We have all been there. And it’s not easy. Embarking on a golf trip. It can be one of the most rewarding yet frustrating things in a golfer’s life. All you want to do is travel to a great destination, play some of the best golf courses our world has to offer, while creating great memories with mates. But like any trip, we all know it is not that simple. Delayed flights, lost baggage, forgotten travel items, wet golf shoes, attempting to stuff your clubs into the tiny 2 door rental car designed for 4 middle aged men. The list goes on.
It is this list that inspired us to help the travelling golfer make their next trip simple. Here is a list of 15 ways to avoid these travel traps and make your next golf trip simple:
- Destination determination: It is probably safe to say that knowing where you are going on your golf trip is important. As obvious as it sounds, many travelers don’t take the time to research their destination, which can result in ending up in locations they’d rather avoid, whether it be in Thailand suffering under 90% humidity or Scotland, trying to dig your ball out of the local snowman. Research and lock in your destination early to ensure you get the right destination for you, including the right climate, accommodation, transportation and also the courses and tee times you want.
- Tee up a travel operator: Often one of the 1st questions you ask before planning a golf trip is do I use a travel agent or spend hours planning this trip myself? Travel agents can offer many advantages, including organising your accommodation, transfers, setting up play with exclusive courses (click here for link to a free guide on Australia’s top 10 best courses) and ensuring you get the tee times that you want. This is particularly helpful if it is your first golf trip abroad. While it does come at an extra cost, tour operators can often save you money and, more importantly, time. Not to mention their local knowledge of other attractions and links insights. Click here to read our blog on “Why you should use a travel operator.
- Drive your trip down the fairway: Planning out transportation is vital to a smooth and enjoyable trip, ensuring you get where you want to be. Often renting a decent sized van, which accommodates your travelling group and your baggage, is recommended. Although some might find having their mates sit on their laps an enjoyable experience on the way to the course, there are road laws that say otherwise. Sites such as www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au compare car hire prices for you and save you money and time.
- Plan your trip hole-by-hole: Make sure you plan out the routes of your trip and travel times. Do not over schedule and under estimate time and distance required to get from A to B. Know the available travel options, whether it be charter flight or via car. Be aware of the timing of your bookings also. Australian courses regularly offer twilight discounts on rounds, so keep an eye out for this when researching your courses to play. Sites such as www.iseekgolf.com allow you to book tee times online at courses across Australia.
- Player pairing prep: Organise your trip that involves people that will get along, to ensure you will work well as a travel group, and you will be happy with how the trip will run. It Is a different story when you play a round of 18 versus losing sleep because your mate has been snoring for the bulk of your trip! It is wise to roll as a group of 4, which makes for easy play. Splitting up and sharing the duties on your trip can also ensure things stay on track, and the workload is not left to one disgruntled golfer.
- Be a boss with your baggage: Some airlines will sting you extra dollars for carrying an extra bag or for excess baggage weight. Ensure you check your airline’s baggage policies before you fly, particularly on domestic Australian flights. Airlines such as Qantas and Emirates will include your golf club baggage within their weight restrictions, while others such as Singapore airlines are less accommodating. For example, travelling from Singapore to Australia with 20kg of golfing kit will cost $242 each way – that being a flat fee of $132 (6kg at $22/kg) for the first 15kg plus $22/kg for the remaining 5kg!
- Know your oversize baggage blueprint: Many baggage carousels aren’t designed to carry golf clubs so they get sent to the oversize baggage department and pick-up area. To avoid waiting at a carousel that never delivers, get to know the layout of your destination airport online or ask at check-in for carousel details
- Skip camping out at customs: Problems can arise before you have even played your first round. Australian customs or quarantine officers can pull you up for having unwanted visitors on your golf clubs. They prohibit the carriage of soil on the face of your clubs or the spikes of your golf shoes. Clean your golf equipment to avoid adding a customs camping trip to your visit.
- Get visually inspired: Research courses you want to play online and view video content of hole-by-hole flyovers or course guides. Many top golf courses offer these on their websites, to ensure you know the course before you play it and set yourself up for a solid score on the day. Check out videos of some of Australia’s top courses here.
- Protect your possessions: The last thing you want on your trip is your prized Taylor Made clubs being damaged in transit. A quality lightweight travel bag with wheels can protect your clubs and ease the effort of lugging your clubs through the airport. You are looking at a minimum $100 outlay for an entry level golf travel bag, if you don’t own one already.
- Check, check, check your gear: Stopping short of writing your name on your prized possessions, having a checklist for your travel essentials can prove handy. Consider the climate of your destination and what will be required. Waterproof shoes can really assist in dealing with any rainy conditions you come across on your trip. Also consider other weatherproof gear, sunscreen, a towel for cleaning your clubs, a fresh glove, golf balls and tees.
- Shade yourself from rain, hail or shine: Equip yourself with an umbrella on your next trip. Whether the heavens have opened with rain or you are flooded with the dry piercing Australian sun, an umbrella will assist in getting you through your round, minus the tomato colored face or soaking of your new golf gear.
- Avoid having to lay up on equipment: Ensure you have enough quality golf balls and accessories for your trip. Consider buying golf balls from your local retailer before your trip instead of at a pro shop once you get there, which can save you some cash. Equipping yourself with GPS technology is also a great way to gain knowledge on the course you’re playing, track each hole as you play and make your game that much simpler. Read our blog post on the latest golf gadgets for your next golf trip.
- Invest in quality travel cover: Insurance will generally cover you for lost or damaged luggage, medical expenses and also trip cancellation/interruption. Costs can depend on the price of your trip and often your age. Many golf tour operators market these policies themselves. Unexpected things happen and trips get cancelled. Don’t lose money on this too.
- Hire your golf gear: Why deal with all the above scenarios when you don’t need to? Hiring your golf equipment while on your next golf trip can ease many of the hassles involved while travelling. Avoid having to spend hours on carefully packing your golf equipment, paying excess baggage fees for your clubs, waiting for them at oversize carousels, lugging them around airports and worrying about them being lost or damaged in transit. At The Sweet Spot Club Hire, we offer the hire of the latest to market golf equipment delivered FREE to your accommodation or golf course of choice in Australia, from only $20AUD per day.
There are many more things to consider when planning your next golf venture, whether you are travelling with friends or for business. The above tips should lead you well on your way to a successful and easy trip and own your travel like a true boss.
Do you have any other travel tips or hints that you can pass on to other golfers? Let us know in the comments.
The Sweet Spot Club Hire is an online golf equipment hire service, which allows the hire of the latest to market golf clubs, delivered directly to your accommodation or golf course of choice in Australia. Book your set now and make your next trip simple!