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Travel Tips

As we prepare to travel, or are in the midst of travelling, there are always questions or concerns on a variety of topics.  On this page I will share my insights I have gained while travelling for pleasure, for golf tournaments, for a golf vacation with friends, or for business, that are sure to answer some of your questions. 

To Rent Or Not ?


​While I was working as Director of Golf in Grand Cayman and the Bahamas, both courses were affiliated with resorts, and one of the most frequent questions I would receive before guests would arrive was "Should I bring my own clubs or are your rentals any good?".  The answer to this question has a lot to do with you as an individual golfer, but here is what I can share.


As far as the quality of rentals goes, if you are travelling to a top or well known golf course or resort, they will have new updated equipment from the top of the line manufacturers.  Most good quaility courses now days have a rental agreement with a top manufacturer, where they will only rent that companies clubs and advertise the brand on their website, in turn the manufacturer will replace the equipment for the latest technology every year or at the most every two years.  So yes, the equipment is the top of the line but it is still used and a duffer may have been the first to use that driver and on his first swing roofed his drive causing a sky mark, so expect the odd blemish. 


I stated that this decision is based a lot on you. If you are going for pure pleasure to just enjoy the course and will not become irate if the clubs go a slightly further distance, or the putter is not face balanced like yours, or the driver doesn't have the same weighted and tipped shaft as yours, go ahead and leave your clubs behind, travel light, don't stress about whether your clubs are on the plane, and use the rentals.  Besides, this gives you an excuse for the odd arrant shot or missed putt, and we all want to blame something other than ourselves, don't we?


If you are going to lose control for every shot that doesn't come off perfect and the mere fact of putting with anything other than your beloved custom fit "Scotty" causes you to lose sleep, bring your clubs.  Rentals are not yours, so if you are the type that after every imperfect shot to state that you would have done better with your own clubs or if the fact of a loss of your near perfect game will turn you into a volcano irrupting on a beautiful course taking away from the serene calmness of the ocean lapping up against the fairway's edge and the near perfect sunset over the eighteenth hole, then bring your own clubs.


Oh, and rentals are revenue for the club, so please don't call and state that the airline now charges you to bring your own clubs and ask for a cheaper rate because $60 USD is too much for rentals.


I personally have left my blades at home and am renting graphite shafted cavity backs and enjoying the beauty of the courses and the pleasure of playing abroad.


See you in the fairway.

Dress code? I thought this was a resort...


Oh how many times did I hear this while working in the Caribbean and look up to meet a person standing in front of me with a tank top, swim shorts, and flip flops with a face of disgust.  


Yes, some courses may be located at a beachfront or oceanside resort, but that does not mean all the golf's traditions and dress requirements are thrown out to sea. Many of these resorts boast some of the best layouts from top course architects and also may have a membership affiliated with them, so yes, they still require you to adhere to a dress code to play.


How difficult is it to pack a collared golf shirt, a pair of socks, and one pair of shorts that are not swim shorts or jean cut offs? I am sure you have room for this.  If you don't want to pack the shirt, you could always buy a logoed shirt from the resort and when your friends back home ask what the logo is, you can brag about the oceanside layout that you brought to its knees. 


So save yourself the embarrassment.  If you are thinking of playing while you vacation or travel, take a golf outfit or at least go to the courses website or call and inquire about their dress code before you leave. And please, if you don't take a collared shirt refrain from lambasting the poor girl in the golf shop that is only doing her job in informing you that you can't play in your favorite beer logoed tank top and ever fashionable cut off jean shorts. If you keep your calm and smile, she may even offer you a discount on some new apparel since you forgot your attire. 


Ladies, this goes for you as well, no bikini top or short shorts. They are fantastic on the beach but not for the course. 


Who knows, you may even find that perfect golf outfit you always wanted, so at least you'll look like a pro, now lets see if you can play like one. 


See you in the fairway.

“I'm a testimonial. Click me to edit and add text that says something nice about you and your services. Click me to edit and add text that says something nice about you and your services.”​
Samantha Jones, Project Manager​

Caddying, the lost art.


Nowadays in Canada and the U.S., it is rare if you have a caddie as they are only found at the top private clubs whose gates are closed to most of the golfing public, or at 5 star 6 diamond resorts that many cannot afford to play.


