Exploring New Courses

    One of the great pleasures in the game of golf is having the opportunity to explore new courses for the first time. Golf is unique in the fact that every course offers a different playing surface from all others in the world. No two courses are identical, even if some do share a variety of characteristics. When you play most other sports, the playing field remains mostly the same from place to place, with perhaps just minor changes here and there. Not so in golf. The whole experience is new when you tee it up at a new course, and that is one of the most exciting things about taking part in this hobby.

    Unfortunately, despite the fun that can be had by exploring new courses, many golfers get stuck in a rut of playing the same course round after round. While there is nothing wrong with having a ‘home course’ where you play most of your rounds, your enjoyment of this game would almost certainly be enhanced if you teed it up in more locations. The tips below are designed to help you do just that.

  • Look for deals. One of the best ways to play a variety of courses in your area is to watch for deals online for cheap tee times. If you are able to play during non-peak times – like weekday afternoons, for example – you just might be able to get great rates on some quality courses. Monitor web sites that sell tee times and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save. Golf can be an expensive game, but watching tee time discounts is a great way to play more golf without breaking the bank.
  • Ask about reciprocal arrangements. If you are a member at a private club, there is a good chance that your club has a ‘reciprocal’ agreement with other clubs in the region. These usually aren’t courses in the same town or county, but maybe courses that are a few hours’ drive away. In most cases, a reciprocal agreement means you will be able to play the other course at no charge, and members of that course will be able to come visit your course for free, as well. This is one of the biggest perks to private course membership. Ask in the pro shop at your club about any reciprocals which may be available for you to use. Typically, you will have to ask the pro shop to call the other course to make a tee time, rather than calling yourself.
  • Play in tournaments. Another way to play new courses is to enter yourself in local and regional tournaments. You don’t necessarily have to be an accomplished player to use this plan, as there are plenty of competitions which use net scoring (using your handicap) to level the playing field. This plan might get you onto private courses that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise, or it may simply cause you to go places that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
  • Take a golf vacation. One of the great joys of being a golf is taking a golf-specific vacation to a great destination in some beautiful part of the world. You probably won’t be able to play this kind of golf very often – it is quite expensive, after all – but as a rare treat, it certainly is a thrill. Within the United States, there are some great golf destinations, such as Palm Springs, California and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. When booking such a trip, look for ‘stay and play’ packages which combine your room and your golf into a single rate. Of course, it isn’t always easy to travel with a golf bag, so make sure to plan your transportation well in advance. You can take clubs on the flight with you, if you have a durable travel bag, or you can even have your clubs shipped ahead to your destination.
  • Most likely, you are going to play one golf course significantly more than all others. Maybe that course just happens to be your favorite, or maybe it is close to home and offers fair greens fees. Whatever the case, you can have plenty of fun playing the same course for most of your rounds. However, don’t let that pattern get in the way of trying out new courses from time to time. Whether you make tee times at other courses in your area, or you decide to take a trip to a golf destination, experiencing new layouts never gets old.