Golf continues to be a popular sport among all age groups and ethnicities. According to a report by the National Golf Foundation, 36% of the US population played, watched, or read about golf in 2019. There were 24 million on-course golfers. The junior golf program continued to recruit a new generation where one in four juniors were ethnically diverse and one in three were girls.
As the sport continues to grow, domestic golf vacations continue to be popular forms of travel for many amateur golfers. Most avid golfers are familiar with the top courses such as Augusta National, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Shinnecock. These courses should be booked well in advance if you plan to play them and be aware there may be requirements to produce your handicap in order to get on the course. If you are not a handicapped golfer and just enjoy the sport for fun, there are lots of options to play and hone your skills, or just have a fun day on the course.
There are some tricks however, to planning a successful golf getaway. To start, the type of getaway will help determine the best place in the U.S. to visit, as well as the structure of your trip. There are numerous types of golf getaways, but these are the most popular.
Guys or gals groups, where the entire focus is on the golf. These groups of friends and family will play as many courses as possible, and sometimes golf up to 36 holes in a day. They are focused on spots with evening entertainment and good restaurant options nearby, so they don’t need to drive too far. Typically, moderate style accommodations, condos or villas are the preferred style of accommodation and locations with numerous and varied types of courses to diversify play. Great locations include the Carolinas, especially Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, Arizona, normally Phoenix/Scottsdale or Tucson, and Nevada, especially in and around Las Vegas or Mesquite. These are some of the best locations for winter and spring golf getaways, but during the summer months there are other fantastic locations in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and along the East Coast.
Couples golf vacations will usually have a more upscale focus, desiring a nice environment with a full- service resort or hotel, scenic courses to play, and other sight-seeing or cultural activities. Couples may also be seeking exciting culinary opportunities and perhaps some local wine or beer tasting. It combines the best of both worlds and seeks out destinations that have a lot to offer.
Such destinations include Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, The Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama, multiple locations in California, and in the summer months there are great options in upstate New York, or Bend, Oregon, depending how far you want to travel. There is even an opportunity for a golf cruise along the lower Mississippi combining the best of river travel with a bit of golf in some new and unexplored areas. There are limited sailing dates for 2021 so ask your Signature Travel Network travel advisor to check availability.
Family golf vacations usually involve junior golfers, and time devoted to family. These trips need to be well-planned to be sure there is something for everyone, especially the non-golfers. With younger children, obviously Florida is a good choice with Universal Studios and Walt Disney World as options for the younger members of the family, and a lot of challenging courses in the Orlando area to choose from for the golfers.
Other options with older children or teens could easily include San Diego, with great beaches and attractions, as well as numerous courses, like those in Torrey Pines or the Carlsbad area. San Antonio, TX offers great family attractions with the Alamo and the River Walk, and well rated golf courses. Tucson, AZ, with fantastic golf resorts and options like Old Tucson Studios, Saguaro National Park, and Pima Air and Space Museum to entertain the family. Williamsburg, VA or Hershey, PA also provide some unique opportunities for family golf.
When working with your Travel Advisor, be sure to mention the number of rounds you wish to play, how many people in your party, the handicap scores or level of play you desire, a target budget for the trip, and the style of accommodation you prefer. If you plan to bring your own clubs, great, but if you need to rent clubs on site, be sure to specify if you need a left or right-handed set of clubs. There are a wide variety of options for planning a successful golf getaway, so reach out to your favorite travel planner and tee up your next golf vacation.