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Golf trips as a single?

single buddies trip vacation

44 replies to this topic

#1 md1m

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:31 PM

After yet again planning a cool trip and then having every one of my golf buddies back out, I've decided that a) my golf buddies suck (none of them are WRX'ers!) and b) if I'm going to go play the courses I dream of playing I may have to just make plans and play by myself. I am married and have two boys (too young to play with on a golf trip, although my 7 year old is a golfer) so would probably go and make it a family vacation, but just play the golf by myself.

Anyone else with sucky golf friends done something similar? Was it harder or easier to golf by yourself?

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#2 wombat_vortex

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:45 PM

I normally take a short golf trips by myself, 2-3 days.  There are pros and cons to both.  If you want to book a deal/trip through a golf travel website, they are usually all for double occupancy, so no singles there.  If however you plan on just picking a place, getting a hotel for a few days and seeing where you can get on, I think it's better to be a single.  Easier to squeeze in somewhere and get a discounted tee time.

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#3 mci711

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 07:52 PM

View Postmd1m, on 11 January 2018 - 07:31 PM, said:

After yet again planning a cool trip and then having every one of my golf buddies back out, I've decided that a) my golf buddies suck (none of them are WRX'ers!) and b) if I'm going to go play the courses I dream of playing I may have to just make plans and play by myself. I am married and have two boys (too young to play with on a golf trip, although my 7 year old is a golfer) so would probably go and make it a family vacation, but just play the golf by myself.

Anyone else with sucky golf friends done something similar? Was it harder or easier to golf by yourself?
I find it easier to go on my own. The past 2 years I have done Kiawah, Bandon, Erin Hills, and a Los Angeles trip on my own. My fiance usually plays with me, but has had 2 hip surgeries and hasn't been able to play for some time. Most of my golf buddies don't love the idea of spending a lot of money on a trip and for me, it is the best thing to spend money on. I also find it easier/cheaper to jump on a plane last minute on my own and get out somewhere without a long-term commitment.

That being said, I would prefer to have someone with me for the most part, a little more fun to take a top class course with someone else.

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#4 sunbeltgolfer

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:15 PM

I retired 16 years ago and have been experiencing the same thing every year with several friends. Always "up" for the trip until the no refund date approaches and they back out. I started doing the single travel some time back when it became clear I wasn't getting any younger and they were never going to take time ff and spend the money. My wife travels with me when she can get away from her business, but, she is not a golfer. I have to say I've not been disappointed having to join whomever to be able to experience the great places I've waited years to play and have been fortunate to meet some incredibly nice people as a result. It beats Hell out of sitting home steaming over missing out on yet another opportunity.

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#5 cherokee8215

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:39 PM

I do several solo golf trips per year. To keep the cost down, instead of staying in overpriced resort rooms, I just pick Holiday Inn-type hotels in non-touristy areas. I book tee times a couple days before and am usually able to get paired up with a twosome or threesome with no problem.

The only downside is that there is nobody to split the costs of a hotel room and rental car with, which makes the trips seem expensive relative to the amount of golf you are playing.

I gave up on trying to get guys to make a group trip together, even if you can get everyone to commit, people get too picky/annoying on details while on the trip. One guy refuses to tee off early, one refuses to play late, one won't play if it's under 50 degrees, one insists on only playing 18, one insists on 36, one guy won't eat seafood, one guy insists on getting falling down drunk by the back nine every round and making the others babysit him, etc.


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#6 Phreddy

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 09:13 PM

I travel some for work and as long as somebody else is paying for the plane ticket I try to play.  I've played some name courses like Pebble, Pinehurst and Streamsong and some local tracks.  All as a single.  I always get paired up, try as I might to think of one, I have never met a dud.  Once in a while I will be with a group of two or three guys that had looked forward to playing together.  I just sort of hang back and let them roll with their outing.  Playing quickly, a sense of humor and good etiquette on the greens buys a lot of good will very quickly.

