Have You Ever Experienced "Golf Trips from Hell?

Most golf vacations go right, but when they go wrong, they can go very wrong.

Just listen to this story I received a few days ago from GVI reader Leon A.

Leon and his son planned a special trip to stay and play at a pricey, "bucket list" PGA Tour venue in Florida.

They were so excited, the nearly nine-hour drive from their home in Knoxville, Tenn., felt like nine minutes. Unfortunately, that was the best part of their vacation.

After hitting their first two shots on this epic golf course, the two slow, inexperienced players in their group attracted the attention of a "rude" ranger, who began hounding everyone to, "speed up."

This harassment continued for the first four holes and much of the remaining front nine, totally taking Leon and his son out of their games (they're both decent players) with disastrous results.

Wait, it gets better. The next day, the men reached the parking lot of their upscale hotel to find their car had been keyed...and the repair costs more than doubled the cost of their trip.

Leon's horror story reminded me of one of my own:

This past February, my wife and I went down to Florida with another couple to "warm up" from a typical cold New York winter.

A few hours after arrival, there was a hurricane warning, and it pretty much rained constantly every day and didn't get above 50 degrees for the next week.

So, on this weeklong "golf" trip, none of us hit a single golf ball.

Sure, the sun finally came out...on the way back to the airport.

Have you ever had a golf trip disaster like this?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
22 Comments
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Ang

Being new and inexperienced is tough especially if you start later in life. Being rushed is a terrible feeling and playing up on someone so you can "keep pace" is honestly a worse feeling I never ever take any of the chances I have so many people take. If people are playing faster and I'm not on pace I gladly let them go that's just fair but to be mad at people for playing slow because your better or faster is just rediculous. I love playing and having fun and yea playing a fast round is great sometimes but getting mad or frustrated or "worst golf trip ever" because of slow play is unbelievable that mentality is the one and only thing I hate about this game. That dad and son were just out to enjoy each other.course.sights and the game of golf. But it was ruined by "pace of play" "play fast" destroyed it for them . More experienced and better players should think about being in their shoes they paid the same price as you

Howie

Played a Westchester County course one November day. Not expensive, but had to wait for three groups ahead. Starter started a fire in waste can near the tee and black smoke scattered everyone for ten minutes. Ready to tee off and starter stops us for another group who appeared suddenly after climbing down a slope directly to the tee. They hit quickly and off they went. Starter had us on the tee, blew a whistle to warn the mystery foursome ahead that we were hitting into them. (This was standard procedure for all.) Got to second tee and had to wait for three groups...then five groups on the third tee. Gets dark early in November, but snow on the back nine cut this great experience short.

Cal

Last March I went to the UK having scheduled rounds at Royal St Georges, Royal Cinque Ports, Princes, Royal Lytham, Royal Birkdale, Royal Porthcawl, Pennard, Celtic Manor 2010, and Sunningdale(Old). After flying direct to London from San Diego, I arrived in England to find the coldest March in many, many years. It never exceed 40 degrees in the nine days I was there. Most days were in the mid 30's with wind and some rain and snow (worst was Porthcawl). At Sunningdale (now one of my favorite courses), there was ice covering the water in the sand traps.
Having said all that, I played every scheduled round, and had a most enjoyable trip even though it had the possibility of being awful. The most important thing is be ready for any weather and dress in layers.

Doug

Ah yes, the weather factor. Trip to MB, one arm of a tropical storm parked itself directly over us. The only round we got in four days was nine holes in 40mph winds plus rain. The only area that had any clouds or rain in the entire country was MB according to the weather channel.

Mike Hope

Whilst it sounds like the rangers in Craig's example were a bit over officious, it's also terribly frustrating trying to play golf on courses where rounds take five - six hours.

I've played marquee courses, both in the USA and the UK where it's taken an hour to play three holes.

This is usually caused by a group of guys wanting to play from the tips. They may hit it long, but rarely straight, with the consequence that, on nearly every hole, you're spending five minutes per player, per hole, looking for their errant tee shots.

Add to this the "buddies" photos on every hole of note and you're in for a crazy round of golf.

This would be less of an issue if the pro shop insisted on a (reasonable) level of handicap (as in the case on most quality UK course) and where the starter / ranger made sure that everyone played from the tees that suited their ability level.

