For many golfers, the thought of playing a round during the winter and early spring is simply a dream. Even if the snow subsides earlier than expected, you are still left to pray for a dry spring so the pins will go in as early as possible. Perhaps the thought of taking a warm weather holiday to squeeze in a couple of rounds has crossed your mind, but it may not appear to fit into your budget. Although a “golf vacation" may sound like a grandiose and extravagant expenditure, it does not have to be.
A golf vacation does not need to be a week-long excursion filled with fancy resorts and exorbitant greens fees. Who feels like dropping a couple hundred bucks on a round after not picking up a club for an extended period anyway? Why not consider a long-weekend outing with a few moderately priced rounds instead?
Using one of the popular travel websites, you can find big savings on airline tickets, especially when you package them with three or four nights at a local hotel. Whether you are flying to the Southeastern US or Southwest, there are multitudes of golf options around any major city. If you avoid the temptation to visit some of the high priced courses that host professional events in these areas, it is possible to find beautiful courses with affordable greens fees. Check a website such as www.golf.com to locate budget-friendly courses in the area that you are planning to travel.
When you split cost of a hotel and rental car with one or more golf buddies, this sort of trip begins to approach an affordable level. Better yet, if you have frequent flyer miles burning a hole in your pocket, why not put them to use? Beware, however, of the all-inclusive vacations advertised in many golf publications. On the surface, many of these package deals appear to be great bargains, but there are often strings attached and plenty of fine print. Before signing up for one of these trips, do a little investigatory work. Before you sign on the dotted line, call your travel agent. For a point of reference, see what it would cost to book a similar trip through them.
Another option to consider is to plan a golf weekend minus the airfare. In late winter, if the courses in your area are still sporting a coat of snow, make a few phone calls to some courses a day's drive south of you. There is a good chance they have already opened, and better yet are probably even featuring discounted off-season rates. True, you can probably forget about sipping drinks around the pool after a round. Nonetheless, this is a great way to get your golf fix if you don't think you can stand it any longer.
Additionally, do not overlook the opportunity to work 9 or 18 holes into existing travel plans such as a business trip. Anywhere there is a major airport or conference center; chances are that you can find dozens of courses just by thumbing through a local phonebook or asking the hotel concierge. If your boss booked you on an oddly timed flight to save a few bucks, this may give you enough time rent a set of clubs and hit a nearby course. Do not rule out a round of golf during an already planned family vacation either. Who knows, your spouse or children may even want to join you!
From finding a good deal on airline tickets to planning a golf weekend within driving distance, there are plenty of options. When planning a trip, explore all of your option and remember that by including several friends you can dramatically cut your cost. Even with plane tickets, split amongst a foursome a long weekend of golf can be reasonably affordable.
Robert Hayes is a featured author for http://www.engolfed.com , a web site that includes golf tips, golf articles, and a golf blog .