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#7 Seth Pistol

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:02 AM

i'm in a similar boat as phreddy.  i travel a bunch for work so i try to piggyback a golf trip (e.g. going to Dallas next week and playing Barton Creek in Austin).  I also do a bunch of last minute quick trips solo (booked streamsong on Tuesday and flew down friday in December).

PROS -
  • you get to make your own schedule.  play the courses you want.  eat where you want. drink as much or as little as you want.  no other input = an itinerary you love.
  • its much easier to book last minute times rather than planning months in advance.  I booked pebble, streamsong, torrey, and many other rounds within 2 weeks of my trip.
CONS -
  • cost.  you're incurring a lot of costs that could easily be split (rooms, rental cars, etc).  its this reason why i often don't stay on property when I go solo.  saves A LOT on cost.
  • you're alone.  there is something to be said about enjoying the trip with close friends or loved ones.  if you're a bit of an extrovert, its not as bad since you can meet up with some cool people.  but if you're a bit of an introvert, it can get a bit lonely.
I would say try out a trip or two alone.  if your friends suck, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying great courses.  life is short, take advantage of any time you have to play.

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#8 defnotapro

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:21 AM

I just got back from a Florida trip where I went by myself. This was my first time as a single taking a trip. I was able to play PGA National and Doral. We do have a buddies trip planned for March so many of them didn't want to go. I have a bunch of airline miles and hotel points so it's pretty cheap fore me to go. In fact that's the only way I got my buddies to go to Palm Springs was that I got the hotel. I enjoyed it for sure. I will do it again in the future. I put off several trip ideas because I couldn't get anyone to go and finally just screw it and am glad I did. My buddies were pretty jealous of the pictures of the courses.

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#9 North Butte

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:27 AM

It all comes down to whether you enjoy playing golf by yourself. I do so my solo golf trips are fun, although I generally try to go somewhere I can at least meet up with someone I know for a round or two while I'm there.
Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#10 jacobEDGE

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:30 AM

I'm doing a solo trip this weekend.

Denver to Vegas for 2 rounds. Fly out after work Friday, fly back Sunday night. Doesn't require taking any days off work. Round trip flight was under $100.


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#11 exgolfpro

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:34 AM

For the last 5 years, my wife and I have taken a vacation in Wisconsin.  She does not play, but does enjoy going along and taking pictures, etc.  At least at the resort type courses (Whistling Straits, Erin Hills, Black Wolf Run, etc) we have never had anyone that had a problem with me playing as a single and her going along.  In probably 50% of the cases, I get to play alone.  But, I'm fine if I get paired up as well.

Two years ago, I booked an afternoon time at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, a top quality public course near the other resort courses.  They had paired me with 2 other guys, but there were no times booked after us.  So, I just let them go on their own and I followed behind.

I have played Erin Hills 3x.  I have been paired up with someone every single time.  I've played Whistling Straits 5x, I have played alone 2 of those times.  So it just depends on time of day and day of the week as to if you get paired up or not.  Of all these rounds (probably 25 in all) I can only think of one time that I was paired with someone that I didn't enjoy playing with.

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#12 DavePelz4

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:49 AM

For various reason I've done trips alone to Palm Springs, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Doral and a couple of others.  I've been paired up with some of the most awesome people imaginable.  My favorite was a round at Troon where I was paired up with a Lawyer, Priest and Rabbi.  The priest swore more than any other person I've ever played with and he was a riot as were the other two.

One time in Scottsdale I was paired up with 3 people who had their 4th drop out and I filled the slot.

Only once during a round in Doral was the pairing with someone I wouldn't want to play with a second time.

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#13 duffer987

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:10 PM

OP: Do you already play locally on your own or with some league/tour, where you regularly get paired up with other folks you don't know?
If not maybe do that some first a bit, if that's something your reticent about it; however, if yes, getting on a plane is no different, just maybe some different accents and weather :)

But really, as long as you aren't bothered about playing with strangers, golf is golf. There's obviously a logistics component to doing it, but once that is out of the way, hope for playable weather, undelayed flights, and a decent spot or two for pints and a meal.

