Golf News

Airline apologizes after college team’s golf bag video

A viral video of the East Tennessee State golf team’s bags prompted an apology from an airline.

East Tennessee State Golf Team | Twitter

Every golf traveler knows the unique torture of handing over their clubs at the airport.

The majority time, it’s not a problem. The clubs are left in the trusted hands of the airline, which transports them on and off the plane without a problem. Within minutes of arriving at your destination, your clubs are removed, intact, to the large luggage area. Success!

But always, something goes wrong. Perhaps, as happened to many golfers who traveled overseas last summer, the clubs were lost somewhere in transit. Maybe the airline never put them on the plane in the first place. Or, worst of all, clubs are injured on the way to their destination.

That last reason is what Delta Airlines apologized for Thursday, two days after a video of a college golf team showing clubs being mishandled by airport workers in San Diego went viral on the eve of the NCAA tournament.

The story begins late Tuesday evening, the same day the ETSU golf team arrived in San Diego on a Delta Airlines flight for the NCAAs. As the group prepared to get off the plane, one colleague stuck his head out the window to see an airport baggage handler taking the group’s golf bags off the plane. But there was a problem with the way baggage handlers handled – or mishandled – the cargo. Two men responsible for launching clubs have been carelessly throwing bags on the tarmac, risking damage to the club’s prized possessions on the eve of the biggest week of the year.

Seconds later, the official ETSU Men’s Golf account tweeted a video of the luggage’s behavior, which quickly went viral.

“Good on @Delta for managing our clubs with care,” the account posted.

The post quickly went viral on social media, where golfers around the world frustrated by lost and damaged golf bags chimed in with their two cents. The Twitter blowback grew so bad that Delta’s PR team issued a statement Thursday morning apologizing for the inconvenience.

“We apologize to the ETSU Golf team and ask for a mulligan on how their equipment was handled,” the statement read. “We are in direct contact with the Bucs to make sure they have what it takes to compete in the NCAAs.”

The good thing is that it seems that no players will be left homeless because of this tragedy. ETSU golf team debuts Friday morning in Carlsbad.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news editor and features at GOLF, writing stories for websites and magazines. He manages Hot Mic, the GOLF media stand, and applies his camera knowledge to all product platforms. Before joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, where he was a caddy (and atute looper) scholarship recipient on Long Island, where he hails from. He can be reached at

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