Planning a fun, cost-effective golf vacation: Advice and travel tips from Sean Petersen

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Sean Petersen discusses the best way to plan a cost-effective golf vacation, along with some of his favourite golfing destinations.
Posted on
May 16, 2024
The Editorial Team in , ,
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


Sean Petersen is the founder and owner of Golf Trip Junkie. By virtue of his thriving business, which came into existence in 2004, he has organised thousands of memorable golf vacations for a wide range of customers to some of the world's most famous destinations, including Palm Springs, Scottsdale, Orlando, Ireland, and the Dominican Republic. Golf Trip Junkie was born out of Sean's biggest passions – golf and travelling. Golf Today had the pleasure of connecting with him to discuss how to plan a cost-effective golf vacation, as well as divulging his most valuable travel tips.

What is the most important piece of advice you have for golfers who are looking to reduce the cost of their vacation?

There are many ways you can cut back on costs when planning a golf vacation, some of which are readily available and accessible to people who'd like to play a few rounds, even on some of the world's most famous courses. If you want a cost-effective golf trip, a wise idea would be to choose packages instead of booking your flight, lodging, greens fees, and meals individually.

Standard package deals typically include several golf rounds, lodging, and resort fees; but you can also have a customised golf trip depending on your requests, budget, and, ultimately, what you want to get out of the experience. By bundling these elements of a golf vacation together in a package deal, you can obtain what you're seeking at a better price.

18th hole at Saguaro Golf Course
18th hole at Saguaro Golf Course

Does season play a role when organising a low-cost golf trip?

Yes. Another important thing you can do to reduce your trip's cost is to choose the shoulder season instead of the peak season, as everything will inevitably be more expensive during the latter. If you have a flexible calendar, it's best to book your trip at a time of year when the world isn't travelling. Often, the weather is just as good, and the prices drop by as much as 50% or more. As you'd expect, high season is the prime time to visit a golf destination based on weather and playing conditions, which results in high prices and large crowds. Low season, however, is the reverse. The only thing to be wary of is that courses may be doing some maintenance work during this time, so checking the schedule when booking your trip is essential.

Travel expenses often increase the cost of a golf vacation. How can golfers find cheaper plane tickets?

Finding a great flight deal will also help you cut back on costs when planning a golf vacation. It's a good idea to use flight aggregator tools such as Skyscanner or Google Flights. They show pricing for different routes and airlines on any given date. Because airline prices fluctuate so much depending on season and destination, doing your flight research in the early stages of your planning is going to be a major advantage. You can save a lot by finding a good deal on flights.

Another tip for reducing travel costs is booking flights a few months in advance, as this usually means lower prices. In the end, the key to a cost-effective golf vacation is doing your research and planning everything ahead while keeping your budget in mind.

What is one of the popular golf destinations at the moment?

Home to over 370 courses, Arizona is undoubtedly a golf haven and a popular destination for golf enthusiasts. The state receives more than 300 days of sun every year and offers a vast diversity of scenery, from classic desert views to high-mountain landscapes. This amazing variety makes it a no-brainer for golf aficionados year-round. Scottsdale and Phoenix have been popular golf destinations for decades, and for good reason.

However, because there is scorching weather most of the year, it's essential to golf early in the day, wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing — including a hat — and be vigilant about hydration if you're going to book a Scottsdale golf package. Furthermore, keeping a keen eye on the terrain is crucial when playing in the Grand Canyon State, as rogue swings can send golf balls into perilous terrain filled with cacti, rattlesnakes, and even Gila monsters. When it comes to golf courses, my top choices include the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale and the Cholla and Saguaro Courses at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club.

14th hole at We-Ko Pa
The 14th hole at We-Ko Pa set against the stunning snowcapped mountains

Do you have any recommendations for people who would like to golf in California?

Choosing a Palm Springs golf package would also make for a memorable golf vacation. The courses at PGA West are unmatched in the world, offering a unique golfing experience by virtue of acclaimed architects such as Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman. With warm weather and breathtaking desert scenery, this destination is a golfer's paradise.

Palm Springs is home to many world-class golf courses, attracting players from around the globe annually. Playing golf in California comes with a warning, though – if you hit your ball in the desert, which every player will do at some point – don't look too hard for it. Besides the chollas, there are other dangers, such as critters, that can beckon a call to the paramedics.

Finally, what are the best golf destinations in Florida?

Florida offers some amazing golf no matter the season, and no two courses are alike in the Sunshine State. This destination boasts over 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state, and TPC Sawgrass is by far a must-play for golfers of any skill level. Ranked as one of the best golf courses in the country, the Players Stadium Course was designed by renowned architect Pete Dye, who set out to test the world's best players by mixing distance demands with target golf. Most greens have lumps, bumps, and hollows, which the architect called his "grenade attack architecture."

If you decide to book a Sawgrass golf package, keep in mind that the Players Stadium Course is closed for several chunks of the year. In 2024, it will be unavailable between February 19 and March 18, June 3 and June 30, August 12 and August 16, and October 14 and November 3.


About Sean Petersen:

As the founder of Golf Trip Junkie, Sean Petersen’s deep-rooted passion for the sport infuses every trip he plans, ensuring each itinerary is meticulously crafted to perfection. Outside of his role as a golf travel expert, Sean channels his interest for golf into writing, where he shares his profound insights and expertise with fellow enthusiasts through engaging articles.

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About The Editorial Team

The editorial team at Golf Today strives to provide readers with captivating content that celebrates the rich heritage and exciting developments in the world of golf. Their collective expertise and dedication ensure that Golf Today remains a premier destination for golf enthusiasts seeking the latest news, insightful analysis, and engaging stories from the world of golf.

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