From Florida to St Andrew’s
It’s been a rollercoaster start to 2020 in more ways than one. Golf Travel is proving to more a lifestyle choice than a business, particularly with the wonderful clients we have at Lyons Links. Clients, who have become friends and indeed hosts to me on my travels have been particularly kind. Between visiting clients in St Petersburg, Naples and Balm Beach Gardens, I have been spoiled. To top it off, making new friends in St Andrews over the weekend, makes it a great start to 2020, largely thanks to you guys.
Competitive Golf in Florida
Golf Travel takes on many different guises. Travelling to compete in competitive amateur events has always been a treat. Playing in such events has enabled me to make some great friends in the Golf Community down through the years. Indeed the people at The Orlando International Amateur and St Petersburg Country Club have proven to be great hosts. Its a shame the quality of my golf did not match the hospitality at both events. A missed cut at Orlando was followed by a poor performance at the New Years Invitational where I finished well down the field. The disappointment in my performances, however, was completely outshone by our wonderful clients. When clients graciously offered the use of their condo in St Pete we were blown away. The accommodation was truly magnificent while meeting all the wonderful people in St Petersburg who travelled to The Solheim Cup with us last year was a real treat.
During this first trip to Florida, we also visited our very first clients at Lyons Links. We visited the beautiful resort of Bonita Springs, Naples and enjoyed dinner with our dream first clients. Not alone did these people bring us for dinner but they also hosted us in their beautiful home. We will be forever grateful to our clients for the referrals they have sent us which have enabled our business to grow. The big cherry on top has been the friendships that have developed through our shared love for the wonderful game of golf and the desire to visit different golf destinations.
Business Development in Florida
After a brief trip home to Galway in Mid-January, I returned to the Sunshine State on January 19 for the PGA Show in Orlando. While this trip was more about meeting potential clients, I did have the opportunity to play golf with some clients that are travelling with us this year. I have to say that the guys wiped the floor with me on the golf course despite me having several years on them. To say I was super impressed by these seasoned pros would be an understatement.
After attending the PGA show I headed for West Palm Beach and competed in the Annual FBI (Foreign Born Irish) V CIA (Celtic Irish Americans). This event is going 30 years thanks mainly to Mr Thomas Killarney and his lovely wife Eileen. This was my second year competing in the event. What a super event for the Irish Diaspora. The welcome from Bear Lakes Country Club was second to none. To say the golf courses blew me away would be an understatement. This year, our hosts on the American side gave the Irish Team a good old fashioned drubbing.
One of my favourite parts of visiting South Florida is visiting Old Friends. I spent my first night there with an old friend from home while I spend four nights with a client who has become a very good friend and an exceptional host. There is nothing better in life than playing golf and dining out with friends that you only get to see from time to time. Again, another example of the great lifestyle that Golf and indeed setting up a golf travel business has afforded me.
After a couple of days out to visit the Florida Keys and Miami, I returned to Galway before going on to St Andrew’s with a new bunch of friends.
Due to the vagrancies of the Scottish Winter it’s probably a little much to expect our North American clients to visit St Andrews between November and February. I travelled to St Andrew’s with our first outbound Irish Group this past weekend (February 1-3). While you most certainly could not confuse the weather with that of Miami, we wrapped up well and followed in the footsteps of legends. Indeed, I believe I met a few legends over the weekend myself! If I am honest, I felt more like the client than the Tour Operator as the group sought to include me in all the golf and banter for the weekend. The craic was great. Indeed we are already considering our next golfing expedition!
If you are a golfer who loves the game, it appears to me to that it doesn’t matter where you are from. We all like to experience new courses and new golf destinations. It’s becoming easier to see why Golf Travel feels more like a lifestyle than a business. While I worked with some of the best people you are ever likely to meet in the Social Care Industry, there is no doubt that as a golf fanatic, planning and executing golf trips is certainly a much less stressful lifestyle
Thanks to all our wonderful clients who have become such good friends and remarkable hosts.
Until Again, regards to all