Golfing vacations offer the perfect opportunity to indulge your passion while also taking some time out to experience another part of the world. When it comes to planning the perfect golf vacation, there are plenty of things to consider so we’ve put together some pointers to help ensure your trip is a success.
Where to go
One of the most difficult decisions you have to make when planning a golf holiday is where to go. There are of course, plenty of fantastic golf courses in the United States but, for something different why not consider taking a trip across the Atlantic to experience what our European cousins have to offer. It may seem daunting to plan a long distance trip, but bear in mind that traveling from the East Coast of America to the UK often takes less time than it does to fly across the United States.
If you are prepared to travel to Europe, you could do worse than choosing Scotland as your final destination. Known as ‘the home of golf’, Scotland offers, dramatic scenery, centuries of history and, of course, fantastic golfing opportunities, with some of the highest ranked golf courses in the world and a reputation for staging high profile golf championships.
Scotland has a plethora of top quality golf clubs including Muirfield, Royal Troon, Loch Lomond and of course, the legendary St Andrews.
Wherever you decide to go, make sure it fits with your abilities, golfing preferences and what you and your travel companions hope to get out of the trip.
When to Travel
Another key consideration when planning your golf vacation is what time of year to travel. This of course depends on your chosen destination. If you are travelling to the southern United States or continental Europe the weather tends to be agreeable most of the year so you have more flexibility. If however you are journeying to Ireland, Scotland or another part of the UK, you will need to give your timing more careful consideration.
The best time to plan a golfing holiday in Scotland for example is some time between May and September. May tends to be less busy and offers beautiful scenery as the springtime plants and flowers are in bloom. And although it can cool off slightly, September is still a great time to visit. Although winter golf in Scotland does have its merits, the days are shorter and the infamous weather even more inclement than usual, so you may find that you don’t get to play as much golf as you would like.
Who to go with
Selecting the right traveling partners can make or break your vacation, so choose carefully! It’s better to travel with a small select group who have similar goals and expectations, than with a large gang who all have competing priorities. Make sure you’re all on the same page when it comes to what you want from the trip, or it could lead to conflict further down the line.
When it comes to making sure your vacation runs without a hitch, carrying out some research and forward planning are essential. Research the locations of the golf courses you want to visit and how long it takes to travel between each one; contact the clubs to confirm availability and check for any rules or requirements that you need to be aware of; and research the surrounding areas to identify suitable accommodation, restaurants, sightseeing opportunities etc.
If this all sounds too much like hard work, why not ask a professional? There are plenty of golf tour providers out there (see our AGS link below) who will be happy to take care of the arrangements, leaving you free to enjoy yourself.
This is the most important consideration for any golfing vacation. That’s why you’re going after all! If you’re going on a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip it can be tempting to squeeze as much in as possible. However, overscheduling can backfire, causing stress, injuries and leaving you too tired to fully enjoy the experience. Consider scheduling in a rest day where you can enjoy the local culture, visit famous tourist sites such as Edinburgh Castle, or simply head to a bar and enjoy a few drinks with the locals.
When it comes to golfing holidays, you really are spoilt for choice. Whether you decide to opt for the rich history of Scotland, or head for sunnier climes, taking some time to carefully plan your vacation can help ensure you really do have the trip of a lifetime.
Adrian Stanley is the founder of AGS Golf Vacations, which specialises in arranging golf tours to the home of golf.