EverythingGolfBAG logo

Golf Travel Bags: The Complete Guide 2024

Choosing a Golf travel bag for a golf holiday is the golfer’s dream!
Hard case or a Soft Golf Travel Cover with wheels. Which are the best travel golf bags to protect your valuable clubs?

Golf travel bag
Golf travel bag

Quick Read

  • Hard Golf travel bags offer the best protection for your clubs but are also the most awkward to store (hotel room) and hard to transport – they may not even fit in the car trunk (rental car).
  • Soft Golf travel bags are shorter, lighter, and can have extendable legs with wheels, which makes them much easier to manage in airports. They also fold flat when not in use. However, airlines may not cover soft bags for damage.
  • For the ultimate in protection, choose a hard case. For slightly less but still adequate protection, choose a soft case with wheels and a ‘Stiff Arm’ inside to give it extra ‘head-on’ protection.
  • Hard or soft case – it can be answered by the question – Are your clubs replaceable? Can you take the small risk?

What are Golf Travel Bags?

Golf travel bags are specialized bags created to protect your golf clubs when travelling, especially in airports and their luggage handlers!
They vary in design and materials – the main two types are hard cases made from plastic and soft cases made from fabric.

Protection and Padding

For a hard case bag, you already have the outer protection, so you are looking for padding around your clubs to stop that horrible club clash and scratching. Use a golf towel around the heads. May I even suggest a sock around each iron?!

In a soft case bag, look for thick, high-density foam or bags that offer a structured reinforcement at the top where club heads are.

Use a “Stiff-Arm” if you are using a soft case. This is an adjustable shock-absorbing pole that protects your clubs.


If you choose a soft case, it should be at least two inches longer than your driver so you can fit it in a ‘Stiff Arm’ for protection. 

Storage Capacity

Of course, you need room for all your clubs, but will you also carry other gear in the bag as well? Accessories, balls, clothing?

Weight and Portability

A lightweight design without sacrificing protection translates into easier handling. 

For air travel, ensure the bag’s weight plus your clubs doesn’t exceed airline limits to avoid extra fees.


Smooth-rolling wheels are great, but as you know from suitcases, they are always the first part to go wrong. You don’t want to drag your bag through the airport, or worse, carry it!

Extra Wheels

Sun Mountain Clubglider has extra retractable wheels, which make it much lighter to pull. Four wheels instead of two support the weight.

Hard or Soft Golf Travel Bag?

The big decision!

Look at all the advantages below of hard vs. soft cases, then answer the question: Can I afford the risk of damage to my clubs?

Advantages of a Hard Case Golf Travel Bag

Hard case golf travel bags are all about ultimate protection. Even if a soft case offers over 90% of the protection, do you still want to take the risk? Are your clubs replacable?

  • Protection: Simply the best choice.
  • Durability: These cases are built to last. The SKB has an unconditional lifetime warranty.
  • Airlines often prefer or require hardshell cases for checked golf equipment. United, for example.
  • It may prevent you from removing the heads of your driver, as most people do when using their soft case.

Disadvantages of a Hard Case Golf Travel Bag

  • Storage: They take up a lot of space even when empty. Think about that hotel room; they may not fit in the trunk of your car.
  • Heavy – with shoes and 2 dozen balls, the bag may already be at the 40lb limit of some airlines. The SKB standard hard case is 18lbs.
  • Hard to manoeuvre through a crowded place such as an airport or hotel lobby.
  • Cost – they may cost slightly more – although only 10%
  • May not fit a cart bag inside -the SKB standard – “This case WILL NOT FIT newer stand or cart bags with protruding top molded handles that exceed 12″ in overall width. If your bag has the top molded handle, please order the XL”

Advantages of a Soft Golf Travel Bag

Soft golf travel bags offer enough protection and much more usability.

Storage and Portability

  • Shorter: They are 5 to 6 inches shorter than hard cases, which makes a difference in a car trunk. They may even fit in—unlike a hard case!
  • Foldable design for compact storage – the soft material means they can lay flat = good for hotel rooms.
  • Lightweight:  for easier carrying. The Sun Mountain ClubGlider is 9lbs, which is amongst the heaviest soft cases. The SKB standard hardcase is 18lbs.

Cost and Convenience

Slightly, very slightly cheaper – maybe 10%


Soft cases normally have internal and external pockets to organize all your extra gear.

Design & Colors

The printable fabric of Soft cases means there is more choice of design.
Have a look at the Ogio series.

