Golf Article

Winter Challenges Solved?

Winter Challenges Solved?
By Peter Hellman

The weather outside is FRIGHTFUL, but golf can be DELIGHTFUL   If only south we GO.  Let it SNOW, let it SNOW, let it SNOW

Has it dawned on you yet that you may not be playing golf for months?  Winter has arrived and thoughts of well hit drives are forcefully replaced by thick blankets and snow shovels.  If you do venture out to your favorite course between wintery blasts, the fairways are hard, the grass is brown, the greens are rough and the bunkers look like snow caves.  The turtleneck, sweater, jacket, stocking cap and thick gloves make you feel more like you are dressed for building a snowman than pursuing a personal best.

There is an answer to these winter challenges - head south golfer, head south.  A southern golf trip will reward you with sunshine, green grass, soft bunkers and glassy smooth greens.  If you travel far enough south, say Argentina, you will be greeted by summer breezes, a lushness of green and perfect conditions.  As you may remember from your 7th grade geography class, the southern hemisphere's seasons are opposite our own.  Think about it.  With only two flights per year, you could live in a perpetual summer of golf.  Fly to Argentina in November (its Spring) and Colorado in April (its Spring).  In addition to beating the cold by heading south this winter, you will be rewarded with lower prices.  Everything from green fees to hotels, airfares to rental cars have all come down in anticipation of fewer golfers in 2010.   The golf industry is in a state of panic and golfers willing to travel are the beneficiaries.

As we all know, the economy continues to struggle, consumers aren't buying and many businesses are forced to lower prices or offer incentives to make a sale.  This is certainly true of travel related companies and golf courses  The fear of empty hotel rooms, unused tee times, idle rental cars and butt-less airline seats, have created great opportunities for golfers interested in traveling this winter.  In 2010, you can travel to just about any golf destination you can think of and get great deals.  Here are a few examples of golf packages this winter at popular and warm golf destinations.  Please note prices do not include airfare and may change at any time. 

Scottsdale, Arizona 4-nights at an all suites resort with daily breakfast, 4 rounds with cart at some of the best courses in the Phoenix area (Golf Club of Estrella , Troon North, Grayhawk & Eagle Mountain), rental van.  Price: $1,275 per person based on four

California Desert 4-nights at Rancho Las Palmas with unlimited golf & rental car.
Price: $725 per person double

Buenos Aires, Argentina 7-days, 6-nights (4 star Elevage Hotel), 4 rounds of fun at a Stapleford Tournament on top 10 courses (San Andres Golf Club, Estancias Golf Club, Olivos Golf Club, Ranelagh Golf Club), all transfers, opening cocktail party, closing dinner & prizes.  Price:  $850 per person double

Cruises Prices start at $75 per person per day for the cruise; golf is extra and costs depend upon itinerary.  Perfect for golfers with non-golfing spouses or couples.  Many itineraries in Caribbean and a special Hawaiian islands cruise.

If, however, staying close to your snow shovel is your thing, you may want to use these wintery months to plan and book that special "do it before you die" golf trip.  The hallowed greens of Scotland, Ireland or England are minimally the same price as last year and in some cases up to 40% less. Special incentives to lure back the American golfer are abundant.  Some of the best deals are in Ireland.  A depressed economy, an over built hospitality industry, several new courses and significant price adjustments from the highs brought on by the Ryder Cup in 2008 have all combined to bring prices down to levels not seen in years.   There is value and opportunity once again in Ireland.  This may be the year:  to drive your Titlist over fairways you may have only dreamed about; to down a pint in an Irish Pub; or to learn how to execute the "bump and run" approach shot to the green the way the Scots do it..  

So, if thoughts of a wintery golf escape or a 2010 pilgrimage to Scotland, Ireland, England or anywhere else in the world have ever entered your mind, this could be the best time in years to turn those dreams into reality.  Isn't it great when reality is only an airplane trip away.