I've been invited for post round drinks quite a few times, been asked by members to fill out their foursome for a match, been asked when I'm playing tomorrow and if I'd like to play together again, and shook many hands accompanied with a "thanks for a fun round".
I'm firmly on Team Maddow and I'm sure I've played with folks on Team Hannity, but that stuff just doesn't come up on the course, bar a rare one-off quip. Once the peg goes in the ground everyone wants to play well, see their playing partners play well, and enjoy some number of hours out on the links.

One of my best mates availability ebbs and flows with family duties - so while we have a great time traveling and playing, I've had as much fun showing up at a course on my own and letting the day unfold.
I've played courses I'd never see otherwise, so OP do the same and get out there! :)

Edited by duffer987, 12 January 2018 - 12:11 PM.


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#14 spud3

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:20 PM

I was in the same boat - had trips to Bandon planned a couple years and got bailed on.  So I decided to go solo.  So very glad I did.  Now it's an annual thing, though this year I'm going as a part of a WRX-based foursome, which will be my first time non-solo.

There are lots of advantages to going solo, as stated in posts above.  The only disadvantage is that you don't have anyone to share the experience with, but for me that is so far below the things I get out of solo trips.  Mainly, you get to play some incredible courses.  I like meeting folks when I get paired up, but I also really love it when I can play a course by myself, which has happened more times than I would have ever thought.

Just go....
"take that, you miserable
little white swine!"

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#15 TheShaun

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:07 PM

I do a couple small solo trips a year.

sounds like this thread is full of guys to plan a trip with though. haha


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#16 krtgolfing

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:05 PM

Iíve done a few solo trips. Planning one for May/ June. No idea where
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#17 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:30 PM

Mrs. Sprinkle and I went to Banff and Jasper for our tenth anniversary. I played golf, she went whitewater rafting. I had a great time playing with the people I got hooked up with.

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#18 Argonne69

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:37 PM

I've taken over 50 solo trips over the past 10 years. They've ranged from 3 day local trips to a full week. Been to Bandon, Kiawah, Erin Hills, Pinehurst, Whistling Straits, Palm Springs, RTJ Trail, Monterey, Northern Michigan, Nebraska, and all points in between. Yes, it's nice to play with friends, but their inability to travel on a regular basis is not going to stop me from enjoying this game.

Yes, single occupancy will cost more. There are many courses that won't book singles. Oh well, I guess I'll give my money to someone else.

The best part of solo golf is that you're free to set your own schedule. If you want to sleep in and play a single late morning round you can. If you want to get up before the birds and play two rounds a day for multiple days you can. Cheap eats or an expensive steak joint? Brewpub or dinner at the course? It's your call.

The easiest thing to do is to start with a two day trip to a nearby city. Book an inexpensive hotel that's centrally located, and drive out the morning of the first day. You can easily play 5 rounds in 3 days over a holiday weekend without breaking the bank.

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#19 LeoLeo99

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:42 PM

Wife and I go to Vegas a few times a year.  I play golf, she gambles.  I play solo at home so it's not big deal but I've met some unique folks in Vegas.  Two Korean guys that didn't speak much English and were very adamant about telling me they were from SOUTH Korea.  Two German guys that spoke very little English.  Very nice guys once we got past the 2nd hole and they relaxed and started handing out chocolates.  A younger guy that just got out of jail.  I know this because his friend joined us on the 12th hole just to drink beers and commiserate about his bail and the judge assigned to his case because the same judge at sent him away for a few months.  But mostly it was very nice folks.

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#20 hokiebird2008

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:29 AM

Curious if the experienced solo golfers have suggestions for which places worked best for solo? Resort golf vs. non-resort? Major cities vs. sleepy towns? Best could be defined many ways: best pure golf, best place to meet others, best based on price.


