Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Matters Most When Planning a Golf Vacation?

It’s funny what different people consider important when planning a vacation. A colleague of mine is making his first trip to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach this spring and approached me for some advice on selecting golf courses. I was all prepared to discuss the various qualities of the area’s nine signature golf courses (and the benefits of booking a golf package), and the first thing he asks is which course’s clubhouse restaurant has the best burger.

And of course this was not the only issue he was considering. But he’s a very routine-oriented individual, and apparently after every round of golf, he likes to enjoy a burger—“a very good burger,” in his words.

I guess we all have our priorities when it comes to planning the golf getaway. I myself like to know a range of rates (both golf and lodging) and if there are any events planned during my stay, like a golf tournament or clinic. It’s easy enough to find out both using the Gulf Shores Golf Association website—the “Customized Quote” and “Sample Rates” pages (both under “Plan”) can give a good idea of cost, while “News & Events” (under “Explore”) often lists upcoming golf (and other) events. Plus you can read up on the different golf courses and accommodations options and make as informed a decision as possible on where to play and where to stay.

But the only way to really know your preference—of either golf course or food—is to get down there and try it out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Play Golf, Relax, or Get Active—The Choice is Yours

Every golfer has played that hole where a body of water, or thick foliage, or some other obstacle stands between you and the green at such a distance that you have a couple ways you could play it: lay-up and ensure the ball gets over on the next shot, or give it all you’ve got and drive the ball over that water in one swing.

A golf vacation in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach is very similar in that there a couple ways to play it. You could keep it very simple—golf and relaxation. A round of golf in the morning followed by an afternoon of relaxing on the beach, by the pool, in a hot tub, at a spa…the possibilities are many.

Or you might want to squeeze in as much activity as possible by checking out some of the local events. This is where I recommend visiting the Gulf Shores Golf Association’s “News & Events” page (under “Explore” on the website). Here you’ll find information on things like upcoming golf tournaments as well as non-golf-related events. Right now, for example, we’re approaching Mardi Gras, and several Mardi Gras parades are planned for next month. And then there’s the Under Armour Senior Bowl scheduled for January 28th—watch the country’s best collegiate and NFL football stars in live action during this nationally televised football game.

How you decide to play it is up to you—just be sure to play.