There are few feelings as sweet as whacking your drive down the middle on the first hole of your golf holiday.
Mainly because you’ve entered ‘competition mode’ despite telling everyone it’s all a bit of fun, but also because of all the work that has gone into organising the trip before you even started packing.
If you have a golf holiday planned, are considering a golfing getaway or are simply in the dark as to how to prepare for a golf holiday; we have you covered.
From deciding where to play to how you’ll get around once there, this guide will help you prepare so well, that your first drive is sure to be an absolute corker….no promises though.
This is, for obvious reasons, the biggest decision you’ll make throughout the whole process, but don’t let that put you off.
While it’s easiest to just blindly choose one of the most popular destinations, sometimes that won’t meet your criteria, whatever that might be.
So, here are things to consider when choosing where to go on a golf holiday:
Your destination will largely be determined by your budget, so it’s the best place to start. Of course, you are able to get bargains in every corner of the globe, but let us give you some guidelines…
As you might have guessed, staying closer to home is the cheapest option when it comes to booking a golf break, largely due to the reduced travel costs.
The beauty about playing golf in the UK is the variety, in both style and price point, allowing you to have full control.
Some packages can see you spend a weekend at a golf resort, playing two rounds of golf and only spending £60. However, as with anything, if you want to experience the best, you’ll have to pay; Trump Turnberry, Gleneagles and the Old Course at St Andrews are examples of the upper echelon of UK golf.
If you’re wanting to keep to a strict budget, check out our Best Golf Breaks under £100.
With the risk of listing out every European golf holiday in this paragraph, let’s keep it to the most popular destination, of which the choice is varied.
One thing that is constant though is the value for money; play at Ryder Cup courses like Le Golf National, head to the best the Algarve has to offer or experience five-star luxury in southern Spain – all for under £300.
If you’re after a longer stay, rounds at more premium golf courses or the choice of all-inclusive golf holidays then these too are available for as cheap as £500 in destinations like Turkey and Morocco.
For some inspiration, take a look at our list of the Best Courses in the Costa Del Sol.
While the premise of travel further; spend more can be correct, one thing our long haul golf holidays don’t do is compromise on value for money.
Basically, you have endless possibilities for heading beyond Europe, although many choose to travel to America, UAE, South Africa or the Caribbean.
America has regions like Florida and South Carolina which are populated with some of the most famous courses in the world, South Africa boasts venues like Pinnacle Point and Fancourt and then the Caribbean offers all-inclusive luxury in destinations like the Dominican Republic and Barbados.
The added bonus of our long haul golf holidays is that many of them come with flights, leaving you with nothing else to focus on than your golf.
With price out the way, now you should think about when you want to travel, because contributing factors like the weather, how busy the courses are and availability all change depending on your travel dates.
The rule of thumb is usually that travelling during peak season you’ll experience the resorts at their very best, but pay a premium, while off-season will see you pay less but might not get the high temperatures of the summer months.
Destinations like the Algarve and Andalucia benefit from nearly 300 days of sunshine per year, which makes it easier to choose your travel dates, while the unpredictability of the UK climate leaves many playing a guessing game outside of June, July and August.
The final consideration for your destination choice are the flight times. This may not seem the be all and end all of your holiday, but if you have a 10-hour flight each way for a four-day trip, you have to ask is it really worth it?
Of course, if you are flying, the best times are to arrive early morning and leave in the evening, giving your arrival and departure days enough time for golf, but with budget and practicality in mind, you may have to compromise.
My suggestion is that if you’re on a long distance flight, you stay for a longer period of time so you don’t feel like the majority of your getaway was spent on a plane and if it’s a shorter journey, get out there as early as possible and book a late flight home.
Once you’ve chosen where you’re going, you need a means of travel.
If you’re set on a flight inclusive package, then your mind is made up for you, much like a trip to many overseas destinations…but not all of them.
The exception to the rule is France, where many of our deals to magnificent venues like Le Touquet Golf and Golf D’Hardelot include Eurotunnel travel; taking just under 40 minutes to cross the channel, this is an extremely affordable, convenient and popular way to experience some of Europe’s top courses.
In the UK, you have more options but really are you going to travel on a train with your golf gear? We suggest driving yourself in the UK if a short to medium length journey, but if its a Southampton to Newcastle round trip, perhaps a domestic flight would be best.
With the golf the top priority on golf holidays, and rightly so, it’s easy to neglect the importance of clean, practical and suitable accommodation.
For instance, it’s unlikely you’ll decide you want to stay in a hotel and then see which golf courses surround it, but instead the other way round.
That said, if you’re travelling in a large group, you may more comfortable in a self-catering apartment or villa than in an all-inclusive hotel? Destinations like Pestana Carvoeiro offer brilliant self-catering villas at outrageously good prices, while El Rompido has an amazing five-star hotel with everything on site; choose wisely.
No one enjoys packing, not even for a golf holiday, but unfortunately it’s not as easy as chucking some clothes in a suitcase and jetting off.
Unlike your casual beach holiday, a golf holiday requires at least two lots of clothes per day, not to mention your accessories and equipment.
Aside from your clothing for the duration of your holiday, anything you usually take to a round of golf will also need to come with you, and probably in higher quantities.
If you’ve ever learnt to drive, you’ll remember the transition from your instructor’s car to your own.
Despite passing, your car feels unfamiliar and perhaps you might stall it once or twice in the first couple of weeks, which is normal.
That’s the same concept as using someone else’s or hiring clubs on a golf holiday, that stall could be a shank, and worse still it could be on the first tee.
While it can sometimes be cheaper to hire clubs, taking your own is our advice, especially if you’re having a wager with your mates.
You’ve finally landed at your destination, your luggage was collected without any hassle and you’re now ready for your golf holiday.
But how will you get to your hotel?
This is another 50:50 decision for you to make and one that, once again, will probably depend on a few things.
How many golfers are there?
How many courses are you playing?
How far away is the airport?
How comfortable are you driving in that country?
Whichever you opt for, remember that we often include free transfers with many of our promotions.
Unless you choose one of our unlimited golf packages, you will come across free time on your trip, some of which is probably unaccounted for.
Many of you will hit the beach or sunbathe by the pool, but most golfing regions offer much more away from the fairways.
When planning activities, be conscious of your group and understand that not every activity will be a crowd pleaser, especially if the ages of golfers vary.
In the evening, perhaps go for dinner and then drinks, so if anyone wants to tail off and be fresh for the morning tee time, they can.
Lastly, weigh up if you actually need to go seeking bars and activities; golf resorts around the world are becoming so advanced and are more like little villages, especially those in Turkey.
If all of the above sounds daunting, then why not let golf travel experts help?
Here at Your Golf Travel, we can help you organise your golf holiday, from start to finish.
Call us on 0800 043 6644 to start preparing for yours…
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