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Step One to Your Perfect Golf Vacation
It's just like the hamburger commercial; Have it your own way! Your annual golf outing deserves to be the best possible vacation. Make it your own way. Forget "the package" and design your own special, personalized group get away.
I am looking at an arrival date of (date) and departure date of (date). We will be gathering in (city, state). For a group of eight of us, and assuming we average 27 holes per day, your cost should be around $XXX for the housing, food, drink, golf and rental cars. (Note: Our cost per man for food and drink for seven days was 0 in 2005.) Please reply before (date) by answering:
What is the percentage chance you can come for these dates?
What is the percentage chance you could make other dates?
What dates would you prefer?
You have now set the stage. For those you don't hear back from, get on the phone and hash it out. Through all of your responses, you will come up with the consensus of length of vacation and dates through give and take.
Over the next four months you will be:
I like to periodically whet everyone's appetite and keep the excitement level up. Setting up a website especially for your group is a great way to do this. I stripped down the one I use and put an example up at Sample Site for your review. It is just a little thing I whipped up using MS Publisher. An easier way for you to do this would be to get a free Blog set up for this purpose. I recommend blogger dot com.
Over the years, we have realized two key things about lodging. The first is that it makes a huge difference in camaraderie when the whole group stays under the same roof. The second is the value in everyone having a separate bed (you know how guys are). The only way to achieve this is to pick a location where there are a bunch of rental homes in order for you to pick one that allows this. (Plug for Isle of Palms, SC: you can find what you need there.)
It may not seem to you like time is of the essence, but work schedules, vacation allotments, spousal plans, ticket costs, and your preparation needs demand that you DO get this ball rolling. Once you have sent your introductory email and done your phone calling, several of your planned guests will have trouble pulling the trigger. Work with them as you can, but I have found that you will need your firm group established two months ahead of time (give or take one guy or so.) A fine point for you: Ask for a nominal deposit from each of the troops. Over time, I know that the cost of our vacation, outside of airfare, will be around 0. In one of my follow up emails, I simply ask the players to send around half of that to me. It emphasizes commitment.
In selecting the location of your rental home, consider the driving time to the golf courses you will be playing. We have found that twenty minutes travel time is great, thirty minutes is OK, but forty minutes is too long. The longer drives are certainly bearable, but if you are planning a winter vacation, you will have to have a fairly early tee time in the morning to allow lunch and another 18 in the afternoon. After telling tales late into the evening, beating the sun to the course, heading home and preparing the feast, it gets to be a long day.
This takes us to the minus-two-months time frame.
In Part Three of this series, we will get into getting great golf rates, shopping lists, and easy administration.
About the Author: Randall Ulbricht is a retired Nuclear Submarine Officer. He currently works from home sharing information via several web sites, including: