The Nike Golf Travel Cover is one of the lower-priced travel covers in our test and while it offers reasonable value for the money, nothing makes the bag stand out in the crowd. It’s a basic but well constructed travel cover that provides good protection for your clubs, with a number of adjustable straps on the outside of the bag to secure your clubs nicely. The marketed differentiators are the molded shell at the top of the bag that provides additional protection for club heads, and the dual-zippers running the length of the bag that allow for easy loading and unloading of your golf bag.
The Nike Golf Travel Cover only has two wheels, so you’ll need to pull it behind you through the airport, which can be a strain on the arm and shoulder. The wheels are not the traditional in-line skate wheels; rather they are slightly notched and look like they are ready for off-road use. While they spin easily, the notches on the wheels result in annoying vibrations and are louder when pulling the travel cover across smooth airport surfaces. Two additional feet at the bottom of the bag combine with the bag construction and the two wheels to allow the bag to easily stand vertically on its own during travel (provided you don’t throw the weighting off with additional goods you pack).
This bag is an acceptable choice for the traveler that is looking for a brand-name travel cover at reasonable cost, but if you are willing to pay a bit more, we would recommend looking at the differentiating features offered by the competition.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Marketed as “PVC free”, the Nike Golf Travel Cover is made of a molded shell for the base and back of the case (27″ in height) to provide a solid foundation for the bag and some pretty hefty protection, and a molded shell covering the top 21″ at the front of the bag to provide a shield for your clubs. In addition to the molded shell at the top, the bag has a small amount of padding on the back of the shell, a reasonable amount on the back of the bag opposite the shell, and just a hint of padding on the interior side of the two external pockets (whatever items you put in the pockets will likely provide more protection for your clubs than the padding itself).
There are four adjustable compression straps with buckles at the top of the bag, which do their job quite well to lock the top of the bag and clubs into place. The lower pair of straps that are attached toward the center of the bag, however, don’t sit flush against the bag when the case is loaded and strapped down, which gave us pause to wonder if the straps would ever get caught in airport machinery. Time will tell.
The cover will hold clubs to 48″ and easily holds one carry bag. The cover is 17″ x 15″ x 52″ in size, and weighs 10.2 pounds.
The design of the Nike Golf Travel Cover includes:
- a slot with for a business card (a prime Critical Golf marketing opportunity for the airport carousel),
- a pair of external pockets opposite each other toward the base of the bag,
- one internal strap to secure your golf bag,
- in addition to the four external compression straps to secure your golf bag at the top of the case, there is one more adjustable strap in the bottom half of the bag crossing at the center of the external pockets,
- four handles: one on the back of the bag at the top, one on the top of the bag, one in the front center of the bag, and one at the front base of the bag,
- two heavy-duty wheels for use when pulling the bag, and two fixed feet on which to balance the bag when it is standing vertically,
- color options to match your Model-T: black or black.
There were no noticeable defects in the travel cover we purchased, and we haven’t experienced damage to any parts of the Nike case during our travels. The bag appears to be as durable as the other soft travel bags we’ve tested (with the exception of the Club Glove Last Bag, which stands out as a true stalwart).
The Nike Golf Travel Cover was perfectly functional, but nothing about it struck us as exceptional. As with some other bags, the Nike Golf Travel Cover tapers at the top of the bag to snugly fit around your clubs. It easily held a carry bag and some extra clothes, and has room for a pair of shoes in the dual external pockets, accessible only from the exterior of the cover.
The Nike Golf Travel Cover doesn’t have the interior space of some of the other travel bags we’ve tested, so if you want to load up your golf travel bag with clothes for a long weekend, you may find it to be too small. The plus is that this creates a very compact travel cover that snugly holds your bag and clubs. Its design allows for easy loading and unloading of the bag through the dual-zippered cover – essentially the center section of the bag lengthwise can be peeled back, allowing for greater accessibility. One byproduct of this design is that it will be a bit more difficult to stuff clothes at the top of the bag, where the zipper spreads out to the sides around the center molded shell.
With the compact shape and hard base, the bag is designed to be able to stand vertically on its pair of wheels and feet. As there are only two wheels, the bag can’t be pushed when in a vertical position, like the Samsonite Hardside. And with no additional wheels or extendable legs like the Sun Mountain Clubglider, you’re left to pull the case behind you, which can create quite a strain on your shoulders when you’re traversing long distances (such as from the baggage carousel back to your car). While there are two handles to choose from, we struggled to find a position that avoided smacking our knuckles or forearm into the harder sections of the bag.
The wheels don’t pivot, and they are designed as “heavy-duty” wheels. We didn’t see any immediate benefit to this (the airports we frequent don’t have dirt floors), and instead found that the notched design of the wheels (picture mini off-road tires of hard plastic) created an annoying amount of sound from the vibration as the bag is pulled, particularly over smooth surfaces.
Like other soft bags, the Nike Golf Travel Cover has a little “give” to it, which makes it easier to finagle into the trunk of a taxicab.
At $220, the Nike Golf Travel Cover is one of the less expensive travel bags we tested. What the Nike lacks, however, is any standout features that separate it from the pack, with competitors offering integrated legs, a hard case, pivoting wheels, and a heavily-padded and bulletproof case. The Nike has all the basics, plus the slight additional benefits of the molded shell and compression straps, but the main reason to choose this bag are the Nike brand. There are other bags from lesser-known brands that provide the same features at a lower price.