Oct 11, 2022

How Are Golf Trips Different After the Coronavirus Pandemic?

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  10/11/2022 06:37:00 PM   No comments

Ever since the spring of 2020, when the outbreak of coronavirus began, the pandemic has brought about numerous changes in our lives, including traveling restrictions. Golf trips were no exception. When the PGA Tour canceled The Players Championship, the world of golf changed forever. As a consequence, golf players across the world had to adapt to these new changes and find ways to tackle the challenges of going on vacation. 

The perpetual state of chaos specific to the coronavirus pandemic remains in many ways, but golf was one of the industries to not only survive but thrive during the pandemic. Although some things have changed dramatically, golf players are still able to relax and unwind on their favorite courses across the country. They might encounter difficulties when it comes to lodging and the cost of tee time, which is higher now, but otherwise, golf aficionados can still relish a round or two.

Major Changes in the Booking Cycle

One of the main components of golf trips that is very different now compared to the pre-coronavirus era is the booking cycle. Before the pandemic, golf players would book vacations for destinations such as the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and the Pinehurst Resort for the busy months of September and October, in August or September, without any difficulty. However, today, it is nearly impossible to book a tee time at the top courses for those months, as they had already been booked since December 2021 or even earlier.

Furthermore, before the pandemic, golf vacations in popular destinations, such as Scottsdale, Arizona, were usually booked from November to February by players who wanted to enjoy some rounds between January and April. Golf players who wanted to play in April could even book a tee time in March in some cases. Today, if people want to book a golf vacation for the first months of the year, they will most likely be late to the game. Still, because most golf courses stick with their 90 days or 120-day booking window, some players may be able to book tee time conveniently.

What to Avoid to Have a Memorable Golf Trip

To make sure you and your friends or family can play exactly when it is convenient to you, the key in the post-coronavirus world that we live in nowadays is to plan early and book your vacation as soon as possible. For instance, at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, people could usually book a trip for groups 6 months in advance easily. Now, if you plan to play on the exquisite links in May or June 2023, you may face difficulties. So, you may want to plan a later vacation for this destination.

Another essential aspect for groups is to book your tee time not after every person confirms they can go, but when you have just half or a little more of your buddies confirm they are available for the trip. Waiting for two or four players to commit to the trip – over a two-week period, for instance – could be the difference between going all together or not going at all since tee times and lodging get booked very rapidly. 

Lastly, what groups should avoid is making a rigid schedule of the golf courses they want to play on specific days of their vacation. The longer groups wait to discuss how they want their trip to unfold, the more likely it is that other groups of players will come in, moving quickly and scooping up the ideal tee times. So, it is best to allow your trip to be on the flexible side and also allow it to be a little spontaneous, which will guarantee you will not get bored.

Keep in Mind the Higher Cost of Tee Times

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, especially since May 2020, when travel began to open up, with the exception of air travel, golf vacations have hit a major high compared to the previous years. Therefore, once a $1,000 per golf player trip in Scottsdale, for example, before the pandemic, is now $1,500 or higher per golf player, with similar lodging and for the same courses. 

Along with the inflation, resorts are cashing in by increasing their rates and taking advantage of the situation while they can, so it should not shock or surprise you that what was once cheaper is quite expensive now. The good news is that, at some point, the costs will level off, most likely not getting as low as they were during the pre-coronavirus era, but they will decrease at least a bit.

The Takeaway

As a golf player, you may find it hard to adapt to the changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, but if you have a keen interest in the game, the higher prices are definitely worth it. Perhaps the most important thing is that you and your buddies can still enjoy a round of golf at your favorite vacation destinations and take advantage of the luxurious amenities of the resorts throughout the United States and, now, even abroad, since there are no air travel restrictions. 




About the Author

Sean Petersen is the owner of Golf Trip Junkie, a golf trip tour operator that offers memorable, customized vacations for all group sizes. His ultimate goal is to provide his customers with top experiences that will exceed their expectations.

