Adding a few rounds of golf to your vacation itinerary does not have to mean adding pounds to your luggage. In fact, golf clothes for women have become so lightweight and versatile that they can simplify the packing process. Try hitting the road with these tips and tricks, and you may not even have to check a suitcase.

1. As always with all travel, choose a foundational color. This would usually be black in cooler weather and white in warmer weather, but other options could include navy, tan, or, for the adventurous, a versatile shade of pink or blue. Now you’ll pack one or two bottoms, one or two tops, and one jacket or sweater featuring that color, with coordinating socks and hats for each round of golf.

2. Pick out your golf outfits first, one for each round. Include a dress if you have one you like. Now, plan to wear some part of each golf outfit for dinners, shopping, or other no-sweat activities before you put the outfits through their rounds. If you think that way (and don’t spill the merlot), you will only have to add in a dressier top or two to skort or slacks, a pair of sandals or heels, and some jewelry!

3. If your trip includes workouts or walks, consider playing golf in the tennis or walking shoes you probably would wear for those other activities. Research shows the average amateur woman golfer gains little in the way of traction from today’s soft- and non-spike golf shoes, and golf courses won’t turn you away if you wear other sports shoes. In fact, they won’t even notice.

4. Stick your golf socks inside your golf shoes and pack them with your clubs, but don’t go overboard stuffing your golf bag with other wearables because some airlines strictly define golf equipment. United, for instance, limits golf equipment to “one golf bag containing one set of golf clubs, golf balls, one pair of golf shoes.” American draws the line at 14 clubs and 12 golf balls, warning “If the golf bag contains anything other than the approved items then additional oversize and overweight charges will apply.” Oversize charges? Yes, they’re big.

5. Planning to rent clubs? Be sure to tuck into your shoe bag a glove, a handful of tees, a few packets of sunscreen and bug repellent, and a sleeve of balls.

6. If you’re playing a bucket-list golf course, minimize your packing by deciding in advance: Do you want to buy a shirt, a hat, or something else? One of my favorite purchases was a glove from Cypress Point, because once it wore out I was left with a ball marker as a keepsake.

7. Unless you’re traveling with a porter (oh, sorry, Mad Men has been cancelled!), consider the value of one of the club-shipping services that promise to schlep your golf bag from your home or home course, to the golf course of your choosing, and back again. Otherwise, even if you have the best golf travel bag on the market, you will still have to do some heavy lifting to and from airports. Fees in the U.S. mainland range from about $50 to $150 each way, depending on travel distance and shipping option, but, remember, your airline most likely will charge you $50 to $70 in roundtrip baggage fees.

8. Finally, don’t forget sunglasses, and always travel with a swimsuit, just in case there’s the opportunity for, ahhh, a post-round soak or sauna.

Did we forget anything? Luckily, there’s always shopping!


What are your golf packing shortcuts? Let us know in the comments below!