The full article originally appeared in the 2019 Travel Guide Edition of PGA Magazine.
PGA Magazine has talked travel with hundreds of PGA Professionals. In the list below, we’ve tried to summarize our own “Planning Checklist” to help travelers carefully consider many of the planning details that should be thought about before they dive into golf travel.
1. All the golfers on a planned trip need to get along, and it only takes one unhappy camper to spoil the fun. Politics are important.
2. If you’re just starting out in travel, make sure you visit the proposed destination before you take golfers there. At the very least, talk to others who have been there so you know exactly what to expect.
3. Food, drink and non-golf activities are all very important. A golf trip becomes something bigger when travelers get to enjoy local craft beer and wine, experience interesting dining options, and get a taste of local color by visiting nearby attractions.
4. The trip organizer does not have to, and maybe should not, take responsibility for planning all aspects of the trip. Your group should have input in deciding where to go and you should consider strongly working with a qualified tour operator, especially if you have not been to the selected destination.
5. Golf travel doesn’t have to be expensive! Keep these things in mind:
Short getaways can work as well as extended trips
Drive-to locations can be very attractive – a five-hour car trip can be shorter and much cheaper than flying, once you factor in time spent at airports and collecting luggage
Staying two golfers to a room in double occupancy brings the price way down
Many value destinations have great golf courses
There are great values – and some weather risk – in traveling during the offseason
Many shared housing options exist, such as Airbnb and rental homes, to help keep group costs down
Connect with your local PGA Professional and ask them about discounts — many places will comp the host professional when bringing groups of seven or more
Look for easy-in, easy-out destinations, which can provide more time for golf and less time spent traveling
6. Popular destinations are popular for a reason. They may cost more but they are almost always worth the price.
7. Plan, plan and plan some more. Do your best to have every detail taken care of — and be ready for any curve balls along the way.
8. Think safety first – be sure to weigh any possible security issues when taking a group out of the country. And do not forget that everyone should have a current passport when going abroad.
9. Make sure all travelers are ready for adverse weather conditions.
10. Add value before, during and after travel, such as organizing pre-travel clinics, friendly competitions during the trip, and following up with a thank-you note or gift after the excursion.
11. And finally, make golf travel special and fun for your group! By going the extra mile in preparation and creativity, you’ll make sure everyone involved is telling stories for years to come.