As the dollar strengthens vs. other currencies the price of a golf trip to Scotland or Ireland is drifting closer to the cost of playing here in the states. How close? You might be surprised!
I built four itineraries for a group of four traveling from my home in Maryland. The group left on June 16th and returned on the 22nd, doubled up in hotels, rented a large van and played one round of golf a day. In all four destinations my group stayed in four or five star hotels and played the very best courses in the area. Since this group was working with the very best tour operator in the business, availability was assumed not to be an issue.
The results surprised me:
- Northern Michigan — $2888
- Southwest Ireland — $3069
- Bandon Dunes — $3604
- Ayrshire Coast, Scotland — $3623
What drove the costs? Flights were the biggest variable. Getting to Michigan cost less than half what it cost to get to Shannon or Glasgow. Baggage fees on domestic flights do narrow the gap a little. The trip to Bandon Dunes was surprisingly easy. With a new flight from San Francisco, just one stop is required compared to the three stops required last time I checked. The cost to rent a van in all destinations was negligible coming in at well under $200 per golfer. The cost of golf was the highest at Bandon and lowest in Michigan with Scotland coming in a full 15% above Ireland. Hotels were more expensive in the US coming in above $1000 in both destinations.
Ireland was the least expensive at roughly $600 for five nights in good four star hotels although some more expensive choices could easily have been included. Strip out the cost of your flight and Ireland is your lowest cost trip and Scotland is only $69 more expensive than Michigan. As the length of the trip increases and you have more days over which you can amortize the flight, Scotland and Ireland look even more appealing. The bottom line is that the greatest links golf in the world is more affordable than it has been in years.