Golf vacations can be a great way to spend screen-free time with your family and play your favorite sport. However, planning any vacation can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re trying to please a group of people with different levels of experience and interest. So here’s advice from five golf experts on planning a golf getaway that will score with the whole family.
“Families may have difficulty finding the best golf destination for their vacation. Fortunately for you, this article will give you some ideas and tips to plan an unforgettable golf vacation with your family,” said Bobby Peel, Founder of Best Golf Accessories.
Listen to Your Family and Get Their Buy-In
The first step to a successful vacation with your family is to listen to their opinions and preferences. Talking to your partner about potential destinations is the first step. If you’ve got their green light, next is to talk to your kids about the vacation spot. Got some tough cookies in your family? Show them YouTube videos of the resort, the golf course, and other activities in the area to get them excited about the destination.
If you and your partner both proposed a few golf destinations, you could ask them to vote on which one of the golf vacations they prefer. This way, each family member gets involved, and you can also let them express their ideas and opinions. Additionally, have each person write down precisely what they would love to do or see on this trip and work it into the itinerary.
Not All Destinations are Equal for Golf Vacations
“When choosing a destination for your family golf trip, consider the type of golf courses there, the climate, and the activities available for non-golfers,” Peel advised.
If you’ve got non-golfers in the family, a golf destination near the beach may be a winner for everyone. You and your family can enjoy the gorgeous scenery and spend some time at the beach as well.
“One of my favorite family golf vacations was a road trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with my dad. We played some unique courses, and the weather in Myrtle Beach was incredible,” said Jeff Fang, a top player and Founder of Financial Pupil.
Book Ahead for Successful Golf Vacations
“Booking tee times in advance is a must-do,” says Tami Fujii, Co-Founder of KINONA, a by-women, for-women golf apparel company. “Golf is growing in popularity, and you don’t want to arrive to find that no tee times are available.”
“If you or part of your group intend to play as a twosome, courses tend to pair them up with another twosome, so it’s helpful to remind everyone to get to know their group and write down the other players’ names on their scorecards. Also, be honest about your game, and if you’re a beginner, it is good to let the other group know that.”
Golf Resorts Make Family Travel Easier
The beauty of golf course resorts is that there are a variety of activities for the whole family in one place. Those who aren’t golfing can enjoy the spa, pool, beach, or kid’s club. The convenience of everything being on-site is a big plus. Also, resorts offer preferential tee times to guests, so it’s an additional perk.
But if you can’t be at the exact location of the golf courses, consider how far away you are if you’re planning to play rounds every day.
“It is essential to pick a hotel or accommodation that is close to the golf courses of your choice. Having a long drive to your desired destination each day will only give you headaches, so it is best to book your hotel close to the golf course. You may have to pay a little extra for the location, but it will pay off on saving time, especially if you’re only in town for a long weekend,” said Sean, founder of Golf Trip Junkie.
Don’t Bust Your Budget
Just like planning any vacation, it’s essential to set a trip budget and figure out how you will stick with it. For example, splurging on upscale meals is probably out of the equation if you want to spend more money golfing. But, on the other hand, if you’re driving or scoring free flights with an airline credit card, you might have a little bit more pocket money for other activities like tours.
The good news is that even with an expensive hobby like golf, it is possible to have great golf vacations on various budgets.
“While there are some hot and expensive golf courses that could cost $3,000 to $5,000 per weekend per player, there are awesome courses that offer big value if travelers widen the scope of the spots to consider,” said Doug Oosterhart, CFP, and Golf Enthusiast.
“For example, The Robert Trent Jones Trail of public golf courses in Alabama and Bay Harbor Golf Club in Michigan are affordable, hidden gems. I do a group trip to Boyne every Memorial Day weekend, and we pay less than $1,000 each, which includes lodging and four rounds of golf on great courses,” said Oosterhart.
If you’re looking for ways to bring down the costs of golf vacations year-round, consider off-season or shoulder seasons that bump right up against the very beginning or the end of the peak times.
“Places like Scottsdale, Arizona, will have very high rates in the winter and spring because that’s their prime season. So although it’s hot, booking a trip in May to Scottsdale to play courses like We-Ko-Pa or Quintero, matching it with early morning tee times to avoid the heat, can save a lot of money,” continued Oosterhart. “On the other hand, if you don’t mind golfing when it is 58-65 degrees, Michigan also has some great options in May.”
No matter what you pick, online reviews and in-depth research will help you understand the golf course’s quality and see if it’s worth the money. Make sure you also check online articles with reviews from people who have already visited that destination, so you’re not disappointed once you’re there.
If you’re looking for golf vacations that don’t require a lot of planning, take a look at the tour package online. Consider your family’s preferences, preferred destination, budget, and amenities.
Packing Advice for Golf Vacations
“Before you go, research your destination and pack layers so you and your family are ready for any weather. Also, research the course you intend to play to determine if they have a dress code,” said Tami Fujii, KINONA Co-Founder.
“Make sure you pack items with multiple uses. Golf apparel has become so versatile that it’s easier than ever to wear golf clothes as your travel and vacation attire. For instance, for women, a golf skort with a cute t-shirt and pair of sneakers is great for sightseeing and comfortable for long car rides. Or a cute golf dress can also be easily paired with sandals for a nice dinner.”
Additional must-pack items for golf vacations include:
- Waterproof shoes for wet grass and rainy days, even with soft spikes for a better swing
- A short or long-sleeved polo shirt with a collar
- Shorts or slacks with belt loops, but no jeans as you can’t play golf in this type of pants
- Bright colors can be disturbing because of the sunlight; colors such as gray, beige, khaki, cream, or tan are better options.
If you’re traveling by plane, remember you will need a sturdy golf bag with wheels. Use every bit of space in the bag to pack extra light items, but be mindful of the maximum weight; usually, it’s up to 50 lbs.
Don’t Forget About a Plan B
Lastly, since you can’t control the weather on golf vacations, it’s essential to have another plan in case it rains or is too windy to play.
“Have a backup plan. Sometimes, the weather doesn’t cooperate. So if you’re worried about the possibility of bad weather, be sure to have a backup plan for activities that everyone can enjoy,” said Peel.
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