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#21 Argonne69

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:42 PM

I don't think any particular type of of place works best. Resorts tend to be accommodating when it comes to singles. For example, Bandon, Streamsong, Pinehurst, Doral, Pebble Beach, Prairie Dunes, and the RTJ Trail.  

I've played solo in the big city areas, and in the middle of nowhere. Check the course websites for their tee times. If you see a lot of 2-4, then it's likely they don't want you. Some courses will allow singles to book with an existing twosome or threesome. If you see 1-2, you're good. Worst case you give them a call.

Edited by Argonne69, 14 January 2018 - 06:46 PM.


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#22 Hateto3Putt

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:32 PM

Although Iíve never done a destination Golf trip solo, whenever I travel with my wife Iíll play a few rounds as a single.  

I normally book the round the night before using the internet. Lots of last minute deals are usually available.

Iíve met lots of great folks and had oodles of fun!

Donít hesitate! YOLO

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#23 getitdaily

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:47 PM

Honeymooned in Hawaii in June and told my wife that I'd be playing a round of golf. Joined up with 2 others and had a blast. I play half my rounds as a single so for me it was easy stuff.



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#24 sabram

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 10:02 AM

I've played golf in 42 states as a single. I travel for work and for pleasure and usually take my clubs. More often than not I've been paired up with others but have also had hundreds of rounds by myself. As a rule, people I've been paired up with have been fun to play with and I've met a lot of interesting people. Golfers tend to be nice on the golf course even if they are A-holes off of the course. There's a book titled "Blue Fairways" that tells the tale of the author's (Charles Slack) solo golf road trip from Maine to Florida. It's a fun read that you can pick up for a buck or two used on line.

The biggest negative about playing as a single is if you don't get paired up with others and get stuck behind a bunch of foursomes. In that situation even a four hour round will feel slow. If I'm about to be sent out as a single and there's a group less than four on the first tee or on the first fairway, I always ask to be paired up with them. I've only been turned down twice. Once was by three novices who were embarrassed to play with strangers,who let me go ahead of them (Thank God) and once by three "plus" handicaps who thought I'd slow them down. After several holes of me waiting to hit my approach shot while they checked their putts from ten different places, they finally let me play through. By then there was a two hole gap before I ran into another group who asked me to join them . When I get stuck behind several foursomes I often play two balls on each hole as a match -  one ball against the other. If its just one or two groups ahead they's usually let a single play through. If you don't get invited to play through and you think there's a gap in front of them ask them if you can skip the hole and jump ahead of them. When you do that they'll either let you play through, jump ahead, or let you know there are other groups ahead and nowhere to go.

The best ways I've found to avoid getting stuck behind a full section of the course are (i) book the first tee time of the day, (ii) book the first twilight tee time (people tend not to book just before the rates go down so there will likely be open holes ahead except on the busiest of courses) and (iii) if the earliest few twilight times are booked, take the first open tee time preceding the time that twilight rates start.

The second negative I've encountered in booking as a single is that some of the courses I want to play don't allow singles to reserve a tee time in advance. That's becoming less of an issue since most of the on line booking systems are now sophisticated enough to open up partially filled tee times so singles are able to join existing twosomes and threesomes. However, those times don't always meet my schedule and sometimes I want or need to finish out my itinerary and I sometimes can't wait until the day of play to get on to the tee sheet. Begging has worked on occasion in this situation. I wanted to play the Berkshire outside of London for many years. They have a strict "no singles" policy. After several trips to England with no success convincing the club secretary to take my name and fit me in anywhere, she finally felt sorry for me and let me go out before the first tee time of the day on the Blue course and before a "society" (group) event of the Red Course that afternoon. It was one of the most delightful 36 hole days of golf I've ever played. Of course there are a few courses like Muirfield that you'll never get to book as a single.