Four golfers in carts, should never take more than four hours to play 18 holes. I wish that more courses and rangers would help make it so.

As regards to BAD golf trips, three times in the last three years I've had Myrtle Beach and Florida (PGA National and Doral) trips washed out, the day after I got there, by various Tropical storms that lasted for the whole week of my scheduled vacation.

Tom Donovan

As part of my farewell to the West Coast golf tour, I met some friends at Bandon in the summer of '03. Prior to that on the same trip, I played Coue d'Alene and Circling Raven and the TPC in Snoquamish outside Seattle.

We had a tee time on Bandon Dunes after lunch, but I insisted on playing Pacific Dunes at 6AM. It was glorious, mystical golf experience - until I realized there are no carts after my AM round. I could barely walk, my lower back was killing me by the end of 36, then our group went off site to play another 9 before the sun set. It took a month before my back felt better. Oh, and my flight was cancelled returning home, and I had to spend the night at some dump in Eugene

Michael

Had my first "guys golf trip" in awhile this past winter/February to Phoenix/Scottsdale. We went in February and were ALL looking forward to the trip. Our timing "sucked" as to the weather, which is usually beautiful. We ended up going the only weekend it rained entire weekend and missed two rounds of golf. Booked for 18 day of arrival; 36 next two days. Great that we got "rainchecks" for golf at most expensive season of year. Only issue is NOW we have to go BACK to Scottsdale to collect. Only day of sunshine for entire round was first day. Other two days it rained..........though we did get one round in before the monsoon. Murphy's Law at it's BEST!!! LOL

Rob

For while, I had the worst luck on out of state trip. Went to Palm Spring in Mid April and temperature hit 110 degrees (avg is low 80's), but still played 36 each day since it was prepaid (PGA West). Went to Vegas in first week of Nov and temp was never higher than 45 deg (avg temp is 70's) and it snowed. Had 7 layers of clothes to golf. Then last week in Feb in Vegas, it snowed on me again. Another time in Vegas, there was 50+ mph wind when we were playing Paiute. All the par 4 were reachable down wind but golf ball would not stay on the green and flag stick was bent 90 degree side ways. We didn't even know that the course was actually closed during middle of our round. Staff came out looking for abandoned carts when they saw us still golfing...lol.

Brett

I took my clubs for a vacation in Ireland. The first three days were filled with driving around and doing all the touristy stuff. The weather for these first three days was perfect with no wind, sunshine and warm temps. On the fourth day we had planned to play golf, and play for the next four days until we left, but Mother Nature had other plans for us.

The night before our first day of golf, a hurricanesque storm hit the island and we woke to driving rain, howling wind, and chilly temps. I've played many rounds in stormy conditions and I actually enjoy playing as Mother Nature tries to thwart me with a little rain or wind. So we headed out in the dark with wipers ablazin and found the golf course as the sun came up with just enough light to see the all encompassing storm clouds.

No one allowed out, and the locals, who usually relish the storms, we're relieved that they had an excuse to avoid going out for a loop. It stayed like that for four days, and we never hit a ball. Well actually we did once, in the rain, and wind, off the clubhouse deck, into a pond. It was a glorious shot!

I loaded my golf clubs into the plane without using them once and they have been mad at me ever since.

Maybe next year....

ken

While I've never experienced the 'golf trip disaster', I have had issues with on course personnel while on golf trips.
I am a fast player. My ideal pace is 3.5 to no more than 4 hrs. My friends are the same.
Without going into the stories, I will say this. I don;t take any crap from on course rangers or starters.
One thing I do is when the round starts, I note the time. Sometimes I will write the time down on the scorecard. This way if the ranger on a power trip starts acting like he's ruler of the realm....I first give him the polite "right, gotcha"...If that doesn't send the message for the recalcitrant and incredibly bored guy the message to buzz off, I grab the card and say "see that?...That's our precise tee off time. We are on pace to play in under 4 hours."
I once told a Ranger who was acting like an jerk, "it is these times when I struggle to find inner the inner strength to tolerate a person such as yourself"..

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Have You Ever Experienced "Golf Trips from Hell?
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