Travel Tips for Golf on the Road

Golf essentials to prepare and pack before your next golf trip.

Come this Sunday morning, I am getting on a bus and heading out for a full week of golf in upstate Michigan! Playing in and around Traverse City at Treetops, Otsego Resort and Gaylord Country Club. It’s all part of a whirlwind media tour designed to introduce my readers to some of the best golf in the states. Sound exciting??? It’s a blast and I’m looking forward to it. But before I get on that plane, I need to get my “ducks in a row.”

Playing golf on the road. It’s fun, but there are so many bits and pieces to remember to bring, I find it’s a good idea to make a list. I share mine here in case you might find it helpful as you prepare for your next golf adventure.

Things I need to do…

  • Clean my golf clubs and replace name tags. I play golf at least three times a week in season. No matter how I wipe the clubs down, grass and odd things get caught up in between the grooves. A good scrub with soap and water might be a good idea. (Besides, pulling out a pitching wedge coated in last week’s mud is never an impressive sight.) While I’m at it, I’ll renew those small mail return labels I put on each club to identify me as the owner. Over time, they get a bit ratty. They’re a cheap alternative to the pricier I.D. tags you can buy and I find the paper labels work just as well. Several times having that paper name tag just below the grip on the club shaft has saved me from losing a wedge.
  • Clean out the golf bag and get rid of everything that isn’t essential. I need to sort through all those pockets, dump the old tissues, reorganize the first aid kit of bandaids and aspirin, and be sure the sunscreen is fresh. (If your sunscreen has chemicals in it — don’t they all? — it’s only good for a few months. Check the expiration date and replace it if the sunscreen is out of date.)
  • Hang a fresh golf towel on a bag ring. I have a lot of golf towels I’ve collected over time. I need to choose one that’s small enough to carry along on the trip, but clean and with only a few stains to prove I actually use it.
  • Get rid of all the extra golf bag “do dahs” that just add clutter. Bag tags, club tags, member tags… I seem to have dozens. They look good, but they add weight and just get twisted over time.
  • Golf balls and tees. Balls are heavy to carry. Bring a sleeve or two, but decide to buy anymore you need from the pro shop rather than haul an extra couple pounds of golf balls in your bag.

Check the weather forecast…

I’m traveling for 5 days of golf to an area of the country that has similar weather to my own. We’re talking 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect golf weather. No need for heavy sweaters. Several tops and slacks/shorts should do it. To avoid bringing too many outfits, I’ll make sure the colors and fabrics all work together, so mix and match is the name of the game.

I don’t think we’re in for a storm — perhaps a rainy day?… but I’ll bring a good water proof jacket and pants along for the ride. I have a set that packs in a compact sack to save space and it will do just fine in case of inclement weather. My rain hat doesn’t work very well, but if we’re caught in a storm, I’ll buy a new one in the pro shop and call it a souvenir! 🙂

What to pack… I’m not a great shopper, so I usually pack what I know I’ll need, but if you love to shop and collect something new on your golf adventures, keep your packing to a minimum and leave room in your bag for new outfits.

Packing for a week of golf.
  • Golf shoes. I wear a pair of spikeless golf shoes from Sketchers and wear them both on and off the course. One pair should be enough… Of course if it rains and they get soaked… ?
  • Casual shoes (sandals if it will be warm enough)
  • Golf socks (one pair for each day of play — unless you don’t mind washing them up at night. They take up so little room (I pack them into my golf shoes), it’s easier to just pack all you need.
  • Jacket. I have a great looking jacket that is waterproof and has a lining I can remove in case it gets too warm. Layering is the name of the game when it comes to jackets, vests, sweaters, etc.
  • Scarf – I throw a couple of these into my bag no matter what. A scarf can dress up an otherwise dull outfit with a little style, and if it’s got some heft, it can keep me warm on a cool evening or sitting in a drafty seat on a jet plane. A soft pashmina shawl is easy to pack and always works well.
  • Casual clothes for the evening: Post-golf get-togethers. In my experience, the after-golf dinner, gathering at the bar, is always resort casual. When we toured the Greenbrier in West Virginia a few years ago, there were certainly some very upscale looks on some of the resort visitors… but golfers are often allowed the exception and can be as laid back as they like. Unless you really love to dress up, keeping things easy and casual works for most. No sense packing clothes you’ll never wear. And remember, you can always go shopping!!!
  • Personal items, i.e. jewelry, makeup, pj’s, robe, etc, whatever… always a good idea to bring extra, plus toiletries, etc. I just need to remember to keep all those tubes of toothpaste and cream to 3 oz. or less. If I put them in my carry-on they can get pulled by Security. If I stuff them into my golf travel bag which rides in the cargo hold, then it doesn’t matter.
  • Mid-size luggage or carry-on? I really like to keep my travel baggage to a minimum. If I can walk on a plane with just a small satchel with my wallet and a good book, then that’s what I’ll do. It’s a given on a golf trip that I have to bring a golf travel bag for my clubs. But should I carry a second piece of luggage as well? If there is no additional cost for the second piece of luggage, I’ll pack a standard-size case and add a few extras—an extra sweater, etc. Otherwise, I choose a carry-on. Less is always more. NOTE: As of this writing, most of the airlines don’t charge for carry-on but they DO charge for the first standard checked bag under $50. Check with your airline to see current fees and decide.
  • Money, Credit Cards, etc. You’re going to need to go to the bank or the local ATM to get some small bills. I never remember that and I always need to break up $10 and $20 for tip money. Bus driver, cabbie, Uber driver (if he or she doesn’t include tip in the fare) — I always try to tip them something as a thank you. Plus all those people at the golf course who hover near your golf cart when you arrive. (Assisting golf club visitors is a big part of some one’s daily wage.) Bring along the cash to give away.
    • Carry a list of credit cards, ATM passcodes etc. and hide the list someplace other than your luggage. Always good to know you have that information when you’re traveling
    • Make a note of your “in case of emergency person” phone and email information and hide that too… just in case. You never know… you could get hit by a golf ball on the course (happened to me once!!!)
    • Don’t forget your I.D. / Passport. Rules are getting ever more strict and if you are flying across borders, you need to know the regulations. Check out the latest travel regs for U.S. citizens here.
  • The Dog, the Mail, the Neighbors…? I don’t know your circumstances, but if you’re traveling, be sure to take care of all those last-minute items…. put a hold on your mail, tell a trusted neighbor you’ll be away for a few days, stop the newspaper, give your pet to someone who will keep it safe and well cared for!

Most of all, get some sleep before you travel! Bring a good book for the ride, and then — at last, relax and have a good time.

  1 comment for “Travel Tips for Golf on the Road

  1. Pete says:

    If you need to cut weight for the plane ride, order a box (or 2 depending on how many you usually go through) of golf balls online and have them delivered to the hotel. Then discard the scuffed up ones before you head home.

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