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Which is Your Golf Personality

There are a lot of golf fans out there and even greater number of golf courses you can play including many of the world’s finest layouts. This leading to a huge more golf destinations from which to choose a vacation that best suits your personality and that of your companions is the crucial part. It’s not a bad idea to check out golf travel magazines, such as Golf & Travel, which profiles many of the world’s greatest golf destinations, and books, such as Golf Digest’s Places to Play, which provides ratings and somewhat detailed descriptions of U.S. courses, as a solid starting point. However, you would be wise to give some thought beyond which courses and destinations are highly recommended by others, as this will help you design a golf vacation that will meet your (and your companions?) travel needs and expectations. Remember, one man’s (or woman’s) golf nirvana may be another’s travel disaster. Vacations are special occasions, moments that add sweetness to the spice of life, so choose carefully where you’ll spend your (or your group’s) hard earned time and money.

One quick note about golf groups: there are those people out there (and they often do not know who they are) who, no matter how much you have tried to accommodate everyone’s desires and personalities, will complain about everything, from the tee times to the food. My advice: leave them off the list, if possible or, if that’s not possible, let them choose their own accommodations, tee times, etc....You can’t please everybody, but complainers in the bunch can make everyone miserable, even in an otherwise golfer’s paradise.

Challenged, but not overwhelmed

Perhaps the most basic consideration when choosing destinations and courses is the difficulty level of the courses you’re considering. Generally speaking, many fine golf destinations have a variety of courses available, which will allow golfers of various abilities to enjoy themselves, so this factor may impact more which courses you choose rather than which destination you decide upon. Some examples in the U.S. (though a far cry from a complete list) of places with courses to suit every playing level include Pinehurst, NC (Pinehurst has seven courses alone, and there are many others in the vicinity, as well); Myrtle Beach, SC (which boasts more than one hundred courses to choose from); Daytona Beach, FL; Jacksonville and Amelia Island, FL; Williamsburg, VA; and on the west coast, Phoenix, AZ; Pebble Beach, CA, and Palm Springs, CA. If these destinations prove otherwise fine choices for your party’s needs, the next step is to carefully select which courses to play, since few things can spoil a round like a course that’s way over a player’s head. In Kiawah, SC, for example, the famed Ocean Course, considered one of top 100 in the US, while undeniably a masterpiece laid out in a breathtaking ocean setting, is a constant challenge against the wind, not to mention hazards, and thus, will likely prove a frustrating experience for higher handicap players. The nearby Osprey course, also at Kiawah Island Resort, is lovely, challenging, and more suitable for a variety of levels of skill, although it lacks some of the notoriety and is a different type of scenery than the Ocean Course. Another example is Pete Dye’s PGA West Course, in which the sand traps, which on some holes begin behind the tees, seem endless, and after a few holes, even the most stable-minded of people can begin to suspect that Dye put them there just to make their lives a living hell. In certain popular European destinations, such as Ireland, which offers beautiful ocean courses like Ballybunion, Waterville and Lahinch, and in Scotland at the famed St. Andrews, Troon, and Carnoustie courses, the wind can be such a constant factor that play for the less skilled player, or those unused to such conditions, can become an exercise in frustration that not even a well-deserved massage back at the hotel can undo.

While speaking of U.K. golf destinations, another factor to consider when traveling abroad is partaking of the famous and historic courses of Scotland, Ireland and England which have certain restrictions and requirements some of these courses impose upon visitors. Some highly sought- after courses (e.g., Carnoustie and St. Andrews in Scotland) requires a certain handicap (often low, such as no higher than 12 or 15), and a letter of introduction from your home course, in order to be permitted to play. Be sure to check if the courses you wish to play have any such restrictions. The reason for such restrictions is one of practicality, as these courses mentioned attract players from all over the world, and therefore, keeping players moving is a necessity. For this same reason, rounds may be required to be completed within certain time limits (e.g., three and a half hours or less). Slowing down the course will make you very unpopular, not to mention, the subject of verbal harassment and undisguised disdain. Additionally, you must walk on these courses -- there are no carts. For some, this would be fine while for others it could pose a problem. In short, these are courses best booked for lower handicap players and/or groups in reasonable health, not only for the player’s own enjoyment, but for the simple fact that they may be unable to play courses they have traveled so far to play.



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