March 29 2012 by Bryson Forbes
It's true, with such a mild start to 2012 in many parts of Canada, golf courses are opening up about a month earlier than normal. As an avid golfer in Ontario, Masters weekend (also referred to as Easter weekend) is when I start to look forward to the new season. In fact, I have never played in Ontario before mid-April in my life. This year, although I still haven't played, I have had offers to play in early March. What's even more bizarre is many of my friends who have played already, played comfortably in shorts!!
The other benefit of the mild weather is the fact the courses are not only opening early but they are in great shape. With the extended golf season, great weather and courses in fantastic shape this is a great time to start planning a spring golf getaway. Off season rates will still be in effect so thinking about an April or early May golf trip will combine the best of both worlds and you can enjoy mid season conditions at pre season prices!
Here are my top five tips to help make your golf trip this year, your best ever:
Start with a great hotel - I can enjoy almost any golf course but I am much more picky about my accommodations. To really make it a memorable trip, I start by looking for a Best Western. With almost 200 in Canada, there is inevitably one nearby. You can rely on friendly service, a clean, modern and comfortable room, free high-speed Internet access and usually free breakfast and parking. For golf trips, I also look for a pool and hot tub; it's a great way to unwind after 18 or sometimes 36 holes!
Go somewhere new - personally I love playing a course for the first time. I really enjoy experiencing a new course, appreciating the layout and being challenged with shots I have never stood over before. Also, when the golf is done, checking a new destination adds to my overall experience.
Get a good travel bag for your clubs - a few years ago I picked up a fabulous golf travel bag at a silent auction. It is from BMW lifestyle and it is the BEST. It keeps my clubs safe, has compartments for my shoes and room for my extra clothes (rain gear, sweaters, etc.) and has sturdy wheels to easily navigate airports or onto elevators. I highly recommend getting one; it makes getting around with your clubs so easy.
Choose your tee times wisely - match the tee times to your group. Are you all about the golf and looking to play 36 holes or are you more apt to sleep in a little and have a more leisurely pace? Most courses can accommodate but if you are going in the spring your daylight is still limited, so plan ahead and make sure the group is all aligned to the timing.
Have fun. Golf and time with friends should be about having fun. Golf can be frustrating and I have been with people who when they don't play well are miserable. At the end of the day whether you shoot 82 or 122, try to enjoy the experience. Hey... playing golf this early in the year for us in Ontario is a real treat - enjoy.
Where are your favourite golf destinations in Canada?