On the Wailea gold course in Maui, we were paired with a couple that was engaged in selling their Turtle Town home for $28m. Casually dressed, they began name-dropping on the first tee, “If you’re from Arizona, do you know Alice Cooper? We’re attending his daughter’s wedding.” Yes, we met the golf addict rock star and when introduced he said, “Alice? That’s a funny name for a girl.”
During the round between their phone calls, the couple asked about our golf products – Vice Balls only available online, the Caddy Daddy Talon glove with a sticky grip, Hirzl for all weather and a mixed bag of clubs (Tour Edge Exotics drivers and woods, Bridgestone irons, a Ping putter for her and a “watermelon Mantis” for him which caused Fred Couples to ask at Southern Dunes, “What the hell is that?”) Ha, we were holding our own for a moment with the name-dropping. They thirsted for our recommendations on golf products for travel. Around the 12th hole we shared, “The best golf travel product out there is the Sun Mountain Club Glider. We push our golf clubs with one finger through the airport.” They said, “Oh we wouldn’t need that. We have our own jet.” In unison we replied, “Well of course you do!”
Actually, anyone can fly on a private jet these days without owning one. Look into Netjets. Prices are slightly or vastly higher than flying commercial first class, depending on how many split the charter bill. There are no worries about security or your bags.
If you, like most golfers however appreciate value based flights, then you already know to search “cheap flights” on the web and compare the results with Southwest Airlines’ “bags fly free.” But did you know about Ryan Air? They connect countries in Europe for ridiculously low rates, in flight wine included.
Shipping bags is gaining popularity with www.golfovernight.com. So too is renting clubs from the course or www.clubstohire.com , especially if you are playing at numerous spots and want to familiarize with a single set.
If you must drag bags, Sun Mountain’s Club Glider models again, are the way to go. For the main suitcase, a roller or spinner decision might make your head spin. Try them out in a store. Walk around rolling one, then spinning another, checking for handle height. These sites have been suggested for purchase consideration www.projekto.com and www.pivotalgear.com
Hangaccessories.com has feminine trolleys like the Metallic Rose Gold Quilt rolling bag with a removable laptop sleeve. Men like to slip their computer into the padded pocket of Antigua’s spacious backpack to serve as their “personal item.” Beware of fast turns in the airplane aisles. It could leave a mark. For smart packing YouTube trainers are at your service. Mix and match apparel for repeat wear saves space.
The itinerary is essential to travel planning. What do you want to do? If golf, eat and sleep is the whole deal, then golf packages make it simple, as in www.golfbreaks.com covering all UK spots at lower costs, making difficult tee times at St. Andrews and other tricky details.
For a comprehensive destination trip, consult the desired geographical visitors’ bureau online. They are rich resources for lodging, excursions, restaurants and happenings. Delve into suggested resort websites individually to ensure amenities and location appeal, noting extra fees or inclusions. Expand accommodation options through hotels.com or for home rentals try the vrbo and airbnb websites if cleaning and turn down service are unimportant. Trip advisor is the most widely used opinion forum.
Seek and ye shall find any and all interests and activities on the Internet. It requires time and patience but will pay off. If you like to hike for example, type in “golf and hike.” Wintergreen Resort in Virginia pops up among many. This is also a great place to ski and golf the same day in some months making a sports trifecta. Fishing is another golf complement along the coast, on lakes and rivers or any seaside port. We learned to fly fish and skeet shoot at Mount Falcon in Ireland before a round at Enniscrome.
Try new things or have fun watching others. In Matalascanas Spain, canopy gliders entertained above the shore. Anyone could try. We declined. Parasailing might best be taught at The Outer Banks where the Wright Brothers first took flight. Jetpacks fly out of the water in Hilton Head. Sailing, standup paddleboards and kayaks are everywhere.
Travel can be a culinary excursion. Breakfast is often included in domestic lodging but local diners tell a story as in the case of Palm Springs where we met Ralph Waite. Yeah, name dropping again.
If on a budget, happy hours are a great way to save. Try the signature cocktail and an app for dinner. What more do you really need? And bartenders/servers know the local fun spots. It’s how we found the secret waterfalls and rope swing with our grown kids in Kauai.
Distilleries, breweries and wineries are cropping up in all parts for exploration. The Louisville bourbon trail blazed the way. Dip your own bottle of Makers’ Mark in the red wax then enjoy a mint julep at Churchill Downs. Race lovers might also gallop to a steeplechase at Springdale Race Course in Camden, South Carolina or Saratoga Springs, New York, famous for healing waters. Golf abounds in both regions. Riders should consider Sheila Johnson’s Salamander Equestrian Resort with golf at Creighton Farms. They also produce the best kitchen show. Most chefs are happy to divulge tips that you might abbreviate at home for a taste of the place you loved. We often cook St. Kitts rice with Coconut water, garlic and veggies.
For nightlife, shows, gaming and dance options are a concierge question or click away. Avoid making the schedule too full in advance. Let the vacation take you. Traveling and meeting new friends is a beautiful mixed bag of unexpected discoveries.