Sad really, as having a caddie is a treat.  Caddies will not only give you history and stories about the club, but will read the greens like they are children's books, give you the correct yardage from anywhere on the course, and know all the best ways to play each hole. Invaluable really. You have your own GPS of the course and the greens for the day. Now only if we could follow their directions, we could have our career rounds. 


If you are travelling in the Caribbean or Asia you are in luck as you will have these golf guru's appointed to you at most courses. I was recently at a course and two visitors were griping about having to pay a green fee, caddie fee, and of course the obligatory tip. Yes, yes and yes. But don't look at this in a negative way as they did, as how often do you get a caddie? 


It can be an incredible experience, not only because of what I already mentioned, but they will usually be pretty good players themselves and will see your flying elbow or reverse weight shift and in their friendly way will correct your flaws and having you flushing the ball. Or if you do slice one over four fairways into the bush, they will never snicker at you like your buddies back home.  Instead they will either figure out a way for you to play the shot, or at least find your beloved Pro V (Fabergé egg) that you were sure was lost forever and return it to you. 


Who knows, you may get your own Danny Noonan, Eddie Lowery, or even better, don't forget Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and many other golfing legends got their start in the caddie yards, so you could be walking with a future Hall of Famer.  Caddies are a lost art in North America, so look forward to the opportunity as you travel. Yes it might be a small added expense but it really takes golf back to its nostalgic days, so enjoy the unspoiled walk.


Remember, a caddie is not your servant for the day. Treat them with respect, listen to their stories or advice, and don't forget the tip. If you are really unsure of the tip, just ask the local pro or clubhouse manager and they will give you the low, average, and high, giving you a great idea what your guru for the day was worth.  


See you in the fairway.

You know when you are anticipating something so much that you over hype it and it lets you down?  Well Augusta National and the Masters is the opposite. It exceeds any of your expectations or wildest dreams that you have imagined.

I have had the privilege to stroll the impeccable grounds of Augusta National soaking up the mythical and magical atmosphere of that which is the Masters on four different occasions and it has never ceased to amaze me. Here are five things that make the Masters, well ..... The Masters.

Your Reserved Seat is Ready

Only at Augusta National and the Masters can you place your seat somewhere, leave it for half the day and it will still be waiting for you when you come back.  That's right, even in a prime position on Sunday.  Here's what you do.  Purchase a Masters logged green director style chair at one of the concession stands (yes these are a great bargain as the food and other merchandise) and then walk quickly, as there is no running on the grounds of Augusta National, find your perfect spot to set up your chair, place your name or business card in the little space provided in the back of the chair and then go explore.

I usually place mine by the pond to the left of 16 green first thing in the morning and then go see the players warming up on the range, a few teeing off one, and then stroll around soaking up the action on various holes.  Once returning to my spot, I am greeted by my neighboring patrons and enjoy my very own reserved best seat in the house.

Anywhere else my chair would be missing and everyone sitting there of course would have no idea where it went.  Yes, only at Augusta and the Masters can you reserve your own spot, walk away and return to a packed viewing area with your empty chair waiting for you.

Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, Beer and Other Necessities.

I know you've heard about the prices of food at the Masters and how it remains so inexpensive to all the patrons.  It is true, a sandwich for $1.50, an ice Tea for $1.50 and a beer for $3.50 is unimaginable at a sporting event these days.  But what you haven't heard is the experience in getting the food and drinks from the venders.

As you approach a concession area, you will be joining a hundred other hungry patrons and think "this could take a while", but as you seem to keep strolling ahead marveling at the green Master logged wrappers of all the goodies and grabbing your favorites while reaching for your fifth collectible logos plastic cup of beer, you just keep moving forward.  You reach the cashier without ever waiting and you are back out to the encompassing roars of action before you realize what magic just happened.

You, and hundreds of others walked in one end of the concession tent, chose what you wanted by simply grabbing your favorites stalked and waiting for you, paid and walked out with zero waiting time.  I have marveled at this every time, and it's just another reason why the Masters is cloaked in folklore.

The Roars Tell The Story

Wherever you happen to be on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club at the Masters, you will feel goosebumps as the noise starts as a faint applause and then keeps building to a crescendo of a roar.  You immediately look for one of the iconic scoring boards only found at the Masters and scan for who did what magic and on what hole.

