Golf Packages and Destinations: Pro Tips for Planning the Perfect Trip

For the serious golfer, there’s no better vacation than one spent on the links, competing in beautiful weather against a close-knit group of friends. There are many ways to structure a golfing vacation, and many destinations and golf packages to consider when planning the perfect excursion. Here are a few pro tips on how to do it right:

Get Your Crew on the Same Wavelength

The first step to a successful trip is making sure everyone agrees on how to structure your vacation time. Gather your friends and put your heads together to determine exactly what kind of experience you want. Not everyone will want to wake up at dawn and play eighteen holes before lunchtime. The same goes for activities off the course: if you’re planning to spend a few late nights out on the town, make sure your cohorts won’t be frazzled when you roll back into the room in the wee hours.

Take the Road Less Traveled

Famous spots like Pebble Beach and Myrtle Beach are must-see destinations that every serious golfer should visit at some point. However, do some research into lesser-known courses. States throughout the U.S. boast breathtaking places to play, each with a different feel based on the regional climate and scenery. Ask around and consult golfer’s guides and magazines to find the hidden gem that strikes your fancy. It may be less crowded than those big-name spots

Golfing Resorts vs. Play-Around Packages

Golf packages usually fall into two major categories: resort packages and play-around packages. The former variety puts you in a resort right on the links, giving you access to this one course for the duration of your stay. In contrast, the play-around option will put you and your party up in a hotel located near several courses. The package includes reserved slots at a few courses, so your itinerary will have you bouncing around the map to play. Again, consult with your group to determine what kind of experience you desire.

Alternative Lodging Options

If you want to skip the hotel experience, it can be both fun and cheap to pool your money and rent a condo or golf villa. This gives your more freedom to sprawl out at your own place. While you’ll miss out on the advantages of room service and wake-up calls, you won’t have to beg the hotel kitchen to stay open when you’re craving a late-night snack. It also gives you and your friend a comfortable, communal atmosphere to chat and unwind during down time.

Plan Ahead

There are many golfers in this world, and not enough places for them all to play at once. Courses get booked up months in advance, especially during peak seasons. Once you’ve decided where to go, know that you’ll have to book your trip far ahead of time. The added benefit of booking early is that your airfare will be cheaper if you buy it at the same time.

With research, coordination, and a little gumption, you and your team can have the golfing vacation of a lifetime – even if you do spend some of it in the sand trap.

Why Call It A Lightweight Travel Trailer?

There was a time when one described a travel trailer as light weight it meant light weight. Today that information is no longer the case. The term” light weight” has become more of a marketing tool more than the word being used correctly. There are many campers that are much heavier than they should be to be classified as a lightweight. However, marketing that term has been beneficial to a lot of manufactures in having dealers and end users feel like they are buying a lightweight unit that is not.

A light weight camper in my opinion should be able to be pulled by a small pickup truck, mini van, or car. Lightweight travel trailers marked as such, are often so heavy that they can only be pulled by a full size truck and in some cases a heavier rated full size truck. The classifying reason it is called a lightweight camper is open to opinion. In the opinion of this writer, I feel that a travel trailer should weigh no more than 4,000 pounds. When you pack the unit with supplies, clothing, and other gear you will add approximately another 800 pounds. This is now approaching 5,000 pounds, which is at the maximum for smaller vehicles and exceeds some other vehicles capabilities. One must check the rating of their vehicle that they plan to tow the unit with.

A popular option has been the hybrid. This type RV will usually have a bed, bunk, or both that can be pulled out after arriving at your destination. This gives you a lot of extra space and possibilities without the added weight and length. Most of the hybrids will have pullouts that have solid bottoms that are on rollers that allow them to be pulled out easily, but have canvas side walls and roof. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is unacceptable by some campers. There are other hybrid models that have powered pullouts with solid roofs and side walls, but they will always be heavier.

Another option is what is called a pop up travel trailer. There are two types that fall into this category. The first is a travel trailer that has its entire body as a solid side wall type construction. The unique feature in this type travel trailer is that it has an electric or hydraulic powered lift that allows the top half of the RV to be raised for use, and lowered to be towed or while in a storage mode. One of the popular reasons for this type travel trailer is not just its light weight, but it can be kept in your home garage.

The other style in the pop up line is called by many names. Pop up, fold down, tent camper, and a multitude of other combinations. Most often the side wall on this type unit is made of canvas, but there are a few exceptions to that. Some have hard side walls, but it is rare.

I wish you the best in finding the travel trailer of your dreams. If you are shopping for a travel trailer that is considered to be light, don’t be fooled by the RV have Lite, Lite Weight, or other similar titles plastered on the side of it. Best wishes and Happy Camping.

Landscape Photography Tips And Techniques Part 2

Today we will continue our review of landscape photography tips and techniques. Add these ideas to your landscape and cityscape photos and you will start winning photo contests! It’s almost a given!

Yesterday we talked about light.

First we discussed the color of light… You need to get up early in the morning and start shooting in the 20 or so minutes before dawn. AND you need to keep shooting for about 20 minutes or so past sunset.

At those times there is a phenomenon we will call a “false” sunrise and sunset that can produce some absolutely stunning colors in your landscape and cityscape photos.

Next we talked about the angle of the light… Think of bodybuilder photos. The light is coming from about 90 degrees to the subject. This creates a lot of shadows that accent and define their muscles.

At dawn and dusk, the glancing light from the sun is at the perfect angle to create a lot of defining shadows. This will add a lot of third dimensionality to your photos and make them come alive!

Try shooting the same scene at both dawn and dusk, then compare the results to the same scene shot at noon. You will never sleep in again!

Next we mentioned shooting when there are clouds in the sky. This will add a lot of visual interest to the scene – as well as a lot of color. Now the rising or setting sun has something to bounce off of! When the weather is bad… Get out there! That is the time you will get the best shots.

Today, let’s add a couple more landscape photography tips and techniques.

Use a tripod! When shooting landscapes, particularly in the predawn and post sunset times – you will need a long exposure! (Creating an acceptable depth of field requires shooting at minimal apertures – which means long shutter speeds.) Don’t even think of trying to get a contest winner by shooting handheld. It won’t happen.

Then, use the mirror lockup feature if your camera has one. Most of the better DSLR cameras do.

For the ultimate in photo sharpness – in addition to locking up the mirror, use a timed shutter release. It may seem like a bit of overkill, but these sharpness techniques can and do make a big difference.

As far as composition is concerned, pay attention to the foreground! Use it to draw the viewer’s eye into the photo. Use leading lines, framing, diagonals and so on.

Another compositional element to consider is the horizon, make it level! What is the most important element in your landscape or cityscape photo? Is it the sky? If so, put the horizon on the lower third of the shot. Is it the ground? Put the horizon in the upper third.

While there are times that placing the horizon in the middle is the right call, they are rare. Make sure you have a specific reason to do so!

Last but not least… Make sure your photo has a “star”. What attracted you to the scene? Make sure you accent that feature and drive the viewer’s attention to it. Don’t make the mistake of trying to make the entire scene equally important. You need a star.

I hope this review of landscape photography tips and techniques will help you start getting contest winning landscape and cityscape photos!

In the excitement of the moment, it is easy to forget to do some of these admittedly basic but essential landscape photography tips and techniques (there are more coming tomorrow)…

Here is your assignment – start to make up a checklist (of these and any other landscape photography tips and techniques you can think of), have it laminated and stick it in the side pocket of your camera bag.

Every time you are shooting, you can pull out your landscape photography tips and techniques checklist and won’t forget anything! Finally you will have the landscape photography techniques needed to let your artistic side shine through!