Does your dream vacation involve hitting the links? With a bit of planning, you can make golf the central component of your next trip. Here are the factors to zero in on when selecting the perfect spot for your upcoming holiday.
• The surroundings. For many, the beauty of the course and its natural surroundings are essential to having a great golf holiday. Think about the particular type of weather and terrain you most appreciate and plan accordingly.
• The difficulty. Even if it’s the most stunning course you’ve ever played on, you probably won’t enjoy yourself if you need to take too many extra strokes. Look at the course and slope ratings to determine the level of difficulty.
The course rating is the score the average scratch golfer shoots on the course. The course slope indicates a course’s difficulty for a bogey golfer. It ranges from 55 (very easy) to 155 (very difficult), with 113 representing a standard level of difficulty.
• The price point. A golf trip can be planned and executed on any budget. The most affordable options tend to be golf packages that include accommodations, green fees and sometimes club storage, cart rental, driving range access and deals on dining.
• The extras. Since you can’t spend the entire day golfing, it’s a good idea to find out what else the area has to offer. For instance, you might opt to stay at a resort with an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Or you might select a golf course near a town where there’s lots to do. These are especially important considerations if there are non-golfers among your travel companions.
Once you find the course you’re looking for, make sure to book your holiday well in advance. You aren’t the only one dreaming of a golf getaway!
Let’s not forget about our own great courses here in Warren County.
A beginner’s guide to golf equipment
Are you hoping to take up golf this summer but don’t know a wood from a wedge? Here’s a rundown of the equipment you’ll need before heading to the golf course.
You can have up to 14 clubs in your golf bag. These are the main ones you’ll use to get the ball down the fairway and into the hole.
• The driver packs the most punch. It’s used to launch balls from the tee box.
• Irons are the most used clubs. They’re put to work for middle-distance and approach shots. It’s easier to control your ball flight with an iron than with a wood. Golfers tend to have five to seven irons in their bag (not including the wedges).
• Hybrids are a cross between irons and woods. They deliver greater control than woods but more distance than irons.
• Wedges have the most loft and are used for shots around the green.
• The putter is used on the green to tap the ball into the hole.
Here’s everything else you’ll need while out on the links.
• A golf bag to put all those clubs in.
• Proper golf attire including a collared shirt and golf slacks or a skirt. Most golf clubs have a dress code you’ll need to follow.
• A golf glove so you can grip clubs more easily.
• Golf shoes so you can keep your balance when swinging.
• Golf balls, tees, divot tools and ball markers — all of which you can fit in your bag.
Before heading out on the course for the first time (or the first time in a while), it’s worth having a lesson with a professional. Golf is a highly enjoyable sport but it takes some time to get the hang of.
Which camping experience is right for you?
Whether you’d rather battle the elements or preserve your comfort, there’s a camping experience that’s right for you. Here are some of the different ways you can get close to nature this summer.
Are you an experienced camper who wants to venture deep into the wilderness? Then backpacking may be right for you. This type of camping involves carrying all your gear on your back and hiking to one or more remote campsites. Sleep at the base of a mountain, at the edge of a stream, on the shore of a lake or anywhere else your feet may take you.
RV camping is more comfortable than tent camping. It’s especially practical if you want to live in the wilderness for an extended period or if you want to visit a number of different parks. There are RVs for every budget, from small folding camping trailers to luxury motorhomes. If buying isn’t an option, it’s also possible to rent RVs.
Cabin camping is perfect if you’re looking for a home away from home nestled in the wilderness. There are many types of cabins that can be rented, all the way from modest shacks to luxurious cottages. Undoubtedly, at a certain point a camper becomes a cottager, but you can decide for yourself where that line falls.
No matter what type of camper you are, remember to always let someone know where you’re going and when they can expect you back. Happy camping!
12 safety tips for your next hiking adventure
Ready to venture through the wilderness? Here are 12 tips for staying safe during your next hike.
