Whether it's a trip to Iceland to golf on a glacier or a heli-golfing excursion in the British Virgin Islands, these incentive itineraries are any golfer's dream.
The bar has been raised when it comes to incentive golf. “Everyone these days is looking to do something different,” reports Jane Margulies, a senior vice president at RPMC, a Los Angeles — based entertainmentand promotion agency that plans high-end, innovative incentive programs. Just dream up a trip they'll never forget, whether to the home of golf — Scotland's St. Andrews — or golfing on a glacier in Iceland, and you'll find a company like RPMC that can plan it.
Here's just a sampling of dream golf itineraries:
Make It to the Masters
“Just dream up a trip they'll never forget, whether to the home of golf — Scotland's St. Andrews — or golfing on a glacier, and you'll find a company that can plan it.”
Ask golfers whichthey most dream of attending, and the Masters in Augusta, Ga., will win hands-down. Played in April on lush fairways and greens framed by fiery azaleas, the Masters is the ultimate golf spectator experience. Although tickets are almost impossible to obtain without connections, SGH Golf Inc., Cincinnati, has a Corporate Hospitality Program that can accommodate up to eight people sharing a luxury four-bedroom house for seven nights. The program includes tickets to practice rounds and the tournament, a welcome cocktail party, daily dinner at a host house, and other amenities.
Contact: SGH Golf Inc., (513) 984-0414, www.sghcorporateservices.com
See Tiger Defend His Title
Tiger Woods will defend his title at this year's U.S. Open, June 14 to 18, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Tuchman Sports Enterprises, New York City, is offering a Thursday-to-Sunday package for corporate groups, which includes tournament tickets, accommodations in a private home, and a variety of activities with former and current PGA Tour players, including dinners, golf instruction, and golf at selected courses in the area.
Contact: Tuchman Sports Enterprises, (212) 695-9480, www.esuperfan.com
Rocky Mountain High
Groups with a sense of adventure can travel in style between courses aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. This luxury train follows a route constructed more than 100 years ago through western Canada and the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. The group spends two days riding the rails, with accommodations at deluxe hotels and resorts along the way.
Among the courses on the itinerary are Kananaskis Golf Club, Jasper Park, Chateau Whistler, and Nicklaus North.
Contact: Intergolf, (800) 468-005; www.intergolfvacations.com
Ice Golf in Iceland
Iceland's links-style courses are set against a backdrop of mountains, frozen glaciers, and spewing geysers. Eighteen courses are within an hour's drive of the capital, Reykjavik, and more than 50 layouts are spread throughout the country. For an experience they will never forget, try golfing on a 2,000-foot glacier. During the summer, when the sun never really sets, golf-crazy participants can get in up to three rounds a day.
Contact: Iceland Tourist Board, (212) 885-9700
Give Them the Royal Treatment
The Royal Scotsman is Britain's version of the Orient Express. Atlanta-based tour operator PerryGolf charters the train, which accommodates up to 36 passengers, as part of British Open 2001 and 2002 and Ryder Cup 2001 itineraries. The Royal Scotsman features five-star service in its dining room, as well as evening entertainment. Depending on the itinerary, golfers play top courses such as Royal Dornoch, Ailsa, and Gleneagles, while nongolfers are escorted to castles and historic homes.
Contact: PerryGolf, (770) 641-9696, www.perrygolf.com
Experience the Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup Matches pit the best European golfers against America's golf elite. It has evolved into a premiere sports competitions with, not surprisingly, the toughest tickets to acquire. PGA Travel, based in Atlanta, the official travel company of the PGA of America and official distributor of Ryder Cup travel packages, is offering five- and six-night programs to the 33rd Ryder Cup, set for September 28 to 30 at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. PGA travel's Gold Tee Deluxe Package has a special surprise: Past U.S. Ryder Cup Matches team captain Billy Casper joins the group as host.
Contact: PGA Travel, (800) 283-4653 www.pgatravel.com
Heli-Golf in the Caribbean
If you're seeking isolation on an unspoiled, tropical island but don't want to give up access to golf, the 97-room Little Dix Bay Resort in the British Virgin Islands has the answer. Its “Heli-Golf Package” features a 24-minute flight from Virgin Gorda to St. Croix. Upon their arrival, golfers disembark from the helicopter directly onto one of the island's golf courses and are whisked away by golf cart to the first tee.
Contact: Rosewood Hotels, (888) Rosewood, www.rosewood hotels.com
Cruise Europe's Waterways
Kalos Golf, a Chapel Hill, N.C. — based tour operator, offers luxury golf cruises on Europe's waterways aboard small (45-cabin), elegant river cruisers. Choose from among 11 itineraries along the Danube and Rhine rivers, the Italian and French Riviera, and throughout the Burgundy region of France, northern Italy, Spain, and Portugal. A golf celebrity serves as host for each trip, conducting clinics and playing with guests. Previous hosts have included former PGA Tour commissioner and architect Rees Jones. The 11-day trips have at least six rounds of golf, as well as sightseeing and recreational activities for nongolfers.
Contact: Kalos Golf, (919) 929-2990, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barge Through Ireland
Luxury barge trips offer a leisurely, memorable way to see Ireland and to play a few of its greatest courses. The Barge Lady, based in Chicago, features a golf-oriented cruise on Ireland's Shannon River aboard the Shannon Princess, a 105-foot-long, fully refurbished barge with accommodations for up to 12 people. The elegantly appointed cabins are similar to those on a private yacht. The seven-day itinerary includes gourmet dinners on board, sightseeing, and golf at courses such as Lahinch Golf Club and Glasson Golf & Country Club.
Contact: The Barge Lady, (800) 880-0071, www.thebargelady.com
Meet the Legends
For the past several years, CNN has staged a “Legends of Sport” promotion featuring CNN/Sports Illustrated anchor Fred Hickman. The program allows the winner of the contest to bring two friends to play golf for three days with Hickman at a major golf destination such as Pebble Beach. Another sponsor is brought in to share the sponsorship load; last year, that sponsor was Black & Decker.
Contact: RPMC, (818) 222-7762; www.rpmc.com
CMI Contributing Editor Ed Schmidt is a freelance writer with 20 years' experience writing for the golf travel market. He is based in Orlando.
Experience Europe's Grand Golf Destinations
SAN ROQUE CLUB
Situated in an Andalusian mansion in southern Spain, the 100-room San Roque Club is one of the most luxurious golf resorts in the world. Just 20 minutes from Gibraltar and one hour from Malaga, the resort is within easy access of the historic city of Cadiz, the sherry producers and horse breeders of Jerez, and the ancient city of Seville. The San Roque course, designed by Tony Jacklin, features views of mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Six other courses, including Valderrama, are minutes away. (800) 323-7500.
This opulent, castle-like residence, built in the 1830s in the county of Limerick in Ireland, has been transformed into a luxurious golf resort. The 63-room manor overlooks sprawling gardens, the River Maigue, and a Robert Trent Jones Sr. championship golf course. A parkland-style layout, the 7,100-yard course weaves around three lakes and the River Maigue. (800) 882-2656, www.carrgolf.com
STOKE PARK CLUB
About an hour from London, Stoke Park Club, a 900-year-old estate, has long been one of the most revered private clubs in Britain. Two years ago, it opened its doors as a hotel, the centerpiece of which is the 27-hole, Harry Colt — designed golf course that was the setting for a scene in the James Bond thriller Goldfinger. The clubhouse features snooker and billiards rooms, private dining rooms, indoor pool, and tennis courts. 44-0-1753-717171, www.stokepark.co.uk