Golf News

Delta apologizes for baggage handlers tossing around golf clubs

College team videos airline employees throwing bags on tarmac

East Tennessee State University golfers already had some major jitters traveling across three time zones to California after qualifying for the NCAA Division I championship.

They even left town early to acclimate.

“The team qualified in competition at UNC Chapel Hill, they finished second in the region and earned the right to play for the national championship,” ETSU athletics director Richard Sander told Knox News. “That’s a really big deal.”

Then, on the way, players watched helplessly through plane windows as workers below carelessly heaved their club bags from a ramp onto the San Diego airport tarmac.

A 24-second video posted by the team this week went viral on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“And then that happened (to their clubs),” Sander said. “They were all concerned and anxious. … They’re getting ready to play in what might be the most important competition in their lives (so) to see that, it was scary.”

Sander said that the golf clubs are specifically fitted for each and every player, adding, “They’re pretty irreplaceable.”

Sander said he wasn’t surprised by the support the team got after posting the video.

“Everyone can relate,” he said.

The team headed out the next day to hit some balls and make sure there was no damage. Thankfully, Sander said, there were no issues with the clubs themselves, although several bags were damaged and personal items inside were broken.

“The team did a practice round today,” he said. “We’ve talked to them to them, (saying) just enjoy this and relish the experience, try to block all that stuff out. They’re mature. … I think they’ll be fine.”

How did Delta Airlines handle the situation?

The airline reached out to the team and university the morning after the video was posted, Sander said. Delta told the university the baggage handlers are contract employees and don’t work for Delta, but took responsibility for how the golf bags were handled

“We apologize to the ETSU Golf team and ask for a mulligan on how their equipment was handled,” a Delta spokesperson said in a press release. “We’re in direct contact with the Bucs to ensure they have what they need to successfully compete in the NCAAs.”

Sander said the university’s attorneys will talk to the airline about compensation for damages.

“They were…


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