Editor's Note: Playing Partners is a regular feature on A Golfer's Life. Newsmax will discuss issues with, and give a forum to, industry insiders and golf experts. Today's topic — golf travel destinations — provided a chance to talk to reps from some of the most memorable places I've had the chance to visit through the years.
Opinions vary widely about what makes for an ideal golf trip. Some people prefer places where there are many golf courses to choose from, such as Myrtle Beach. Others favor destinations with “trophy” courses, regardless of the number (think of Pebble Beach). Still others like destinations off the beaten track that offer unique flavor and new, regional experiences.
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However, there are basics that all golfers agree must be included in any great golf trip. Foremost is value. It matters not if the destination is less expensive or to a 5-star place — everyone seeks value.
“Golfers who come to our island expect memorable rounds on great courses with breathtaking views everywhere they look,” said Sue Kanoho, Kauai Visitors Bureau executive director. “Price often means less than the satisfaction and joy they experience playing golf in Kauai
– that’s what they value.”
Another must-have is satisfactory playing conditions. Golfers will put up with many things, but do not mess with their tee box turf or bent grass greens.
As for trends, an incredible travel savings opportunity for Americans to Canada has blossomed this year.
“Now is an excellent time to take golf trips to Canada, due to the extremely favorable exchange rate for Americans,” said Gordon Schultz, owner of Golf Canada’s West, who counts Alberta’s Canadian Rockies
as his premier destination in Western Canada. “Today for example [April 16], the rate of exchange on the U.S. dollar is 1.2206, saving the American golf traveler 22 percent. As a result, we are seeing inquiries from the U.S. rise substantially this year.”
Many traveling golfers like places where their appetite for after-golf fun and diverse activities can be satisfied. These options abound at golf destinations throughout North America – Orlando’s Disney World and Mississippi’s Blues Trail
and casinos come quickly to mind.
“People are coming for the golf, but they also seek memorable and complementary experiences,” said Schultz of Golf Canada’s West. “Fine lodging, exceptional food, shopping, and numerous activities such as helicopter tours, river rafting – you name it, we’ve had it requested.”
Destinations that draw women are inherently well positioned to attract golfing couples and spouses.
“Our primary visitors are women age 35 and older, who come for the shows, shopping and Ozark Mountain scenery,” said Lynn Berry, Branson/Lakes Area (Missouri) CVB communications director. “However, because we have a growing and popular golf destination
, as well as so many entertainment and activity options, we’re drawing more golfing couples and groups. Often the men golf while women enjoy what interests them.”
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The choices are many, and one person’s floor is another's ceiling. Need assistance selecting a golf destination or planning a golf trip? Two leading golf-travel resources — Golftrips.com
and Premier Golf
— are worth a visit. And head to the travel section of GolfWRX
, the extremely active golf forum, for recent trip reports and ideas for new destinations.
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