Plan Your Trip - 9 steps to a Perfect Society Outing
With a little bit of thought and careful attention to detail,your next golf trip can be one to remember
Step 1 - Be organised from the start
Organising a trip for a large group of people is a lot of work and is easy to get badly wrong, particularly if there are too many people trying to take control. So, you need to nominate one person within your group to be the main point of contact. You want everything to go as smoothly and as fluidly as possible, so pick a responsible and organised person. It will be their job to email everyone as early as possible to get the ball rolling in the most efficient and ordered way they can.
STEP 2 - Set your stall out
There are three main things that should be top of every golf society’s list of priorities: where we’re going, when we’re going there, and how much we want to spend. It is imperative that you get answers to each of these questions from everyone in your group, so you can narrow your search down to a particular kind of place, within a certain timeframe, for a certain amount of money.
STEP 3 - Take a vote
The fairest - and easiest - way to agree on the three points you’ve worked towards in step two is by having a vote. Once your party’s organiser has collected details of everyone’s preferred place to go, time to go, and budget constraints, they will be able to draw up a shortlist of venues that fit the bill. It will then be their responsibility to present those options to everyone in the group for them to pick their preference. At this stage, it is important that the organiser lays out the benefits to everybody of each option. For example, if there’s a hotel on-site, how much food and drink is likely to cost, what the facilities are like, whether or not there’s buggy hire,how long it will take to get there, and so on.
It is important that everyone gets all the information that they need to make an informed and educated decision. You also need to make it absolutely clear that the place you ultimately end up going to will be the place that gets the most votes. As the organiser of the trip, you might as well face up to the fact that you’re not going to keep everybody happy, so all you can do is have a simple and open vote. That way, everybody gets to have a say, even if they don’t necessarily get their way.
STEP 4 - Try to book in advance
There is a major misconception that golf clubs won’t let you book months in advance. Sure, it’s not something that every club offers and certainly isn’t something they go out or their way to promote but, likewise, most of them appreciate the difficulties that go hand in hand with organising a big group outing. Just as equally, the majority of them want your business.
So, when you’ve decided where you want to go and when, contact the club as soon as possible to see if they will let you book in advance of your visit. You might find that they already have certain times blocked off for society bookings - like we said, they want the business - and there may even be discounts for advance bookings. Of course, you might also need to put down a deposit to secure your booking but this is a small price to pay for you and your society friends having peace of mind that your outing is not only happening but in the diary.
STEP 5 - Look for special deals
When you are contacting your preferred club to enquire about booking, don’t be shy to ask if they are able to offer any incentives to get your business. It might feel like an awkward thing to ask for but remember - they want your business. As such, they might be prepared to throw in a few sweeteners to secure it. That could mean anything from a free pint for everyone with dinner on the first night, free strokesavers, a free place for the organiser, or something along those lines. There’s really no harm in asking, so ask. The worst they can do is say no.
STEP 6 - Make it competitive
Golf is at its most compelling and most enjoyable when there’s something to be played for, so make your outing as competitive as possible. You can play for nothing at home, but on a trip with your friends, you need that extra something to add interest and enjoyment to the whole experience.
It needs to be throughout the trip, too. That means everything from a prize for the overall winner or winners to ‘nearest the pin’ and ‘longest drive’ prizes. These are easy to organise with the help of the club, too. Also, why not set up a leaderboard - there are companies out there that specialise in electronic, real-time, clubhouse scoring - and, of course, you’ll need to delegate responsibility for calculating the scores at the end of each day. Remember: golf is a sport, and sport is meant to be competitive. Give your outing a bit of an edge and we promise you it will go down a storm.
STEP 7 - Team uniforms
For somewhere in the region of £20 to £40 a head, you can get your very own golf society polo shirts made up, complete with your own custom branding. Why bother? Simple: it’s a nice touch and lends identity to your society. Some people might not be up for it and may find it a little weird to walk around wearing the same gear as one another but if it’s good enough for the Ryder Cup teams, it’s good enough for you and your mates. The way modern golf fashion is these days, you can also bank on finding some pretty smart looking gear. There are loads of companies out there - particularly online - who specialise in making bespoke team sportswear, so shop around for the best deals and, if you’ve got someone creative in your group, ask them to come up with a decent logo that you can have embroidered onto your shirts at little cost.
STEP 8 - Get a trophy
The Claret Jug, the Wannamaker Trophy, the Ryder Cup, the Havemeyer Trophy - iconic golfing prizes roll off the tongue and are the reason that the best in the game play the game. So, it makes sense that you should buy a trophy for your society’s biggest competitions. Pleasingly, they’re not at all expensive and are easy to engrave, too. As ever, shop around for the best deals. A nice trophy isn’t just the spoils for the victor, either. It can become a symbol of your society and, in time, will create its own history, prestige and gravitas. That’s the sort of thing that will give your group longevity and heritage. It will also perhaps encourage other people to join. After all, if you thought you could win a trophy that had been around for decades and had been won by some of the most talented golfers you know, wouldn’t you want to try to get your hands on it, too?
STEP 9 - Treat yourself to a buggy
If you are going on a society outing that lasts two or more days, you might want to try and book some buggies for the final day. Think about it: you will already have had at least one day trudging the course and, in all likelihood, will have had at least one big night, too, with the prospect of a lengthy trip home at the end of it all to look forward to. So, take a load off for the last 18 holes and get a fleet of buggies (assuming your host venue has them) for your final round. This will also have the added bonus of helping you keep up your pace of play as, when you’re tired, it’s only natural that your speed tails off, which, if there are loads of you on the course, will only wind up the people who tee off behind you. After all, nobody likes being stuck behind slow movers on the course. Buggies are cheap as chips to hire, so put some money aside to get them on the final day. You’ll be glad that you did.
Golf Societies Article List