A great buddy’s golf trip is a think of beauty. People will hail you as a legend for years to come if you pull off an enjoyable adventure. But unfortunately, trips don’t always go to plan. Worry not, however, because others had gone before you and worked out where trips can go wrong. Follow these key tips, and you will be sure to succeed.
- Don’t rush things
A quick weekend away can be organized in a week. A proper golf adventure could take a year plus. Give people time to save the money or time needed, and if the trip is going to be epic, you may need to give participants some time to bleed in the idea with their significant others. Not surprisingly, telling your partner you are about to go to Scotland for a week, why they look after the kids will not always go down well.
Set dates, and establish budgets as early as you can to give people certainty and explore what advantages there could be to booking early with accommodation and courses.
As a general rule, if your trip is longer than 2 nights, give yourself at least 3 months to plan. And if it involves a flight longer than 1 hour, probably 6 months.
- Make sure you don’t invite the wrong people
No matter what kind of golf trip you’re creating—buddies, families, couples, workmates, etc.—the group dynamic is vital to your overall success.
You won’t always get lucky and have a group that knows each other well, so if you need a couple of extra, choose wisely. Make sure whoever is suggesting them is not just filling up a tee time but is ensuring they will fit the dynamic of the group.
When you set up the trip, layout the trip structure as clearly as possible to allow people to self-select in or out of the trip. For example, if you plan to play 36 holes a day at Pebble Beach, you want this to be known early!
- Planning as a group
Whilst on paper group consensus and delegation of tasks sounds perfect, more than often it creates a lot of extra work in distilling differing opinions into one answer.
The majority of your group will be happy for one or two people to take the lead on the big questions. The more you ask for thoughts on the moving parts of the trip, the more you are asking for trouble. For example, one person may want to travel early to save dollars on a flight, whereas another wants a few more hours of sleep. As the trip organizer, you get to make the call on this, and others will follow.
If you want others to carry a load of organization, be very specific about what you need to plan. For example, tell Dave he is organizing a dinner on Saturday at 7 pm no more than 10 mins from your accommodation…. And it’s his call!
- Bad group communications
Much like having too many people trying to organize a trip, failing to create an easy communication form adds hours of pain to you as the organizer. Set up a basic comms on the likes of WhatsApp, and you be away. Sometimes larger bits of info need to be emailed but keep the basic communications to your communications app.
- Being too cheap on golf … or spending too much in other areas
Every group will have different views on what too ‘rich’ means, but in 5 years, I promise if your trip is remembered fondly people will forget what a golf course costs to play. But they will remember the amazing experience of being on a world-class golf course. So ensure there is at least some memorable golf on your trip and that you don’t pick crazy tee times just because they were cheap.
Equally, it is often easy to spend too much on accommodation when you actually end up spending minimal time in your room. If you are going on a golf trip, focus available funds on golf.
- Too much competition or gambling
Once again, every golfer will have their own opinion on this, but one man’s high-stakes gambling is another man’s spare change. So putting everyone into the same high-end bucket is a risky place to play.
Equally, trash talk and intense competition have been known to spill over into bad blood when someone is having a bad day, or the banter goes too far.
Keep in mind you are all there to have a great time, and it’s unlikely any of you are joining the PGA tour soon. Team formats are always a great way to lessen the pressure or cost on one person.
- Ignoring local advice and resources
Yes, you can find out a lot online about a course or area, but ask the locals what they really think. They will let you know if a reading review might have been written by the owner or is actually 5 years old. They may also push you in the direction of some local gems for golf, accommodation, and food.
- Biting off too much
Always keep in mind the overall enjoyment factor of a trip. If you are traveling internationally, think about jetlag and the overall time needed to navigate a foreign land.
Also, give people some downtime where possible. Not everyone will want to play 36 holes a day every day for a week.
A great middle-ground can be optional rounds or even team games like Ambrose if you want to keep golfing.
As always, if you start with putting fun at the center of your golf trip planning, you will normally end up with a great result.