If you think of golf year-round like we do, there may come a time when you want to pack it all up and escape the winter conditions. Travels with golf conjure images of bucket-list courses and great experiences with family and friends. No matter what destination you have in mind, a little bit of prep can go a long way to a stress-free adventure. If you are not into planning, consider hiring a specialist or going with a group.
Stephanie (@coldinseattle on TikTok): In the last year, our family vacations have shifted to golf vacations. After I started playing, my two boys also began golfing. My husband golfs when he has time, but not often. We spent Christmas in Palm Desert, Calif. and golfed every day. I went on a girl’s trip to Hawaii to play for a week, and went back to Hawaii later for a family vacation and we all golfed every day. Spending four hours walking and talking with two teen boys for the day is priceless. I also had a chance to go to Scottsdale, Ariz. for a ladies’ retreat golf tournament (Desert Classic at Papago Golf Club). This is a tournament organized by Tori Totlis where 350 ladies took over Papago for a three-day event. I went solo and was matched up with a group from Michigan. This was such a fantastic experience. I met ladies from all over the U.S. and Canada who will be lifelong friends. In October, I am attending another Tori Totlis event at Danzante Bay in Mexico. Macarena will be joining me for this tournament. If you have family or friends to travel with it, is even better!
Macarena: When I lived in Australia, I traveled from Melbourne to Noosa for a girls’ golf weekend. I asked my golf teacher for a few tips, and she had some good recommendations. When packing your golf bag into your travel bag, put a couple of alignment sticks in the bag, which will protrude from the top of your clubs and absorb any accidental damage to the top of your bag. You can further protect your club heads by using them as shoehorns – put a sneaker over the top of each wood, which also saves space in your regular luggage. If you want to prevent clubs from banging around too much you can always use a sweater to wind around the club shafts to limit movement.
Make sure you also use the trip to clean out your bag of all the extra stuff you don’t need – for example, no need to bring your waterproof clothes when going to the tropics!; and all those half-eaten snacks; and the golf balls you rescued from the lake.
You will need to check with your airline about the procedure and cost of checking your clubs, and then decide if you want to bring your own or if you should just rent clubs, like we did on one occasion when we were just playing one round of golf as part of a wedding weekend (all we needed to pack were golf shoes, clothes and a glove).
Also, when renting a car (particularly in Europe, where cars tend to be smaller) make sure you get a car with enough room for your clubs, your partner’s clubs and your luggage. On a recent trip to Spain I witnessed a group of four men try to pack the trunk of a small sedan with four sets of clubs and four suitcases – many expletives were shared, and the back seat passengers ended up with their suitcases on their laps, which would not have been very pleasant for the two-hour journey that lay ahead. There are various companies that will ship your golf clubs ahead (e.g. Ship Sticks). I have not tried them yet, but may do so if I travel further afield this year.
Kristina (@k_love_90 on TikTok): To date, my golf travels have been road trips made even better with the addition of a few rounds of golf. When I put my clubs in the car for a longer trip, I put a club head cover on each club to protect them from damage. For a longer outing, I will take the club heads off woods and driver as an extra precaution, so nothing gets bent or damaged enroute. A few weeks ago, we bought golf travel bags with little wheels on them to make the trip to and from the airport easier. I’m not sure where we’re going yet, but I’ll be looking for the hidden gems out there with all the challenges and rewards I’ve come to expect from this game.
Johanna: I must admit I have never done any traveling specifically to play golf. However, I have golfed while traveling for other reasons. My husband and I simply remember to pack our golf shoes, gloves, and tees, etc. for the trip. We rent clubs right at the course. For example, last year in Arizona, my husband and I called ahead, made our tee time, and just let them know we would need to rent clubs for the round. Usually, the rental sets are quality clubs that have been cleaned and set in the cart for us, ready to go! It was fun to try some different clubs than I have in my bag at home! I am excited to travel this coming winter and bring my clubs with me! I will need to purchase a travel golf bag.
Looking for a warm weather golf getaway? Then the WA Golf Winter Getaway is the ticket. Join us Jan 27-29, 2023 at Desert Willow Golf Resort. Open to all! No handicap limit. Details and to register
Who We Are
We are four women who are new to the game of golf. We connected through the game, and have become friends because of it. We love the game, and want to share our experiences in finding our way, and encourage and empower other beginners to take it on and seize every opportunity for joy in it.
Johanna MacMichael: Prior to March 2021, I’d only played golf a few times with my husband in “scramble” games. During COVID, a neighbor friend recommended a women’s golf league and I started playing on a regular basis. I love this game! My handicap is 38.6.
Macarena Dearie: I was born in the UK, with the past many years living in various countries around the globe. I made a promise to my husband over 30 years ago that I would learn to play his beloved golf game if he learned to ski. And so here I am. My handicap is 40.0.
Stephanie Standifer: At 55 years old I started taking golf lessons during the COVID pandemic. My instructors encouraged me to play more regularly, so I joined my first 9-hole women’s league in the spring of 2021. My handicap is 26.4.
Kristina Laidler: I retired during the pandemic, so I’m returning to golf after years commuting and sitting behind a computer keyboard. I always wanted to play more, and better, golf but did not have the time until now. My handicap is 26.3.