Disadvantages of a Soft Golf Travel Bag

  • Airline insurance – some airlines such as United will only cover your clubs for damage if they are in a hard case.
  • Less protection (but good enough with a stiff arm?)
  • Lifespan: approx 10 round trips (as there tends to be a hole or rip), which doesn’t sound long, but it may be 10 years for most players.

Compact Golf Travel Bags

How about combining a soft travel bag with a hard base. Best of both worlds?


  • Foldability: Some, like the Kube, fold in half!
  • Size: still capable of carrying your driver.
  • Durability: The tough plastic on the bottom protects half the case but is still flexible in the middle and so offers no protection against a head-on collision.
  • Wheels – still available, so still easy to move
  • Versatility: Some bags, like the Stitch MUT—Multi-Use Traveller, can be converted into a carry-on bag, which is perfect for golfers on the go.

Top Picks for Compact Golf Travel Bags:

  • Sunday Golf Mule Travel Bag: Ideal for short trips when you only need a few clubs. It looks like a Sunday golf bag! NOte it hold clubs only – you can;t fit another golf bag inside!
  • Sun Mountain Kube: fold in hlaf! (see above)
  • Stitch MUT can hold your clubs or fold in half to become normal carry-on luggage. It includes a torsion bar for protection.

An interesting option for golfers who really need the smallest travel bag.

Design Features

When selecting a golf travel bag, you’ll want to consider certain design features that contribute to durability, functionality, and style.

Travel Bag Wheels

As mentioned above, good wheels are key. Inline skate wheels such as Sun Mountain are smooth. The same company also offers retractable legs and wheels that extend outwards, so there are four wheels in contact with the ground, making it super easy to glide around the airport and hotel lobby.

Color and Style Options

If you want design in your golf travel bag, the only real choice is Ogio.
Otherwise, you will be carrying a black bag or red/blue if you are lucky!


Only available in soft bags, look for enough pockets to organize all your stuff. How many balls do you really need?!

Stiff Arm for a Golf Travel Bag

A stiff arm adds an extra layer of protection for your clubs. This is an extendable, adjustable pole with a cap on the end that is longer than your driver. I recommend you tape it to your driver to keep it close.
It acts as a barrier against impacts against the shorter end of your travel bag. Think of a head-on collision in a car!

Innovative Leg Mechanisms

Innovative leg mechanisms in golf travel bags provide stability and convenience during transit. A standout feature is an automatic leg system that props up your bag, keeping it upright and accessible. This system often pairs with smooth, retractable legs that engage when the bag is tilted downward. The leg mechanism should be durable yet sleek to avoid adding unnecessary bulk.

Hybrid Travel Bag Options

Big Max makes the Double Decker hybrid travel golf bag, which they claim can fit two 6.5″ golf bags and all the clothes and shoes you need!

How do I pack a Golf Travel Bag?

How to Pack Your Golf Clubs for Travel in a Hard Case

How to Pack Your Golf Clubs for Travel in a Soft Case

Packing your golf travel bag requires precision to fit everything without risking damage to your clubs. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

  1. Remove Heads from Adjustable Clubs: Begin by detaching the clubheads from all adjustable woods and drivers. This not only saves space but also prevents damage during transit.
  2. Protect your Clubs:
    • Use a “Stiff-Arm” device or a makeshift one, like a broom handle, to shield the clubs’ shafts by extending above the length of your longest club.
    • Fill the voids in the bag with clothes or towels to stabilize the clubs and prevent jostling.
  3. Carefully Pack Clothing: Utilize available compartments, and:
    • Place clothing in the outer pockets.
    • Roll up shirts or lightweight items and tuck them between clubs.
  4. Secure with Straps: Use the internal straps to snugly fit and secure the golf bag’s contents, ensuring minimal movement.

What are the Airline Restrictions for Golf Travel Bags?

When flying with golf clubs, be aware of airline regulations to avoid any inconvenience at the airport. 

TSA security rules – when your bag is checked into the oversized section, it will be opened as they look for weapons & drugs. Your clubs will likely be taken out and not carefully put back – including the Stiff Arm. Something to be aware of – a good reason to choose a hard case?

Weight Limit
Airlines often set a weight limit for standard checked luggage, which usually includes golf travel bags. 

Generally, your bag should not exceed 50 lbs to avoid overweight baggage fees. However, limits can vary, so check your airline, as you may have a 40lb limit.

Size Limit
Check your golf travel bag’s overall dimensions (length + width + height) If the bag exceeds this, you may have to pay extra fees.

AirTag Holder
Many golfers now use Airtags or other tracking devices to track their bags. Hopefully, you can watch their progress at the same airport and not see them still flying! 