Apr 30, 2021

Destination: Hilton Head Island

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/30/2021 01:51:00 PM   No comments

When it comes to golf getaways, Hilton Head still holds its own with any golf destination in North America. More than $200 million has been invested in upgrading “Golf Island’s” hotels, resorts and golf courses over the past decade. 


There are more than 30 courses clustered within the island’s 70 square-miles and sprinkled around neighboring Bluffton and Beaufort, so the next round of golf is never more than a few minutes away. And with the spring forward to daylight savings time, the Hilton Head area sets up perfectly for a 36-hole-a-day golf binge.


Here’s a lineup of premier on- and off-island courses, as well as the inside scoop on accommodations, dining and transportation.


Top Tier


Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort is the long-time home of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, a fan and player favorite. This Pete Dye/ Jack Nicklaus collaboration epitomizes Lowcountry course design replete with live oak-lined corridors, diminutive greens and Dye’s trademark bulkheads lining languid lagoons.





Walking off the 16th green and toward the tee box on the par-3 17th, the Calibogue Sound comes into view with shrimp and sailboats passing by. Harbour Town concludes with one of America’s most famous finishing holes, the par-4 18th playing into the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse.


Just a smooth 3-wood away from Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort’s Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III is a masterful overhaul of the resort’s historic Ocean Course, the island’s first course. Completely reinvented by Love Golf Design, native seaside grasses and coquina shells meld with pines and oaks to create a calming coastal ambiance that puts golfers at ease.  


The Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is widely considered one of the most scenic and challenging courses in the state. Having opened in 1967 just two years before Harbour Town, the two courses’ histories are forever linked by two World Golf Hall of Fame architects. 





Jones’ former protégé Roger Rulewich updated the course in 2002, elevating the fairway on the signature par-5 10th hole for even better views of the Atlantic Ocean. Credited with designing the majority of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Rulewich spent considerable time reworking every tee box and green. 


Solid Seconds


While it’s technically in Bluffton just off the island, Old South Golf Links is the area’s most underrated layout. Designed by local golf course architect Clyde Johnston, Old South is the only area public course playing along the Intracoastal Waterway. 





The front and back nine views, with MacKay Creek and the Calibogue Sound in the distance, are among the best in the region and are a great way to welcome your golf group to the Lowcountry. The variety of indigenous terrain is also surreal – oak forest, pastures and tidal marshes are all on display, and in play.


Back at The Sea Pines Resort, Heron Point by Pete Dye (formerly the Sea Marsh course) was a labor of love for the renowned golf course architect, who returned several times to tweak its putting surfaces and greens surrounds. From its 7,035-yard tips and with a slope of 140, it gives Harbour Town a run for its money as the resort’s toughest track. 


Playing to more than 7,000 yards with a 139-slope rating from the tips on the island’s north end, Oyster Reef continues to challenge low handicap golfers while appealing to players of all skill levels with its spectacular setting. Jones returned in 2018 to lead a full-scale bunker renovation project, restoring the course to its circa 1982 splendor.





At Palmetto Dunes, George Fazio Course is Hilton Head Island’s only par-70, and with a slope of 144 from the 6,873-yard back tees, it’s considered by many to be the most difficult resort course on the island. With just two par 5s and a series of meaty par 4s, proper tee selection is paramount. 


Preferred Private


It’s a well-established pattern: a week-long visit to Hilton Head Island one year turns into a month-long stay the following year. Eventually golfers fall in love with Golf Island and relocate to enjoy its laid-back lifestyle year-round. And when they do, Sea Pines Country Club is often the private golf venue of choice.


The only private club located inside the gates of the Sea Pines community – a 5,000-acre masterplan including the resort, Beach Club, shops, dining and more – Sea Pines Country Club’s Arnold Palmer-Clyde Johnston-designed layout is a pure Lowcountry offering replete with live oaks draped in Spanish moss, languid lagoons and native grasses. 