Booking as a single has some positives too. It gives you the flexibility to play when and where you want. You can book at the last minute if that suits you and you don't have strong preferences for a particular course at a particular time. You can take advantage of the best "last minute" discounted tee times on Golf now and the other booking sites. It also makes it easy to get replay rounds since the course can fit in a single much easier than a foursome.

The last round I played in 2017 on a family trip to Orlando was as a single while my wife and daughter stayed at Universal. I got paired up with former PGA Tour player Wally Armstrong who is now a great teacher known for using lots of teaching gadgets. He was giving a playing lesson to an investment banker. It was a hoot. It turns out that the banker, who lives in Florida has two sons who work in my building in NYC. I've had dozens of "small world" encounters like that while playing as a single.

Last summer I did a golf trip as a single through Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. In OK I got paired with a former US Champion shooter (clays), In LA I once played with Marcus Allen and Frank Robinson was in the group ahead of me. On a vacation at Bay Hill I got paired up with a husband and wife. They were nice but not very talkative and we were only introduced by first name. By the third hole we figured out that I knew the husband for a dozen years through work but we had only spoken on the phone. Last year in Scottsdale I got paired with a doctor whose colleague had performed surgery on my son one month earlier. I've stayed in touch with a guy I met on a course in Wisconsin 15 years ago and I've seen his daughters grow up through social media. We stay in touch  and vow to play again. Lots of good memories from rounds that I booked as a single

edited to fix typos

Edited by sabram, 20 January 2018 - 09:44 AM.


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#25 schley

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 01:20 PM

I enjoy solo golf trips, as I enjoy traveling alone as well.  I like to scuba dive, gamble, get a massage, sightsee (internationally) and golf so if I can get 2 or more of those things in my destination I'm happy.  If I go to a foreign country I'll usually book a guide, which is a great way to see a city and have the company of a local and you can get A LOT covered as it is only up to you how long to stay and what do to.

I have golfed in Philippines, Thailand, UAE, Costa Rica, Bahrain, UK, Scotland, Greece, Spain etc. as a single internationally and had a wonderful time in each instance on a whole.  Pace of play of course we could always complain about, I never expect to go off by myself and play in 2 hours so if that is your barometer then it is alittle unrealistic IMO. I meet very interesting people golfing internationally as in many countries it is for the weathly or well to do and attracts westerners in some countries that don't have a strong golf culture or big wigs in that particular country.  In Thailand for example I got paired up with the President of Accor hotels for Asia, the country manager for Thailand Accor, and the country manager or Starbucks in the same group. I have used them each time I go back now and love it.

I got paired up with one of the personal pilots of Sheikh Mohammad Al - Maktoum, ruler of Dubai who was an interesting Brit. I have played with just normal joes who were quite nice and that is all I'm looking for.  I am pretty talkative and friendly, thus I just want to have a nice 3-5 hours playing, not strike it rich in the future connections category, although it happens.

I never get a tee time as most courses are either so open you don't need one, or they are booked and say just show up and we will work you in.  I'm flexible and enjoy mixing into the demographics of the group.  In the Philippines I ended up playing for money against a South Korean guy on holiday and was down like 80 bucks and won the double or nothing press on 18 with a par save up and down from off the green I recall.   I petted crocodiles in Costa Rica with my caddie (who was feeding him and begging for a tip as well I might add).

I usually try and play golf wherever I travel to for pleasure, but have booked specific solo golf trips as well. For solo golf trips I basically target iconic international courses as I live in KSA. I don't want to travel just anywhere and play, I want to play great tracks. So regardless of what i shoot at least I crossed off another course on my list. I usually have a late breakfast and tee off late morning if possible, then come back shower, have a massage, room service, gamble if possible, then repeat.

Also I highly recommend to bring some small tokens as gifts to your playing partners.  I always do this if we get along and want to stay in touch, and from traditional head dress like a Ghutra and Igal to small magnets from KSA they appreciate it and creates a bond.

