Because of golf travel’s popularity, tour operators are offering increasingly competitive deals on domestic and international packages - from budget to luxury. Work with your travel consultant to narrow down the many tour operators that offer packages to destinations you would like to visit and play. In particular, you want a tour operator experienced in golf packages that can provide you with excellent, even preferred tee times and can coach you and your companions in all of the local rules of the courses you will visit. Many tour companies offer "golf widow" rates for any in your group who may travel along but do not play. Tour operators assist with daily itineraries, accommodations, and transportation and provide access to courses and opportunities you might not be able to achieve on your own.
Choosing a destination and a corresponding course that suits your game is the most important factor in planning your dream golf vacation. If traveling with other players, you will also need to take their abilities, ages and health into consideration. If the skill levels of your companions vary dramatically, perhaps you will choose a destination that boasts an assortment of courses with varying difficulty. And if non-golfers will be joining you, you’ll need to make sure other activities are available for them to enjoy, such as the beach, mountains, museums, art galleries, historic landmarks, and other tourist attractions.
The number of potential destinations for your golf vacation is truly staggering. Practically every country in the world that has a tourism industry has golf listed as one of its primary attractions. You could head to Ireland or Scotland and become one with the history and mystery of the game as well as enjoy summertime hours on the course as late as 9 p.m. You can head to Hawaii and learn to surf and bogie on the same day. The Caribbean, comprised of 700 islands, offers more possibilities than you can imagine. Then you have exotic, Far East destinations where golf has taken a firm but zen-like grip on nations like Japan and Thailand. Not to mention spectacular domestic destinations like Phoenix, Palm Springs, or the Greenbriar in West Virginia.
Do remember to take into account your destination’s climate. When traveling to the U.K., for instance, know that rain and wind will likely be factors in your game. When heading to the southeastern U.S., consider hurricane season. Furthermore, if a course closes because of rain, you may want to be in a destination that has other means of entertainment. But if there is nothing you would rather do on vacation besides golf, be sure to choose a destination with a mild and consistent climate.
If you’re on a budget, you have an opportunity to save money and still play some of the best courses by traveling off-season. Your travel consultant will help you plan for "low" to "high" season travel, but if you choose the low season, remember that the trade-off is almost always your weather conditions. While the savings can be substantial, if you are planning on a trip to Florida or a tropical destination, do not underestimate the heat. However, in other destinations, such as Ireland and Scotland, off-season weather can translate into wet, cold and gale-force winds. Choose wisely!