10 holiday tips for the first time golfer
There will always be somewhere in the world to play golf on holiday and courses are springing up in the most unlikely places, even in the desert. Courses and resorts need a lot of space and the majority of the time you will be guaranteed a stunning location. So holiday and golf is potentially a marriage made in heaven. If a golfing holiday is a new experience for you or if you're going on holiday to play as a golfing virgin, planning ahead will save you a lot of time, money and stress.
1 - Choose your destination with care
This may be pretty obvious but it really is the starting point. There are a lot of destinations across the world so your research needs to determine exactly which resort or destination, you don't have to go to a golfing resort, that suits your needs and your family's.
2 - Check the weather forecast
Whilst it is possible to play a round of golf in a gale, it's not the best way of doing it. The British Open at Turnberry in 2009 was beset with problems caused by the wind and the rain. the players got round, but they're professionals and they're paid for it, you're on holiday. Go prepared for any likely weather conditions, hot or cold. If you go to an Asian country, avoid the rainy seasons which are generally March to May and September to November.
3 - Have a contingency plan
If you don't go to a resort, pick a destination that has more than one course within a reasonable travelling distance. Parts of courses are sometimes closed for maintenance and you could end up with only 9 holes available to play rather than 18. Also, make sure your non-golf loving family has plenty of things to do if you take them, even if it's just sitting by the pool.
4 - Only take half your clubs
Unless you're viscerally attached to your complete set of clubs, it would be a good idea only to travel with half of them. There are many advantages to this, they'll be easier to carry round the airport, they take up less of your luggage allowance and you'll have more room in the car
5 - Invest in a good case
Whether you invest in a hard case or a soft one when travelling with your clubs is largely a matter of choice, but going for a cheap one shouldn't be an option. A good case with wheels will be easier to travel with and will give you some protection against baggage handlers.
6 - Get travel insurance to cover golf
Most standard travel insurance policies don't include cover for things like golf. Get specialist cover for things like your golf clubs and any injuries you may sustain. Yes, you can get injuries playing golf, hamstrings particularly and watch out for flying golf balls.
7 - Get a proper sized car
If part of your journey involves travelling in a hire car, be aware that your average category A probably won't be enough to fit four people, their luggage and a couple of sets of golf clubs. You won't need a monster truck either but a good-sized estate should do the trick.
8 - Take a handicap certificate
Most courses want to know if you've got any experience or if you're any good before they'll let you play. Certificates are generally available from your club handicap secretary or professional. Otherwise, its the crazy golf circuit for you!
9 - Take golf shoes
Again, most clubs won't allow you to play in anything other than proper golf shoes, tempting though it may be to slip on the trainers. And in any case, if you look and feel the part, you'll probably play better anyway.
10 - Think about the night life
If you like burning the candle at both ends, remember that most golf tees off at 8 or 9 in the morning. However, a lot of clubs and bars don't get going until midnight. Something will have to give unless you like a round of golf after three or four hours' sleep and a hangover.