Golf Vacations: What You Need To Know
Vacation time is here! Pack up your clothes. Pack up your shoes. Pack up your toothbrush, toothpaste, and some sunscreen. And, of course, don’t forget to pack the most important thing of all: your golf bag. Welcome to Golf Vacation 101. Let’s take a look at some things to consider when planning the golf vacation of your dreams.
Well, we may as well get the bad stuff taken out of the way first and confront question number one:
How much vacation money do you have saved?
I know, I know… you probably don’t have a fortune saved up for your golf vacation. After all, you just finished paying for a new Hybrid club and then there were those Christmas presents you had to buy a few months ago…
But whatever the case – no matter how much money you do or don’t have – you can find a golf vacation that’s just right for you. If you do happen to have a lot to spend to get away, you would be wise to go where the warm weather beckons golfers from all across the world. How about the southern United States? California? The Virgin Islands? Hawaii? Why, you could see a volcano or three while you tee up on the green.
But if you don’t have the funds available for extravagant vacations such as these, (remember, not only do you have to pay golf fees, but you must also cover hotel stay, transportation, food, and other activities) you could take a much cheaper vacation. If you live on the East Coast of the United States, you could drive yourself and a few friends to a golf club a few hours south to play for a few days. Granted, it may not be a resort-like atmosphere, but if you are there strictly for the golf, that shouldn’t even matter!
Are you bringing non-golfers on your trip?
If you are bringing along girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, or family members who don’t want to golf but who do want to get away with you, you should try to chose a golf place that is close to other attractions such as shopping malls, amusement parks, movie theatres, or beaches. Many golf resorts even offer packages that allow you and your guests to ‘stay and play’. Most of these resorts offer packages to save you money on room and greens fees. Look at all of the ins and outs and read between the fine lines of the packages you are looking into before making a final decision about which place to choose. This way, you won’t be the only one who gets to have fun on the vacation. And, while your family stays entertained, this makes more and more time for you to tee up!
Is your potential vacation course challenging enough for you?
If you are concerned about having an overly difficult or not-difficult-enough course to play on while you vacation, realize that most golf resorts offer a variety of courses available to choose from. After all, these places realize that all golfers have different abilities, likes, and dislikes. If you are very concerned though, it never hurts to speak with people from the resort by phone, or even talk to past guests that you know stayed in the same place. A little opinion can go a far way!
Finally, make sure that you enjoy your vacation and your golf. Typically vacation time comes around only once a year for most people. So make the most of your fun in the sun!
Perhaps the most basic consideration when choosing destinations and courses is the difficulty level of the courses you’re considering. Generally speaking, many fine golf destinations have a variety of courses available, which will allow golfers of various abilities to enjoy themselves, so this factor may impact more which courses you choose rather than which destination you decide upon.
Weather, Seasons, and Related Concerns:
On the flip side, if you or your group eats, sleeps and plays golf while traveling, assuming the handicap and letter of introduction requirements do not pose a problem, traveling to the U.K. during the summer months can be a golfer’s dream, since the sun in that part of the world does not set until as late as 10 or 11 p.m. and rises again by 4 or 5 a.m. This allows for 36 holes a day, with daylight to spare for other activities.
Many golf travelers like to save money by traveling off-season. This is a great idea, provided they’ve thought about the drawbacks as they pertain to them. Some golfers don’t mind playing in the rain, heat, or the wind, and their or their companions’ age or health is not a factor. For example, prices are down sharply in Florida and Palm Springs during the summer months – for those who can stand the heat (and in the case of Florida, the humidity).
What else is there besides golf? And does it matter for your purposes? As mentioned above, weather can cause you to reconsider your plans to play, and even the hardiest players are occasionally faced with course closings due to weather. If this happens, you may be stuck with very little to do. Or, you may be traveling with a family, spouse, or others who do not play, in which case you will need to be sure there’s plenty for everyone to do.
How Many Courses Do You Need?
Another factor worth considering is the amount of time you have to play, and how many courses you have the time and desire to play. For a weekend getaway, you might consider a destination with only one or a few courses – a destination that otherwise would prove unsuitable for a weeklong excursion. Bald Head Island, North Carolina, for example, is a wonderful private island destination where the only mode of transportation is golf carts. It’s a fine, quiet place to relax for adults or families, with terrific beaches, a couple of restaurants, and nice accommodations consisting mainly of rental houses and a couple of bed and breakfasts. The island has only one golf course (albeit an excellent one), although you can take the ferry to the mainland (where you will have parked your car) to take advantage of the hundreds of courses in nearby Myrtle Beach, SC and Brunswick, NC – all within about a half hour’s drive.