Planning a trip to play golf in your home country is pretty straightforward — just book a tee time and buy a plane ticket, and you’re ready to go. But traveling to play golf internationally is a different process, especially if you’re going with a group.
Thanks to our experience in planning golf trips for all kinds of players to places all over the world, from St. Andrews in Scotland to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic and Fancourt in South Africa, we have identified a few points to consider when you’re planning your international golf adventure.
Where to Go
This is probably the question that will spur you to start planning a trip: where do you want to go? Whether it’s because you just saw the beauty and intrigue of a Scottish links during the British Open or you want to pair a championship course in South Africa with a world-class safari, your destination will set the stage for the rest of your planning.
How Long to Go
The amount of time you have to travel can help determine the location you want to go to as well. Trips to Europe or the Caribbean take a lot less flying time from the continental U.S. than trips to Africa. We generally recommend you plan to stay at least a week in your final destination, although we’ve planned trips as short as three days and as long as a month. It all depends on how much vacation time you have, as well as your budget.
When to Go
The time of year you want to travel is an important question in planning your trip. For instance, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland are most popular during July and August because the weather is generally warmest during the summer and it’s easier for most people to take off of work. But this can also mean that travel to these destinations is more expensive and it can be more difficult to get tee times at certain courses. Many people consider traveling for Christmas holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays or corporate outings, but depending on the weather and airfare, you may want to adjust your travel dates to a more appropriate time of year for your destination.
How far in advance you plan your trip can affect what courses are going to be available, what accommodations are available, and your airfare costs. We do our best to book the best possible tee times for our clients, but if you are only planning three months in advance, it’s much more difficult to secure the choicest tee times. Conversely, booking a 12-15 months in advance affords us a much greater booking capability and allows us to ensure you an ideal itinerary.
Number of Travelers
There’s a big difference between planning an intimate trip for two and a corporate getaway for 32. The number of people traveling will affect where you can stay, how easy it is to get tee times, and transportation possibilities. You’ll also want to know how many golfers and non-golfers will be traveling in order to plan activities suitable for everyone. It’s a good idea to find out how many rounds you and your fellow golf travelers expect (or want) to play. Some golfers may not be physically capable of playing eight days in a row, or they may want to do more sightseeing than others.
If your only goal is to play as much golf as possible, your trip will look much different than someone who wants to see more of the countryside or historical sites. If you or members of your group are interested in touring wineries, whisky distilleries, or battlefields, you’re going to want to include accommodations and courses in your itinerary that are close to these locations. This also factors into the question of how you’re going to get there.
Getting to and from the golf course with your clubs, not to mention to your hotel from the airport, requires transportation. While it may be easy enough to grab a taxi in bigger cities, you’re probably going to want something more flexible in the smaller towns where most of the best golf is. Renting a car is a great idea, but can be a hassle in countries where they drive on the other side of the road or for groups larger than four. Hiring a driver may be a bit pricier, but provides the added bonus of giving you a local guide (as well as a designated driver should you choose to have a pint after your round). We also recommend point-to-point transfers as a middle ground, which includes private transportation that gets you between golf courses and hotels, but doesn’t include the driver outside of these transfers.
Where to Stay
There’s a big difference between hotels in the U.S. and in other parts of the world, and many U.S. travelers are more comfortable in upscale hotels overseas. At the same time, bed and breakfasts provide cozy, comfortable accommodations at a reasonable price with the added benefit of knowledgeable local hosts. Many of our clients want to spend as much time on the course as possible and as little time as they can at their hotel, while others want a full resort experience with a spa and on-site activities.
Possibly the biggest influence on your trip will be your overall budget. While you may want to stay in five-star hotels, your budget may require you to stay in a few lesser hotels in order to get the most out of your trip. It may also help you determine what time of year to go, as off-season tee times (October-April in the UK and Ireland, and April-September in South Africa and the Dominican Republic) can be less pricey than peak dates, depending on the course. Hotel rates are also less expensive during off-peak times.
At Worldwide Golf Adventures, we have experience creating itineraries of a lifetime to suit the needs of a variety of clients. People hire us because we know exactly how to craft the perfect trip for their needs. Whether you have the answers to all of the concerns above or you need a little help figuring things out, get in touch with us for a free quote.