How To Fly Golf Clubs Free To Your Destination

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but flying is expensive.

And if you're a golfer, flying with your clubs can make it downright scary.

Yes, we're fans of golf club shipping and rentals, but (like many of you have told us) there are times when we simply prefer traveling with our clubs.

The good news is, there are still a number of ways to travel with your clubs for free (or without paying crazy high fees).

Here are some of our favorite programs and methods:

1. Fly Southwest Airlines
It may be only a matter of time before this colorful carrier caves, but for now, your first two checked bags -- including golf bags in travel cases are free, round-trip, as long as they weigh less than 50 pounds.

2. Stay at an Omni Hotel or Resort
As part of its "Clubs Fly Free" program, Omni Hotels & Resorts has been reimbursing baggage fees for members of its Select Guest loyalty program (membership is free, it also includes complimentary Wi-Fi).

To receive the reimbursement, you simply present your checked bag receipt at check-in (the receipt must be dated within two days of your arrival) and a credit will be applied at checkout.

By the way, Omni Hotels and Resorts has quietly built an impressive collection of golf resorts in the US. The chain made a bold move in June of 2013 when it reached a deal with KSL Capital Partners to acquire La Costa Resort and Spa, The Homestead, Barton Creek Resort & Spa, as well as Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage and the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. Other notable properties flying the Omni flag include Tucson National Resort, Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire, Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania, and two Florida properties: Amelia Island Plantation Resort and ChampionsGate in Orlando.

The only bad news: Omni's Clubs Fly Free program is currently valid through August 31. Here's hoping they choose to extend it...or at least re-start it in May like they did this year.

3. Join a Frequent Flyer Program (Even if You're Not a Frequent Flyer)
We all know frequent flyers get tons of perks -- including getting their checked bag fees waived -- but sometimes simply being a member of one of these (free) programs lands you similar benefits. For example, Alaska residents who join Alaska Airlines' "Club 49" program pay no fees for their first two checked bags (including golf clubs).

4. Get an Airline Credit Card
Similar to joining an airline's frequent flier program, some or all of your baggage fees can be waived for airline credit card holders. For example, United MileagePlus Club cardholders can check two bags for free and Delta SkyMiles cardholders can check one bag for free.

5. Fly KLM
If you're traveling to or around Europe on KLM Airlines, you can join the "Flying Blue - Golf" program and fly your clubs free to your destination. You simply fill and print out a special voucher and redeem it when you check in.

6. Travel Light and Fly Internationally
Unlike most domestic flights, many international flights spot you the first bag for free. So, if you can cram your clothes and toothbrush into a carry-on, you'll pay nothing for your golf clubs.

Do you know other ways to fly with your golf clubs for free? Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
18 Comments
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Ward Clayton

Try www [dot] ClubstoHire [dot] com. New to the States (Orlando, Vegas, Phoenix/Scottsdale) and worldwide. Rent new TaylorMade and Callaway clubs for a fraction of the cost of traveling with your clubs or having them damaged or lost.

john

fly QANTAS. International fights allow 2 bags totalling 32kg, as well as your carry on bag.

Jim Adamski

I just got back from Spain. Found the most awesome golf. I used the first trick with my new golf bag from Sun Mountain with the wheels. Delta allows the first bag free and it was my golf bag. We kept it golf only on the way over but made it the dirty clothes and souvenir bag on the way back. My small carry-on held enough clean clothes to handle flight delays.

FYI Valencia has the most awesome golf.
La Serra, Campo de Golf at the beach near the famous L'Albufera
El Bosque, Campo de Golf in the hills near Chiva
and the masterpiece
La Galliana, Campo de Golf in a national park south of Valencia at La Barraca d'Aig├╝es Vives

Ole Guys

Asit Palit, India

I have following suggestions for travel with Golf Bags for International and Domestic travel for Indian & some Carriers.
1) Air India which has very generous Checked Baggage for International Flights in Economy.
2) Jet Airways give max two bags Upton 23kg each free for Economy for International Flights
3) Emirates allows in Economy max 30kg and no restriction of no of Baggage. You can carry a Golf Bag with overall and good size Suitcase within 30kg.
4) Indian Domestic travel allows only 15kg but I you can buy 5kg extra earlier at low cost. You travel with smaller Golf Bag with 8/9 clubs and a small suitcase.
5) Indian Domestic travel some Airline like Indigo charges extra Rs.1000/- for Golf Bags so check early and avoid those Airlines.

Colin Shugg

In Australia you can pre purchase extra luggage on line. $35 with Virgin Australia gives you an extra bag per flight. That's about $25US right now. Well worth it for your own sticks.

Monty 44

Thanks for the info!! i will try it here in the philippines, and let you know!! The rules here are usually created for the locals to use! Now We will see about us foreigners!!

Dilek Talay

Turkish Airlines carries, all kind of sporting equipments including golf bags, skiing bags ext. free.

B Kierans

Thank you for good info.

Ru Macdonald

Good info shared here. Sometimes though for the outbound leg you just want a guarantee that your clubs are there, particularly for International travel. For that I always recccomend Luggage Forward.

Peter T

I was travelling to Europe this summer with a week of golf in Ireland prior to joining my wife in southern France - lots of different clothing!! With only one free bag, I put a soft bag and my clothing in the golf travel bag, and was good to go for a month with that and my carry-on after sending my clubs back with one of my buddies (though that was not for free.)

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