What do golfers do when it’s -8 outside? They start to plan, discuss, debate and smack-talk regarding their upcoming buddies trip. Or trips.
There are dozens- probably hundreds- of articles that can guide anyone interested in putting together a buddies golf trip. Buddies golf trips have been around for as long as there has been golf. Or buddies.
Matt Ginella of The Golf Channel is their travel writer and has posted several videos on YouTube on buddies trips. Others have posted videos, and when I Googled “Golf Buddies Trips” I got 19,500,000 results. Literally.
I didn’t read all of them.
The point is, there is plenty of information online regarding the basics of planning a buddies trip. Pinehurst Resort, one of the most popular destinations for a buddies trip, recently published a helpful guide.
BABY BOOMER BUDDIES
If you’re a serious golfer, you’ve probably been on buddies golf trips. So why should it matter what age the group is? Is there really any difference in a buddies trip for millennials vs. one for baby boomers?
Well, as a matter of fact, yes. Yes, there is.
SIX FACTORS TO KEEP IN MIND
36 Holes a Day is an exception, not the rule
Lots of buddies trips pack in as much golf as possible while on the trip, understandably so. Everyone is paying the same amount per day for lodging and food, whether you play 0 holes or 36 holes daily, so economically, it is cheaper to play as many holes as you can each day.
That might work when you are 30. In fact, it DID work when I was 30. In my 20’s I could walk 36 holes a day for a couple of days straight without beginning to feel it. Those days are a distant memory for me, and I’m betting for most Baby Boomers.
If you’re the planner, or even if you’re just along for the trip, my suggestion is to plan a maximum of 18 holes a day, with a couple of days left open for those who might want a replay able to make it happen. In other words, the first 18 is part of the package, any subsequent 18 is at the discretion of those feeling up to it. The last couple of buddies trips I’ve been on, we’ve done that and it’s worked out well- some played a second 18 on one or more days. Some laid by the pool. Some went sightseeing.
Making 36 holes mandatory on bodies that don’t recover as fast as they used to isn’t a good idea. The Champions Tour doesn’t play 36 a day. If you are in that age range, it’s probably worth following their direction.
Have one day dedicated to a non-traditional event
A Buddies Trip I’ve been on the past few years went to the aforementioned Pinehurst Resort. We dedicated one late afternoon to a couple of best ball putting contests at Thistle Due, the large, undulating putting green. We had a blast both years. It’s relaxed, “play in your flip flops” informal, and it’s easy to see what’s going on with everyone else in the group. Aces are hard to come by, but easy to hear when they happen.
The point is, almost every location has an opportunity like that. Any large putting green could work late in an afternoon. Or go to the chipping area and have chip offs, or bunker-offs. Closest to the hole wins the pot. You’re still playing golf, still working on your game, and if you wish, still have some money riding on the outcome, without it being another four-plus hours on the course.
Consider the tee-times
Good advice from Tim Pelley, who has planned several of these over the years for some members of the Oglebay Golf Club in Wheeling, WV-one of the oldest continuous operating golf clubs in the United States. Tim says, “If you’re going to just play 18 holes a day, move the tee times back to around 10. That gives you time to sleep later, have a nice breakfast, get to the course and warm up. As a trip planner, I’ve learned that it begins to thin out about that time as the early tee times are most valuable. We might be able to get on a course at 10 that we couldn’t get on at 8.”
He also pointed out that if the group plays at 10, finishes at 3, grabs a shower and a few beers, it’s time for dinner, with no real down time. If the group plays at 7:30 or 8, finishes at noon or one, there is a lot of “now what do we do?” before dinner.
The twenty-something can function on 4 hours of sleep for days straight. At least I could, and I know some now that do. I can’t anymore.
So a late dinner, trip to the bar or strip club, in bed at 2 and up at 6 for that 7:30 tee time might work at 22. It won’t work as well at 52.
In any group of 20 or so golfers, some are going to get crazier than others, regardless of how old they are. But a good percentage of younger twenty-year olds are going to be single. A good percentage of baby boomers are going to be grandparents. Time to call home, talk to the kids, check on things at work, may be more important on a Senior Buddies trip than one comprised of millennials.
Find a Spa or at least a Masseuse
Most nice resorts have a spa. With spas come those magicians who can work cramps out of muscles and kinks out of backs. If there isn’t a spa on the premises, ask the booking agent if there are professional massage therapists in the area.
After a couple of days of golf- especially if one of those days was a day of 36 holes- anyone’s body who hasn’t been used to playing that much golf is going to tighten up. One of the best ways to stay on top of your game is to find a massage therapist and get a massage.
You’ll feel better- AND play better. The Tour players all have massage therapists and chiropractors on site at a tournament. If it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for you, too.
Have a Finale
This isn’t just for Baby Boomers. Having a final reckoning the last evening of the trip is just a smart thing to do. Items of business include:
-Recognizing winners, and/or winning team;
-Settling all bets;
-Insuring final departures are communicated, everyone knows who is riding with whom, etc.;
-Asking for feedback from the group regarding what worked well and what could be improved
Every group will have variations, but the above are pretty basic and pretty important.
SPEAKING OF FINALES
Here is mine- Golf buddies trips have the same fundamentals, regardless of age. However, it’s important for the planner to take the ages of the golfers on the trip into account. Hopefully the above will help anyone on their next buddies trip to make it the best ever.
Thanks for reading, and Enjoy Shooting Your Age!