I love traveling, especially for golf. I’ve been very fortunate over the last six years to have experienced some of the best golf resorts in the United States and have traveled all around the globe for golf, with stops in Turkey, Morocco, and Malaysia along the way. My friends and I hope to continue our world tour (#GolfBlogWorldTour) with trips to Canada and the UK in the next few years.
My golf travel bag has logged well over 50,000 miles between four continents in just three years. With layovers and connecting flights, that’s a lot of different people handling (or mishandling) my golf clubs. In 2014, U.S. airlines alone mishandled 24 million bags! While those numbers are going down, it’s still not a statistic any traveler wants to be associated with. Not only that but in 2016, U.S. airlines collected almost $4.2 billion in baggage fees. Because of their weight, golf clubs are more likely to be hit with excess baggage fees – up to $100 on some airlines.
There’s a better option for golfers than dragging their heavy golf club travel bag through airports and having to upgrade rental cars just to make them fit. The company is called Ship Sticks, and they offer a very simple service – Let somebody else take your golf clubs to your final destination and they’ll be waiting for you when you arrive!
I used Ship Sticks for the first time on my recent trip to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in southwest Oregon. One of the many reasons why Bandon Dunes is the number one golf destination in North America is because they do everything well. The remoteness of the property adds to the pure golf experience but makes logistics more challenging. The nearest major airport is Portland, about 250 miles away, so instead of incurring the added cost of flying into the small airport in North Bend or renting a huge SUV or van to fit 4 golf bags and luggage, my friends and I decided to enlist the services of Ship Sticks instead.
Ship Sticks has formed partnerships with and operates at more than 3,000 facilities worldwide, including over 80% of GolfWeek’s Top 400 Golf Courses, Country Clubs, and Resorts. Using services like UPS and FedEx ensures your clubs will be insured and tracked from origin to destination. The whole process is easy. Just create an account at shipsticks.com, create your shipment, print out barcode labels and attach to your travel bag, and drop off or schedule a pickup at your nearest UPS/FedEx location. You’ll automatically get emails with tracking updates along the way, and your clubs will be waiting for you when you arrive wherever you are going.
I packed my Sun Mountain carry bag in my bullet-proof, lockable SKB hard case and affixed the shipping label just as FedEx arrived at my door to pick it up. I got the email a few days later that my clubs had arrived at Bandon Dunes, and when we pulled in to the resort and drove up to the practice facility to warm up, our clubs were delivered by the resort staff. Brilliant!
The return trip was just as simple. Pack my clubs in the case, lock it and slap on the shipping label. My bag stood there among the dozen or so other golf bags packed in travel bags or Ship Sticks boxes, ready to go back to their owners. The only drawback to the process is if you might need your clubs on one of the days before or after your travels while they are still in transit, as my friend Tony did. In that case, you have four options: Have a backup set of clubs to use, plan your travels to allow for the shipping time, pay extra to have your clubs shipped 2nd-Day air or overnight, or travel the old-fashioned way.
The cost to ship your golf clubs varies greatly based on where you are going and where you are coming from, but in general, the cost is slightly more than you would pay in regular weight baggage fees ($25-$75) on most airlines. With four of us driving together from Portland on the trip to Bandon, we needed to rent an SUV to fit everybody and their luggage, but adding four golf bags to that would never have worked. We filled the back of our Volvo XC90 just with luggage and supplies alone! Upgrading rental cars to something that would fit all our golf bags, or flying into a small regional airport with shuttle service to Bandon would have been much more expensive than simply using Ship Sticks to handle our clubs for us.
In the end, using Ship Sticks was easy, stress-free and very convenient. I was able to travel with just a carry-on and skip having to check the bag and wait at the baggage carousel upon arrival at the airport, and I didn’t have to drag my clubs around with me everywhere I went. Having my clubs waiting for me at the resort was so nice, I don’t know why I never used Ship Sticks before. You can be sure I’ll think of Ship Sticks first when traveling for golf going forward. In fact, now you can also ship your luggage and even your skis in the winter time!