The airline lost your golf clubs? Remember to do these 5 things next


Lost your golf clubs? Here’s what you do next.


Welcome to Stuff Golfers Should Know, a series from where we reveal all kinds of useful knowledge about golf (and life!) that will make you the smartest, savviest and most prepared player in your life. quartet.


Think a stray bullet is bad? Try a lost bag. It’s never fun when you’re on a golf trip and your clubs don’t reach your destination with you. But it’s an increasingly common headache as air travel resumes amid an industry-wide labor shortage.

What if the airline misplaces your precious clubs? What can you expect? With input from the experts at TripIt, an online travel planner, here’s a five-point guide.

don’t panic

Yes, it’s boring. But like in golf, being stressed and angry won’t help your cause. In most cases, your bag isn’t really lost. It’s delayed. To ensure that it reaches you, the most effective approach is to go (calmly) to the baggage service counter and request delivery to your home or accommodation. Resist the urge to yell at the attendant. Complete all relevant forms and ask how you can stay up to date on research through a toll-free number or website. If you cannot find an airline representative, call the carrier. Yes. We know. Call wait times can be infuriating. But you want to speak to someone, in person or on the phone, before you leave the airport.

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File a complaint

For most airlines, you are entitled to compensation after your baggage has been lost for more than 24 hours. (If you paid baggage fees, you are also entitled to a refund.) You will need to file a claim, providing an inventory of what was lost, and an approximate dollar value. It might be tempting to tell the airline that you had a set of custom clubs and a $100,000 Rolex in your bag. It may even be true. But that doesn’t change the fact that most airlines have a compensation cap, usually around $3,500. For international travel, the cap is lower, around $1,800.

Keep receipts

The good news is that they found your clubs. The bad news is that you had to use a ready set for your dream ride. You will not be compensated for your emotional trauma. Or your score higher than usual. But the airline owes you those rental sticks. Although policies vary, carriers generally reimburse up to $50 per day for reasonable expenses. Keep receipts for any replacement purchases you made, keeping in mind that the airline may dispute your claim that two boxes of Pro V1s, a hat, a shirt, and a case of Cuban cigars were reasonable purchases.

Be (even more) patient

These are moments that will test a traveler’s soul. Your clubs are lost. You have submitted your request. Now the waiting game begins. How long will it take to be compensated? It’s hard to say. Previously, these issues were often resolved within a few days or a week. But these days it can seem like just about anything goes. In our experience here at, the process can drag on for weeks. For your own sanity, try to be patient. But feel free to be a squeaky wheel. Keep contacting the airline by phone or email until the carrier agrees. Sometimes when you talk to a human on the phone, you get the latest news before that information is updated on your online claim.

Take precautions in the future

None of this was your fault. But there are lessons to be learned. On future trips, it’s probably worth documenting what’s in your travel bag before checking in at the airport counter. It will save you time and headaches if something is missing. Travel insurance can be another safety net, with the potential (depending on the policy) to fully protect you against loss or damage to your clubs. Most airlines do not compensate for damages, especially if your clubs are in a soft cover travel bag.

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a contributor to GOLF Magazine since 2004 and now contributes to all GOLF platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Have Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.