Buddy trips are a wonderful way to have both a great time and get some economies of scale on the cost side. The only issue with this type of trip is in the details and the details are what makes a trip marginal or fantastic. The first and most important decision that needs to made above and beyond anything else is who is going to be the lead person on the trip. You cannot do this with more than one person heading up your group. Look at this person as your benevolent dictator.
At the outset, the lead person should attempt to coalesce opinion from the rest of the travel team. These are the types of questions that need to be asked with a deadline for response:
- How much golf does the group want to play during the time frame of the trip?
- How much money do you want to spend on golf?
- Do you want to walk or take a cart/buggie on the courses?
- If you want to walk, do you want a caddy?
- Do you prefer to stay local or take road trips within the context of your trip?
- Do you prefer to travel by taxi, van or bus?
- Are you allergic to any type of food?
- How much are you budgeting for the trip (exclusive of airfare)?
Once your fellow golfers respond, you can then begin building your trip. You shouldn’t ask for any more input while you are constructing the trip. You are the benevolent dictator who is now responsible for eight people’s happiness including yourself. If you do the work early, you can enjoy the trip while you are there. Remember, you can’t please everyone and no one should be allowed to ruin the trip for the rest of the group.
Once you have put in place all of your tentative bookings, circulate the worksheet to the rest of your group. Give them a deadline for their comments or suggestions. Once agreed upon, either by consensus or flux, this becomes your trip. If someone complains during the trip (and someone always will), tell them as firmly and politely as you can that this plan was circulated in advance and anything that is changed now is subject to penalties. Also, point out that you worked on this plan in advance so that you could enjoy the holiday in the same way that he/she is. You have to assume the role of autocrat or your golf trip will fall apart and you will be miserable.
The key to buddy trips, no matter where you go, is the advance work. Keep everyone informed early and your troubles should end before they even begin.