“What If You Could … Have the perfect group golf vacation, save money and have a sensational time setting it up?”
You've waited all year to get together with your friends for your annual golf vacation. It was supposedly to be perfect, but you bought “the package” and your out turns out to be simply adequate.
You all had such high hopes, but you had to take what you got.
Sound familiar? Have you been on the receiving side of a less than perfect golf vacation that you have been waiting for all year? In all fairness, most golf packages are good. Some are great. But they really are packages designed for the mass market with little flexibility and no individual flair.
A standard golf vacation package provides lodging and one round of golf per day, including a cart. The lodginging usually means motel or hotel accommodations with two people per bedroom. In most cases, you can choose from several different courses, and select your advance tee times. They will even throw in a continental breakfast. The prices are fair.
Again, this yields a good or great vacation, but we need to discuss the perfect vacation. Envision:
-A beautiful vacation house with a separate bed or bedroom for each person.
-Gourmet dining each evening.
-As much or as little golf as you want, where you want and when you want.
I have been setting up this type golf vacation for my old high school and college friends every year since 1988. Over those many years, we have refined Our Event to what we think is the perfect annual outing. Our first few years were terrific even though we had to keep the costs down. Despite inflation, the cost has been fairly stable for the last four years. We have settled on a full seven days, Saturday to Saturday.
In general, we plan for 36 holes per day, and modify that in situ to wind up with an average of about 27 holes per day. We buy most of the food and beverages the day of arrival to support breakfast, snacks, sandwiches between rounds, and gourmet evening meals for the week. Our smallest group was five gents one year, and the largest group was sixteen. The perfect size is anywhere from eight to twelve.
The above is our perfect vacation, not necessarily yours. For yours, look at the general goals below for the ideal golf outing:
– Get the ball rolling early.
– Have everyone stay in the same house that has a full kitchen.
– Get the shopping list together ahead of time.
– Have a general schedule and loose assignments.
Get the ball rolling. Pick out a window of time and get the word out to everyone you think might be interested OR not interested (next year, they may be). I send a fun, whimsical email about five months ahead of a proposed block of time. It is written such that the wives enjoy the comedy as much as the guys.
Follow up emails get commitments and solicit recommendations and special requests. Armed with all this, you will select the ideal house, set up tee times, and arrange rental vehicles. Further emails from you will ask what food, snacks and beverages they will want during the outing. Here is a good timeline:
-5 months: Announce.
-3 months: Receive all commitments and solicited recommendations.
-3 months: Let everyone know when to fly in to coordinate travel.
-2 months: Arrange house, tee times and rental cars.
-1 month: Receive all food, snack, and beverage requests.
-1 month: Confirm house, tee times and rental cars.
-1 week: Finalize food and beverage list.
Zero hour: Have the time of your life.
House with a full kitchen. This allows several things:
Preparing your own evening meal. Every group has at least one “chef”.
Reaching the day as a group (yes, this includes an appropriate amount of trash talk and begging for strokes on upcoming rounds).
Having evening entertainment as a group. We watch a sports event on TV, watch videos, play cards, tell tales and get caught up, or all of the above.
Getting sandwiches, snacks and beverages ready for the next day.
You will have almost as much fun setting up this event as you will have during your vacation. I set up a little eight page website with history, photos, schedule, past scores, etc. to hold everyone's interest and attention throughout the year.
You can think about bringing a laptop and uploading each day's results on your website so that the unfortunate people that did not make the trip can live vicariously by following the daily action. An idea that our group has not yet acted on is to have a masseuse come in one evening later in the week to help our aging muscles.