Communication, Handicaps and Dictators: 5 Things Every Group Leader Must Do

Myrtle Beach golf trip planning season is in full swing. Some of you have been organizing junkets for more than a decade while other annual buddies trips are in their infancy; either way there are a couple things all group leaders should do in advance of departure of day.

Here are five steps to take during the run-up to a golf vacation to ensure maximum fun:

– Regular communication is essential to a successful trip. While most of the messaging will revolve around tee times, golf courses, travel plans etc., at the end of every email, always ask: is everyone still good? Nobody wants to deal with a last-minute dropout. Sometimes there is a potential pitfall that isn’t likely to be an issue but is possible; people often ignore those problems, assuming things will work out. If there is a chance anyone isn’t coming, you want to know in advance.

– Strongly encourage (if not demand) everyone in your group to get a handicap. The system isn’t perfect but it’s pretty darn good and by far and the best option to level the playing field. As a bonus, the new USGA GHIN app is outstanding, allowing you to keep scores, stats and calculate handicaps for individual courses based on slope/rating. If people don’t want to pay, free services like The Grint will suffice. Getting a handicap is easy, and it saves you the headache of haggling over strokes.

– Unveil teams (if applicable) and pairings at least two weeks in advance of the trip. For starters, it generates more excitement as people start busting chops and predicting outcomes. Just as importantly, if you by chance make a mistake (unlikely I know), it provides plenty of time for correction. Sometimes there is a domino effect to pairings decisions and that’s not something you want to deal with onsite.

– If your group likes to hang out together afterwards, make decisions about where you are going and what you are doing in advance. Group discussions about where everyone wants to eat in the clubhouse parking lot are rarely productive, which leads us to our final tip …

– As the group leader, the golf trip isn’t “yours.” That being said, the trip and the decisions surrounding it aren’t a democracy. Have a few guys you lean on for counsel but at the end of the day, you should strive to be a benevolent dictator. Build a consensus amongst a couple people you trust and make a decision. Not every vote can count the same.

Take those five easy steps and you will be on your way to another great trip. If you have any planning trips, feel free to share.