This is what makes the Masters special, sitting or strolling around a perfectly manicured specimen of golf wonderland and then out of the quietness, leaves rustling from the gentle breeze and birds chirping away a peaceful melody, you hear it.  You know that something meaningful just happened and even though you aren't at the spot and will see the highlights on CBS or Golf Channel when you get back to your hotel for the week, you were there.  You felt it, you heard it, you experienced an iconic roar only heard echoing amongst the pines and azaleas of the Masters.

Am I In Heaven?

This is the thought after you come through the gates and start living, breathing and experiencing the Masters first hand.  You've seen the course on TV countless times, you know exactly where Hogan's Bridge is on Amen Corner, you can tell your friends the exact location of the fallen Eisenhower Tree, you've pictured the iconic clubhouse and it's umbrella like century old Oak Tree that people always gather under, but nothing, I mean nothing has prepared your senses and inner soul for the energy and electricity that encompasses the fabled grounds of Augusta and the Masters.

The hills are incredible, it is true that TV does not give the undulations justice and when you see the bunker on 18 that Sandy Lyle hit his winning approach shot from you marvel at it only the glaring Quartz like sand but the incredible lip and blindness of the shot out, up and into the unknown as you pray it's on the correct line to the green perched well up the fairway into what feels like the heavens.

You stroll over to the tenth hole and can picture the slope in front of you being just as much a black diamond ski slope as it is a golf hole gently bending to the left and dropping out of site. You can't help to notice that everything is a shade of green you have never witnessed before, beautifully accented by the whitest bunkering you have ever seen and the fresh aroma of flowers in the air of this previous nursery turned golf wonderland.

Everyone walks around in awe except for visiting superintendents from other courses as they will never be able to duplicate what they see and will be asked by all of the members over and over to do so.  However, if every course could duplicate pthis paradise, would it still be so enchanting?

The golf course is beyond perfection, and you have to rub your eyes to make sure you are actually seeing what you think you are.  Even the range area looks better than most golf holes you have played with its fairway-like look and small white bunkers dotted around giving you the feel that the players are warming up on another golf hole and not a range.  The perfect short game area with a resemblance of the iconic bunkering and slick paced greens giving them a perfect replica of what's to come.

Yes, the Masters looks great on TV, but it's simply a spiritual experience for all your senses in person.  The hair on your body seems to stand on end from the time you walk through the gates in the morning until you leave the hollowed grounds in the evening.  This is not a golf tournament, it truly is "a tradition like no other".

Parking, This Is Going To Take A While

The tournament is over and now you and the thousands of other patrons walk down the course to the gates reminiscing about what you have witnessed and not really wanting this fairy tail to end.  Then it dawns on you, everyone is leaving at the same time!  It is going to be gridlock! Maybe we should have left earlier to beat the crowd.

Every other sporting event I have been to, these are the thoughts going through your head walking to your car parked in an overpriced lot, as you know you will be inching and stopping going nowhere fast. The sounds of frustration, honking, yelling, fists and other fingers in the air of people just wanting to get home after a long day.

However, this is the Masters and you are about to experience something unexplainable.  You walk out with a sea of people, everyone getting in their vehicles and all of a sudden you find yourself in a moving line of cars.  Yes, moving! You are not breaking speed limits but you are steadily moving and being ushered out by the security guards waving you this way and that.

The next thing you realize is that you are on Washington Avenue heading out of town. How is this even possible?  No yelling, no honking, no frustrations except you have to wait another year for a Pimento Cheese sandwich.  Yes, this is one aspect I have no words for as it is unexplainable.

I Hope Everyone Of You Can Experience Disneyland For Golf

The Masters experience is truly like no other, and the organizers and committee have every detail down to an art form.  Nothing at the Masters can be duplicated, many will try, but once you have been, you realize this is Disneyland for golf.

For anyone who is going this year, enjoy every moment of the experience.  For those who have been before, pull up your souvenir Masters logged director chair up to your flatscreen tv, have a cold beverage out of one of your many collectible plastic logged cups and try to duplicate the pimento cheese sandwich and reminisce about the time you were there. For those that have not been, enter the lottery and make as many calls to connections as you can, and you too will be soon lost in the magical world that is the Masters at Augusta National.

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