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Golf travel with students—the latest trends and tips

Dec 16, 2019

First, you coach them to a better golf game. Then, you take them to places in the golf world they’ve never seen. Nothing builds the teacher-student bond better.

The so-called “destination golf school” at the high-end resort staffed by magazine-cover pros was big business a generation ago. Some of those fly-in resort schools remain, but very few compared to the glory days. In the time since, enterprising golf instructors who enjoy traveling for fun and profit have been taking their students on group trips to great places. It’s a way to deepen the coach-student relationship while helping average golfers get more enjoyment out of their golf-vacation investment.

These are favorable times for any go-with-the-teaching-pro effort, according to golf travel expert Ed Schmidt, Jr. Schmidt points out that Baby Boomers are teed up perfectly for this activity, given how much free time and disposable income they possess, compared to Gen X and Millennial golfers.

“Boomers play more golf than any other age group and many are intent on playing the courses at the top of their bucket lists,” Schmidt explains. “In 2019 and beyond, more Boomers will travel in off-peak seasons to capitalize on discounted trips. Many trip offerings like golf cruises, packages to major championships and pro-ams are designed to appeal to Baby Boomers.”

Women are a big part of this trend, he notes, as affluent retiree couples include golf in their itineraries even as they build in side trips to cultural and historic landmarks. And this is where the instructor who has taught any non-golfing spouse how to play well enough to participate in such trips is perfectly positioned. Any seasoned teacher ought to have at least four cases of a couple that became a golf twosome thanks to their coaching. Invite those players on a trip and they have every reason to say yes.

Award-winning instructor Brad Redding built up repeat business for his annual trip down to PGA Village in Port St Lucie in February and March. “It’s a four-day trip to get their games ready for spring,” says Redding. “The format is golf in the morning and three hours of instruction in the afternoon.” The afternoon instruction includes plenty of supervised practice, an element of game-improvement that has been rising in perceived value among amateur golfers. Meanwhile the morning 18 can act as a playing lesson with focus on decision-making—another hot topic in teaching.

Rob Stocke, director of instruction at White Columns Country Club in Milton, Ga., views travel and touring as the ultimate connection with golfers. “No matter how much time you spend teaching lessons or in the shop,” Stocke maintains, “nothing compares to spending time with members during a golf trip.”

Any golf instructor thinking ahead to the off-season and considering a trip to warm weather with students in tow will want to consider Sea Island, the landmark golf resort in the Golden Isles region of coastal Georgia. Sea Island has a heritage of world-class golf and brilliant instruction to go with its natural beauty and sophisticated luxury—and all that was before two highly relevant things happened. First, a gleaming new citadel of game-improvement, the 17,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Golf Performance Center, was added to the amenity package. Second, an appealing getaway opportunity was created, the “Sea Island Pro Program.”

Any teacher who participates will receive a $50 Sea Island resort credit for every paid room-night housing a student the professional brings along—this applies to all of the resort’s stellar overnight options: The Lodge, The Cloister, The Cottages, or The Inn. In addition, the professional’s room and golf will be complimentary in every instance where a traveling party of seven or more golfers joins him or her. At the end of the year, a Sea Island gift card gets sent to the professional, to be spent on rooms, food, beverage, resort activities or to purchase merchandise from the Sea Island website.

To learn all about Sea Island’s special travel offer to instructors, Click Here.