I watch a lot of golf on TV, and I've noticed a trend over the years:
More and more ads for rental car companies.
Maybe that's one reason why we get so many people asking, "What's the best rental car company for golfers?"
Here’s my take on it:
I didn't want to get into all of the following on the above video, but here are factors to consider in determining the best rental car companies for traveling golfers:
Location, Location, Location
Remember when most car rental counters were located right next to the baggage claim? That sure made it easy to fly in and get to the tee on time. Some airports and companies are still better at this than others. Orlando stands out as one airport where the car rental desks are "right there." San Francisco, not so much.
Is it me or does renting a car at the counter take WAY longer than it should? I mean, you have my reservation information. Why are you typing so much?! (Sorry, had to vent.) Some companies, such as National and its Emerald Club, allow you to bypass the checkout line altogether, which is...awesome.
Size (and Model) Matters
When traveling with other golfers, golf clubs, golf travel bags, and suitcases, you're likely going to need a large trunk and/or a large vehicle like an SUV or minivan to fit everything. Every rental company has these kinds of cars, but not all have an adequate supply of them and offer non-gouge pricing. Keep in mind, too, since rental car companies express their size classifications as [Car Model] “or similar,” it’s best to know what, “or similar” means.
A number of the major rental car companies offer discounts if you pay for your car in advance of picking it up, sometimes with discounts of more than $100. This seems like a no-brainer that you might be able to parlay with the "kill-'em-with-kindness" maneuver Craig mentioned in the above video.
Loyalty Has its Rewards
I'm not sure this is golf-specific, but a good loyalty program is key. Again, most of the major companies have them, but some are better than others, such as the invitation-only "Avis First." Members receive free upgrades, line-skipping privileges, members-only deals, and a dedicated customer service phone number.
To sum up, it seems to us that the "ideal rental car company for golfers" would offer the following:
- Easy, on-airport locations
- Good availability and pricing on larger vehicles
- The ability to skip the checkout counter if necessary
- The ability to save by paying in advance
- A robust loyalty program
What do you think?
What's your pick for "best rental car company for golfers"?
Which companies minimize the hassle?
Any that golfers should avoid?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.