Preparing for Golf Vacations
by Randall Ulbricht
Your perfect golf vacation with your friends starts and stops
with you. Toss the vacation package brochures in a heap and
design your own ideal golf getaway. This is the final of four
articles to assist you in providing an outing for yourself
and your friends that will make you want to do it every year
(as we have for 19 years running).
From the last article, you are now at the minus one month
point. So far you have rallied the troops, picked the dates,
selected the lodging and golf courses and are in the final
preparation stage. You will soon see your friends smiling
faces at the airport baggage claim. The final preps and smoothly
running the whole show are child's play. The tough part was
getting your bunch of friends to buy the tickets to enjoy
the event. Here are a few things you will want to do before
the scream of the aircraft's tires on the tarmac.
1. Transportation. The limiting factor is arrival and departure
from the airport due to clubs AND suitcases. If you can just
barely stuff everyone in the vehicles at this point, the rest
of the week is gravy. From your experience, you know that
when you pack up four guys to go golfing locally, you will
entirely fill the trunk of a full sized car. With that in
mind, you should plan on a full sized car for every three
people. We use one minivan/SUV augmented with cars for our
adventures. Just make sure you allow for the limiting case.
You need to arrange these rental vehicles ahead of time,
but you can only drive one yourself. Here is the minus one-month
mandatory. When you figure out your vehicle requirements,
contact the group to arrange among them and you who will contact
and rent the remaining vehicles. There will probably be some
in your group that have existing discounts and can score a
great rate. Hash this one out via email.
2. Entertainment. Unless you are going to the deserts in
Arizona or get exceedingly lucky, you will have a rain day
or two. You will also have a bunch of time at night after
golf (after you have all told your lies). We suck that time
up pretty effectively watching the golf channel, ESPN, playing
cards, or watching videos. The latter is what you can address
ahead of time. We have a guy that is pretty good at selecting
movies to watch and we task him to bring them with him. Movies
like "Gladiator", "Miracle", etc. are big. Some of your group
may even have an adult video you may want to avail yourselves
of. On severe rain days, we also have gone bowling (a real
hoot), done the local movie theater, and toured the area.
3. Checklists. After about ten years of being asked twenty
times per day where we were playing the next day, or when
we had to leave, or what was for supper, or who stole my teddy
bear, I finally started typing out these things. I make a
copy of each and post sporadically throughout the house. I
make individual laminated cards and hand to each golfer. Know
what? It reduced the questions to half and now when asked,
I say that I can't remember, let me walk over to the frig
and read it for you. Here are the things I prepare ahead of
- Listing of course, tee times, course contact number, and
departure time. I base departure time on MapBlast directions
and factor in a stop for ice for the coolers and if we will
need to hit range balls.
- Listing of the menu for the evening meals. If this is
your first time, keep the menu simple and make sure you have
the recipes in hand. With any size group, you are going to
have a chef or two and this won't be a big deal.
- Multiple copies of the "order sheet" for sandwiches. For
most of our noon meals between rounds, we dine on our self-prepared,
gourmet sandwiches prepared the night before. As you saw from
the previous articles, I solicit what the group wants and
have that on the shopping list. What winds up being the least
confusing way is to have some sheet for people to circle or
fill in to specify what sandwiches they want for the next
day. You rotate the preparers (two is best) every night and
with that sheet, they manufacture the gourmet feast. (Don't
discount this! The sandwiches you make will be superior to
anything short of the full meal at the course AND you will
not have to wait on it if you are pressed for time between
- Biggy! We did not keep a record of our scores for our
first few years. Big mistake. What great history we tossed
out. Keep a record! I prepare a hard copy sheet to fill in
as we go. It allows us to follow who is the overall stroke
leader and gives us all ammo to use in negotiating the next
day's bets. I take this home and plant it permanently on our
- Expenses. I pay for everything with minor exceptions.
That keeps it simple. I currently use a spreadsheet to administer
this. It works great. I would provide this for you, but this
article format doesn't allow. Before that, I simply used pen
and paper and got it to within a penny. My point is that from
the minute you start your adventure, keep a tally of what
you have spent! Streamline course check in by paying for everyone,
buy all the food and drink, buy all the gas, etc. If someone
pays for anything, log it in immediately. If you are religious
in this, you will have no complaints, only praise.
4. Things nobody else will bring but you.
- Several decks of cards, poker chips - Cribbage boards
- Screw driver and pliers (you never know) - Pens, pencils
and permanent markers (you will need all) - Over the counter
pain killers - Band-Aids - Game
5. Arrival. So here you have a rambunctious group of friends
descending on the Mecca of golf. You have motored to the house
your staying in and it is the mad dash to the best room to
be found. NOT. To avoid any hard feelings between the lodger
that got the queen bed and the lodger that got the twin bed,
simply set up a quick draw out of the hat. For subsequent
years, do the same, but use the seniority system. Once a person
misses, he goes to the end of the list.
6. Once you have dumped your bags in the drawn rooms, it
is time to go shopping. With the template I gave you in the
last article, and with your modifications based on menu and
orders, grab one or two volunteers and get what you need.
This is the conclusion of my recommendations on how you
can have the best golf outing or outings you have ever had.
Since I have folks coming to enjoy my preparations for 19
years should be testimony to you. At least give it a shot
once. It won't be perfect, but my guess is that it will be
superior and more remembered than anything you can buy as
a package. Go for it!
About the Author
Randall Ulbricht is a retired Nuclear Submarine Officer with
a BA in Physics and Chemistry and an MBA from the Citadel.
He has owned local businesses and works from home sharing
information via several web sites, including: Article