Golf Article


Golf Trips on a Budget 10 Tips

By Peter Hellman

Think a golf trip to Ireland, England or Scotland is out of your price range? Not everyone can afford, or wants to pay for, a 5-star golf travel experience. Here are 10 ideas that you should consider to experience Irish, English or Scottish golf on a budget. Many of these strategies also work in the US!

1. Travel in the Off Season:

Yeah, the weather may not be ideal, but if Scotland, England or Ireland are on your bucket list, the weather could be similar to the preferred time of most golfers – June, July and August. These countries benefit from the Gulf Stream and snow is rarely seen. I have played Ballybunion and Lahinch in Ireland in November and December and suffered no frost bite, soaked head or tail and saved about 50% or more on the green fees.

2. Look for the Twofer:

Some of the best courses that have two or more on site will discount their second course when paid upfront. For example, Ballybunion has the Old course (very special) and the Cashen (very nice). If you book them both, there is a healthy discount. Others include Lahinch Old and Castle, Royal Troon and Portland, Royal Dornoch and Struie and many others.

3. Play Early or Late:

It is not unusual to find discounts if you are willing to play early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Remember the days are longer in Ireland, Scotland and England during the summer than most of the USA. Tralee Golf Club in Ireland, for example, offers a hefty discount of 15% for tee times before 8:00am. If you play fast and it's not the weekend, teeing off at 3:00 or 4:00pm will save some dough and get you back to the Pub with plenty of light to spare.

4. Re-Play:

Many courses offer substantial discount if you play a second round on the day of the first or anytime (generally during the week) for up to 7 days as Tralee GC offers.

5. Couples Pricing:

Some courses encourage matrimonial golf. Though not available everywhere, I have taken advantage of it at some courses – Tralee in Ireland comes to mind.

6. Walk the Course:

Most courses in the big three of Ireland, Scotland and England are walking courses. Carts or buggies, as they call them, are creeping into more and more courses as these courses adjust to the American market and see the revenue potential for this walking alternative. So, if saving some dough for a couple of pints is more important, walk.

7. Fore Caddies:

Though I am a huge proponent of the use of caddies for not only their course knowledge, but also for a bit of local contact, you can save and still experience the course and its ambience by hiring a fore caddy for your foursome, double bagging is also an option in Ireland at some courses.

8. Stay at a Guest House:

GH's or B&B's are everywhere in the big three. Not only will you save a ton on accommodations, the owners tend to be charming people with a lot of knowledge of their towns, local restaurants, Pubs and places to visit. Who knows, you may even make some new friends.

9. Drive a Stick Shift:

The automatic transmission is such an American thing not readily found in the big three. Think back to when you were a teenager. Did you not learn to drive a stick shift? Back then, it was actually cool. For Europeans, however, the stick shift is less cool but it is a heck of a lot cheaper to drive and own. Gasoline is expensive in the Big 3. This means that there are many more rental cars with stick shift than automatic. By simple deduction, therefore, – if you can drive a stick shift, you will have more car options, better gas mileage and lower rental costs.

10. Resort Course Pricing:

There are resorts in the Big 3 that have their own golf course(s) though not nearly as commonly found as in the USA. Generally, if you stay at one of these resorts (some examples include Doonbeg and Old Head in Ireland and Gleneagles and Trump International Scotland in Scotland), you can count on a savings for golf. The accommodations are another matter.

Use a Trusted Golf Tour Company:

When traveling overseas, you want to know that all the details have been expertly handled and that your trip will be remembered because of the great experiences you had. You also need to know that the fluctuation of the dollar relative to the Euro or Pound can have a huge impact on the cost of your trip. To make sure you have both a great experience and receive value for your dollar, look for a company that will not only guarantee the rate and therefore your price, but will give you an experience you will be talking about for a long time. Excuse this self-promotion from the "shameless commerce department" of Classic GOLF Tours, but we know how to make your trip to the Big 3 economical and a heck of a lot of fun. Check us out!