I started this thread, because everyone I know say not to worry about the oversize luggage fees... that they (themselves) travel with oversize cases frequently, and have never been assessed the fees.
There's a guy on the Daystate Forums who regularly travels to/from Africa on safaris, and he writes, "The luggage dimensions apply to suitcases. A different standard applies to sporting goods- golf bags, surfboards, gun cases, etc."
If true, then this is reassuring. However, in reading the policies at the airlines, there is no distinction between "Sporting Goods" and regular luggage. The same warning, "oversize luggage fees may apply" appear in both sections