I recently returned from one of the most amazing golf experiences at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. What started as a humble get-together with a few of my golf friends from the East Coast became a biannual trip for a phenomenal group of individuals who are united by their love of golf. I know golf is often viewed as an outdated spot used to build business relationships, but the greatest value I see in golf is its unique ability to bring people together and create incredibly strong friendships that last a lifetime.
Keep these tips in mind if you’re ready to jump in and begin organizing a trip of your own.
Give the trip an identity
This will get everyone engaged and excited to be part of something special and defined. Plus, who doesn’t love a custom hashtag? Give the trip a name that means something to the group. Use the name on custom swag items like balls, towels, hats, and trophies.
Pick your team
This is an important piece of any successful golf trip. During the selection process, be conscious of potential group dynamics. You don’t want a group member who becomes selfish or complains if they play poorly. I suggest keeping it to 8-12 people. Try sticking to even numbers so you can divide the group into teams.
Choose a destination
Whether it’s a renowned golf course or what the surrounding area has to offer, select a place that gets your group excited. We went to Bandon Dunes, which is an absolute paradise for anyone who plays the game—five beautiful, links-style courses built on the cliffs of the southern Oregon coast.
Keep in mind that managing and coordinating logistics is more difficult with larger groups. Choosing an all-inclusive destination that provides transportation to and from the airport and from one course to another will save a lot of trouble and reduce anxiety for your group. The team at Bandon Dunes was exceptional and every aspect of your trip was seamlessly executed.
(Pro tip: Let the type-A member of the group handle the logistics)
Depending on the size of your group, I highly recommend staying at a vacation rental. You’ll save money by not paying expensive room rates and resort fees, and you’ll have a gathering place for everyone to loosen up and hang out over a few glasses of wine.
Stay 2-3 nights
It’s enough time for the group to bond over gold and post-round activities, but not too much time that you get sick of each other.
Don’t forget the music
Make a playlist and have at least one portable Bluetooth speaker per playing group. Music adds so much to the overall experience but make sure the club allows music during play first. I highly recommend 90s party jams with a lot of *NSYNC.
Appoint a handicap and competition chair
Some friendly competition will make the experience much more memorable and fun for everyone. Team competition builds relationships like nothing else.
Here’s a simple format:
- Divide your group into two teams.
- Mix in two-person teams and singles matches.
- If you have three rounds to play, let the first two be team matches and the final round be a singles match.
Best ball match play (1 point for front nine, 1 for back nine, 1 for overall)
Best ball match play (mix it up with different team members and pairings from the first round)
Here’s a brief definition of a two-person “best ball” match: you and your partner play your own golf balls on each hole. At the completion of each hole, the two of you select your lowest stroke total and that becomes your side’s official score. In match play, your side’s score is compared against the other side to determine which side wins the hole. Before your round starts, each player should submit a valid handicap so that you can note the holes in which each player receives a stroke according to their handicap. The lowest NET score per hole should be used as the official score for the team.)
Play for a prize and keep a record
Having something on the line will make your competition more exciting. It could be a trophy, dinner, or if you want to get silly, have the losing team perform a dare.
Stick to these suggestions and you’re in for a memorable golf trip!