Picking the Right Golf Course
If you’re an experienced golfer, you probably have a favorite golf course where you like to pass your free time practicing your chipping or working on your long drive. You’re probably very comfortable with this course and it may even feel like a second home to you. However, golfers know better than anyone that the ball has to keep rolling. In other words, our lives are constantly changing and an upcoming move may force you to depart from your beloved course. Should this happen, you’ll want to find another golf course near your new home that meets your expectations. This is relatively easy to do, provided you keep a few things in mind. Below, eight of these things are organized into the acronym “CALLAWAY,” which happens to also be the name of our favorite brand of clubs.
Inevitably, as an adult, one of the first things you’ll have to look at when choosing a course is the cost. Before you make a decision, you’ll have to use the scales in your head to weigh the required fees of a course against the fun you think you’ll have. However, remember not to judge quality by price. Not every high quality golf course is expensive and not every expensive golf course is high quality. Be sure to use those scales on several options before you make a final decision.
(A)sk other players
Before you choose any golf course, your first step should be to check its reviews from multiple sources. A source can be anything from a face-to-face chat with a person to a website. Most online sources will use a simple five star system that will make it easy to find the best course. Two good sites to visit for reviews are golfcourseranking.com and golfadvisor.com. The latter will also provide information on the layout and level of difficulty of each course.
(L)evel of Difficulty
When selecting a golf course, an important factor to consider is the difficulty of the course. Let’s be honest, we all have a gap between our perception of our golf game and the reality. This is perfectly fine until it comes to decisions like picking a new golf course. Use the slope and the USGA rating system to quickly determine if a course matches your level of difficulty. (eg. A relatively new golfer may want to choose a course with a course rating of around 69 and a slope rating of about 115 as opposed to a course with a course rating of 76 and a slope rating of 155).
You wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place if this factor wasn’t important. You will have to choose a course that is conveniently close and allows you to hit balls and be back in time for dinner. A very good course might be worth a little travel time, but it is always preferable to be able to get to your course and back in a timely fashion.
Before choosing a golf course, get to know the people there. If you’re an avid golfer, you’ll be spending a lot of time around them. The wise golfer knows who he’ll be playing with. Get to know the people who will be your playing partners and see if they’ll be your friends too. In short, make sure that they’re the kind of people you’ll want to hit balls with and not at.
(W)ho works there?
Different golf courses are going to have different employees and different levels of service. Prior to choosing a course, you’ll want to investigate who will be serving you and how well they’ll be doing it. Eg. (You may want to think twice about a course where loose change, cellphones etc. have been known to disappear from the bags caddies have been carrying).
Most golf courses and clubs will offer food and refreshments to their guests. It may be a good idea to investigate these at any course or club you may choose. Being able to enjoy a good meal or a refreshing beverage can be very convenient, provided they offer a good selection. Ensure that they are at least reasonably edible as well as affordable.
(Y)esterday’s Course vs. Today’s Course
Lastly, it would be smart to choose a course that is more or less similar to the one you’re used to. It takes time and effort to adjust to a different kind of course and the transition may cause some frustrating bogeys. If you’re used to a course with few water hazards, I wouldn’t recommend Pebble Beach. If you are used to playing in the woods, Pine Valley Golf Club is the place for you. In addition, compare the slopes, lengths and pars of your old and new courses(All three are available at golfadvisor.com). You may also want to consider the elevation, green speed and fairway widths on a new course Remember, even if you find a compatible course, there’s no shame in taking a few mulligans on your first time around.
Moving Your Gear
We wish we could tell you that choosing a new golf course is the only stressful part of a golfer’s move, but, sadly, it isn’t. You may also have to ensure that your golf clubs and gear are taken care of during the move. If not transported carefully, clubs and other equipment could be bent, broken, lost or stolen while being transported. You will find that playing golf without clubs is both difficult and embarrassing(Believe us. We’ve tried.) Fortunately, there is another handy acronym to help you remember how to handle moving your clubs:
(G)ood moving companies can always help
If you’re really concerned about a move or about your property being damaged, a relocation service might be an excellent idea. However, know that you generally get what you pay for in the relocation industry and don’t be fooled by a firm that claims to offer excellent service for a song. Be sure to check reviews from several sources on a moving company before making a final decision.
(O)n the roof?
Many golfers can tie golf bags to the roof of their car for simple transportation. This might be convenient for you if you can attach them securely. On the other hand, if you fasten them carelessly, you may arrive at your destination only to find that your bag is empty and perhaps even receive an angry call from the biker who was hit in the face when your driver came loose. Make sure that your golf bag is securely fastened before you even start the engine. If you will be keeping your clubs in your bag during transportation, it is absolutely necessary to wrap the bag in a protective outer sack to protect them from elemental damage and ensure that they do not slip out of the bag.
(L)oad your gear with care
If you’re not traveling by car or simply not choosing to strap your clubs to the roof of your automobile, it is still advisable to exercise caution when packing your clubs. Make sure that they are protected by padding and not placed next to anything that they could damage or that could cause damage to them. Also position them so that they will not slide or shift during the trip
For those who are looking for an extremely simple way to move their equipment, don’t mind abstaining from golf for a few days before and/or after their move, and don’t mind paying an extra shipping fee or two, it is always possible to simply ship belongings to your new home separately via a shipping company. If you aren’t interested in a moving company but can’t or or don’t want to transport your something yourself, companies like Fedex or UPS are perfectly capable of getting your belongings to your destination. This would be a bit more expensive than transporting your items yourself, but it is definitely an option.
We hope that these tips will help fellow golfers to have a smooth moving experience and quickly return to enjoying the sport we all love.
Hit ‘em long and not too often!