It’s probably fair to say that there is no such thing as a bad golf trip but some are certainly better than others. It’s the little things that count from the accommodation and golf, right down to the details with formats and presentations.
For some of us an impending golf trip is the things that keep us going. It not only keeps us squeezing in the odd range session, but it keeps us sane and excited to think that some day soon we will be smashing the golf ball around the course with a bunch of mates. And then do it all again the next day.
I’ve been organising golf trips for a number of years now and I’d like share a few tips for getting it right. I’d love to hear of any other tips you have for organising an awesome golf trip… shoot them down in the comments section below and we’ll share the best ones in another post.
1. Lock in the dates
The absolute number one rule is to book the golf trip early and mark it down in the calendar. And everyone else’s calendar.
Discuss location and dates when you’re away on the current golf trip and then book it in a year ahead of time, or when you’ve just returned from the last trip. Like a massage, pedicure or catch up with a mate across the other side of the city, it won’t happen unless you book it in.
2. Know your (field) audience
In my experience there are two types of golf trips: The golf trip where golf is the focus. And the golf trip where golf isn’t the focus. I think you all know what I mean by that.
And in my experience, both types are loads of fun but just make sure everyone is aware of what lies ahead. Is this a golf trip full of range sessions, early tee times and the possibility of 36-holes in a day? Or one or two rounds of golf in between full pub sessions, last drinks and afternoon tee times.
3. Explore Australian golf courses
A couple of good local golf trips followed by catching a flight to Barnbougle doesn’t mean your next trip needs to be at Mission Hills or Las Vegas . As fun as that would be there is just as much fun to be had exploring Australian golf courses for your next golf trip.
We’re lucky to have so many great places in Australia perfect for a golf trip such as along the Murray, the Fleurieu, Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas, Perth, Gold Coast, Sapphire Coast, King Island and Barnbougle to name a few. Try somewhere you haven’t been before for your next golf trip, even if it’s just a few hours from home.
Keeping it local means the price for the trip stays reasonable too. Las Vegas might be out of the financial range for many golfers. Not to mention what might happen off the golf course there.
4. Book (and pay) accommodation, rounds early
Don’t be afraid to book the accommodation and golf rounds in well ahead of time too. While the idea of booking a few rounds of golf for your crew a year ahead of arrival may seem a little silly, golf clubs are all too happy to have these bookings in their calendar.
The key to this is getting payments from everyone. It’s easier said than done but an early payment is as close to a commitment to the golf trip as you’re going to get. Set a date for payment and that’s it. Latecomers run the risk of playing and staying on their own.
5. Don’t plan too much for off the golf course
Longer rounds, drink driving laws and family pressures means the days of having a few drinks after a round are rare. A golf trip may well be the only chance you’ll get to sit down and have a cold one after a round so make sure this happens.
It doesn’t have to be a drink of course, but the idea that you don’t have to quickly stuff all the gear back in the car and take off is an amazing thought. Make sure the team isn’t running off back to accommodation or some other activity, and give them time to sit down, discuss the round and support the club. It’s now one of
golf’s life’s little luxuries.
6. Don’t over-complicate the formats
I’ve fallen into this trap a couple of times. In the attempt to keep everyone interested and in with a chance of winning it’s easy to over-complicate the ‘tournament’ by introducing complicated formats and too many side games. The fact is that everyone is just happy to be there and anyone getting annoyed ’cause they can’t win the ugly jacket needs to take a good hard look at themselves, and prepare better next year.
Let the group organise any side games among themselves and keep a clean and simple overall tournament format. Cumulative stableford is usually the way to go, especially with a full range of handicaps on the trip.
Ambrose or other team formats can be a good way to entice players back out on the golf course later in the day. They’ve been some of the most enjoyable moments of many golf trips I’ve been on.
7. Don’t undersell the ‘tournament’
A golf trip with a number of rounds will most likely be as close as everyone gets to a multi-round golf ‘tournament’. From the feedback I’ve been given, everyone loves it.
Don’t hold back on making the whole thing seem as important and dramatic as possible. It’s what everyone wants, even if you are playing for some ugly plaid jacket or old pewter mug.
8. Group the newbies with the oldies
If you’ve already been on a few great golf trips you’ll find that a few more friends, or friends of friends want in on it next time. I’ve found the best way to get the trip off to a good start is to mix up as many new faces with the old ones as early as possible.
Throw them all together in that first round, then reserve the second or third (or more) rounds for to group good mates together. It’ll make those after round drinks and dinner that much more enjoyable for everyone.