Keen golfers love to squeeze a round (or two) into almost any business trip, and why not?
The golf course remains a wonderful place to do business, even if it's just building a relationship with a prospective client. And travel affords you the chance to play dozens of different courses, making a welcome change from the familiar 18 holes back home.
Sydney Morning Herald journalist and golf-addict Daniel Fallon recently put together ten tips to make the most of any golf getaway.
We've called out the five travel-specific ones, with kind permission of the SMH – you can check out the rest at the SMH's Executive Style section.
1. Protect your clubs
Expect your golf bag to be thrown around in transit. You need a solid bag, a cover that clips to the top of it, as well as an overall golf travel bag which encapsulates your golf clubs. Pick a golf bag that has inbuilt wheels for mobility around airports. Most major golfing retailers stock versions from about $100.
Having head covers for your woods and hybrid is a smart idea, too. (If, like me, you've lost one or two of them along the way, slip some socks on the sticks.)
2. Clean out your bag
It's amazing how fast junk can build up in the pockets of a golf bag: food wrappers, old score cards, nasty old gloves, junk balls. Before travelling, empty your bag and add a fresh glove, a set of 24 quality balls (ones that will help give you control around the green), a fresh towel for cleaning your sticks, a light jacket and sunscreen.
It's much cheaper to buy at a local retailer than to restock necessities at the pro shop. (And don't forget to pack your golf shoes!)
3. Airline penalties
Golf clubs count as another bag at check-in. Some carriers sting you for taking a second bag or for excess baggage weight. Well before departure, it's worth weighing your bag and checking your carrier's policy on extra baggage, especially on domestic US flights.
Australian Business Traveller did a quick check and discovered the rules vary widely between airlines.
For example, Qantas counts golf bags and collapsible buggies as part of your checked baggage allowance as long as they weigh under 32kg.
Emirates goes one better, permitting a set of golf clubs (and one pair of golf shoes) as a free item in addition to your standard checked luggage allowance.
On the other hand, Singapore Airlines charges golf club-packing passengers passengers a standard 6kg excess baggage fee "for the first 15kg of the equipment", and a per-kg excess baggage charge after that.
For example, travelling from Australia to Singapore with 20kg of golfing kit will cost $242 each way – that being a flat fee of $132 (6kg at $22/kg) for the first 15kg plus $22/kg for the remaining 5kg.
4. Oversize baggage pick-up
Many baggage carousels aren't designed to carry golf clubs so they get sent to the oversize baggage department and pick-up area. To avoid waiting at a carousel that never delivers, get to know the layout of your destination airport online or ask at check-in for carousel details.
5. Step this way, sir
Problems can start even before you reach a course. If you're travelling overseas this can mean being held up by customs or quarantine officers at your destination because you chunked your last seven-iron. Australian Customs, among others, prohibits the carriage of soil on the face of your clubs or the spikes of your golf shoes. Clean them to avoid a fuss.
For ExecStyle's remaining five tips on how to make the most of a golfing getaway – such as taking a virtual tour of the course online and loading up some golf apps for your smartphone – click here.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.