There have been hundreds and millions of ‘how to’ articles written on planning a guy’s golf trip. Largely they are all the same: pick some amazing resort (Bandon, Kiawah, Pinehurst) and live it up. No doubt that any of these would be an amazing, bucket-list adventure, checking off some serious eighteens that you’ll tell stories about the rest of your life.
However, the obsessed golf man doesn’t always need a golf resort. He may need a break from the plug and play golf trip where everyone sits around compares their fancy putter covers. There’s a good argument for the golf trip that isn’t all about golf – it’s more about connecting with your guys who you haven’t seen in WAY too long. This relaxed atmosphere can generate just as many great memories, albeit not all on the course.
Here’s what I’d suggest:
Pick the trip based on the city: Not dissing on the Bandon/Kiawah/Pinehurst vibe, but another option is to plan the trip based on a great city vs. a great golf resort. As it is now, there has never been more access to great golf – all over the country. So let’s say you have a group of eight guys that are interested in a golf trip. And let’s say those guys are open to a great trip vs. a golf-obsessed trip. With that, let’s take Austin, Texas as an example.
- Flights are cheap.
- Plenty of fine hotels
- GREAT restaurants and a vibrant live music scene
- And of course – a ton of good golf.
This requires a lot more planning, but it can be worth it. Get a round scheduled at the UT course, then at a mid-range public course, then go play a Muni. That’s three rounds of golf, a couple late nights in Austin either taking in the bar scene or some live music (or both). Sounds good to me.
Make one night the “It” night: While the resorts usually do this for you, find the coolest restaurant in town and book a private room for your group. Want a steakhouse? Want a killer BBQ joint? You’ll have your pick. Call ahead and build a menu to make it easier on the staff. Pre-buy a couple bottles of wine, beer, or bourbon for the room. Give a toast, enjoy a great dinner, then go do what you want on Sixth Street (vs. walk across the resort to your cabin).
Probably a good idea to do this on the first night, as the group will run out of gas as the trip ages. Plus there will be plenty of sh!t talking around the dinner table, which is always worth it.
Get the host a seriously nice gift: This should go without saying, but trip planners are humping it to make sure everything is in place for you to lose a box of ProVs a day. Think about it, this guy is herding cats for months before the trip. Managing Venmo payments, booking tee times, ensuring everyone makes it to the city and is on the first tee, the games, the kitty, and the payout. There is no glory in being the planner, so show a little appreciation and get him something nice. If I may make a recommendation: get him a really good bottle of bourbon or scotch (whichever he prefers), but DON’T give it to him on the trip, as some maniac will break the seal in a late night fit of rage. Send it to his house so he opens it upon his arrival home, just before the nap.
Again, think outside the box on these golf trips. It’s more about the players vs. the locale.