All that a swinger needs for a trip to the Olympics. The key to successful travel is to bring half the clothes and twice the money...
I am beginning this blog posting writing in the airport lounge in Halifax, Canada as the birds who have taken up residence swoop low above my head preying on errand fries and, I assume, unattended children. I am listening to people exchange regurgitated and mundane facts about the Super Bowl (which I didn’t watch nor care about the Super Bowl other than FREE CHILI!!!) and it makes me wonder what sort of net benefit the SB gives to us as a society. I would say little to none; especially if you think of the opportunity cost of the activity of watching it. 6.7 million Canadians watched it this past weekend. What if 6.7 millions Canadians took the time to do a beach clean up, or wrote letters to the MPs or volunteered for a day to any beneficial end? It is a sad thought to think of how sports along with junk food have become the bread and circus of our post-classical civilization.
This blog, beyond that diatribe is not going to be action packed (quite frankly if you aren’t a lesser golfer I would consider skipping this one all together). I am headed out west to take in the Olympics which suits me fine as there are so many shows (about 10 a day) and I got a paid gig to do consulting that it makes it worth my time to head the 8000km. Robert Louis Stevenson best encapsulated my motivation: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move”.
(I caught the plane at this point and I am now writing this in a Cafe on Davies St. in Vancouver)
So, I am on the road for about a month (I decided to do an open ended ticket) as I have work in Vancouver and meetings in Toronto, friends in Ottawa and friends and family in Montreal (plus all the intangible things that always leads people like me to the jewel of North America that is this city on the St. Lawrence). Normally it would not be worth taking my clubs on the road (since they can be bought for about $10 total in second hand stores), however as I have 4 cities on this jaunt I have decided to check out how one would travel with them if one is so inclined.
Visual representation of potential club damage
First I wanted to see what regulatory barriers bringing clubs might exist and the most likely damage that potentially could be incurred to my clubs. After speaking to someone who works at WestJet at the YHZ airport they said that there was no real “barriers” in terms of rules but that loose clubs could be lost or potentially “beheaded” in transit (more of a problem with woods, apparently- insert Tiger Woods and wife golf club joke here). I was told I had to prep them for travel by securing them to a board unless I had a bag (which I do but never use and certainly won’t have on the road) and secure their heads if I wished to avoid damage.
The following is a crash course in prepping lesser golf clubs for travel.
Good wood protects irons
First look for a proper length of wood to secure your clubs worth. This will be easier if your clubs are about the same length. I am travelling with a 5 iron and 9 iron which means they aren’t too different in size. Turn the club faces to face each other on opposite sides of the board so they cradle the board between them.
Secure heads to wood
Next secure them with tape (I used hockey as it is handy and easily to tear off at trails end) at both ends. You will want to leave a bit of space between the board and the club shaft for a baggage ticket to be attached. I also suggest you write your name and some contact information (and the name of this blog [word up]) to the board in case the ticket tears away and someone in baggage has got to deal with getting them back to you (most airlines do to-door service).
Secure heads to each other to avoid catching
Next try to secure the heads to both the board and to each other in a manner that minimizes the chances it will catch on anything in the transport process. There is apparently tonnes of cases of heads of clubs getting ripped off in transport; this genuinely surprises me as I have seen guys who treat their golf gear better than they treat their wives.
Cover head with cardboard or canvas bag to cover club heads
Finally, cover the taped heads with some sort of canvas or cardboard to keep it all from your hard work and tape from tearing away. Loose ends are no good. You don’t want it to get your gear caught in machinery, and you certainly don’t want to arrive without them (mainly because it’s barely worth the effort of trying to get second hand clubs back, really).
When I showed up to the counter at WestJet I had to explain the game of urban golf in its entirety to Dan who was curious as to why I was travelling with the package pictured above (I think Dan was his name…I was more than half asleep) Once he caught to the idea of the game he was stoked and will be joining us for a game. On the plane, in a stroke of extreme good luck (if you know me very well it is one that is becoming a trend on these east-west flights) I sat next to a girl of French/Swedish heritage who will be hosting me for a night or two in Whistler and we will be hitting the links in that mountain community; a great addition to going out with some of the Vancouver founders.
In transit I strongly suggest you carry a ball or two with you… you might have to wait a while for a shuttle or drive and airports have tonnes of paved surfaces and bored people. After picking up my clubs I actually got to chip around outside of the Vancouver airport with an anarchist while waiting for a friend to arrive so we could take the Canada line into town, this was stopped abruptly by a member of the Olympic welcoming committee. The site of someone (who does not look like a typical golfer) with old, beat up golf clubs in mid-winter (if you can call 12°C weather “winter) meant I ended up entertaining questions as I traveled through Vancouver’s efficient, gleaming new transport system.
All in all the trip was a positive, it allowed me to get a few more people initiated to the game and that was worth the 10 minutes and 5 ft of hockey tape.
Weather front over the Rockies
I guess the one thing I have learned about this game thus far is that it travels quickly. Both with and without us.
Respect (from Vancity):P.