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Places We Love: Planning the Perfect Golf Resort Trip

Anyone can book a tee time next weekend, but planning an epic resort trip for your foursome? It doesn't have to be a struggle. Give yourself more time to work on your short game with these tips that make organizing a tap-in.

  1. Plan Early
    Your golf bucket list probably isn’t as unique as your swing. The best resorts are popular for a reason, so if you’re hoping to hit high season, start planning at least nine months ahead. Even a year isn’t too long.

    Tee times book quickly in prime-weather months, so decide up front if you’re okay with going off-season. The weather may be dicey, but the prices will be lower. Speaking of which …


  1. Price Matters
    We’d all like to play four rounds at Pebble Beach or Spyglass Hill, but not everyone has that luxury. Be smart and set a budget up front. Land on a number all of you can live with and do it early.

    Also, since you’re the ringleader, consider being the bank. The logistics will go much smoother with one person paying deposits up front and collecting from others as you go.


  1. Pick a Spot
    La QuintaThe American ClubChambers Bay? You’ve probably got a place in mind. If not, do some research. Send links from a handful of resorts you like to your fellow travelers – since you’re running this show, you get to pick. Agree on a destination as quickly as you can, and have a Plan B.


  1. Pick Up the Phone
    The standout resorts have staff on hand to help you plan. Let them. Have your list of questions ready. “When is your high season? How far in advance can I book? Can I put down a deposit?”

    Ask for their advice and insider knowledge. If you already know when you can travel, give them dates. If not, ask when a smart time will be. A flexible travel window will yield the best results.


  1. Explore Transportation Options
    Now that you have an idea of when you’re going, figure out how to get there. Need to fly? Pay attention to layovers. Be sure to snag a rental car with tons of storage. List the details: flight numbers and times, model of car, etc.


  1. Put Together an Itinerary
    Spell it out for your group: “We’re going to Sea Island from August 10-14. We fly into Jacksonville, rent a Silverado, then drive 1 hour to the resort. We check in the evening of the 10th, and our first tee time is 9:30am on the 11th.” You get the idea – put it in writing.

    The important thing: make sure everyone knows and agrees to the cost upfront. The last thing you need at the resort is an argument about money.


  1. Make It Happen!
    Everyone on board? Excellent. Time to call the resort, put down a deposit, and start buying plane tickets. Book the rental car, too, then circle back with everyone to let them know how much you’ve put down in deposits. Give them a deadline to pay what they owe.


  1. Pack Smart
    No matter the season, check the weather a few weeks out and put together a packing list. Think layers. At Bandon Dunes, you could face driving rain, 30-mph winds, or balmy sunshine – on the same afternoon. Bring rain gear and shorts, a pullover and sunblock. And make sure your shoes are waterproof.


  1. Practice!
    Now all you have to do is get your game in shape for the big trip! Some advice: Focus on your short game. A great resort destination is guaranteed to have intimidating bunkers and slick, undulating greens. Don’t let them ruin the trip of your life.