Let’s face it; golf and travel go together like peaches and cream, so when the opportunity arises to do both, you need to jump on it.
But for everything that can go right on a golfing adventure with friends or family, things can go pear-shaped just as quickly if a few precautions aren’t taken.
So after feeling inspired by this issue, don’t go ahead and book your 2016 golf trip without reading our seven keys to making it a success. Happy travels!
1. Plan well in advance
Your boss. Your partner. That guy in the pro shop. Don’t give anyone a chance to say you can’t go on this golf trip. To ensure universal approval and to nab your desired tee times, start planning six to twelve months in advance. Be upfront about the amount of time you’ll spend away from home, and overestimate the amount of time you’ll be away from your mobile phone and computer.
2. Consider the company you keep
A group of mates could just as easily visit the world’s worst golf resort and have a blast as it could travel to Pebble Beach and be miserable. More than lodging, food, weather and even the golf courses, the people you bring are key. Golf trips take you out of your comfort zone. You’re away from home, sleeping less than usual, playing unfamiliar courses, competing hard and, in a lot of cases, drinking copiously. This isn’t the time to introduce your pals to a friend who “might” irritate the hell out of them. He will, and the trip will suffer because of it.
3. Put a dictator in power
There is a time and a place for democracy, but a golf trip isn’t it. Too many opinions about courses, hotels, formats – you name it – risk making every decision unnecessarily complicated. Instead, pick someone who you all trust to lead the way and allow him or her to delegate responsibility. Maybe one of you is in charge of pairings. Someone else can pick the dinner spots. You don’t have to love every decision they make. But trust us, it sure beats not getting anything done at all.
4. Establish the ground rules early
Chances are you’ll know beforehand how much you’re spending on lodging, golf and transportation. But gambling? Food and drink? Other off-course stuff? It helps a lot if your trip leader can give some direction on the costs before you go. All it takes is a simple note added to the itinerary: We eat dinners as a group and allow $40 per head, etc.
5. Have an off-course plan
Hopefully, you’ve planned a decent-length trip, but even so, the last thing you want to do is waste time deciding which chain restaurant to go for dinner. Know your options in advance so you’re not looking things up and make quick decisions. Are you really going to remember where you eat? No, you’re going to remember hanging out with your friends or family. Stop Googling which local bar pours the best craft beer and get out and enjoy yourselves!
6. Prepare to be punished
Most golf trips involve an insane amount of golf, and that’s a wonderful thing. Don’t let soreness, blisters or fatigue stop you. Stock your golf bag with anti-inflammatories, band-aids, athletic tape and Vaseline. Get plenty of rest before you board the plane, since eight hours of sleep on any given night during a golf trip won’t happen. And stretch before and after your round, more than you would otherwise.
7. Give ample thought to pairings
If you’re travelling with a group of people who get along well, there shouldn’t be any problems putting together foursomes. That being said, a trip can be enhanced by mixing things up. Don’t just ride in a cart with that same guy you also play all your rounds at home with. You should make sure you play with everyone else in the group at least once. Also, larger groups should be balanced. Don’t ever pair four slow players together or four golfers struggling with their golf games. Unless, of course, you’re trying to deter certain people from coming on next year’s trip…
– Editor-in-Chief @bradcliffo