While not as widely known as the 18th hole on Harbor Town, the finishing hole at the club, set along one of the island’s largest tidal marshes, is an absolute stunner. Post round, members enjoy their favorite beverages and a variety of eats at the Blue Heron Pub and Grille or relax by the club’s expansive resort-style pool.


Where to Stay


For sheer convenience during a multi-day golf trip, it’s hard to top a rental home or villa at The Sea Pines Resort or Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. These vacation residences are fully-appointed with all the amenities of home, including flat screen TVs, washers and dryers, wireless internet and fully-equipped kitchens. 


Dining and Nightlife


There are more than 250 restaurants on Hilton Head Island ranging from celebrity chef-driven restaurants to locally owned seafood joints. For a true taste of Lowcountry waterfront dining, check out Skull Creek Boathouse or Skull Creek Dockside. 


Replenish calories burned from a long day on the links with a full Italian meal at Frankie Bones or a dry aged steak from WiseGuys. And whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, do not miss the chance to visit Java Burrito for the region’s best “Fresh Mex” and espresso. 


For those who prefer to grab a bite at or near the golf course, options abound. At Palmetto Dunes, Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers, Pizza at the Robert Trent Jones Course clubhouse is open seven days a week serving three meals a day. Links, an American Grill, in the stunning new Harbour Town Clubhouse, serves up signature filet, strip and porterhouse steaks. The LagerHead Tavern at Oyster Reef showcases Southern comfort food with a twist. 


Getting Here


Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) on the island’s north end offers non-stop and one-stop service from multiple hub cities and connections via American Airlines. Seasonal Saturday flights to/from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) are offered as of April 10, 2021


The new route complements year-round service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and seasonal service from Washington Reagan Airport (DCA), Chicago (ORD), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) and Philadelphia (PHL).  Book your flight to Hilton Head Island at www.AA.com.


Delta Air Lines Airlines also offers nonstop and one-stop service to HHI via its Atlanta (ATL) hub with connections from 200+ cities worldwide. 


Golfers can also utilize Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), with direct flights from numerous East Coast, Midwest and Texas airports. Southwest Airlines service began in March with six flights from five markets. 


Hilton Head Golf Island expert golf vacation planners are available to help you design your ideal Hilton Head Golf Island golf trip. Click here to complete a brief form and to receive a custom quote.


By Shane Sharp

Apr 7, 2021

Masters 2021 - Who Will Don The Green Jacket Come Sunday

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/07/2021 08:30:00 PM   No comments

It’s that time of the year when tour pros head down Magnolia Lane to compete at the illustrious Augusta National and compete for a green jacket and become a major winner and champion at Augusta.


I know around here this is the time of the year that signals the start of the new golf season. As golf courses open up here in Ottawa and tee times get snatched up. I know our family has a tee time Saturday but the Masters will still be our focus. All golf fans will be glued to their TVs Thursday through Sunday this week to see who will figure out Augusta.


So who is going to win this week? Every year it always seems to be only a handful of players that can win as Augusta generally plays hard and fast during April. Last November Dustin Johnson won his first green jacket but the course played very soft. DJ was a machine knocking off a pile of scoring records including the following during these soft conditions, and he is as short as 10/1 to retain the green jacket.


72-hole scoring mark

Johnson’s 20-under-par 268 broke the previous 72-hole record held by Tiger Woods (1997) and Jordan Spieth (2015) at 270.


First to reach 20 under in Masters history

By setting the scoring record, Johnson also became the only golfer to ever reach 20 under in Masters history. (Spieth got to 19 under before a final-hole 

bogey in 2015).


Low 54-hole score

Johnson’s 65-70-65 start put him at 16-under 200 through three rounds, matching Spieth’s mark from 2015.


First player to have two rounds of 65 in one Masters

A number of golfers have had a 65 and a 66 in one Masters, but only Johnson can claim to have shot a pair of seven-under-par 65s in one tournament.


Most consecutive subpar rounds at the Masters 

DJ put together four subpar rounds at the 2020 Masters, which combined with four in 2019 and the final three rounds of 2018 gave him 11 straight, one better than Tiger Woods managed from 2000-2002.


