Monday, June 8, 2015

5 Affordable (Cheap) Golf Vacations

What's better than smashing a fairway wood over a large lake to a tiny green and then sinking a 20 footer for eagle?

How about saving hundreds of dollars on your next golf vacation. With some intrepid research on the Web, there are lots of great golf deals to a wide array of destinations these days.

In my travels, I've found several that are a bit easier on the wallet.

Here are my top 5:

New Mexico--Golfers usually race through New Mexico to visit golf meccas like Las Vegas or Scottsdale. For those who bother to stop, you'll find uncrowded and affordable courses in dramatic mountain and high desert settings with affordable green fees. The "Golf on the Santa Fe Trail" marketing alliance features eight golf courses along a 100-mile swatch of the Rio Grande River Valley with green fees starting at $52 on weekdays and $65 on weekends. All of the courses are high quality layouts that are situated within a two-hour drive of each other. Some of the more noted courses on the Santa Fe Golf Trail include Black Mesa Club, Paa-Ko Ridge and Twin Warriors.
Ireland--While Scotland dominates most golfer's international destination wish list, Ireland is a slightly cheaper alternative. It has affordable flights through Air Lingus to Shannon and Dublin, a wide range of pubs and restaurants with agreeable prices and a superb menu of courses. Green fees are typically around 1/3 less in the shoulder season in Ireland (April and October) and you tend to get a little more bang for your buck with the exchange rate. (Scotland has the pound and Ireland the Euro). If you've already crossed St. Andrews and Scotland off your bucket list, I definitely suggest playing golf in Ireland. Better still, the friendly and accommodating people in Ireland will thoroughly enhance your experience on and off the course and that's all free.
Orlando, Florida--The theme parks will shake you down for admission tickets in the $100 range, but you won't get skewered on green fees in Orlando. There are more than 125 courses within a 45-mile radius of downtown Orlando. Some of my best value favorites include Red Tail, Eagle Dunes, Eagle Creek and Highlands Reserve. Green fees drop as much as 60% during June, July and August. You'll find great deals at Golfnow and Golfpac Travel, a highly respected Orlando-based golf packager, has some exceptional Orlando area golf travel packages.

Puerto Rico--One of my favorite places to play golf in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is often overshadowed by Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. While the green fees in Puerto Rico aren't necessarily all that much cheaper than their competition, flights to the island (city of San Juan) are plentiful from a variety of destinations and you can generally find some great deals. Moreover, Puerto Rico has a great menu of 20 courses in various beautiful settings. 

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina--If you want lots of bang for your golf buck, you still can't beat this place where the competition is fierce with more than 85 golf courses vying for your presence. You receive excellent value for your money, too, with more than 50 Myrtle Beach area courses with a 4-star designation from Golf Digest. Allegiant, the budget happy airline with rock bottom fares, has non-stop flights to Myrtle Beach from destinations like Orlando, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Akron. The money-saving continues at the variety of restaurants, shopping complexes and amusement parks that compete with each other with all sorts of deals and coupons. The best place to start in your package planning is the highly efficient Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday site, which easily guides you in creating a money-saving package.