Travel mailbag: Should I bring my own golf clubs or just use a rental set?

January 23, 2020

Today’s golfer has never been more mobile. Got a friend on the West Coast who just joined a club? We’ll make a weekend trip out of that access.

Got a group of buddies who meet once a year in a new golf destination? We love that, too. Wherever there’s a tee time, it’s plausible we’ll make the trek. But will our clubs always make the trek with us?

Bottom line: They should.

When asking yourself if you should shlep those sticks from home into the car to the airport, wait for them at baggage drop, back into another car, just so your familiarity with equipment is waiting for you in a new time zone … the answer is always yes! (You can also look into bringing your clubs through a shipping service.)

The sad truth is that most courses do not regularly update their rental sets, private clubs included. And no one playing rental sets treats them like their own. Chances are, you’ll run into a set of sticks that…

1. Are older
2. Have been used constantly (so there’s some wear)
3. Don’t match your specs (length, stiffness, etc.)

They are, in essence, a one-size-fits-all ball cap. They’re long enough for the tall people and short enough for the shorter folks, thereby not really great for either.

You know what clubs tend to fit everyone? The bag in your garage. Your bag!

Are the differences between your set and a rental significant enough to ruin your round? Perhaps to you they aren’t, but try making it through a round without thinking about those differences. Pump that drive long and right? Maybe this shaft is too whippy for your swing. Thinning those short irons? Maybe they’re too short for you. Now you’re bending over more than you usually do. Maybe you stripe one from that new stance. Soon enough you’re heading home thinking about why your new stance is better than your “home” stance.

Yes, aspects of these scenarios are a bit drawn out, but for the golfer who keeps a steady handicap, don’t screw with yours by adding avoidable variables. We the Proud Golfers of the World care too much about our performance to risk that on-course happiness for sake of a lighter lift en route to the airport.

And for those worried about the baggage fees, consider the rental fees. It’s almost a wash. Consider it a sound investment in your happiness.

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