Golf Travel

By Sharon Naylor

November 21, 2013 6 min read

While daydreaming of your fabulous getaway to a golf resort, thinking about the rounds you'll play surrounded by fabulous scenery and enjoying the fine dining and luxurious amenities of a five-star, award-winning resort, don't forget to pack well. Forgetting essential items can put a damper on your trip and lead to pricy purchases at the clubhouse or resort gift shop. Here are some of the most important items to remember for your golf resort escape:

--Golf clubs, but not every one you own. "I rarely bring a full set with me, as I am worried about (airline) weight limits. So I generally drop a few irons, taking just the odd or the even irons," says Paul Adams, PGA director of golf at Tucker's Point Club in Bermuda, part of the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts family. "With my set, I leave out the 3-, 5-, 7- and 9-iron. This saves a few pounds and means I can take a few extra gadgets." The experts at GolfLink suggest not taking clubs with you at all, since almost all high-end golf resorts offer rentals, which often include brand-name clubs like Callaway, Nike, Titleist and TaylorMade. Likewise, you may not need your golf bag, since many resorts offer wheeled ones. Resorts like Tucker's Point provide golf carts with full-screen GPS.

--GPS watch. Adams notes that a top-quality GPS watch can help you navigate the golf course, and some GPS gadgets (Adams suggests the new Callaway model) will also fire off a laser to get the actual distance to the flag rather than just to the green.

--Golf shoes. Blair Howard, author of's guide to golf resorts, recommends packing at least two pairs of waterproof, comfortable and well-fitting golf shoes, which will allow you to switch pairs on different golfing days and reduce pressure on your feet while walking the course. Add shoe bags to your luggage so you can safely re-pack shoes that have caked-on dirt or sand.

--Golf socks. Howard says these are essential, since some courses may be wet or because hot days can cause sweating. You want to keep your feet dry to prevent athlete's foot from developing. Lightweight cotton socks wick away moisture. Or if your destination is in a cold snap, socks can help you stay warmer during play.

--Golf gloves. Keep at least two pairs, so that in the case of a tear or loss, you have a second set to which you can turn. These are often the items most forgotten, leading to expensive purchases at the golf shop.

--Golf balls. It seems so obvious, especially when golfers believe they have plenty of them in their golf bags. A new box of balls, however, ensures you'll have an ample supply.

--Clothing. You'll need to be sure your clothing complies with the course's dress code for golf rounds, which often entails such items as collared or polo shirts, and khaki pants. If you don't adhere to these rules, you mat not be able to play the course. Waterproof golf shirts are also good to pack. Adams suggests bringing a variety of them -- cotton and tech -- so you can coordinate your clothing to the weather and hours of play. You'll also need clothing that complies with dress codes of the fine restaurants you might visit. Some require button-down shirts and ties for the men, and dresses for women. Pack swimwear and coverups, and clothing or shoes for any touring you might do at your destination.

--A jacket. Make it waterproof to keep you dry during a rainy round. Adams recommends a super-lightweight waterproof jacket like the ZR jacket, made by Zero Restriction. Don't forget tropical destinations can have cool, breezy nights, and European golf resorts may have a cool season, so pack a jacket for non-golf wear. A vest, which allows you range of motion while wearing, may also be smart to pack for additional warmth.

--Sunscreen. No matter what the temperature, you'll be exposed to harmful UVA and UVB rays, so load up on various sunscreen products, including waterproof sport sprays for the body and top of your head, and SPF sticks for your nose, earlobes and lips. A hat made of UV ray-blocking material, like those made by Tilley Hats, surpasses a simple sun visor.

--Sunglasses. A quality pair of UVA- and UVB-blocking sport sunglasses can be essential to your vision during play, and is a must for any time you spend at a pool or beach at the resort, as well as touring excursions. These, too, are items people often forget to pack.

--Cellphone and charger. You'll be playing on a vast course, so if you need to call for help in an emergency situation, or if your travel partners back at the resort need to reach you, you'll require a reliable and well-charged phone, perhaps one with an international plan if you're traveling overseas.

--Camera. Many cellphones take great, high-resolution photos, but you may want your top-quality camera to capture an iconic hole on a PGA course or your hole-in-one celebration.

--Miscellaneous important items. Howard suggests the following: your prescription medications, pain medicines, sore muscle rubs, Band-Aids, blister pads, electrical adapters, lip balm, a drink dispenser, snack packages, full toiletry sets and an umbrella. Bring large and small denominations of cash for your vacation needs, particularly for tipping the bar-cart attendant bringing you drinks on the course. Eco-friendly tote bags, like Envirosax minitotes, can hold your garbage until you can reach a trash or recycling receptacle.

Adams also suggests bringing a great "sports psychology book ... anything by Pia Nilsson," such as "Every Shot Must Have a Purpose." He says it can get you in the mindset for the best golf games of your life.

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