7 tips to organize your perfect golf buddy trip
How to be the golf trip hero; essential tips for group organizers
There are many moving parts to consider when organizing a golf trip, and the bigger the group the more opinions and requests you will need to take into account.
When working with group leaders we often joke that it is ‘like herding cats’! If you find yourself in the hot-seat and are tasked with organizing your group’s next trip, then you will find these tips very useful.
1) Zone in and find your Zen
It is very important to start with a good understanding of the headline parameters that are going to work best for the group. When planning a trip the first question is ‘where?’, and in the initial stages it is important to try to narrow this down to one or two destinations (in the US or overseas). This is often dictated by budget per person and the number of people in the group (the bigger the group the wider the range of budgets typically), as well as flight routes and airline prices if flying. Dates are also very important as this will impact the price of the trip due to seasonality of destinations and venues. As the organizer, it is also good to determine how long the trip will be and how many rounds of golf are to be included. By narrowing down your trip requirements early on, you will find you will reach group harmony quicker!
2) The early bird catches the worm
Start planning in advance! This is particularly true if planning a trip overseas or if the group size is large (more than 8 people), and importantly if you are looking at some big-name venues. For example, if you are looking at a trip across the pond you need to take into consideration that the signature courses can get booked up more than 12 months out. Yes, this may sound crazy but places like Royal County Down, Ballybunion or St Andrews often have no tee times left from May-September within 12 months of your proposed travel dates. Even for domestic trips in the USA this can be a big challenge, especially for larger groups who may want 4 or 5 consecutive tee times on each course.
3) Get some help from the pros
“Of course you are going to suggest this” you might say, but planning golf trips for large groups can be very time-consuming and stressful, so we highly recommend that you seek advice from a company that does this day in and day out, like Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR. Not only will we do all the legwork for you, but we will also get you the best price. Since 1998 Golfbreaks have sent millions of customers on golf trips all over the world and due to the strength of our relationships, we are able to negotiate the best rates and group deals for you. We make our money from the venues rather than having to overcharge the customer. It is a win/win for you –a concierge service with a best price guarantee! We also hear time and time again from group organizers how painful it is being the ‘banker’ for the group. We take that hassle away from you and allow individuals to make payment directly to us online or over the phone. Let us be the cat herder for you!
4 ) Everyone has an opinion
Trying to please everyone is difficult, and the larger the group the more difficult this can become. As the organizer, you need to take the lead and help people make decisions. Too much choice is not helpful, so we suggest giving the group no more than 3 options to choose from. Once you have the headline parameters agreed (as suggested in tip number 1) it is time to get proposed itineraries and pricing together for the group. By offering A, B or C you will have enough choice and ensure a winner is picked quickly.
5) Money talks
One of the most frustrating things for any group organizer is getting commitment out of people. Everyone signs up initially and then when it is time to put some money down the numbers start to drop. You may have booked a trip for a group of 24 and, before you know it, 8 people have dropped out and you are down to 16. All the great terms you may have negotiated with the venues based on a group of 24 become void and you then have to go back to the 16 and ask for more money or deliver some tough news. We hear this headache all the time. Our suggestion is to get a commitment out of people very early, and the only way to do this is to have them put down money early on. You may want to set up a bank account and have people put money into that account before you even book anything with venues. You can then plan a trip based on the number of people that have deposited money into that account.
6) Planes, trains and automobiles
If the group is flying to a destination, we highly recommend pre-arranged ground transportation versus everyone renting cars from the airport. This is especially important when visiting the UK or Ireland, where everyone drives on the other side of the road and there are traffic circles to navigate. By having pre-arranged ground transportation in place for the group, whether that be daily point-to-point transfers or your own chauffeur-driven bus for the entire stay, you will avoid the stresses of people getting lost and the arguments over who will be the designated driver that evening. It is the best way to go with larger groups and again, achieve group harmony. The only exception might be if you are going to a resort where you are staying and playing onsite throughout your trip.
7) Tax does not have to be taxing
Keep yourself on budget by making sure you take account of taxes and extra fees that are paid onsite. Some courses will post the green fee without the taxes, water fees, or cart fees included, which are then due to be paid on arrival. This is especially true for desert golf courses where taxes and water fees can be up to 13+% of the original green fee. These fees can quickly add up and significantly increase your overall trip expenditure. Therefore, we advise that when you receive a quote from a resort, you search the fine print for any surprise expenses due onsite.
If you are a group organizer and would like some help putting together your next golf trip within the USA or overseas, then please reach out to the team at Golfbreaks by PGA TOUR. We have been booking trips since 1998 and are experts in golf travel, home and abroad. We have huge empathy for group organizers and know exactly what you are going through. We will therefore do all the legwork for you and make sure we get you the very best price.
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