When it absolutely, positively has to be there three weeks after your trip!
I’ve always been a big fan of FedEx, and have used their services exclusively over the years. I’ve been planning a golf trip to the Southwest of Ireland on for 12 months. In conjunction with this trip, my wife and another couple planned a week in Scotland and England the week prior to the Ireland visit. Since we weren’t playing golf on the first week of the trip, I elected to ship my clubs to our first stop at the Doonbeg Golf Resort in County Clare, Ireland.
When considering how to ship the clubs, FedEx Golf Club Shipping was at the top of my list, based on my experience with their reliability and certainty, as well as their more recent marketing campaigns targeting golf club shipping like Shrink Ray or Baby Monitor. The other gentlemen traveling with me elected to use Luggage Forward. I opted for FedEx since Luggage Forward looked like a middle man using FedEx’s service. While FedEx was more expensive it seemed safest to be direct with FedEx for this critical shipment.
To avoid any timing issues, I dropped the golf bag off at one of their manned offices on Wednesday, June 20 for my intended arrival in Doonbeg on July 29, the agent assuring me this would provide plenty of time. My friend using Luggage Forward has his golf bag picked up on June 20th as well.
Upon arriving at Doonbeg on July 29th, I found my clubs had not arrived. My friend, who used Luggage Forward, found his clubs had arrived; in fact he had already received a confirmation email from the shipper confirming same. I called the Fedex, and found that the clubs were on hold due to approval by customs, and the agent indicated that someone had dropped the ball, and they would endeavor to release the clubs and ship them on July 2nd with delivery on July 3 since they don’t work weekends in Ireland. Since we were moving to lodging in Killarney, we provided them with the hotel contact information for delivery there. Upon arrival in Killarney, the clubs had not arrived, and upon checking again with FedEx, found that they had instead been shipped to my original destination at Doonbeg. Since we were departing Killarney to other lodging in Kinsale, and then back to the U.S. on the 7th, I requested the clubs be sent back to my home address. The agent indicated the issue would be assigned to a manager who would follow up with me the next day to confirm. I didn’t hear from anyone at FedEx, and on my return on July 8th, I was still not in possession of my golf clubs.
Being an experienced golf expedition traveler to Ireland and the UK, I keep my packing to a minimum, opting to have laundry done every few days, and throw most of my clothes, shoes, and rain gear in my golf bag. So on arriving at Doonbeg for eight days of golf at some of the world’s best golf courses in the southwest of Ireland, I was devoid of anything golf related, save a couple golf shirts and trousers. I resolved right there that I would not let this ruin my trip or affect the guys I was traveling with, I would adapt each day to the circumstances and enjoy it to the fullest, which I did. Doonbeg, the first leg, was very accommodating by providing me with a rain suit, shoes, and clubs at no cost, and in fact allowed me to use them at Lahinch, just down the road. Ballybunion had clubs to rent, but I was forced to purchase a GoreTex rain suit and rain gloves, but no shoes, so I wore my tennis shoes. Coming off the first green, I fell with my knee buckling underneath me, which provided a nice swollen knee and limp for the rest of the trip, which hasn’t healed as of this writing. The balance of the trip to Waterville, Old Head, Tralee, Dooks required the same drill, a new set of rent clubs every day, a new putter, and assortment of wedges, I found it tough to ever get consistent throughout the week with my golf game. I was fortunate though to find my size of golf shoes at Waterville, so toward the end of the trip I was at least on firmer ground.
Upon return I found that my clubs hadn’t arrived, and now my anger with the entire experience that I had heretofore repressed bubbled up. I packed up everything I had to purchase, golf shoes, rain suit, shirts, rain gloves, went down to the UPS Store and sent them to the Chairman and Founder of FedEx Fred Smith. A few days later, I get a call from a very nice lady in the “Executive Offices” indicating she would assist in finding my golf clubs first, and then address my claim. My claim was for reimbursement of the costs to ship the clubs along with the clothing and equipment I was forced to purchase in order to play. I also requested a reimbursement for my gambling losses, our Chairman of the Competitions had devised a daily game and bet of 25 Euro, of which I was the biggest loser. I was summarily thrashed by the least members of our golf group on a gross basis mostly because I without my weapons, and had no clue where the ball was going.
Sorry for the long story, but this needs to be told, FedEx has a 99.95% success record, I happened to fall into the .5% dead zone, and they dropped the ball big time. At the end of the day, FedEx reimbursed me for the cost of the items I had to purchase, the costs for shipping the clubs to and from Ireland, but without so much as a “sorry about your experience” letter, just a check in a FedEx overnight envelope!
Not that you’re fully informed, you might want to look at the other options, like Luggage Forward when shipping your golf clubs. In this instance, they seemed to be much more focused and responsive in ensuring and advising that my buddy’s clubs made it through customs and arrived, and were 30% less expensive.