|Step One to Your Perfect Golf Vacation
It's just like the hamburger commercial; Have it your own way!
Your annual golf outing deserves to be the best possible
vacation. Make it your own way. Forget "the package" and design
your own special, personalized group get away.
In my last article, I gave an overview of how you can put
together a terrific group golf vacation. In this article, I will
go into much more detail concerning the organization and
preparation. I have been setting up the ideal gathering for our
group for 18 years. There are refinements every year and we
think we have arrived at the optimum outing.
You will be driving this bus, so get the ball rolling. Do a
little research and pick a location. This location should have
plenty of vacation rental homes and a good selection of golf
courses. You do not want to play the same course every day. You
should be able to do most or all of your research online to find
out about rental house and golf course specifics, including
Get the word out to the troops. I like to send out a humorous
email to introduce the event and then follow up with more emails
and phone calls. I recommend you send out an email to everyone
you think might be remotely interested about five months in
advance. Some will not be able to make it due to family, work,
interest, etc. You should hope to wind up with a group size
around eight. Anywhere from six to twelve is great. Five people
is the worst group size due to tee times. More than twelve is
too hard to organize or find lodging in the same house.
Pick out a window of time. We usually grab the last week in
February to get the northern gents out of the snow and still
stay in the low rate season for the southern golf courses. As an
example of an introductory email, you could send something like
"It has come to my attention via the minions who surround me and
perform my every whim that there may be those among you desiring
driving sleet, incomprehensible wind chill, unplayable lies,
unreachable par 3's, impossible odds, foot-wedging opponents,
gross bending of the USGA rules, hairy greens, thick frost,
lightening fast down-hillers, moguls, knee deep rough, more sand
and water than water front property, Velcro removal during back
swings, exploding coughs during precision chips, un-winnable
stroke spreads complete with unyielding stroke givers and
takers, 179-degree dog legs, and brutal rangers in leather and
If this is the type of outing you've been dreaming about, keep
dreaming. I can't make it happen. But picture this:
-A luxurious house with a separate bed for everyone. -18 to 36
holes of golf per day on pristine courses. -A gourmet meal every
night. -All the comforts, food and drink of home. -Evening
entertainment. -Sensational camaraderie.
I am looking at an arrival date of (date) and departure date of
(date). We will be gathering in (city, state). For a group of
eight of us, and assuming we average 27 holes per day, your cost
should be around $XXX for the housing, food, drink, golf and
rental cars. (Note: Our cost per man for food and drink for
seven days was $160 in 2005.) Please reply before (date) by
What is the percentage chance you can come for these dates? What
is the percentage chance you could make other dates? What dates
would you prefer? Other
You have now set the stage. For those you don't hear back from,
get on the phone and hash it out. Through all of your responses,
you will come up with the consensus of length of vacation and
dates through give and take.
Over the next four months you will be: -Getting firm commitments
from your group members -Arriving at a firmer consensus on golf
venue -Receiving food and drink orders to allow you to make the
shopping list -Reserving the vacation house and rental cars
-Getting tee times
I like to periodically whet everyone's appetite and keep the
excitement level up. Setting up a website especially for your
group is a great way to do this. I stripped down the one I use
and put an example up at http://www.eye-mind-tricks.com/golf for
your review. It is just a little thing I whipped up using MS
Publisher. An easier way for you to do this would be to get a
free Blog set up for this purpose. I recommend blogger dot com.
Over the years, we have realized two key things about lodging.
The first is that it makes a huge difference in camaraderie when
the whole group stays under the same roof. The second is the
value in everyone having a separate bed (you know how guys are).
The only way to achieve this is to pick a location where there
are a bunch of rental homes in order for you to pick one that
allows this. (Plug for Isle of Palms, SC: you can find what you
It may not seem to you like time is of the essence, but work
schedules, vacation allotments, spousal plans, ticket costs, and
your preparation needs demand that you DO get this ball rolling.
Once you have sent your introductory email and done your phone
calling, several of your planned guests will have trouble
pulling the trigger. Work with them as you can, but I have found
that you will need your firm group established two months ahead
of time (give or take one guy or so.) A fine point for you: Ask
for a nominal deposit from each of the troops. Over time, I know
that the cost of our vacation, outside of airfare, will be
around $900. In one of my follow up emails, I simply ask the
players to send around half of that to me. It emphasizes
In selecting the location of your rental home, consider the
driving time to the golf courses you will be playing. We have
found that twenty minutes travel time is great, thirty minutes
is OK, but forty minutes is too long. The longer drives are
certainly bearable, but if you are planning a winter vacation,
you will have to have a fairly early tee time in the morning to
allow lunch and another 18 in the afternoon. After telling tales
late into the evening, beating the sun to the course, heading
home and preparing the feast, it gets to be a long day.
This takes us to the minus-two-months time frame.
In Part Three of this series, we will get into getting great
golf rates, shopping lists, and easy administration.
About the author:
Randall Ulbricht is a retired Nuclear Submarine Officer. He
currently works from home sharing information via several web
sites, including: Knowledge, Eye
Mind Tricks, Family Tree Templates, and Hair Style Photo.