Travel Bag: soft or hard?

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By BCarroll

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  1. I haven't traveled with clubs in a long time, but I have an opportunity coming next month. In the past I used a simple canvas bag with my own improvisations - like lots of towels for padding and a homemade version of a "stiff arm" to protect the shafts.

    I like my clubs much more these days :) and want better protection. I assume a hard case would provide better protection, but could be a challenge to fit into a rental car. Is it safe to travel with today's soft travel cases like the Titleist club glove travel cover?

    Thanks.

  2. Andrew A

    Andrew A
    Charlotte, NC

    I travel 3-4 times a year love the soft case. It allows me to store all my shoes in there as well as my clubs. I do take the time to wrap the club heads in towels for some extra protection and a littel bubble wrap down the in the shaft area. This will help prevent bending.
    Just my opinion.
  3. Dayton4x4

    Dayton4x4
    Kettering, OH

    Club Glove Last Bag for me, lots of room and as others have said I wrap the club heads in a towel or 2 (I've heard of folks using iron covers as well). Another purchase I made was the Club Glove Stiff Arm.
  4. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    When I travel, I use a soft case. I take the heads off the driver and 3 wood.

    When I was going overseas a hard case would not work in the rental car I used.

    I guess there are pros and cons on both cases.
  5. No'l

    No'l
    Palmdale, CA

    I've travelled with my soft case many times in the US including Europe and Asia. I have had the same soft bag for 20 years now(2001). The sets I've had in it were either new or something I've had for a few years. I hope to use it for another five years or many more unless it breaks down, but I don't see that it has any signs of weakening.
  6. Dale V

    Dale V
    Escondido, CA

    I have both but lately use the hard case most often. Some airlines will not insure clubs in soft cases. As for rent cars, it fits in most trunks and sometimes I just lay it across the back seat. It is one of the smaller hard cases as my bags are all Players 4 size carry bags.
  7. Paul C

    Paul C
    Beech Mountain, NC

    I use a soft cover that has ample padding built in. It has been across the country multiple occasions and to Ireland, Scotland and England without any damage ever done to my clubs. Years back at the St. Louis airport I was standing at a window watching bags being loaded. Saw an individual toss my bag in the air with it landing on the ramp clubheads first. I couldn't believe he did it, but there was no damage fortunately. After that I started removing the heads from clubs with adapters for travel. The heads stored easily enough in my bag and gave me a little peace of mind.
  8. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    I have traveled all over the world by air and have always used a hard case. It is a small version which I use an older lightweight carry bag. It falls within the required measurements of Delta for a piece of luggage and I can keep the weight under 50lbs with shoes and some clothing. Just me, I have a lot invested in my equipment and want the best protection I can get for them. I have the SKB Standard ATA Golf Travel Case. www.skbcases.com/.../2SKB-4812WS_closed_center_large.png. They have other sizes which are larger that might cost extra. They do take up some room in a rental vehicle, but I do SUVs.
  9. Chuck Z said:

    I have traveled all over the world by air and have always used a hard case. It is a small version which I use an older lightweight carry bag. It falls within the required measurements of Delta for a piece of luggage and I can keep the weight under 50lbs with shoes and some clothing. Just me, I have a lot invested in my equipment and want the best protection I can get for them. I have the SKB Standard ATA Golf Travel Case. www.skbcases.com/.../2SKB-4812WS_closed_center_large.png. They have other sizes which are larger that might cost extra. They do take up some room in a rental vehicle, but I do SUVs.

    This is exactly what I’ve been doing for 25 years. But I rent cars with seats that fold down so it fits in the back easily.
  10. I have a older soft travel bag ( very heavy Canvas) it works great for me
    A few trips to Vegas and down to Florida and no problems holds a lot stuff also
    If I was to get a new one I would opt for a hard one but I believe it would be your choice
    As my canvas one has served me well (40 + years )
    Enjoy the game my friends :)
  11. I have a older soft travel bag ( very heavy Canvas) it works great for me
    A few trips to Vegas and down to Florida and no problems holds a lot stuff also
    If I was to get a new one I would opt for a hard one but I believe it would be your choice
    As my canvas one has served me well (40 + years )
    Enjoy the game my friends :)
  12. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    I'd go with Club Glove with the "Stiff Arm". Too much time and money invested in your clubs these days to mess around with a couple of bucks on a travel bag. Also, I know some people who take the heads off of their woods and store them in the bag, then put them back on at the golf course they're traveling to.
  13. Todd T

    Todd T
    San Diego, CA

    2 biggest advantages of a hard case is protection and airline acceptance of liability.

    I have used a Club Glove with no issues in all my travels.. It folds up nicely once at destination, can customize with your club or colors and takes up less space. Also, the train system by CG works perfectly to manage the airport.

    If you use the Stiff Arm, wrap irons with a towel, turn putter upside-down in bag and possibly pull the heads off woods, you'll be doing just fine!

