought TSA approved locks several times trying to do the right thing. EVERY one has been clipped because they are probably too lazy to find someone with the master. I wound up just buying cheap little padlocks that I don't care if they clip it. So it was ridiculous to to pay the $12 for a lock that they would just clip anyway. I'll buy a set of small ones and get 6 or 8 for that price. I also will use crappy old head covers when traveling to minimize the chance of a casual grab from a bag drop or similar situation. No point in advertising the $500 driver you're sporting.

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Cut a broomstick to a couple of inches longer than your driver, cut an X in a  tennis ball and put it on top- instant stiff arm for less than $5.00, and possibly free if you have the stuff already.

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Cut a broomstick to a couple of inches longer than your driver, cut an X in a  tennis ball and put it on top- instant stiff arm for less than $5.00, and possibly free if you have the stuff already.

Love that lol. As far as cases go, I've only ever travelled with a soft case and haven't had any issues. I purchased a set of iron covers just for travel purposes and wrap a couple towels around my clubs. Never used a stiff arm before and don't think I will be. As far as locks go I just use what came standard with my bag. I have extras in case they get cut. Personally if you're going to be traveling with your clubs maybe once or twice a year I don't think you need a hard case at all.

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Ogio Straight Jacket (black and red with a bright yellow name tag) because it is unique enough to avoid someone accidentally grabbing wrong bag. Get a color and/or add some tape or something to distinguish your bag from others. Mine is not the friendliest bag around airport since it does not stand up on its own. But it is light and has room and pockets for stuff and can fit two sets of clubs in a pinch.

I put my rain gear or whatever in large ziplock bags so that TSA can look at it and not mess things up too badly.There are pockets for shoes that seem to work well since just shoes go in, TSA puts shoes back.

I usually use iron head covers for travel when I can find them.

I have a 4' piece of PCV (1/2") and put it in the bag. Taller than any club so it works like a stiff arm for a few dollars. (Actually I have a golf drill that uses 6' PVC and since they come in 10' sections, my 4' was free).

No lock -- what's the point? I do make a point to claim my clubs as fast as possible once I've landed. Always glad when I first see them :)

I hear rumors that club theft by inspectors and baggage handlers is down dramatically since 911 because they are more closely supervised. So, I'm less concerned about a nice driver being lifted during inspection than I was in the 90's.

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I have the chauffer 3 but have only made one round trip with it so far. No issues no concerns, I do not have locks on my bag and as already stated I also pick my bag up right away, it fit in the trunk of a corolla I rented so I was happy about that. Plenty of room for clothes around the bag, I also used a section of pvc in my bag. So I put the pvc pipe in the bag next to the driver, wraped a towel around the clubs, zipped the rain cover and into the travel bag it went, clothes around it ,there is a strap inside the travel bag to secure the golf bag in one spot, zip zip the zippers and off to the airport thats all to report. one checked bag permitted for no cost on jetblue must be under 62" and 50# came in well under the length and a couple of lbs under weight. win win.

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I have a Club Glove clone, about 1/2 the price of the Club Glove Last Bag.  Bought it at Golf Galaxy probably 10 years ago.  I recently gave away 2 hard cases that had been in my garage for years.  The hard cases obviously provide better protection but they do not fit well in rent cars and as much as they weigh, I could not get mine under the 50# limit and did not want to pay the excess charge at the airport.  I also have the Stiff Arm that I put in the bag.  There are a lot of ideas on making one of those but I just bought mine.  It is adjustable and easy to deal with.  I have flown with my clubs probably 60 times using the soft padded cover I have now and have never had an issue and never paid for excess weight.

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