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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

Golf: Vacations

Boomer makes his putt

Tips for a Great Golf Vacation

Play it smart: if you're booking a golf vacation, here are some tips to get the most for your money.

How do you get a tee time at an exclusive private course? Upgrade to a better hotel room? The experts offer some tips for playing it smart.

Play at an exclusive private course
When it comes to booking the best private courses, it often comes down to local connections. Stay at a hotel with pull. Many resorts have special access to courses not normally open to the public. Take the time to find out if your hotel has any affiliations with the top private courses. Not all packagers are created equal.

If you're buying a hotel and golf package, keep in mind that PGA Professionals or former pros are more likely to be able to open doors at private courses. (Note: this more often than not is an "ask-and-don't-tell" situation. Even if your packager is well-connected, you likely won't see this advertised. Members of expensive private clubs don't like having tee times to their courses advertised.)

Upgrade your hotel room
Get the room upgrade without paying a penny more – just by asking nicely. While you'll naturally have a better chance of scoring a free upgrade if the hotel is slow, you'll often get one just by asking for it.

A courteous request for "a nicer room" is accommodated more often than you might think – just make sure to ask upfront, before you're locked into a specific room, and mention if it is a special occasion. Also, let it be known if you have any special needs. Even if you "miss the moment" at check-in, express politely any displeasure with your room. You may still get the upgrade or at least reassignment to a more suitable room.

Rental car upgrades
Similar to airlines, rental car companies typically overbook – and unsurprisingly, economy cars are usually the first to go. If you're renting a car online, book the cheapest car available and chances are you'll get a better car without even asking for it.

Just show up
Frustrated because that dying-to-play course is booked? No worries – just show up. No matter how popular the course and how crammed the tee sheet, you still might find an opening. Singles have been known to get on even at Pebble Beach, and twosomes are usually a safe bet at other big name courses.

Get out of the crowded airport – and onto the golf course
Use a skycap outside the terminal to handle your baggage. Typically, a $5 tip will buy priority first class/elite mileage holder tags for your bags - even if you're in the last row of coach. Your bags will come off the plane in the first wave.

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