3 things golfers should always travel with to keep their games sharp
Welcome to Road Rules, a GOLF.com series in which we pick the brains of expert golf travelers, ranging from professional golfers and caddies to globetrotting course raters and teachers. We’ll unlock their must-have travel items, go-to airline tips and more to inform you for your next golf excursion.
Some pro golfers fly comfortably on private planes, but a vast majority of them fly like us. Sure, many might be in first class, but it’s still not easy jumping off a plane and getting loose to play golf. The same can be said for driving long distances in cars en route to rounds.
This is true not just for pros, but weekend hackers heading across the country on golf trips. Luckily, there are some smart items you can bring with you to make sure a long travel day doesn’t take a toll on your body (and scorecard).
Matt Wilson is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and the director of instruction at Baltusrol Golf Club, in New Jersey. Before that he was the head coach of Golf Canada’s Junior Girls team, which meant he traveled about 200 days a year. If there’s anyone who knows how to travel right to keep your game dialed in, it’s Wilson.
His must-have golf items when traveling? He called out three items: (1) alignment sticks, to make sure your clubface alignment is dialed in before your round, (2) resistance band, and (3) foam roller — both of which will help you alleviate any sort of tightness after a cramped flight or car ride.
“Think about it like what’s in your dopp kit when you travel. What are the essential behaviors that keep you healthy every day?” Wilson says. “Brush my teeth, floss my teeth, those would be the two biggest ones, right? So you need to be working with your instructor or coach to figure out what would be the equivalent things for your golf game. You see a lot of players with alignment sticks — they have some form of straight edge in their bag to ensure clubface alignment. Just simple stuff that gives you feedback to make sure you are set up correctly.
“I personally travel with and encourage people to travel with some form of band and a foam roller because of postural changes,” he continued. “Your body gets so compressed when you are traveling by air or even by car. You are sitting in cramped spaces for a long time and you ultimately swing around your setup. So just making sure you get your whole front side of your body opened up and establishing good posture and making sure your rib cage isn’t too tight, your hips aren’t too tight.”
Foam rollers, and especially bands, take up little room when traveling. So they are easy to sneak in bags. They are a favorite of many golf teachers and pros (like Justin Thomas, above), as well.
So while some extra range time might benefit your game after a lengthy travel day, don’t discount how much a few simple band and foam-roller exercises can help to relieve muscle tightness and increase your joint range of motion — things that make the golf swing thrive.
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