You will face many decisions as you plan the perfect golf trip for you and your buddies. Some count for a lot, whilst some are less significant on the surface but might be the difference in a trip to remember for years to come.
If you are about to embark on planning any golf trip, keen in mind these expert levels tips for those that have gone before you
- Embrace the warm up round or short course.
If you can get to your destination the day before your first full round is planned. If there is a short course on-site, or even an ‘easy’ 9 hole option in the general vicinity, play it. Make it a fun game where your net score is irrelevant. Everyone will be better for the chance to get some nervous tension out of the way.
- Size matters
Whilst it is always tempting to save money where you can on a golf trip, there are a few areas where big is good. Splitting the cost of an extra bag on the plane with a friend can be a great use of funds. Equally, spending a bit more on the big rental car will make things so much easier if you need to travel. Golf clubs take up more room than you realize.
And if you do have a bit of space, you can do things like change golf shoes and shirts if you plan to make 36 holes a day your plan. This stuff can make a big difference over a long trip.
- Have a commissioner
Many in your group will hate this idea, but too much ‘group think’ will only create a lack of decision. Appoint someone to be the ultimate decision-maker if there needs to be a call made. And don’t hesitate to allow them to make the majority of small decisions that no one really cares about.
- Put together a plan … and then change it if you want
Trying to get a consensus answer about where to eat dinner after 36 holes on the course can be quite literally impossible. And that’s before you realize there are no bookings anywhere. Always put together a plan for as much as you can and then change things up if you find a better option late in the piece. Key items to be sure of include
- All your tee bookings.
- Where and when you eat breakfast
- Where you will eat dinner
- Make sure you enjoy yourself (and ensure others enjoy you being present)
We have all been there. We arrive on a golf trip only to be slammed with a work phone call or email that needs urgent attention. Unless you absolutely can not detach yourself from work for the weekend, it’s always a good idea to try and take care of everything that could distract you before it does. Personally, I filter emails into a folder for reading later, so they don’t hit my inbox for me to check as they do.
- Stay on site and in the villa… if you can afford it
It will rarely be the cheapest option regarding accommodation, but if you can make it work, there is nothing more liberating than walking out of your accommodation and right onto the range or first tee. And if your group can afford a villa, many of the best parts of a golf trip will actually be the shared social times you have together long after the events on golf have finished.
- Gambling and games should not be the main event (but get money up front if you do have them)
You don’t want anyone’s trip being ruined by the thought of losing money they can’t afford. Equally, you don’t want so many confusing side games that people lose track of your playing format. The best idea for running ‘easy’ gambling or games is to collect funds before the trip starts. Make it part of the overall bill for travel, accommodation, and anything else the group is paying for. It always feels less painful when you lose later on.
And if you feel the need to have more on the line, use fun punishments such as being forced to be the waiters for the evening as a way to spice things up.
- Play match play, have mulligans, and make golf fun
No one ever complained about the golf game where they made pars and birdies and were in a competitive match. Even if they end up losing. Turning your golf trip into a 36 hole slugfest every day where you need to finish out every hole is asking for trouble.
Find ways to make the game fun, and always consider an Irish drop rule if you play tough courses where lots of balls will be lost.
- Don’t forget to eat
We can all be big kids overwhelmed with excitement when we arrive on course. Throw in some alcohol, and chaos is sure to follow. Do this day after day, and eventually, you will be defeated. Make sure you schedule in real food, and ideally some water, and everyone will be in way better shape come to the end of the trip.
- If you don’t ask you don’t get
Want to play a private course? Unsure if a course offers replay rates? Want to try a special restaurant for dinner. Just ask. What is the worst thing that can happen?
There is something special about a group of guys from out of town making an effort to take a special trip that can cause people to offer exceptions they may not offer over email or the phone weeks before your trip. The last minute can be your friend.