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Welcome to GOLF’s Travel Mailbag, a series in which members of our staff field your course- and travel-related queries. Have a question for a future mailbag? Tweet us at @golf_com.
How do you make a golf trip work with kids? -@garethpaul via Instagram
A golf trip? Great! A golf trip with kids? Now that’s a little different! But that doesn’t mean it has to be any less fun than hanging out with your buddies — if nothing else it will be more wholesome. (Although there’s a slight chance you might mean how to make a trip work while leaving the kids at home, but in the rare event that’s the actual question, that’s something to discuss with your spouse, not GOLF’s highly respected Travel Mailbag.)
Anyway! As one of several dads on the GOLF.com staff, I raised my hand to tackle this tricky mailbag question. First, though, there are some things that are important to clarify. Is this a golf trip with just a dad or mom and kids, or the whole clan? And are the kids golfers? Or are they just along for the ride? Is it a golf trip with kids or a family vacation where you are trying to squeeze in some golf? Planning might be different. Trips with kids need kid-friendly activities, and more refined extracurriculars for dad or mom never hurts either.
Either way, we’ll cover it all. Here are four tips to knock out a golf trip when it’s not just you and your buddies.
1. Water is your friend (no, not on the golf course)
Most great golf resorts offer at least one, if not several, pool options. For example, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is host to the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open. There’s two great courses you can play there. Plus, look at these photos. When you are done with a morning round, the backside of the resort is an unreal watery oasis of slides, lazy rivers, pools and sun loungers. Even mom and dad would love a place like this.
2. Share the wealth
My first golf trip with my wife and daughter was at Hammock Beach in Florida. I played golf on the Ocean Course one morning and my wife got a spa treatment the next day. Splitting the parenting duties makes it easier on everyone.
3. Off-course splendor
If it’s not all golf all the time, then it’s important to find other activities to fill afternoons. Play mini golf, ride go-karts, shop downtown, get ice cream, find a fun restaurant, stop at a brewery. Options are unlimited.
4. No 36-hole marathons
If your kids are older and into golf, that’s fantastic, but they might not be game for 36-hole marathons at Bandon Dunes quite yet. Now you just have to get your golf in differently. Think nine holes instead of 18. Or play a short course or par-3 instead of another round on a big track. I was at Pinehurst just last week, and while the mega-resort offers world-class golf highlighted by its No. 2 and No. 4 courses, it also has a couple of less terrifying options for beginners and, better yet, an awesome short course and massive practice putting green. You can spend hours there; and both are equally enjoyable for adults and kids.
If you want to check out more family-friendly golf destinations, check out GOLF’s best resorts for families.