How to Plan Your Golf Trip
The Masters is around the corner, Spring has sprung, and the season is upon us all for taking too much sod off the top of well manicured landscapes around the country. If you’re like us, this is sparking the urge to plan that golf trip with your pals or gals. While this is no doubt going to be a spectacular time, you know that planning that trip is a complete pain in the ass – kind of like herding cats… Someone should start a website geared around all of the information needed for a golf trip getaway. Oh wait, we did that.
How to Start
First of all, make sure you’ve got a solid group of travelers who at the core are okay with spending day and night together for a few days. This is going to be tantamount in ensuring your golf trip goes as smoothly as possible without too many incidents – like a bare knuckle brawl around the poker table at midnight.
If you’re like us, we love trying someplace new each year. Every city or location offers a unique experience – make sure you and your group don’t miss out. Besides, going to the same place every time just gets boring. Choose wisely, and choose often.
Who are the go-getters in your posse? If you’re one of them, make sure you identify a couple of others because you’re going to need some help and you’ll be happy you solicited their involvement, especially when you realize you’re all neck deep in choosing courses and lodging fit for your larger group. Delegate the responsibilities across the core group. For instance, have one guy / gal handle the correspondence with your group and have another one focus on aggregating a short list of lodging options. One can spend hours looking at houses on VRBO, so this person may need a sidekick to help sift through the options. Oh, and don’t forget bathrooms, the last thing you want is 12 guys in a house sharing one loo (No one wants to hear “Hey honey, the shitter is full!”). Finally, the last man standing can scout out the best courses while keeping in mind the cost threshold the majority of the group is willing to bear. First thing’s first though, agree on a date that works for the core group of you who are doing all the work planning this golf trip.
Once you’ve got the aforementioned circled (not booked), email your larger group and let everyone know the prospective date(s), location and rough idea of costs. Give everyone 10-14 days to commit to the entire stay – avoid those who say they’ll arrive on Friday when everyone else is getting there on Thursday… This will bumble the mathematics and require you to do some extra unnecessary pencil gymnastics to sort out costs, pro rata.
Managing Costs on Your Golf Trip
A trip that is unaffordable is “unattendable”. Keep this in mind with your group and make sure Mr. Moneybags isn’t ostracizing the others who understand the value of stretching a dollar.
We’re big fans of lodging that fosters camaraderie. Grilling on the back porch and hoisting refreshments together is solid way to end the golfing day. So, we find sites like VRBO, AirBnB, etc… to be good resources. At the end of the day, we find the cost savings are pretty hard to beat when lodging this way. Maybe your group is on the opposite end of that spectrum and enjoys unwinding at the end of the day in personal solace. Either way, this is a crucial part of the golf trip planning process, and should be treated as such, unless you want this to be the only one your friends attend.
Next, onto the course(s) selection. When choosing a course be sure to consider the intent of the trip and the skill level of those that are with you. Little details like tees play a role, too. Here’s a good list for reference. As a consistent mid 90’s to 100’s golfer, I certainly enjoy the beauty of a challenging course, but after 18 holes and 36 lost balls later, it is easy to lose interest or to just start getting wasted – which isn’t bad either, though refer here: Drinking on the Course Not Recommended!? Depending on the size of your group (generally, it’s 12) you should be able get some discounted rounds at most of the courses you’ll play.
Get the schedule set and email your group well enough in advance to let them know when they need to arrive the first day – especially, if you’re playing a round that day. Those tee times should be set, but some courses won’t reserve too far in advance, so, be prepared to have a back up course or two in case one of them just so happens to be holding the annual Caddie Day Tournament.
Transportation should not be underestimated. Rent proper vehicles, maybe some SUV’s or one of those 15 passenger luxury vans and have some fun. Fair warning, we’ve been screwed on the 15 passenger van deal (not as advertised), so buyer beware.
Collecting the dough. This should be the easiest part, but it never is. Usually, one guy is stuck with reserving things on their card. While this isn’t all bad, it sucks when the biggest procrastinators in the group take forever to send their pro rata share of the costs. Set deadlines and hold everyone to it. Make sure you’ve invited people that have a Paypal account too. This is the easiest way to send money and allows you to get paid back quickly.
Pulling it all Together
Creating a game plan and executing that game plan will make everyone’s life much easier. That being said, don’t feel that every detail needs to be planned out, like where to go out at night for best eats and best places to lose your inhibitions (Stay tuned – we’ve got a blog coming on this one), the unanticipated is what is remembered. If you think back to every great memory you’ve had on a trip or in life, was it planned? Great memories and stories never start with, “remember that time on May 29th at 10:00am.” Most start with, “remember that rain delay and we started doing shots with the Libation Chauffeur.” That’s what makes a perfect trip.
What we have described above will make what appears to be a daunting and laborious task much easier to handle. But make no mistake about it, this still takes time and depending on your group size, can be delayed (there’s always one guy who doesn’t respond to e-mails), someone will be shorted money (probably the same guy who doesn’t check e-mails doesn’t pay on time) and there is always a potential for animosity once on the trip like someone snags a bed who didn’t even help plan. You know who you are! Therefore, the simplest way to plan your golf trip is to have someone else do it for you. Look no further, the Golf Fore It team can handle all your travel planning needs and give you back the hours so you can spend more time picking out that great golf outfit or work on getting in shape – 3 Easy Steps to Get in to Pre-season Form. Time is the most valuable commodity there is, so why not let us spend ours planning your next golf trip.