Travel mailbag: What are your favorite golf items you can’t travel without?
Welcome to GOLF’s Travel Mailbag, a weekly, interactive GOLF.com series in which members of our staff field your course- and travel-related queries. This week, Emily Haas breaks down her favorite items she can’t travel without.
What are your favorite golf items you can’t travel without? — @alessandroschauperl via Instagram
Since I live in Manhattan, pretty much every round of golf I play requires a combination of subway, train and/or Ubers, so I feel like somewhat of a golf travel expert at this point. Here I’ve rounded up a few of the most important things I try to remember while traveling near or far with golf clubs. Hopefully this list can help you out, too.
My travels are most definitely made easier by my bag itself. I use a lightweight Titleist stand bag that has enough pockets for all of my golf and snack needs. It also has a double strap so I can carry it on one shoulder down a busy sidewalk, or like a backpack. Plus, it isn’t too bulky, so it can easily fit through a subway turnstile or is a breeze to throw in the trunk or carry in my travel bag around the airport. Speaking of a travel bag…
Once airports get involved, I find traveling with my clubs to be slightly stressful. Will they be OK? What if they get damaged, or worse, lost forever? Because of this extra anxiety, I think it’s important to have a trusty travel bag. This is tough to shop for because these bags have a pretty wide price range, and it’s hard to understand the differences between all of the options that are out there. (Luckily, our handy Best of Everything list encompasses this product category, so you will never be led astray again!) When it’s time for me to upgrade my travel bag, I’ll be getting the Sun Mountain Kube option because it will take up way less room in my apartment, while still keeping my clubs secure throughout my travels.
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a round and feeling distracted by hunger. Almonds are my favorite golf course snack of all time and Trader Joe’s is my go-to supplier. It’s key to make sure your snack won’t melt in your bag during a hot day.
I’m a hardcore anti-single-use plastic person, so for me, it’s really important to always travel with a reusable water bottle. Being dehydrated during a golf vacation (or ever) is not fun. Not only does this come in handy on the course, but also in the car, on the plane and during any other activities you may be doing throughout your venture. As a walker, I need a bottle with a sport cap so I don’t spill mid-stroll. I love the options from Hydroflask because they come in so many fun colors.
I almost didn’t include this on the list, because it’s most likely in your bag already, but one time a friend of mine had forgotten his rangefinder during a golf trip and it was abysmal. This pretty much goes without saying, but you should definitely have your rangefinder if you’re playing a new course for the first time.
I usually overestimate how nice the weather will be. Sure, I’ll check my weather app while packing, but I tend to be optimistic about 60-degree weather, when the truth is that can sometimes feel pretty cold if it’s cloudy or windy. Luckily, I usually have some sort of lightweight pullover or jacket in my bag that comes in clutch when I’m in a pinch.
If you’re playing golf somewhere unfamiliar, you need to make sure your phone battery stays strong. For one, you might need directions when you leave. And secondly, you’ll need to snap some cool pictures while on the course. A lot of carts have USB ports these days, so if you don’t have a portable charger, at least try to keep a cord in your bag in case of an emergency.
When I said there was nothing worse than being hungry on the course, I lied. If you have a lot of hair like me, there’s actually nothing worse than breaking your only hair-tie mid round and having to deal with your hair in your face for the rest of the day. I always make sure to keep hair-ties in my bag, so if I’m traveling near or far, I don’t have to make a pitstop at the local drug store before my tee time. And if you don’t have long hair and this doesn’t apply, then your tip is a hat! It can provide the same purpose as I mentioned above, plus it’s a smart item to have to keep the pesky sun out of your eyes and from burning your skin.
Bonus tip: Positive attitude!
This is cheesy, but I think it’s very important to remember to bring your positive attitude whenever you’re traveling for golf. If I’m on vacation, I don’t really care if I shoot a 75 or a 95. I’ll be soaking in the experience, having a fun time and most likely enjoying a beverage at the 19th hole regardless. Especially if you’re visiting a destination you’ve been eyeing for a while, there’s no reason to get caught up in your score during the experience.
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