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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Samsonite Hardside

With the Samsonite Hardside golf travel case (also marketed as the Samsonite Golf Life Rigid Cover II), the innovation and design that have made Samsonite one of the world’s leading luggage companies is applied to transporting a set of golf clubs. We were impressed with not only the protection afforded by the lightweight ABS shell (a form of rigid plastic used in newer luggage designs), but also the ease with which we were able to roll the case through the airport and parking garages, due in no small part to the four 360 degree “spinner” wheels on the bottom of the bag. On hard floors and concrete we were able to keep the Samsonite Hardside happily cruising along by just nudging it every once in awhile.

Our primary gripes (and we always have some!) were that we would’ve liked some interior pockets, and we noticed that when we tilted the case on its side to use the two in-line skate wheels and pull the case over a curb, at certain angles, the design resulted in the sides of the spinner wheels rubbing against the ground.

SCORE
94
GRADE
A
Design/Construction
95
Travel Impressions
92
Value
90

But make no mistake – the Samsonite Hardside golf travel case is a revolutionary product that makes traveling with your golf clubs infinitely more pleasant. Our belief is that given the quantum shift in the ease with which these bags can be rolled, four-wheeled designs are much more than a passing fad, and will proliferate in golf travel bags much as they already dominate in the realm of traditional roller suitcases.

Retail price: $400

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95 / A

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

The Samsonite Hardside golf travel case is designed and manufactured by Athalon Sportgear under license from Samsonite. As mentioned above, the exterior shell of the Samsonite Hardside golf travel case is made of ABS, a lightweight plastic that also has a tiny bit of give to it (in case you’re trying to stuff just a few more t-shirts into the case). It emerged from our flights with a few cosmetic scuffs and scratches, but we suppose it’s better that the case gets roughed up than the precious cargo inside. It’s not clear whether the exterior shell has a propensity for being nicked up, or whether we just encountered particularly unmotivated baggage handlers in our testing.

A two-way zipper runs the length of the bag with a ring that enables the zippers to be locked together (note that no lock was included). The dimensions of the case are 54″ x 16″ x 12″, and it had no problems accommodating a golf carry bag loaded with a full set of clubs, including an oversize driver.

The design of the Samsonite Hardside also includes:

  • four 360-degree “spinner” wheels on the bottom of the case that pivot in any direction, making for a smooth rolling experience and the ability to pivot quickly and easily,
  • two additional in-line skate wheels positioned on one side that can be used to pull the case over curbs or uneven surfaces,
  • a thin layer of padding throughout the bag, with thicker foam padding at the top to protect the heads of your clubs as they extend out of your regular golf carry bag,
  • two internal straps to secure your golf bag (adjustable to accommodate any size bag) – one that fits around the top of the bag and one at the base,
  • two rubber-gripped handles – one at the top of the case, and one on the side,
  • four color options: black, red, titanium (silver) and champagne (gold).
Samsonite Sportlab Hardside Travel Case
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We tested the Samsonite Hardside with a standard sized carry bag, and were easily able to fit a pair of golf shoes and one of those plastic hotel laundry bags chock full of dirty clothes (please note this was for the trip home only, the clothes were clean to begin with). There was additional interior room to cram in some more stuff, but we refrained because of fears of running afoul of airline restrictions on weight.

As a minor nit, both Athalon’s web site and the site of the retailer from which we purchased the case claim that the Samsonite Hardside comes with a luggage tag, but none was to be found when we opened the box. We weren’t sure whether this was a manufacturer or retailer issue.


92 / A-

TRAVEL IMPRESSIONS

Traveling with the Samsonite Hardside golf travel case was a pleasure. The case is designed to almost always stand on its base, so it doesn’t take up much room when you’re standing in line. The four “spinner” wheels made it effortless to push the case along, requiring you to merely nudge it every now and then just to keep it heading in the right direction. The two in-line skate wheels give you the option of pulling when you need to roll over curbs. During our trip, we almost always pushed the case, particularly since we had to pull another rolling suitcase. The only time this tactic made us worry about the case tipping over was when we were getting on to and off of people movers and escalators, at which time we switched things around and pushed the other suitcase and pulled the Samsonite Hardside.

The Samsonite Hardside clocks in at 15 pounds, tying it with the SKB Deluxe as the heaviest travel case we tested (the Sun Mountain Club Glider Meridian is at 14.6 pounds, and the Club Glove Last Bag is the lightweight of the bunch at 10.6 pounds), but because it is fully wheeled, the additional weight doesn’t matter much. The only time you might notice the weight is when you are stowing the case. Speaking of stowing the case, it would be nice if Samsonite added an additional handle at the bottom of the bag the make it easier to lift into and out of car trunks.


90 / A-

COST/VALUE

The Samsonite Hardside golf travel case retails for $400, making it the highest priced travel case in our tests, although our price comparison research showed that it is generally available from retailers at a much lower price point (to the point that the actual price you will have to pay is less than for the other travel bags we reviewed). The ABS shell gives comfort that your clubs are well-protected, and the four wheels take most of the heavy lifting out of getting the clubs through the airport, saving your back for hacking your way out of the rough when you arrive at your destination.

The warranty for the Samsonite Hardside is either three years or five years, depending on whether you believe the tag that was attached to the case (three years) or the manufacturer’s web site (five years). In either case, the warranty only covers the case itself, and does not extend to the contents.

The Samsonite Hardside golf travel case really does make taking your golf clubs on a trip significantly easier. It not only reduces the stress of worrying about whether your clubs will be adequately protected, but also eliminates the stress on your arms, shoulders and back from hauling the clubs through the airport. In our estimation, this is well worth the price of the case.



  • sam

    15 pounds is a killer when checking this in at the airport. Basically you have lost 5 pounds of stuuf you can pack over a comparable club glove. That ain’t working for me… I give it an F on weight alone!

  • http://bestgolftravelbags.com/ Craig

    ^ I agree with Sam – weight can be an issue!