Catastrophe Averted As Hovland’s Travel Nightmare Ends

Ripped from the pages of The Pros, They’re Just Like Us comes the ballad of Viktor Hovland, the 24-year-old multimillionaire and seventh-ranked golfer on the planet. Having spent the holidays with his family in his native Norway, Hovland hopped on a flight from Scandinavia to paradise and arrived in Maui last Wednesday by way of layovers in Paris and Seattle… so you can see where this is going.

The only problem when Hovland arrived was that none of his belongings did. No suitcase, no golf bag. With time to spare, and clothes that showed up the next day, Hovland allowed himself a few more days of R&R before things started to get dire. By Monday of tournament week, five days after he had arrived in Hawaii and with no golf clubs to prepare, Hovland put the airline on blast.

“Get your s— together, Delta,” he wrote on an Instagram story.

“It seemed the golf bag was just somehow sitting in Seattle for five straight days,” Hovland said. “I was concerned they lost it initially. And then after a couple of days, they said they physically had it. That got me more frustrated. If you can see the bag, it shouldn’t be that hard to put it on the flight.”

That same day, Hovland’s caddie, Shay Knight, flew in, successfully navigating the airways to arrive with clothes and clubs in tow. Hovland was able to borrow his caddie’s sticks, albeit playing with different shafts and clubheads, to get some practice around the Plantation course before the special delivery showed up Tuesday evening: his golf bag.

It wasn’t all a happy ending either as Hovland opened his soft-sided travel bag to find the head of his Ping driver had been relocated from its shaft. Thankfully, Hovland reported the broken driver was his backup, and the one he typically plays, which came into his possession under further bizarre circumstances, was good to go.

With Hovland’s bag crisis averted, he’ll look to improve upon his 31st-place finish at the Tournament of Champions last year, knowing his plight could have been worse: he could be Keith Mitchell’s fiancé whose bags didn’t make it onto the flight to Hawaii… where they are planning to get married this weekend.

While we can’t offer wedding dress shipping advice, there are a few golf travel tips we can provide:

  1. Get a hard-topped travel case or a high-quality soft-sided one. They’ll be a little heavier, but you’re transporting literally hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of equipment in a giant metal tube in the sky.
  2. Not to throw Vik under the bus, but if you have adjustable clubs of any kind, for the love of God, remove all the clubheads you can. Store them in their headcovers and put your shaft into your bag grip-side-up to avoid breaking off the adjustment connector. (Pro tip: take a picture of the club setting on your phone before removing the head)
  3. Use additional protection. A good rec for many things in life, but the folks on the tarmac don’t like your clubs as much as you do. We recommend wrapping your clubs in a few extra towels to avoid banging together in transit, plus they’re useful to have for a golf trip for other reasons.
  4. Invest in a travel stick. For a reasonable price (~$40), these sticks are built to take the brunt of the force when the going gets tough and it avoids the premium shafts you have in your woods being taken to their breaking points.
  5. Throw an AirTag in your bag. Take a look at an arrival/destination screen and imagine (in horror) all the places your things could end up. These little trackers allow you to always have tabs on your bag even when it’s “lost.”
  6. Book a non-stop flight when possible. We know — easier said than done — but it’s much more difficult to lose something when it needs to be loaded and unloaded just once versus four or five times.