I have more time and resources than many friends/family to travel to golf, thus I don't let it stop me, although ideally I would prefer this.  It is simple, cut to the chase, where do I want to go.  I have not had a bad experience overall (although some rounds/courses weren't great). I would love to have a consistent international golf partner for sure, but in the mean time I'll just keep enjoy playing underachieving golf!  haha


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#26 md1m

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 01:21 PM

Appreciating the responses - keep them coming! I have decided to make my golf trips an anniversary trip. My wife and I can get away to a beautiful place, I can play golf courses my buddies would never want to play (they are not just flaky, they are incredibly cheap), my wife and I can spend some much needed time together, she gets to have massages and shop, and I can have some adult fun on my trips instead of watching guys get drunk!

Already looking into one of my dream destinations (Cabot) for this year that would never be a destination for the guys.
Clubs are fluid

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#27 duffer987

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 01:31 PM

View Postmd1m, on 15 January 2018 - 01:21 PM, said:

Appreciating the responses - keep them coming! I have decided to make my golf trips an anniversary trip. My wife and I can get away to a beautiful place, I can play golf courses my buddies would never want to play (they are not just flaky, they are incredibly cheap), my wife and I can spend some much needed time together, she gets to have massages and shop, and I can have some adult fun on my trips instead of watching guys get drunk!

Already looking into one of my dream destinations (Cabot) for this year that would never be a destination for the guys.

Sounds great :)
And the Maritimes is excellent for non-golfers! The National and Provincial parks and just driving around the coastline is fantastic. Fair few neat towns as well.

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#28 OBR_FFLP

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 02:31 PM

I'll echo the above posts on almost every count.  Whether squeezing in a round when traveling for work or planning a full solo golf vacation, I've only had positive experiences.

Lonely at times, but then you find yourself alone on an inspiring piece of land playing a game you love with perfect weather and amazing views....it all balances out and is a great time to pause and appreciate life.  Or, you end up meeting a great group of welcoming folks and they become a new group of travel buddies (true story).  Solo and group trips have their pros and cons.  Enjoy both.  

As for solo....you can plan it exactly as you want and you have the ultimate flexibility being the only one making decisions.  I can't recommend it enough.

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#29 Jungleland

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 03:02 PM

I almost exclusively go as a single.  My friends don't have the flexibility I do during the week and also don't want to pay what I'm willing to pay.   My hotel and food tastes also don't jive with them.  When i go away I want great golf, great hotels, great food & drinks.  Also, I may wake up and decide I want to do something 2 days from now, can't get others to join you for that.  Last year I took trips to Pebble, Kiawah, Sea Island, Kohler and Bandon as a single.  You often get paired with buddies but as mentioned in here, let them play their game, be nice and don't be too chatty unless they open the door.  I always walk and will play quicker then any rider so it's easy not to get in the way.  

Just booked a quick 2 day to play Spyglass and Pastiempo the 3rd week of February and I'll be a single both rounds.

Edited by Jungleland, 15 January 2018 - 03:03 PM.


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#30 ArtMBgolf

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:28 PM

If you are a single, a golf packager can usually book you as a single, if there is someone to pair you with.  

At golf destinations or premium courses, most pairings are good, but occasionally you will get paired up with someone you rather
not play with.    That can also happen if you travel as 2 or 3 golfers.  

If you are playing courses that have online booking, I like to review the tee times available on those courses ahead of time, finding
where the 2 + 3somes are, if the software allows.   Then when you probably have to call as a single, you can almost pick the time
you can play.    If you see a 2/3some at 9am and you request 9am, they will usually put you there.  

Usually a course or packager will not pair you with a big group.   If they have 39 golfers, you don't know what time the 3some
tees off.   It's best to ask about that and make sure you are only joining a 2/3some.   Joining a group of 5-7 is also OK.  

If a course isn't busy or your pairing doesn't show up and you play alone, just make the best of it.  If waiting and nobody is behind you,
practice putting or chipping, even ball hawk, but watch for gators/snakes.


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