Traditionally, hardcore traveling golfers put a lot more thought into where they've played on vacation than where they've stayed.
A fun golf experience has always been paramount, but if the accommodations have been merely "okay," that's been sufficient for many groups.
But that's not the case anymore. Not by a long shot.
As golf course construction has practically halted in the last decade, existing properties have focused on making all of their existing facilities as attractive as possible to visitors, and especially golfers, who tend to spend significantly more than the average guest.
As a result, we're seeing not just some great golf course renovations, but some updated and totally-new golf vacation lodgings, geared specifically for buddy groups.
Here are some of the best and most convenient features of these "golf cottages" that we've encountered and heard about from our network of well-traveled golfers:
Device heaven - Golfers love their gadgets, and so buddy trip members are usually traveling not just with their clubs, but with their myriad devices. Phones, tablets and laptops compete for charging space in people's homes as it is, so we're particularly appreciative of golf cottages that err on the side of having too many electrical outlets. We love ones built right into the floor of the living room. Bonus points for those dedicated USB outlets, too.
Location, location, location - How awesome is it to wake up to the hum of a greens mower and the sight of the maintenance staff preparing the course for your group's visit?
How about the energizing stroll from the front door of your cottage to the first tee? We love golf cottages that feel like a golfer's dream home, and the ability to walk to the course is a luxury that can elevate the golf cottage experience.
Home cooking - A lot of resorts seem to intentionally under-stock the kitchens at their villas and cottages. Obviously they want groups to spend money at their eateries whenever possible, but the annoyance of a crummy kitchen may end up costing more in lost goodwill. After a 36-hole day, it's nice to stay in, watch TV and maybe grill some steaks. A golf cottage where that's doable will be a hit with any group.
Odds and ends - here are some other small (but potentially significant, depending on your needs) features we like to see:
- Card room/Card table
- Billiards / ping-pong / foosball table
- Extra dining chairs (say, two or three more than the cottage normally sleeps)
- Open floor plan, especially a "great room" combining kitchen and living room
- Patio and fire pit
- Hot tub
- Mud room with golf bag storage racks
- Putting green
- A good coffee maker
- Big-screen HDTV (with lots of channels)
- Fast (and easy-to-access) WiFi
- A solid mix of area restaurant take-out menus
- A good corkscrew and beer bottle opener in a kitchen drawer
- Fridge with a good ice maker
- A thermostat in each bedroom
Have you ever stayed in a golf cottage? What did you like...and what could have been better?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.