Planning a golf society trip abroad can be very exciting but also very stressful, especially when it comes to deciding who to invite!
Firstly, there is choosing the best golf destination golf venue or resort that suits your group’s skill level. Then there are the flights (arguably the most difficult task overall), insurance and accommodation all to take into consideration before committing to a booking and packing your bags.
Sounds like a lot to do? Yes, but don’t be overwhelmed by the task. With the right organisation skills, you can easily plan a golf trip abroad yourself (without the use of a travel agent). Also, don’t assume that choosing the destination, booking the flights, hotel and golf courses directly yourself is the most cost-effective way to plan your golf trip. It may not be.
Alternatively – and I speak from experience here – using a reputable travel company who take care of everything for you, can save you a great deal of stress, leaving you to liaise with your group or party calmly.
This is especially true when the golfers in your society are from different parts of the UK.
Here is a breakdown of a few things to consider plus some useful tips on how to ensure your golf trip becomes a great memory for all those attending.
Deciding Who to Invite
Knowing the right people to invite on your golf trip is not as straight-forward as you think. It’s not just a case of who you know who plays golf.
It is paramount to ensure that the group is on the same page in terms of their expectation, and most importantly, their budget.
In addition, consider where they are coming from, how long they can travel for and whether the overall trip itinerary, on and off the course, suits them.
It’s also important that the ability of the players is similar.
Unfortunately, some golfers don’t like playing with beginners and vice versa.
Having seasoned golfers playing alongside novices can, in some cases, cause an issue. However, if the group are aware of the varying playing abilities from the outset, this shouldn’t be an issue.
If you have any doubts about anyone who may spoil the dynamic of the group, it may be better that those individuals are left off the invitation list for the good of the trip.
Selecting the Right Destination or Golf Resort
There are so many choices for a golf trip abroad, choosing the right country to visit can be the most difficult decision. The first thing to decide is the time of year, the overall length of the trip e.g. A long weekend, or a week long golf tour.
Once you have made these decisions, then you can consider how long is the flight, what will the weather be like and, the most important decision – one the golf trip organiser will be judged on – which courses to play and the booking of tee times to suit all?
You might also think about other activities that you can include in a trip, such as food e.g. restaurants, beach, bars and nightlife, which will make the trip enjoyable for everyone.
Lastly, how close to the airport is your destination and how will your golf bags, clubs and other luggage be transported to the resort or hotel? Do you need to hire a car, numerous cars or a mini-bus? Something that a well-renowned golf travel company will also take care of for you.
Choosing the Hotel and Accommodation
Having chosen your country of choice, the next decision is just as important. What type of accommodation – somewhere with a golf course on the resort (or not)?
Choosing a venue with a golf course on site makes things easy for the group, as once on site, everything is on hand for everyone and it’s hard to lose people.
N.B. Some golf resorts do ‘All-inclusive packages’ which can prove to be very affordable and can help to keep costs down.
However, if you decide to play different courses (requiring travel), then you must plan the transport for each day of golf, which can turn out to be quite expensive.
TRAVEL TIP ALERT! No.1: There’s always one person who goes missing at time of departure, just before you are due to tee off and or worse, the booked transport is late.
The golf courses you choose should also be appropriate to the ability of the players. Remember, many courses in Europe and further afield are Tour Championship standard and not for everyone.
They may be a treat that everyone should experience, but some may suffer by the standard of golf required to enjoy the course properly.
This can result in huge dissatisfaction for the higher handicapped players in your group or society.
There’s nothing more demoralising for a golfer than to watch a low handicapper ‘pepper’ the Green, while you are hacking your way around the course because of the high difficulty rating.
TRAVEL TRIP ALERT! No.2: Check the new WHS Course Rating before you travel.
Consider a ‘rest’ Day
It may sound counter-intuitive but sometimes the best thing you can plan for a golf trip, is a day with no golf. Not only does it give people a rest and a chance to recuperate, but sometimes a day off can help if you’re not playing too well.
This can also allow you to practice or work on your game off the course. Trust me (I can’t explain why) but your golf game has a funny way of improving when the clubs go untouched for a while.
A day off also frees’ up time to explore the local area.
Money, Money, Money
Now if there’s one thing I have seen cause the most upset and grievance when planning a golf society trip abroad, it’s the age old subject of money!
Once all is decided, it’s time to confirm the details with your group and ask for monies.
TRAVEL TIP ALERT! No.3: Outline the costs on a single piece of A4 paper or an email. Leave no area of ambiguity in your costings and ensure everyone knows exactly what they are paying for.
Perhaps, set up a separate account for payments to be made into, or agree all costs will be settled via Paypal, giving you a complete record of who has, and more importantly hasn’t paid you.
Ensure that before confirming your booking with a travel agent, hotel, airline etc. that you have committed people who are willing to pay a non-returnable deposit.
Rest assured, there are nearly always last minute drop-outs, especially if it’s a large party, so make sure you are covered for the unexpected. Always ask people to check their passports to make sure it’s valid for the trip.
Once you are happy with your golf itinerary, go ahead and book the golf trip. Make sure that you keep a record of all transactions in and out.
And finally, ask everyone to make full payment in plenty of time before the trip. This is usually 6 to 8 weeks prior to travel.
Oh, and remember to add a small ‘levy’ to the final costs, as this will prevent any last minute costs from causing arguments and, if planned correctly, can also cover the cost of trophies or prizes.