Some golf travel bags come with dedicated pockets for these.

Will Airlines pay for Damaged Golf Bags or Clubs?

When you check in golf equipment for a flight, Most major carriers now ask for a ‘limited release’ – carriers are not responsible for the damage!

Some airlines, such as United, will now be liable for damage if you use a hard case. Their maximum is 62 inches (length + height + width), and they will also only allow one pair of shoes in your case. They have been known to charge 400 dollars for oversized bag fees! Check before you travel!

Golf Travel Insurance

Golf travel insurance is a specialist insurance cover which is different from normal travel insurance.

It can cover your clubs, green fees, trolley public liability insurance, and even your GPS for less than $50.

Note – it is different from your normal golf club insurance.

Can I Rent a Golf Travel Bag?

Yes, you can for a certain number of days – normally starting from 3 days or a week.

You could also just rent clubs when you are at a faraway course too!

The Easiest Way to Ship Your Clubs

Instead of paying for oversized luggage and hiring an extra-large car to transport your clubs to and from the airport, you could use a specialist golf shipping company such as Ship Sticks or Send My Bag. Some also use normal courier services such as Fedex.

Best Golf Travel Bags for 2024

Selecting the right golf travel bag for your needs will protect your clubs and make your journey smoother. Here’s an overview of some top-tier options in 2024 known for their reliability and quality construction.

Sun Mountain ClubGlider Meridian Travel Cover

Winner of many awards, such as Golf Digest, for 6 years. 52” X 14” X 14” 11.3lbs.

Club Glove Last Bag Large Pro

Considered among the best golf travel bags. Waterproof. 1000 denier nylon. YKK zippers. 51”(h) x 19”(w) x 16”(d). 10.6 lbs

Ping Rolling Travel Cover

Can carry full-size cart bags. Four wheels on the base. 400D Nylon. 53″L x 17″W x 14.5″D

Ogio Alpha Max

For the golfer who wants to travel with style! 1680D Polyester Body. 52″ x 13.8″ x 15.7″ 12 lb.

Vice Travelcover

A clever 6-wheel system! 900D nylon. 51″ x 13″ x 20″. 6lbs

Motocaddy Flightsafe Cover

Has a clever outer box which can be used as a hard case to cover the club heads. 6 wheels, extra padded. 4.1lbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Special Bag to Travel with Golf Clubs?

Yes, your clubs are precious, so protect them!

Do I need a Hard or Soft Golf Travel bag?

A hard golf travel bag will offer the best protection but will be difficult to transport and store.
A soft golf travel bag will offer very good protection whilst being easier to handle.
The question is, will you take a risk to your clubs in exchange for convenience? Only you can choose!

Are Soft Golf Travel bags safe?

Yes – for the vast majority of travel. They must be used with a ‘Stiff Arm’ or equivalent for protection. If you can’t afford the risk, get a hard case.

Which golf travel bags provide the best protection for clubs during air travel?

Look at the SKB hard case range.

Do golf travel bags have wheels?

Yes, they range from two to six on the base. Sun Mountain have a range where extra wheels come on extendable legs to make it even easier.

How do airlines handle golf travel bags?

Airlines typically treat golf travel bags as checked or oversized baggage.
Beware of size restrictions, or you could face a $400 charge or worse, damaged clubs.

Do I need a ‘Stiff Arm’ for my golf travel bag?

Definitely, if you have a soft travel case. A ‘Stiff Arm’ can prevent your clubs from being damaged by absorbing the impact in a ‘head-on’ collision. You can make your own version from something hard, such as a broom handle!

Can I put Clothes in a Golf Travel Bag?

Yes, there is space in a hard case, which will also protect the club – pack around the club heads if you can.
In a soft case, there will be room around the clubs and also seperate pockets too.

Be aware that some airlines, such as United, actually specify how many shoes you can put in a golf bag!

Should I remove my Driver head for travelling?

Yes, if you can. Don’t take the risk.

Geoff - everything golf cart

I’m Geoff – Short Game Expert and Golf Coach.
(only because I love playing flops shots on the 9-hole and passing on my favorite Pete Cowen tips to friends & family)
My most memorable golf experience – racing through the streets of Hong Kong in a golf cart to catch the next ferry!

This website is supported entirely by my kind readers – thank you so much for visiting! There are no adverts, and I don’t accept any payment for reviews or sponsorship of any product. Instead, there are some links where, if you buy something, I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. If you do choose to buy through my links – a genuine big thank you!

error: Content is protected !!