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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mailbag! - how to prepare for golf vacation

Dear Jay:

I noticed you hadn’t done a mail feature in a while. I also had been hoping for you to give us a piece that explains how you prepare for when you go on a trip and how you select the places to play. Thanks for reading this and have a good trip.

Steve L.

Penn State ‘07

We are…Penn State

Dear Steve:

Good idea. I hope you don’t mind if this is a little brisk and introvertive, but here’s what it’s like preparing on the eve of tour.

It’s 10 PM the night before an early AM flight. By now, the only thing left to do is actually inventory and load all my clothes and equipment into carryable luggage.

The first step in a successful trip that makes the best use of time and money is a well planned itinerary. Once you have the plan on paper, you can be prepared to deal with any irregularities or changes with time to spare when you’re actually in the field. This works just as well for a three day weekend as a three week junket.

Start by laying out your dates, then no less than one month in advance book your flight and ground transport, then deciding if you will play golf after you land at your destination and get your car. I like to play a low impact round on day one to “warm up.” Here’s an example:

Fri Jun 4 Fly out LaGuardia 7AM

Land Denver 11 PM

1 PM Fossil Trace

Stay _____ Hotel

Sat Jun 5

Sun Jun 6

Mon Jun 7

Tues Jun 8

Wed Jun 9

Th Jun 10

Fri Jun 11

Sat Jun 12 Fly Home

Then you pick your courses and finally your lodging. Carefully plan to keep driving to a minimum and avoid a routing that has too long a drive (longer then five for me, but I’ve done eight for Bandon Dunes) or is in a crooked direction. Here is what the nearly finished itinerary would look like.

Fri Jun 4 Fly out LaGuardia 7AM

Land Denver 11 AM

1 PM Fossil Trace

Stay _____ Hotel, Golden

Sat Jun 5 Play Red Hawk Ridge in the AM (also in Denver)

Stay in Golden

Sun Jun 6 Play Pradera early to mid-AM (still Denver)

Stay Golden (note, don’t play a private course the day before a round at a remote course, so you can leisurely enjoy the day at the private club and not feel rushed)

Mon Jun 7 Play Castle Pines in the AM

Drive to Newcastle (3 hrs west)

Stay Newcastle

Tues Jun 8 Play Lakota Canyon (in Newcastle) in the AM

Stay Newcastle

Wed Jun 9 Drive to Redlands Mesa (50 minutes)

Play Redlands Mesa

Return to Newcastle

Th Jun 10 Redlands or Lakota or return to Denver for PM round

Fri Jun 11 Golf ??? Back to Denver if still in Newcastle

Stay Denver

Sat Jun 12 Fly Home out of Denver

This leaves you the flexibility to play an extra round at either Lakota or Redlands (whichever you liked more) or return to Denver for more Denver golf. There is even time for a day off to regroup if you get “overgolfed.” You can even float the off day.

Next, on the eve of tour and most importantly, I make sure I have my itinerary, and all directions to courses and lodging at my fingertips at all times. Then I load my clubs, golf shoes and dress shoes into a sturdy golf club carry case with wheels.

Then for clothes, its black slacks (always wear long pants if invited to a private course…many do not allow shorts…or cell phones. Leave it in the car), shorts, black golf shirts, jogging clothes, swimsuit for the Jacuzzi, and both casual and if necessary formal evening wear.

Finally, the computer, camera, cell phone cords, camera battery, laptop AC power and all cords are packed.

By the way, I did that Colorado trip last summer and it was one of the best trips I have ever taken; a true golf adventure.

***cue swinging watch***



How about that? I even have some time to write a website entry tonight.


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