If you enjoy golf and enjoy travel, then the UK and Ireland must be high on your list of destinations to visit. Below are some tips from our partners at Golfbreaks.com on what to consider when planning a golf vacation to the British Isles to make sure that it is the best ever:
1) Set your dates. You’ll find the best weather in the UK and Ireland is mid-May to mid-September. However, you can also get lucky in April and October and score some fabulous weather. The green fees are typically a lot cheaper in the spring or autumn, so you will save some cash, but if you’re unfortunate enough to get the wrong side of an Atlantic depression the weather can bite you.
2) Decide who is on the bus. Invite your buddies and get their commitment! You want to be on vacation with good friends, but make sure that they are the type who you can spend the most part of every day with, as well as put up with their on-course habits or their antics on a night out when they are on their fifth pint of “Old Shipwreck.” Also, ensure that when people say that they are coming on the trip they don’t drop out last minute.
3) Agree on your budget. Discuss and agree with your group how much you are prepared to spend per person and make sure it corresponds to the standard of golf that you want to play, and that everyone in the group is in line. On one side, it is worth treating yourself and spending a bit more on your vacation. On the flip-side, you can play amazing golf on a minimal budget – if you know where to go.
4) Book in advance. Book at least six months in advance to ensure that there are tee times available at the courses you want to play and rooms at the hotels where you want to stay (plus, the flights will be cheaper). If you are a large group or want the plumb tee times, then book 12 months in advance. However, don’t worry if you suddenly have the impulse or time to come over to the UK or Ireland to play golf. You can always find hotels and great quality golf at the last minute if you are flexible with your schedule.
5) Research which courses you want to play. Remember to mix a few hidden gems into your golf schedule to sit alongside the signature and renowned courses. Not only will this reduce the cost of your trip, but you will also enhance your golfing experience by playing some amazing courses off the beaten track.
6) Match the standard of golf to your group. Links golf or championship inland courses can be tough – especially when the wind is blowing. The likelihood is that not all of your group are sub-10 handicappers, so to keep you smiling make sure you factor in a few sub-6,500 yard courses.
7) Remember to allow for other activities. You’re in a new country so it would be a shame not to get out, feel the culture, see the sights, eat the food, drink the local brews and explore the countryside. These can be some of the best moments of the trip where you reflect on what you have just played and the delights of what is to come.
8) Plan your itinerary carefully and give yourself some slack. Depending on the standard of the roads it can take longer to get to golf courses and hotels than you think, so factor in some extra time. By good planning and time management, you’ll make your trip a lot less stressful and allow yourself some practice time on the range before a round.
9) Talk to a golf tour operator. These guys have a lot of knowledge and experience and can recommend an itinerary based on your budget and golf requirements. They can also save you hours of time in researching and booking hotels, tee times, ground transportation and flights. And, contrary to popular belief, some tour operators don’t charge excessive fees for their service. In fact, Golfbreaks.com can save you money compares to you self-packaging your trip. They book hundreds of thousands of golfers every year into golf destinations and therefore can secure very good rates from the golf courses and hotels that they work with, which they then pass on to their customers.