Monday, January 11, 2010

Plan The Perfect Golf Vacation With These Tips

By Mick Euan Tait

Many avid golfers that can't get enough of golf and who are considering uniting their passion of golf with a vacation, can learn how to plan the perfect golf vacation from this article. All that will be left to decide is if you want it to be a family golf trip or a golf buddies trip.

Before you rush off to the first tee in the sunshine of some other state or even another country, the golf vacationer must take the time to plan the perfect golf vacation by considering what should be included in the ideal golf trip.

As with any vacation, a golf trip plan should include some key elements; estimated cost, how to pay, length of stay, extras and so on. The golfer should consider what family members and friends will do if they are not golfers. A good question to ask: Should we golf at the seashore, in the mountains, or on the links of Scotland?

Some fundamental planning at the beginning should remove any little problems for a better chance of a perfect golf vacation. When you start to plan the perfect golf vacation it is a good idea to write out some points about an ideal golf trip by dividing the points into separate areas to focus on. Below are a few categories to help you get started:

* Decide on a time of year for the trip (a few weeks / months in the future; a year in the future)

* Decide how many days or rounds of golf the trip will include (don't overdo it!)

* Set a range of prices for the entire trip ($2000 to $3000, $4000 to $5000, for example)

* Decide on the number of people who will be in the group

* Decide who will go on the trip - just golfers, non-golfers etc.

* Gather some golf trip information from magazines, the library, Web sites etc.

* Talk with friends who have been on a golf vacation and ask if they made their own plans, used a travel agent, purchased a golf package vacation etc.

One way to plan a golf trip is by making all the arrangements yourself; travel, accommodation, and golf activities. Below are some tips if you decide to make your own arrangements.

If you decide to drive to the destination of your golf vacation, you will be able to carry all your golf equipment in the car with you, which will solve your transportation needs. If this is the way that you decide to get to your golf site, take a minute to check that your golf club set is complete. It may sound obvious, but it would not be much fun when you arrive at a beautiful golf location, to find out that your putter is missing because one of your kids took it out of your bag to play with.

One way to begin making your own arrangements, without the assistance of a travel agent, is to contact an organization in the area you are interested in. For example, golfers can get in touch with the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina group that specializes in golf vacations for that area. You can do the same with the many golf courses in Arizona. The Phoenix area has similar assistance available, as do many resort destinations.

After you have selected your favorite golf courses, you would then contact the accommodation you chose and speak to the Golf Director. You can book your lodgings and your preferred tee times right there. This is a good combination of being able to make your own decisions but taking advantage of the local knowledge of a golf vacations specialist.

You may find yourself with a few challenges and extra work if you do the planning on your own, but you will take pleasure in the extra freedom and sense of success. You can set your sights high and then retreat to a more realistic level if your budget isn't enough for a golf trip to Scotland, Portugal, or Hawaii.

Make sure you have lodging in place, and then plan to play courses within a reasonable distance. Minimum travel to and from golf courses is very important. In addition, you should make these arrangements as early as possible to give you and your friends the best opportunities available. If you wait too long, then decide to go to your original choice of destination anyway, you may end up with less than favorable rooms and less than favorable tee times. Some recommendations for getting the lodging set first:

* Instead of a hotel you could consider a rental house with enough room for everyone

* Make sure there are enough rooms and beds for each person

* Take into consideration the driving time to the golf courses if you go with a rental home over a hotel on or near a golf course

* Early morning tee times may allow an additional 18 holes in the afternoon. Being close to the house makes the course more attractive as it saves time

* Plan for accommodation even earlier if you plan to play golf and watch a major tournament that is taking place in the area. Combining your trip with a PGA tournament adds some extra flare to a golf vacation.

Another item you might want to settle when you plan the perfect golf vacation: Do you get one round per day, two rounds per day, or can you play as much as you want? Be sure to have this settled before you leave. Tip: Make sure you understand what is included in your golf package. A few minutes for the details will eliminate many small problems once you get to your golf destination.

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