golf clubs on american airlines
American Airlines – oneinchpunch (depositphotos)

Of course your local course is great but sometimes the desire to try out a new course on a golfing break requires extensive travel. This may lead you to the gruesome airport with its myriad of rules and regulations on baggage.

As one of the most recognized and popular airlines, American Airlines, is often asked what their policy and rules are on traveling with golf clubs. If you’re making a long trip and plan on taking your clubs, be sure to be prepared so you don’t incur excessive fees by being disorganized.

Baggage Policy About Golf Clubs on American Airlines

Here are some key points referring to the baggage policy pertaining to golf clubs on American Airlines:

  • Only one bag per passenger can be a golf bag.
  • Smaller items such as tees and balls can be carried in cabin-luggage but clubs may not.
  • The maximum weight for a bag containing golf equipment is 70 pounds (32kg).

What constitutes golf luggage on American Airlines?

American Airlines has a comprehensive list of sports equipment that you can take on one of their flights. Under their jurisdiction for golf bags, you can take the following pieces of equipment: golf clubs, golf balls, golf tees, and a pair of golf shoes. While American Airlines doesn’t stipulate how many clubs you can take on their policy webpage, you’ve got to be realistic. They’re heavy and you’ve only got 70 lbs. If you’re not going to use that two-way chipper on your trip, don’t take it!

Can I take my golf stuff instead of clothes?

In theory, yes! American Airlines doesn’t discriminate on what you take. When you book your flight it’s common to reserve checked baggage at the same time. Most people use this as their primary bag to pack clothes and other essentials. Instead, avid golfers could use this entitlement to take their golf equipment. As long as it doesn’t impede the checked-bag weight allowance, then you’re free to do so. If you’re traveling with others, you could always get them to pack a few of your clothes! Or just buy new ones when you get to your destination!

How to pack golf clubs when flying?

Essentially when you’re putting your clubs in a bag to fly, you want to minimize the amount of movement within the bag. The plane is moving very fast and there’s little way to track just how much the bag will move while in the hold. What you want to avoid is the metal clonking about, potentially damaging the clubs both superficially and lessening the performance. Stuffing the bag with towels or other soft materials will ensure that there’s less movement. Furthermore, if you have head covers be sure to use them. If you have neither, even bubble wrap will do the job to stop adverse rubbing.

If your golf travel bag has rooms to spare, you might consider to bring personal items such as razor or travel adapter. This is fine, just remember not to stuff something that might damage your clubs in a shaky flight or irresponsible baggage handling.

Oversized or overweight; what’s the difference?

There’s some important terminology to master before starting to pack. Not only have you got to be mindful of the weight allowance (which will stop you from packing overweight luggage) you must also pay attention to the dimensions of your bag. If not, there’s a chance that your bag could be deemed to be oversized and cause strife at the airport. Bags must be in keeping with 126 in (320 cm) [length + width + height]. If your bag doesn’t meet these specifications, it’s time to get a new bag. Ensure to get the best golf travel bag for you and your airline of choice!

Know your golf bag size
Know your golf bag size – Kindel Media (pexels)

Can I just take my clubs with me on the plane?

Taking your golf clubs on the plane with you isn’t an option. The governing body for such issues, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) details that clubs are not allowed in any carry-on bag. This law is definitive and even if you try to claim it’s an antique and should be ruled as such, a golf club will never be allowed in a carry-on.

However, non-club apparatus like balls and tees can be brought on to the plane with a carry-on.

How much does it cost?

Given that clubs and your other equipment are quite heavy, compared to non-golf luggage the fee can be a little expensive, across all airlines. American Airlines currently charges $150 for golf bags weighing between 51 pounds (23-32kg) as it falls under their sports equipment fee.

However, if you can fit your essential clubs in a bag lower than the specified weight within the checked-bag dimensions you can simply pay for the checked baggage fee, usually $30 for your first bag and then $40 for a secondary bag. Remember, however, that if it doesn’t meet the specifications you could end up paying a lot more.

Should I just ship my golf clubs instead?

As a rule, shipping your golf clubs work out more expensive than flying with them yourself. However, a lot of the pitfalls are eliminated. It’s their profession to ship them, so they’ll get the specifications right every time. Ship Sticks work with several logistics companies and typically offers the best rates across America, starting at $44.99.

Do I need to pack my clubs in a bag?

Yes! Golf clubs are prohibited from traveling on planes as a singular item on US flights. In fact, you’d be hard-pushed to find any flight you’d be able to take without a bag. This is in keeping with the policy that it needs to be contained and kept within the hold.

Any other tips?

Traveling on a non-stop flight and/or flying with the same carrier on all legs of your journey will ensure you have less aggravation by chopping and changing at the airport, as well as not worrying about meeting different specifications.

Be sure that your bag can be easily identified. If you have a popular brand of golf bag, the last thing you want is to pick up the wrong bag or have someone else walk off with your life savings in golf clubs. A bright nametag with bold lettering should work as a treat.

If you’re using a soft-side bag, consider using a golf club protection device to put in your bag so that the clubs stay still during the travel period. Or, invest in a premium bag that has one built into it. Further to this, you should ensure that your bag is of good overall quality and sturdy enough to withstand the journey.


Hopefully by now you’ll be set for your next golfing adventure and all the knowledge to pack your bag, or at least the information to buy your next golf bag! Don’t forget to book your AA flight at one of the best flight booking sites for the best deal.

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