Skip the Ticket Counter, Go Straight to Plane
If you’re tired of schlepping golf clubs through airports, rental-car centers and hotel lobbies, help has finally arrived.
Cost? Details in a moment, but the short answer is: less than what you’d pay to ship your clubs yourself via UPS or FedEx, and more than what most airlines charge for a first checked bag. The true value lies in the freedom to waltz through airports with carry-on luggage only.
ShipSticks has bulk rates with both FedEx and UPS. Both services would require you or me to box our clubs, insist on selling us a cardboard box or charge us extra for shipping them without a box. But for a ShipSticks shipment, they’ll accept an unboxed, hard-sided golf travel case or even the wheeled version of a soft Club Glove travel cover.
If want or need the protection of a cardboard box, ShipSticks will give you one for free. While scheduling a trip to Baltimore, a company rep looked up my ZIP Code and suggested I pick up a box at Albuquerque Country Club, one of many clubs with whom they have a relationship.
ShipSticks scheduled a firm UPS pickup at my house. The day before I left Albuquerque I received an email confirmation that my clubs had arrived at my cousin’s condo in the Inner Harbor. On the morning of my flight, I skipped the ticket counter. At the other end, I walked past the baggage claim without stopping and enjoyed a hassle-free ride on Baltimore’s light rail, a carry-on bag slung over my shoulder.
While Southwest Airlines still has no first- or second-bag fees, most airlines charge $20 to $33 for the first bag, and $20 to $35 for the second bag. A third bag can set you back anywhere from $50 to $150. By contrast, ShipSticks charges $39 to $59 one-way for four-day service between most cities in the continental United States. For a lot more money, they’ll ship golf clubs overnight.
A recent quote: Albuquerque to TPC Scottsdale, $39.99 each way via three-day ground, or $99.99 each way overnight.
The company offers rock-solid pickup and delivery dates, plus online tracking. All rates include $1,000 in coverage for loss or damage, and $200 in free “consequential insurance” – a fancy term that means they’ll cover the cost of rental clubs if your bag arrives late.
Keep that in mind the next time you need to bug out for the nearest sun-soaked fairway.