For the serious golfer, there's no better vacation than one spent on the links, competing in beautiful weather against a close-knit group of friends. There are many ways to structure a golfing vacation, and many destinations and golf packages to consider when planning the perfect excursion. Here are a few pro tips on how to do it right:
Get Your Crew on the Same Wavelength
The first step to a successful trip is making sure everyone agrees on how to structure your vacation time. Gather your friends and put your heads together to determine exactly what kind of experience you want. Not everyone will want to wake up at dawn and play eighteen holes before lunchtime. The same goes for activities off the course: if you're planning to spend a few late nights out on the town, make sure your cohorts won't be frazzled when you roll back into the room in the wee hours.
Take the Road Less Traveled
Famous spots like Pebble Beach and Myrtle Beach are must-see destinations that every serious golfer should visit at some point. However, do some research into lesser-known courses. States throughout the US boast breathtaking places to play, each with a different feel based on the regional climate and scenery. Ask around and consult golfer's guides and magazines to find the hidden gem that strikes your fancy. It may be less crowded than those big-name spots
Golfing Resorts vs. Play-Around Packages
Golf packages usually fall into two major categories: resort packages and play-around packages. The former variety puts you in a resort right on the links, giving you access to this one course for the duration of your stay. In contrast, the play-around option will put you and your party up in a hotel located near several courses. The package includes reserved slots at a few courses, so your itinerary will have you bouncing around the map to play. Again, consult with your group to determine what kind of experience you desire.
Alternative Lodging Options
If you want to skip the hotel experience, it can be both fun and cheap to pool your money and rent a condo or golf villa. This gives your more freedom to sprawl out at your own place. While you'll miss out on the advantages of room service and wake-up calls, you won't have to beg the hotel kitchen to stay open when you're craving a late-night snack. It also gives you and your friend a comfortable, communal atmosphere to chat and unwind during down time.
There are many golfers in this world, and not enough places for them all to play at once. Courses get booked up months in advance, especially during peak seasons. Once you've decided where to go, know that you'll have to book your trip far ahead of time. The added benefit of booking early is that your airfare will be cheaper if you buy it at the same time.
With research, coordination, and a little gumption, you and your team can have the golfing vacation of a lifetime – even if you do spend some of it in the sand trap.