Let me start by saying this by saying I am not a professional golfer. I have no experience planning trips, finding deals, I just enjoy doing it. I will break down the things needed to have a successful golf trip.
Step #1- Find The Right Group
This first step may go without saying but I thought I would include it since this is crucial. Most everything you do in life become much more enjoyable if you have the right people around you. Guess what? A golf trip is no different. Make sure to invite people that you want to travel with.
You also want to make sure each person on the trip has a similar skill level or at least a valid handicap. The best part about these trips (other than the hungover 8am tee times) is getting competitive with your friends. The one way to work around this is to stick to a scramble format but for more options handicaps or similar skill levels is best.
Does size matter??? To a certain extent yes… a golf trip by yourself just doesn’t sound that fun to me personally. However, if 3 or 7 or even 11 of my buddies (let’s not kid here I probably max out at about 7 friends) are along for the trip it becomes exponentially more fun. I would say a foursome minimum is required and just keep expanding foursomes from there. The more people that join the more game modes you can bring into play but we will touch on that in a second.
Step #2 Location, Location, Location
When thinking about locations I think you can break it down based on budget for the trip. To me there are 3 different categories that a golf trip falls into… All Out, Ideal Trips, Let’s Have Fun.
All Out Trips- These are trips where you save up money for a year or even years, the trips you dream about taking, the bucket list trips. These don’t come around often and for me at least require a lot of begging the wife for permission. These are the Ireland trips to Royal Portrush, the trips to Scotland to visit the home of golf, and the breathtaking Hawaii trips to The Plantation Course at Kapalua. If you are looking into this trip good for you, you really can’t go wrong with any destination.
Ideal Trips- These are the once a year trips that bring bragging rights between you and your friends. For me, these are the trips we play our Ryder Cup style matches on. These definitely aren’t as expensive as international travel but do sometimes require some savings. Some great ideas that turn into trips you will want to make again are Bandon Dunes, Pinehurst, Streamsong, California Coast, and many more. There’s so many golf resorts to choose from and many are starting to cater to our crowd of travelling groups.
Let’s Have Fun Trips- These are the trips you plan a few months in advance. These are typically around your hometown or within driving distance. These don’t have to be “cheap courses” but throwing in a random local course always makes for a good time especially when the beers get flowing.
You will have a great time on all of these types of trips. Enjoy the people you are with and have fun.
Step #3 Prepare for the Trip
There are 2 main things that I suggest doing for trip prep. Create a format and get some swag.
Format- This always depends on the group and amount of players. It can go a ton of different ways but here are some suggestions that have worked for me and my friends. The Ryder Cup style… this is great if you are on a weekend trip playing multiple courses. You split the group into 2 teams and play different games each round. Scramble, alternate shot, best ball, but most importantly end it with singles to see how you or your friends handle some pressure. Throw in a trophy that becomes an annual or semi-annual contest and you have yourself a nice personal Ryder Cup. If you have a smaller group or don’t want to have teams you can opt to play the classic game modes listed above. For me the best thing a format can do is set up trash talk between teams and create a competitive environment for some pressure situations.
Now that the trip is getting closer it’s time to look the part. One of the best times of this trip will be showing up with the newest Tiger polo or the latest Rickie Fowler outfit (only some can pull this off). Here is where you head to Amazon or the PGA Superstore and buy those outfits. You also spend some time finding the right balls, which will undoubtedly be lost over the course of the trip. You spend time getting the glove, maybe a team uniform, ball markers, etc. Enjoy this and make sure to make a statement.
Step #4 Enjoy
That’s it…. Enjoy it!