Before the comprehensive knowledge of human existence was condensed to a quick Google search, planning a golf trip with your buddies was a tedious and time-consuming experience. You had to agree on the destination, make countless calls to golf shops, hotels and restaurants, and even corral your friends to make sure everyone was on the same page. It’s a miracle anyone could actually pull it off.
Now we have the internet and all its golf-planning glory, meaning that one golfer in your foursome – it’s always the same person – can make all the plans, arrange all transportation and keep the rest of you informed all without leaving the couch. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get it all done, but if you take these six steps, you’ll be sure to make the most out of your yearly golf trip.
Find friends who want to go and choose a budget
This is either really easy or extremely difficult. If you’ve spent the last 10 years making the same trip at the same time, this step can be reduced to a simple group text. If you’re trying to start the first annual golf trip, getting your friends on board is the first and hardest step. Everyone has different schedules, priorities and cash flow, and you as the planner should aware of potential pitfalls and disagreements among your friends. Don’t be a menace, but politely pester your friends. Let them know how important it is to you and remind them how much fun they’ll have. And always remember to tell your friends how much fun they’ll miss if they don’t show up. Should make the decision process pretty easy.
Pick a date and destination
Once you’ve picked your perfect golf-trip foursome and decided on a budget, it’s time to get to the details. First step is to pick a date where everyone can get away. It could be a winter date for an adventure down south, or a reason to escape the desert heat, or a cheap staycation here in the Valley. The date will narrow the choices of a destination, so pick that first. No one wants to play golf in a Minnesota December, not that the courses would be open anyway.
Now you have the people, budget and time of year down pat, it’s time to make the biggest decision of them all. Where on earth are you going to go? Weather will be a big part of your decision, so pick a place that doesn’t get a ton of rain. You don’t want to try and recoup costs from a weekend downpour. Of course, Arizona – specifically the Phoenix area – should be top of mind when picking a destination thanks to extremely comfortable weather, dozens of world-class golf courses and exceptional non-golf activities.
Where do you want to play?
Depending on how long you and your buddies will be yucking it up in a new town, you’ll need to choose anywhere from one to five golf properties to play. Use Google searches to narrow your choices down to a few courses, and make sure to pick courses that fit your playing style. If your foursome isn’t as accurate off the tee as some of your favorite PGA TOUR players, eliminate courses with a lot of forced carries or trouble near the tee box. If you aren’t as mobile as you once were, find flatter courses without as many hills or dunes.
Put a premium on picking courses with 36 holes so your group can get the most out of the property. Thankfully, Arizona has more than a few golf properties with at least two 18-hole tracks. In fact, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club is an excellent example, with the No. 1 and No. 10 ranked golf courses in the whole state according to Golfweek.
Find lodging near your courses
Often, you’ll find many of the golf courses you and your friends will play have resort or hotel accommodations right on property. Again, We-Ko-Pa has you covered here in Arizona. Use your friendly neighborhood search engine to find good deals on lodging and restaurant options in a central location around the golf clubs you plan on visiting. Staying in one area of town and driving back and forth can be tiresome, and opens up your trip to a lot of travel time taking precious golf and leisure time away.
What else to do?
Sure, you’re going on the trip to play golf, but you can’t play golf the entire time you’re on vacation. For one thing, that pesky sun sets each night leaving at least six hours where you have to find something else to do. Pick a few – not too many – non-golf activities to keep you and your group entertained during your down time. It can be as simple as shopping and dining, or as complicated as a Sonoran Desert excursion at Fort McDowell Adventures. But make sure it fits into your budget.
Research and book your lodging at least three months before your trip and your tee times at least a month in advance. Golf clubs will be more than happy to book your tee times up to 30 days in advance. We-Ko-Pa gives you an impressive 90 days to secure your tee times. Booking early gives you the chance to make changes as your group irons out all the details, and booking travel and resort accommodations in advance ensures you and your friends the best deal possible.