When international travel gets the green light, where do you want to play?
Scotland? Ireland? Portugal? Spain? New Zealand? Mars? Well, we might pump the brakes on that last one, but hopefully Elon Musk or Richard Branson can get us there one day.
Until then, many of us can’t wait to fly and tee it high…
While we’re still facing lockdowns and limited capacities at stadiums, arenas and restaurants, the arrival of several vaccines has given travelers a glimmer of hope that Covid-19 will finally be in our rearview mirror, hopefully in the coming months.
That said, I think we can finally start (or at least begin thinking) about planning a golf trip.
Here are some tips:
Have Documents Will Travel
If you plan to travel internationally later this year and beyond, many travel experts are suggesting you secure a digital vaccination passport. Several companies and organizations are working on travel pass apps where travelers will be able to check Covid-19 entry requirements and store digital proof of a vaccine. Airlines like United and JetBlue have announced they plan to use a health passport app called CommonPass, and I’m predicting other airlines will follow their lead.
Use an Experienced Golf Packager
To navigate the choppy seas of golf travel planning, I recommend you work with a veteran golf packager who has battled previous travel storms before. Some of my long-time favorites in the business are Art Stricklin at The Art of Golf Travel, Ann Mabry at Premier Golf, Sam Baker at Haversham and Baker Golfing Expeditions, Bill Hogan at Pioneer Golf and Sean Petersen at Golf Trip Junkie One call does it all as they can customize your trip to your specific wants and needs. All of them have long-standing relationships with golf courses, hotels, restaurants and transportation companies.
Insist on Flexible Terms
When booking with a golf travel packager, flexibility options are gold during these uncertain times. Take the time to carefully study cancellation and refund policies, trip insurance offerings and rebooking options. Just a few minutes of reading can save you lots of aggravation later if changes occur.
Research the Latest Covid-19 Info.
Before you plan an international trip it’s wise to consult various websites furnishing updates on Covid-19 travel. For instance, Ireland has a great site providing that latest measures, protocols and timelines for when current restrictions will be removed. Just click www.gov.ie for Ireland. You can easily access up-to-date Covid-19 information for Scotland at www.gov.scot Pioneer Golf has a superb Covid-19 update page with latest information about traveling to the UK and Ireland.
Play Links Golf American Style
For those who love the links golf experience and don’t want to wait till Scotland and Ireland open up to U.S. visitors, I suggest booking a trip to American resorts and courses that provide the closest thing to a British Isles experience. Some of my favorites are Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Oregon), Streamsong Resort (Florida), Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (South Carolina), Erin Hills (Wisconsin), Whistling Straits (Wisconsin) and Nags head Golf Links (North Carolina). Best of all, you might need a mask for the public areas, but you won’t need a passport or vaccine documentation.
Review More Travel Options
Here are a few stateside places I’ve visited that offer exceptional golf and practice up-to-date safety measures.
Big Cedar Lodge (Branson, MO)
Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa (Palm Coast, FL)
Mission Inn Resort & Club (Howey-in-the-Hills, FL)
Pinehurst Resort (Pinehurst, NC)
Reunion Resort (Kissimmee, FL)
Rosen Shingle Creek (Orlando, FL)
Santa Fe Golf Trail (New Mexico)
Sea Pines Resort (Hilton Head Island, SC)
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I highly recommend The Loma Bag By Sunday Golf.
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