Time to Pack Your Bags
You see it in every golf magazine and every time you scroll through your Instagram feed: a bunch of friends together on a great course having the time of their lives. The images never fail to stir my desire to hop on a plane with some buddies.
But is it that easy to put together a great golf trip? Certainly not. So to make your next trip as picture perfect as possible, we have listed the four most important factors to consider and provided a foolproof packing list.
Foolproof Packing List
#1: Pack your clubs the right way. I explain exactly how to do that HERE. Now you have no excuses for showing up with busted sticks.
#2: Versatile apparel. Don’t be the guy who has three suitcases full of clothes and needs a wardrobe change for every activity. Bring clothes that work on and off the course like the gear you see below from Johnnie-O.
#3: Broken-in shoes. This is no time to experiment with new footwear. Bring some shoes that have proven to be comfortable and waterproof.
#4: Sunscreen. Avoiding sun burn means you won’t miss a second on the course. You also won’t look like a lobster in pictures. Oh yeah, and you won’t get skin cancer. Everyone on staff swears by Skin Sunscreen – no smell, no greasy feel, and it works.
#4: Rain gear. Do I really need to explain this? High quality rain gear means you get to play golf instead of sitting in the club house.
#5: Cash. Yes, most everything can be paid digitally, but you can’t tip the caddies, valets, or locker room attendants with your phone. Bring a wad of small bills to take care of the people who make your trip more enjoyable.
Key #1: The People
While there was disagreement about the ranking of the other keys, the PluggedInGolf staff unanimously agreed that the people you travel with are the #1 determinant of how good the trip will be.
The first thing you need to do is make a list of friends whom you want to travel with. Jeff may be great to hang out with, but do you want to spend four days with him? Consider it carefully before you send that invite.
Next, you need to think about the mix of people and the type of trip you want to have. Is this going to be a raucous, empty the flask before the turn, out until 2AM every night kind of trip or a totally golf-centric, 36 holes before lunch kind of trip? Either way, pick people who mesh together and who all want the same things from the vacation.
Finally, get everyone talking before the trip. A lot of the fun of a golf trip is the anticipation. Get a group email or text going so everyone can get to know each other, make plans, talk trash, and generally whet their appetite for what’s sure to be a great time.
Key #2: Budget
A golf trip can cost a fortune or it can be very affordable. Spending a bunch of money doesn’t guarantee a great time any more than sticking to a tight budget precludes one. The key here is to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Have an open conversation with the guys that are going before you get too deep into the planning. You’ll want to know how much everyone wants to spend on the trip, and you should also investigate how people want to spend their money. Some people may want to go cheap on the golf so they can eat like kings and stay out all night. Others might want to eat ramen in the hotel room so they can play the most expensive courses. Sort it out in advance so everyone knows what they’re in for.
Key #3: Destination
Nailing down your budget won’t necessarily tell you where to go, but it will likely trim your list of choices. Once you have that edited list, talk to your group about what their priorities are. Do you want a resort with a casino? Are you seeking pure 24/7 golf? Do you need high end dining? Evening entertainment?
There are countless ways to spend your time on a buddies trip and an equal number of destinations to accommodate those desires. Again, the key is getting everyone on the same page so that you can choose a destination to meet your needs.
Key #4: Duration
For many people, the question of how long to stay will be answered for them by a combination of jobs, families, and budget. Even with all those outside considerations, it’s worth giving some thought to how long you want to be on this trip. If you’re traveling to Vegas with guys who go full throttle, a long weekend is probably more than enough. On the other hand, if you’re going to Bandon with true diehard golfers, you’ll want to do everything you can to work in that extra day.