I do golf trips. My biggest one every year is a late May/early June trip to Bonita Springs, FL with a group of friends. It’s tough leaving Chicago during the longest and most beautiful days of the year, but if you do it right, it’s worth it. Here are my tips for doing it right.
- Go off-season to someplace hot, which basically means Florida or Arizona between May and September. The crowds are down and you can get on courses you could never imagine for dirt cheap. Don’t go off-season/shoulder season to a northern climate like Michigan or Wisconsin because you’re rolling the dice with the weather. I’m telling you, June heat in Florida is a piece of cake.
- Play 36 a day for no more than two consecutive days. I’m in decent golf shape, but two consecutive 36 hole days beats me up. My legs leave me about half way through the second round and the fun quotient goes downhill from there. I’m 46 and it wasn’t but a decade ago when playing 54 holes for one of the days was a must. No more!
- Minimize car time. My default is to keep the rounds on the 36 hole days at the same facility, or in close proximity, even if it means playing the same course twice. If you abide by rule #1 you’ll be on a great course, so playing it twice is even better than playing it once. The payoff is a nice, leisurely lunch. That between-round lunch with a great group of friends is sometimes the best part of the day (depending on how you’re hitting it, of course).
- Remember: It’s about community, not about posting scores. If you get angry or dejected with a bad round, then go home. I struggled with this early on but I have things under control now. Also, never let distractions bother you. In fact, this is the time to work on handling distractions. I’ve started to see how long I can hold a conversation with my buddies into the swing, stopping only for the few seconds it takes to hit the ball.
- Get some consistency. Hitting the same place every year really takes the logistics out of the picture, which lets your crew focus on hanging out rather than planning on hanging out. It also makes deviations even more memorable. I just pulled up a bunch of pix from a year where we hit someplace new and it brought back some great memories.
So those are my top five tips. Since I’m posting all my scores this year on-site, here’s the golf trip stack:
Bonita Bay Creekside
Bonita Bay Cypress (2x)
Shadow Wood North
Bonita Bay Creekside