Playing the par 3s, 4s and 5s all under par and winning

Johnson became the 15th champion to play the par 3s, par 4s and par 5s under par for the week in which he won. Johnson was four under on the par 3s, five under on the par 4s and 11 under par on the par 5s. The last champion to do so was Charl Schwartzel in 2011.


Lowest stroke average of players with 25 to 49 rounds 

With his 268 total, Johnson now has played his 38 career rounds in 2,699 strokes for a stroke average of 71.02, which now marks the lowest stroke average of any player in that group with that many rounds.


Wire-to-wire winners

Sleeping on the lead at the Masters is always difficult. Doing so for three nights and winning is another thing altogether. Johnson led or was tied for the lead each of the first three days and then finished the job on Sunday. That puts him in good company with 11 other champions who did the same.


Fewest bogeys by champion

Avoiding bogeys is always good in a major, but difficult to do. Johnson made just four bogeys over the 72 holes at the 2020 Masters, which was the fewest of any champion in tournament history. The all-time best by a champion prior to 2020 was five bogeys, held by five different players, Jimmy Demaret (1940); Jack Nicklaus (1965); Ben Crenshaw (1995); Phil Mickelson (2004) and Trevor Immelman (2008).





Although DJ will be a huge favourite come Thursday.  Here's a few others that might don the green jacket come Sunday. I’m not really looking at first timers or players with little to no experience at Augusta.


Although the new and improved Bryson DeChambeau had just a so so Masters this past November I’m intrigued just like VJ Singh was watching him hit driver this week. Can he overpower Augusta? I'm willing to bet he just might, especially using a 4.5-degree driver. DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion is planning to use a 5.5-degree Cobra RadSpeed prototype driver this week at the Masters. However, the adjustable hosel mechanism will drop the loft down to 4.5 degrees. Pretty cool stuff from the “Scientist” of golf.


The best iron player in the world

Justin Thomas: When J.T. is on his game he’s a pleasure to watch from tee to green he can be downright perfect.He can grind with the best players in the world and I think thats what it will take this year. He's improved his final standing at the Masters each year over the last five years so it tracks that this week could be one of his best finishes.


Webb Simpson: Another elite iron player who has posted back-to-back top 10s in the last two years. and is a real threat to win here because of his elite iron play. He said last year that he started playing Augusta National more conservatively than when he first started playing Augusta. You can see the result in T5 in 2019 and T10 in 2020.

Spring Golf Awaits

By Ottawa Golf Blog   Posted at  4/07/2021 08:26:00 PM   No comments

You have to like this time of the year if you’re a golfer. Inundated with a plethora of email blasts with the latest and “greatest” golf clubs sure to improve your game. Plus there’s the various stay and play golf packages that you signed up for at a golf show. From Williamsburg, Virginia to Cobble Beach, Ontario. Everyone golf related is fighting for your golf dollar. With COVID 19 still not under control most golfers will be staying close to home although most normal years I’ve got various trips out of province and Country this won’t happen due to the epidemic again this season.


How do we disperse our golf dollars over the year. With so many taking up the game since the epidemic this might require a bit more thought than previous years. 


While most this week will be looking towards the Masters and the pristine fairways of Augusta National. Where many golfers love betting on their favourite golfer or looking for the perfect In-play betting tips. The Masters just seems like the start of Spring especially for the avid golfer but it will also be golfers scoping out there golf options.


For many golfers they’ll be trying to get that sacred tee time as the better weather arrives in Canada and more golf courses open up. Please note you might have to be a bit flexible as it’s going to be busy out there folks.


Trying out a few courses and maybe looking at getting a golf membership might be an option some golfers might be looking into. I know a few families looking at family memberships as a great way to get outside, have fun playing golf and socially distancing and being safe at the same time.


Wherever your golf dollar goes it’s only going to benefit golf long term and that’s great in my book. 




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