Playing golf on vacation can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, when you visit the Dominican Republic to play Teeth of the Dog or Mexico to take on El Camaleon or Quivira Los Cabos, you can take a million photos to share on Instagram and make all your golf buddies back home insanely jealous. On the other hand, you have to pack a lot of extra gear and, unless you’re fine spending a few hundred dollars on rental clubs, you also have to pack your sticks and lug them around, too.
It can all be a bit much sometimes.
Fortunately, there’s so much gear out there now that is designed to make the experience more convenient without taking affecting your skills and reliance on certain tools and gadgets. And best of all, when you bring only the gear that you need most, that means unpacking is easier as well. Here’s the gear that I recently brought with me to PGA National and Ocean Club in the Bahamas and why I think every traveling golfer should want to bring it on their next trips, too.
Revolve Golf Bag
I recently purchased another brand’s cart bag because I loved the design and look, but after two rounds with it, I was furious because it never stood up on its own and constantly fell over. Guess who isn’t a fan of that? My hotel room’s neighbors. I was back to square one with a need for a durable, convenient bag that not only does the job of carrying my clubs and accessories, but also travels well and looks good, because style always plays a big role.
The solution to all my problems came with the Revolve Golf Bag. Lightweight and boasting enough pocket space to carry my balls, gloves, towels, and more, this is already as fine as any carry bag can get, but the two detachable wheels and retractable handle are downright brilliant additions. It is an exceptional choice for when you’re staying at a resort that doesn’t have a golf course and therefore can’t or won’t hold your clubs, because you can move across the property with ease, as opposed to having to stop to adjust a clunky cart bag and maneuver through families who insist on walking 10-wide.
And normally I don’t care much about people checking out my gear on the course, but every attendant who helped me or simply saw my bag at PGA National stopped to ask me about it, because I could tell they appreciated the convenient design more than anyone. Although I had to teach them how to take the wheels off to properly strap it onto the cart, because that caused a little confusion each morning of my stay. But that learning curve aside, this bag will travel the world with me, because it is simply my favorite.
Takomo 101 Irons
The sleek, simple design of my Takomo 101 Irons also always has other golfers asking me about my gear, because people see them and think that I’ve spent big bucks on improving my game. Not quite, friends. Yes, I love these clubs because they swing like the breeze, and I have never hit irons better in my years of trying to play golf than I have with my Takomos. But I love them most of all because of how affordable they are.
That’s why they were created in the first place: to give golfers a budget-friendly alternative to the sets that cost four digits. Affordability also goes a long way in the travel realm, because prior to owning this set, I was terrified by the idea of bringing my clubs anywhere they could be lost. Poor baggage handling, careless resort attendants, or just some sticky-fingered golfer who decided he liked my clubs—these are the fears I previously lived with. At least with my Takomo irons, I know they can be replaced if the worst happens, even if I’d still mope for weeks.
Bearbottom Tech Polo
One of my greatest goals in testing and learning about new travel gear has been finding the perfect polo for a little bit of everything. I’ve worn some good options, but none has made me as comfortable and carefree as the Bearbottom Tech Polo, which comes to us from the same company that makes my new favorite dry bag.
To a lot of people, a polo is just another shirt, but when you’re on vacation and trying to keep your luggage light, it can be your best friend. As simple as the style gets, this one comes in three basic colors that all wear well enough for everything from the airplane to the resort’s fine-dining option. But the aspect that matters most is comfort and this is a polo that feels as good on the golf course as it does on the sunset catamaran cruise. Pack two of these in your backpack and don’t bother with another shirt for your weekend escape.
Shot Scope X5
Don’t tell my Apple Watch this, but this is the reason I rarely wear it anymore. For the simplest needs, the Shot Scope X5 is an ideal timepiece with a clear, accurate display with five interchangeable digital faces for your everyday preferences. But on the course, this thing is a pint-sized, lightweight caddy that will do wonders for your club selection and accuracy.
Before owning the Shot Scope X5 golf GPS watch, I never paid much attention to yardage. I’ve always been the kind of golfer who just guesses and hopes for the best, which is obviously a really careless approach to trying to shave strokes off the scorecard. Having the depth of insight that this watch and app boast has been incredibly helpful on my last several rounds, and it builds even more confidence when you know help is just a button tap away.
Tomo Bravo Shoes
Just like a good polo, I’m always looking for a pair of comfortable shoes that can be worn anywhere on my trips. The best version of this that I have found to this point is the Tomo Bravo, a shoe with so many design perks that it’s hard to decide what I love the most. Obviously, the pillow insoles are a dream to walk on, especially when your vacation involves guided tours and exploration, or when the course is cart path only after a little rain.
Honestly, I’m just in love with the simple style of these shoes. The two basic colors—Frost Grey and Ink Black—go with almost any outfit, so after a morning on the course they’re still fine for walking around downtown Willemstad for shopping and admiring the street art, and they go great with a pair of jeans or travel pants for a dinner on the restaurant’s patio overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Osmo Active Hydration
Little resort perks like reusable water bottles go a long way with me, mainly because it makes a perfect “free” souvenir, but also because the hot Caribbean sun will keep a golfer thirsty all day long. Being dehydrated is the last thing anyone wants on vacation, but when you’re planning to play one to five rounds of during your trip, you need to be sure that you’re taking care of numero uno.
When you can’t travel with big jugs of sports drink, individual powder packets are the best alternative, and Osmo’s Power Fuel has a permanent spot in my golf bag. Not only are the packets convenient space savers, but the flavors blow away the regular brand’s blue and red. Blueberry pomegranate is my personal favorite, but blackberry is terrific as well, and orange and lemon-lime are also great for traditionalists.