So you’ve decided to step off of your home-town green and venture out to play a round of golf at a top-rated U.S. course. Regardless of which course you’ve decided to travel to it will likely challenge your golf game in new ways. Today we’re sharing six insider secrets that are sure to prepare you for your next game.
Secret #1: Set Your Score Expectations
Know from the start that your score will likely be significantly lower than usual. This is because you’re playing an unfamiliar course with unfamiliar weather. Plus, the top golf courses are usually designed to challenge professional golfers. Think of it as if you were suddenly asked to play in a Major League Baseball game — avoid frustration ruining your vacation by being happy just to be out there, and don’t expect the same stats as the pros.
Secret #2: Hire a Caddy
A caddy can help you overcome some of the challenges of playing on a new course by telling you all of its secrets. If you’re on a walking-only course (and most top courses are), your caddy will also help you from getting worn out after playing multiple rounds within a few days.
Secret #3: Book the Resort Package
Tee times at the top golf courses can be very hard to come by. Local members, pro golfers, other celebrities, and resort guests all compete for a very limited number of slots. If you’re planning to visit on your own, you may need to book months in advance to get a tee time. Luckily, many of the “reserved” spots are actually on hold for people spending the night. If you can book a room with a golf package, you get a ticket onto the otherwise sold-out course.
Secret #4: Join a Club with Reciprocal Privileges
Trying to get on a members-only course but can’t become a member? You may not have to join that club after all. Many top courses offer reciprocal privileges to members of other courses they have agreements with. The benefit to the course is that their members get the extra perk of being able to play when they travel. The benefit to the member is that they can enjoy their home course while having the ability to play while traveling without the hassle of signing up for extra memberships. You may not have the same tee time options as at your home club, but you’ll still get higher priority than you would on your own.
Secret #5: Volunteer for a Tournament
Did you know that the staff at PGA and other events are largely volunteers? That may sound like a bad deal considering the amount of money the professional tours are bringing in, but there are many benefits for volunteers. The biggest benefit is being invited to play the course either after the event or during a slower time. You now get two vacations with one being able to watch a PGA event and the other playing a top course.
Secret #6: Check for Lessons
Even experienced golfers have something to learn, and the top courses will usually have seasoned pros on hand who have much to teach you. In some cases, you may just want to get out and play instead. However, a lesson can be like a VIP tour where you gain access to additional areas of the club or may get out on the main course when tee times otherwise weren’t available.