Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 DON'TS on International Golf Travel

Do you want to spend thousands of dollars and screw up your dream international golf vacation?

Uh, no, of course not.

Side-stepping some of the most common golf travel mistakes can help you avoid a nightmare.

I've traveled internationally numerous times and I've compiled a list of the some of the worst mistakes. These aren't bad decisions like selecting a shabby hotel (gee, it sure looked good in the brochure), a goat ranch golf course or a restaurant on a first name basis with the health department.

No, these are less obvious mistakes that might seem insignificant, but they can greatly impact the success of your trip.

Believe it or not, the Guru has made everyone of these mistakes, so I speak from experience. To be sure, though, if you make any of these bad choices once, I bet you'll never do it again.

1. Failure to print reservation details--I made this mistake on a trip a few years back and never again. The fact is, your phone, tablet or computer might not work with the local network upon your arrival. Yes, it's a hassle, but print the darn thing out and place it where you can retrieve it easily. Chances are, you won't need it, but, if you do, you'll be so happy you've got a hard copy.

2. Under-budgeting--Let's face it, nowadays everyone has their hand out.  Don't forget about caddie fees, gratuities, Internet fees, hotel service charges, ATM charges...the list goes on and on. Keep track of these fees on a trip and you'll be amazed at the total by the final day. You've also got to budget in ill-advised spending on golf logo gear you may never wear again and worthless souvenirs that looked a lot better on the store shelf than in your home.

3. Cheap luggage choice--I've gone the cheap route with the crappy zippers and tiny plastic wheels and luggage is one of the worst items to try and save a few bucks. Generally, what happens is you need a new piece of luggage before your big trip and you've got money flying out everywhere so you decide to skimp on a bag or golf club travel bag. DON'T.  Purchase lightweight luggage comprised of good, quality exterior material, sturdy zippers and inline skating quality wheels. For a golf clubs travel bag, I prefer Club Glove, but there are some other good ones like Bag Boy, Ogio and Sun Mountain.

4. Choosing bad travel partners--You absolutely need to have the same attitude and love toward the game of golf. If your travel partners want to play 27 to 36 holes a day and you want to go sightseeing and smell the roses along the way, you need to reconsider.  I prefer balance in a trip with golf and lots of time spent in pubs, restaurants and seeing some sights, while others could care less and just want to tee it up sunrise to sunset. Neither approach is necessarily wrong, but you'll have lots of disagreements if you don't fully discuss the itinerary and trip goals before you leave the U.S.

5. Too much activity, not enough down time--Hey, ya gotta get some sleep. Too many people try and play golf all day, party at the pub and sing karaoke all night and stagger to their 8 o'clock tee time. Playing 36 holes with a hangover and jet lag is not really all that enjoyable. Keep in mind, too, that you'll be walking a lot of golf courses outside the U.S., which is more strenuous than riding around in a cart. Pace yourself and build in time to just relax in your room or go to the spa to recharge so you can fully enjoy the great golf courses you've traveled thousands of miles to play and enjoy.

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