Your budget and the location are your biggest choices when choosing a golf tour. The more isolated the course; chances are the pricier it is to reach. Most courses that involve flying to or a tour of any sort are generally quite nice and near luxury hotels and resorts. You should always have a contract in writing stating everything included in your tour from the equipment down to the food. There is a very wide variety of operators. Many are local operators who arrange trips with local guides or stays directly at their own lodges. Others are international booking agents that simply contract out local operators.
When choosing an operator for a golf trip you should try to weigh the options of what the operator can do for you as opposed to just showing up at the course on your own. Sometimes an operator may be the only way you can get on a certain course and you can often ask that course directly if they have any recommendations. Often a tour operator can get you the best package deal and combine your greens fees, car rental, your hotel, and airfare.
Suggested Tour Operators
- Classic Golf Tours (http://www.classicgolftours.com, Tel. +800-359-7200)
- In operation since 1989, this well known operator has trips to British Open courses, the Old Course in Scotland, South Africa golf and safari packages, and many other packages and trips to destinations around the globe.
- Golf Zoo (http://www.golfzoo.com, Tel. +800-929-7300)
- Golf zoo offers package deals to dozens of the best courses in the United States.
- PGA Tour Experiences (http://www.pgatourexperiences.com, Tel. +800-766-7939)
- This operator is directly a part of the PGA and tours are top quality trips to the finest golfing vacation adventures. Includes corporate trips, tour academies, and TPC tee times.
- South African Golf Tours and Safaris (http://www.sagolftour.com, Tel. +44-1737-552-782)
- SA Golf combines trips to the best courses in South Africa to visits at the Big Game reserves.
- Sterling Golf Tours (http://www.sterlinggolftours.com, Tel. +800-985-0997)
- Sterling focuses it’s expertise on arranging custom golf packages to Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Designed to fit any budget, from twosomes to groups. Has both chauffeured and self-drive tours and has guaranteed starting times at all the big name courses.
Most golf courses around the world can be contacted directly if you prefer not to go through a tour operator and maintain some level of independence. The prices may be cheaper, although transportation to and from may be non-existent. If you don’t need a hotel or place to stay, don’t need transportation, and have no problem getting into the course an operator is more or less useless.
Often large resorts and casinos own their own golf courses that can be used by their guests. This is especially true in places such as Las Vegas, Palm Springs, or the Caribbean. These hotels can sometimes arrange your entire trip or a large fraction of it and don’t have any travel agent related fees.
Chances are there are hundreds of courses near your city or whatever region you are headed. With a tour operator you may be limited to a course or two. If you want to really explore the golfing in a region and are willing to spend a bit more to do so, it is much better than joining a tour you won’t have much use for.