Taking Your Clubs on Vacation

Many snowbound golfers dream of travelling for golf. We think about heading someplace warm and enjoying our time on the links. Planned trips are generally for a week or more  and there is no question our clubs are at the top of the list of items to carry. Next will be golfing clothes and the rest of the required items, well just does not matter.

Taking your clubs on vacation is a no brainer, but what about a quick trip unforecasted trip for work. Your job sends you someplace warm with the opportunity to play courses you would not normally have access too. You have a real dilemma, take your clubs or not?
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How Far Would You Travel to Play Golf?

Living in Canada, travelling just for golf is a given. “There are an estimated 2,400 golf courses across the country, while Statistics Canada pegs the number of golfers in Canada at about 1.5 million. That’s one course for every 625 players, or 14,500 Canadians—among the highest number per capita in the world.” (Mcleans 2014) However, once you leave the Trans-Canada highway or 401 / Golden Horseshoe corridor, options for golf become less and less.

For example, within 100 km (60 miles) drive of Trenton, Ontario, (where I lived at the beginning of the 2016 golf season), there were over 80 golf courses. Now I live in North Bay, Ontario, and there are only 12 courses within the same distance. My options of quantity and quality diminished greatly, but my desire to travel for golf has not.

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Planning a Golf Trip

Norwood Golf Course 3 Nov 14 (2)

Heading out for a golfing trip with ‘The Duck’

Are you planning an excursion to a golfing mecca in the next little while? If you are like me, you will have researched locales, checked prices, and planned your time to squeeze the most out of your upcoming adventure! Planning a golf trip can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time!

There are many hidden aspects to a golf trip that will make or break it. Staying at a hotel that does not meet your expectations; showing up to your tee time and waiting for an hour are just some unforeseen challenges that can affect the value of your trip. Regardless of the best laid plans, it is important to try and plan for the unexpected!

While planning my trips, I like to focus on the value of the golf. Am I getting my money’s worth for the four hours I am spending on their track? Does the customer service add or detract from my experience? Was the course in good shape? Was the course too challenging? These and many more questions help establish the value of golfing at specific courses on my trip.

Value means something different to everyone. The ‘cost versus experience’ formula is key to determining the value of a course. I have played on some highly rated courses in all parts of North America only to be disappointed; conversely, some unrated courses were diamonds in the rough waiting to be discovered. Value is the prime factor for me when planning a golf trip or just heading out the links for a day.

To determine the courses I want to play, I have three factors I consider when determining the courses value. They are:

  • Cost. I do not mind paying to play golf. However, I am a player on a budget. I like to find 2-for-1 green fee deals or an all-inclusive package (meal, range balls, cart, and a round of golf) that helps reduce the cost of hitting the links.
  • Practice Area. I like to warm up and practice before I play. To increase the value of a course their practice area has to have a driving range, chipping green, a separate putting green, and a sand trap. The 30 minutes I spend at the practice area helps set the positive atmosphere for the loop around the course.
  • Customer Service. I check reviews of the customer service. I like to feel like that my business is valued, not that I am disturbing anyone. I understand that the smaller courses do not offer the same attention as big resorts, however when I am talking to a customer service representative, I expect them to focus on our conversation. It is the small things they do that can drastically increase the value of a golf course.

When planning any golf trip, there are certain things that add or detract from the value of the experience. Most golfers do not mind paying for golf; however they expect to have a worthwhile experience as well. I know what adds value to my golf trips, what areas add value to yours?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!