1. Choose a trail that’s appropriate for your skill level
2. Never hike alone
3. Let someone know where you’ll be and when you plan to be back
5. Start early and make sure to finish your hike before nightfall
6. Check the weather and trail conditions before heading out
7. Pack the appropriate gear, even for a short hike
8. Know what animals are native to the area and what to do if you encounter them
9. Wear appropriate footwear and bright, visible clothing
10. Snack frequently and drink water before you get thirsty
11. Protect yourself from the sun and insects
12. Be careful near precipices
Above all else, stay on clearly marked trails and use your common sense. If something looks like it could be dangerous, keep your distance
Essential gear for summertime hiking
Anything can happen in the wilderness. That’s why it’s important to be well equipped when hiking, even if you’re only planning on being out on the trails for a few hours. Here’s a list of everything you need for a day hike.
• Backpack (20 to 40 liters is ideal) and a waterproof bag cover
• High quality hiking shoes and socks
• Moisture wicking clothing
• Sun protection including a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
• Head lamp and spare batteries
• Trail map and a compass
• Toilet paper
• Fully charged phone
• Plenty of water
• Food and snacks
• Survival kit that includes a multi-purpose tool, duct tape, rope, a lighter, a whistle, a survival blanket and water purification tablets
• First aid kit that includes adhesive bandages, scissors, splints, bug spray, over the counter pain medications, tweezers and antiseptic ointment
• Trekking poles (not essential, but nice to have in many scenarios)
You may not use everything on this list during your hike, but if you need it, you’ll be happy you thought ahead.
8 ways to save money on your summer vacation
Looking to take a summer vacation, but don’t want to spend too much? Stay within your budget by following these eight tips.
1. Travel locally. If you stay close to home, you’ll save money on transportation and accommodations. You might be surprised at what your area has to offer.
2. Find free activities. Many municipalities host summer events at no charge. Alternatively, take advantage of the bike paths, waterways and parks that are always free.
3. Time your trip right. Avoid vacationing during the high season when there will be more tourists and higher prices to pay.
4. Factor in exchange rates. The foreign exchange rate can make a seemingly good deal unaffordable, or a pricey trip surprisingly inexpensive.
5. Plan ahead. In general, the earlier you book your flight and hotel, the less you’ll pay. You’ll also pay less for flights in the middle of the week as opposed to flying on a weekend.
6. Avoid hotels. There are many cost-effective alternatives to hotels. Look for local campgrounds, youth hostels or vacation rentals instead.
7. Cook your own meals. Choose a vacation rental with a kitchen or a hotel room with a kitchenette. One trip to the grocery store may be all you need to feed you for a week.
8. Consult a travel agent. They may be able to access lower prices for plane tickets and accommodations that aren’t available to the general public. Travel agents are also great sources of information about your destination.
With careful planning, you can have a great vacation this summer without breaking the bank.
6 ways to enjoy the great outdoors
Ready to head outdoors and take in the fresh air and awe-inspiring views? Here are six ways to get out into nature this summer and have fun doing it.
1. Hiking. Head into the woods for a day of walking through the wilderness. Hiking trails are easily found all across the country, so pick one that matches your skill level and enjoy the excursion.
2. Horseback riding. Riding is a great way to connect with an animal while tramping through the woods with friends.
3. Camping. What better way to get back to nature than with a few days of camping? Escape the hustle and bustle of modern life so you can enjoy sleeping under the stars.
4. Kayaking. This type of paddling is ideal for most outdoor explorers, whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a relaxing afternoon on the water.
5. Cycling. If you’re looking for a way to combine sightseeing with exercise, use bike paths and trails to explore a region’s must-see treasures.
6. Bird watching. Find a quiet spot on a bird reserve and keep your eyes peeled. This is the perfect way to spot birds and other animals in their natural habitat. If you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded by seeing a variety of wildlife.
Large parks are among the best places to participate in these activities. Consider spending time exploring national and state parks in your area this summer. All of this is our own backyard.