    And my homeowners insurance covers damages.
  14. Soft case works well with the stiff arm. I would recommend Club Glove. I believe you can get a Club Glove with the Titleist logo although it may not be the full size version.

    After putting the golf bag in with the stiff arm, I also pack clothes around the bag and club head. Dual purpose suitcase and some extra padding.

    One more protective measure I take is removing the driver club head since it gets pretty close to the top of the bag. It would proibably be ok with the stiff arm but just an extra precaution.
  15. Barry S

    Barry S
    Oakville, ON

    Some people take the driver head off the shaft and put it in their carryon.
  16. Barry M

    Barry M
    Reno, NV

    Hard case. Most of those baggage handlers are pretty good but a few of them like to see how far they can throw the bags, and don't really care if anything gets damaged. Too big an investment to let some baggage jockey toss them on and off the baggage truck. I've had hard cases that were destroyed by airline workers, so no way I'm going with the soft case. Went on a buddies trip a couple years ago, and out of 10 guys I was the only one with a hard case. They relentlessly poked fun at me until we got to the hotel and one of my buddies driver shaft was snapped. Later they thanked me as I demonstrated how well the hard case doubles as a beer cooler when not carrying clubs.
  17. Thanks for all the advice. I've decided to go with a club glove soft case with a 'stiff arm'. Some pictures I've seen of a bent 'stiff arm' has me afraid to go without one.

    I'm looking forward to playing with my own clubs while traveling. The familiarity I have with my own clubs should make for a much more enjoyable time on the course compared to borrowing or renting.

    Thanks to this forum for all the great input!
  18. Dale V

    Dale V
    Escondido, CA

    Good for you, its all about personal choice. Titleist is now carrying both the larger and the smaller Club Glove if you decide you want the Titleist logo or even to personalize with the TT logo. One trick for my soft case when using my Players 4 stand bag, I cut two PVC pipes to protect the legs. I had two different times where TSA inspectors shifted the bag where the legs were now on the side and even once towards the top which exposed them to being bent. The PVC pipe along with the Stiff Arm protect it pretty well now.
  19. Todd T

    Todd T
    San Diego, CA

    I always say get a color other than black for the CG or change out the zipper pulls. I use the Vokey CG in black but put in the orange 550 cord pulls!
  20. Lance P

    Lance P
    Hillsborough, NC

    Todd T said:

    I always say get a color other than black for the CG or change out the zipper pulls. I use the Vokey CG in black but put in the orange 550 cord pulls!

    If your bag is black I agree with Todd: Put something bright on it to "personalize" it. I picked up some discarded caution tape from a building site and all our luggage has strips of that tied near the handles. Saves a little time/embarrassment at the airport.
  21. Joseph E

    Joseph E
    JOHNSTOWN, PA

    I have a hard shell case and mark it with fluorescent orange duct tape from Gorilla Glue company. I always know when my bag comes out... my case has been inspected each time by the TSA whether I fly domestic or out-of-country. I always remove my driver head and wrap my irons in towels.
  22. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    I had a soft bag with a hard shell top. But the bag material only lasted a few trips. Have had a Club Glove with a stiff arm for several years now with no issue, including trips to Europe. I got it through my club from Titleist. Was a few dollars cheaper than the commercial version with the club discount. The Club Glove can fit in the trunk of several midsized rental sedans, so I can park the car at a motel w/o the equipment being visible.
    While airlines have you sign a waver, if a hard case is damaged, it still won’t be easy to collect. Or get club replacement beyond the used value. Hard or soft, if the entire bag is lost, personal property insurance may be the best bet.
  23. 19hole

    19hole
    Reading, MA

    I use a Club Glove "Last Bag" along with a Stiff Arm. It has traveled just over 1,000,000 miles with me to places all over the globe. I have been luck to have my clubs arrive undamaged, so far at least.
  24. Jason R

    Jason R
    Ottawa, ON

    Another Club Glove Last Bag man here as well. I use the stiff arm, remove the heads from my driver, 3-Wood and Hybrid and wrap my towels around the iron heads (which in an y case are in Club Glove headcovers for travel). I have never had any issues domestically but if I were going across the pond, I would definitely invest in a hard case.

    I find the storage and the flexible shape much easier to deal with with several sets of clubs in the same rental.
  25. Abdon M

    Abdon M
    Northern California

    My clubs have a few thousand miles under their belts (or should I say grips). I currently utilize both a hard and soft case (SKB hard case and Sun Mountain Meridian soft case). I find that I'm able to fit more items in the soft case than I am with my hard case. I generally use the SKB case because I believe it will be more protective and for a weekend trip, it's perfect. On the other hand if it's a week or longer trip, I will use the soft case because of the extra space; I make sure to utilize the Club Glove Stiff arm and that has worked well so far. In addition, the Meridian version has a neat mechanism that makes rolling the bag around very easy.
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