Picking the best courses for your golf trip

Over my many years of organizing golf adventures, the most exciting and normally most debated item for discussion with my buddies is “where should we play?” Some golf trips are just about getting away from life, and in these instances, where you play may not matter at all. The rest of the time you choose to play, and potentially the resort you choose to play at, will be the first thing you need to set up as part of exciting your group of fellow weekend warriors.

These are a few factors you could consider so that you can maximize your time having an excellent golf resort holiday :

  1. Budget

The quickest way to create indecision amongst your group is to ask what everyone is prepared to pay for a round. For some people dropping $500+ at Pebble Beach is completely worthwhile.  For others, anything more than $50 is crazy. Different players will self-select out of your trip based on where you decide to play, and you should ultimately decide where YOU want to play first and foremost. But it is worth considering these tips to keep everyone happy :

  • Mix up your rounds. If you do go expensive one day, pick a cheaper local gem the next day.
  • Check if the courses you are playing offer replay rates that may make the whole experience way cheaper. Equally some courses are part of bundle offers that may mean the average price per round is cheaper.
  • See if your courses offer cheaper rates for twilight golf or otherwise.
  • Also don’t be scared to ask for group deals if your group starts to occupy 2 or more foursomes.
  • If you are particularly flexible keep an eye on last minute booking options on the local golf booking apps.

Above all else, be upfront on costs as much as possible so players can decide as early as possible if they want to join in.

  1. How long do you have?

As a general rule, our golf trips work to the ‘rule of 2’ theory. If we are going away for 2 nights only, we don’t want to travel more than 2 hours as the travel eats into available holiday time. If we can only go away for a quick trip, the courses we play are far less important than a longer trip, and we will take the opportunity to find a muni or country gem.

Also, if we are traveling by car, we will look for a course that may be on the way to our eventual destination to break up travel and ensure we squeeze in another round in daylight time.

  1. Difficulty / Playability

This is another very subjective discussion, but generally speaking, your buddies will not want to be destroyed by different golf courses over and over during a trip. If you know a particular course will be a tough day out, mix it up with something a tad easier. On the days you play tougher tracks, it can be a good idea to build groups of those golfers that are a bit more relaxed vs. those that may be sticklers for the rules so everyone can find their own level of enjoyment and flexibility.

Also, and this is very important, let everyone play off the tees that they want to. Encourage people to play forward as much as they can. I’ve been there and thought it would be smart to try to challenge myself like a pro… and guess what? They are pros for a reason – they’re way better than me. But on the days when I played sensible tees and made more pars and birdies, my overall enjoyment was so much better. Even if your group plays different tees, that’s perfectly fine. We are not playing for the green jacket.

  1. Time of year and course conditioning

Different courses naturally present differently during any given year. Do your research to understand if a course you want to play tends to be affected by rain worse than others. Make sure also to ask when scoring and other maintenance are taking place. There is nothing worse than turning up to your dream location to find sand all over the greens without you knowing (albeit it can present some real discount opportunities at other stages of the year if you are willing to play despite the subpar condition). Also, if you are planning on playing 36 holes in the day, do your research into sunrise and sunset times.

  1. Amenities

One thing that can help a course stand out for years to come is the overall amenities and facilities you can enjoy. Ensure you look into food and beverage opportunities, warm-up facilities, and even whether a course offers GPS

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The good news regarding picking a golf course is that you will be golfing! So don’t stress too much about this stuff. Just make a booking and enjoy.

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