Golf Vacation Tips from former PGA Player Rafe Botts

Are you planning a golf vacation soon and need some tips? Then, take the advice from golf professional Rafe Botts.

Q: Is it better to book a golf trip through a travel agent or do it yourself online?

A: It depends on the trip itself. If it’s just a golf trip, then it’s probably best to do everything yourself. As far as I know, most travel agents aren’t able to book tee times. If you need help finding information about golf courses, call a public course and they should be able to help you out.

Cimarran Golf resort Palm Springs

Cimarran Golf Resort, Palm Springs

Q: Would you recommend an all-inclusive golf resort?

A: Yes. If your trip is a golf trip, it’s probably the best deal around, and most all-inclusive resorts have incredible courses.

Q: If you’re only going to play one round of golf on your trip, is it really worth bringing your own clubs or should you just rent a set?

A: That depends on several things. Consider how much it’s going to cost you to bring your clubs on the plane. Airlines charge by the pound for extra luggage, and golfers know that clubs can be pretty heavy. It also depends on how easy it will to be to find extra space for your clubs in the rental car and hotel room. I can say that for most golfers, rental clubs are just fine. Some locations might also offer a nicer set of clubs, but you should have a great day of golf either way. If you’re good, the set of clubs you use won’t matter.

South Florida Golf Course, Credit-lylelivesay

South Florida Golf Course, Credit-lylelivesay

Q: Is it okay to bring your own snacks and water on the golf course?

A: No. Most clubs don’t allow you to bring anything with you on the course, even bottled water. There is an unwritten rule that it’s fine to bring your own snacks, as long as the club never sees it. Remember, they all sell food, drinks, water and alcohol, and they count on the sales of those products as part of their income.

Q: Which states are the best for golf vacations?

A: That’s easy: Florida on the East Coast and Southern California in the West. This doesn’t mean that all the other states have bad golf courses, but these two are the best for golf vacations.

Morango Golf Resort, California

Morango Golf Resort, California

Q. What are the biggest mistakes a novice golfer makes while playing golf on vacation?

A: The biggest mistake is forgetting that you tip everyone. Most everyone who works at a golf course resort makes most of their income from tips. So, remember, if someone treats you right, the cart guy, the starter, the guy in the pro shop, then tip the person. The next biggest mistake is drinking too much alcohol while on the course. It’s hard to shoot 18 holes with a good pace after a few drinks.

Q: Speaking of pace, what is the average you’re expected to keep on most golf courses?

A: It always 3.5 hours, but some will let you go up to 4 hours.

Industry Hill golf club, Calif- Credit-mtsac.edu

Industry Hill Golf Club, California – Credit-mtsac.edu

Q: If you’re bringing your own clubs, which do you recommend?

A: 3, 5, 7, 9, driver, 5 wood and a putter. And don’t forget to bring your own golf balls. They can be up to three times more expensive at a pro shop.

Q: Is it ever possible to play golf at private courses or courses where it’s hard to get a tee time?

A: Many of the most famous courses let non-members play during the off-season, in order to bring in more money for the course. It’s also the way to play for a lot less money.

Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Credit- synthetic-turf

Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, Credit- synthetic-turf

Q: What’s your best tip?

A: Remember to check with the golf course and know all their rules before going. Also, make sure that you have layers on you. This is an outdoor game, and weather can change without much notice; so, be prepared.


833Rafe Botts was born in Washington D.C in 1937. He received his first set of clubs from the golfer he assisted as a caddy, and he learned to play golf on a nine-hole course that, at that time, allowed African Americans to play. At the age of 23, Rafe went on to join the PGA Tour in 1961, becoming the second African American to do so. His career spanned 30 years, and he also spent time teaching the sport to aspiring golfers. Today, Rafe is retired and lives in Palm Springs.

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