Q: Do I need a Visa or Passport to travel overseas?
A: All U.S. Citizens traveling in Europe must have a current/valid passport. The U.S. Department of State requests: "If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met."
Please refer to the official website: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
Please see the official FAQ page with any passport questions: http://travel.state.gov/passport/faq/faq_1741.html
If you do not have a passport, apply for one at your local passport office, clerk of the federal state court, or designated post office. Allow several weeks for the government to process your application. You do not need a visa for Scotland, Ireland, England, Spain or Portugal.
Your passport will be inspected in your home city airport and again upon arrival into Europe.
As a safety measure, we suggest that you photocopy the front pages of your passport, airline tickets and everything you will be carrying in your wallet. Leave one copy at home and carry one copy separate from your passport. This will be of immense help to you if your documents are lost or stolen.
Q: Once my trip is booked, what do you need to know?
• Names of guests (as spelled on identification)
• Home Course
• Current Handicap
Q: Why do you need my handicap ?
A: Many courses require a handicap minimum. The St. Andrews Old Course also requires your handicap and home course when booking a tee time.
Q: What are handicap requirements?
A: In most cases there is a handicap limit for men and ladies. This may vary, for men 18-24 and for women 30-36.
Q: Should we reserve caddies?
A: We recommend caddies and will handle the requests on your behalf. Caddies are independent contractors and as such need to be reserved in advance.
A good caddie, as every golfer knows, makes all the difference to a game of golf. The combination of local knowledge, sound judgment and experience can transform a round of golf into something really special. Golf in Scotland and Ireland is more arduous than in the USA due to the fact there are very few golf carts available and most golfers carry their own bags. Taking a caddie allows you to concentrate on your game and not bag carrying.
Caddie fees are posted at each club but average approximately 40 pounds sterling or 50 euros + 20% tip in Scotland & Ireland. Pull carts are also available. Golf carts, while scarce, are available at some of the courses; an official doctor’s note is required to reserve.
Q: Can our group just share one caddie?
A: A caddy can carry up to 2 bags. He will expect double payment plus double tip though. Since it’s the same cost for 1 caddy to carry one bag or 1 caddy to carry two bags, we always recommend 1 caddy per bag. Something to consider would be to take a couple of caddies between a group if you want to save money.
Q: What kind of transportation is available for my group?
A: We offer trip options with either Escorted Driver/Tour Manager or an automatic self drive rental car or minivan.
Self drive rentals are economical for smaller groups of 2 or 4 guests but the benefits of a Driver/Tour Manager should be taken into consideration. We call the drivers "Tour Managers" because not only will he make sure you reach your destinations safely, he will assist you on arrival at hotel and golf courses, make sure that caddies are arranged each day, take you sightseeing after golf, and take you out in the evening and recommend local restaurants.
Q: How much do I tip our Driver/Tour Manager?
A: The tip is given at your discretion based on your opinion of their performance. The average tip is typically 10 pounds or euros per person/per day.
Q: Can I make my own air travel arrangements?
A: Yes. Many guests choose to use their own miles and/or credit card points when booking airfare. We are happy to offer guidance and our expertise through the flight booking process.
Q: I do not want to deal with my clubs at the airport. Can I ship them to my destination?
A: Should you wish to ship your golf bag ahead we recommend http://www.luggageforward.com/sghgolf
Q: We have others interested in joining us on our golf tour. Can they be added after we book?
A: Yes, subject of course to availability at the golf courses and hotel.
Q: What type of money is best to travel with?
A: Scotland uses £ (Pounds)
Republic of Ireland uses € (Euros)
Northern Ireland uses £ (Pounds)
Spain uses € (Euros)
Portugal uses € (Euros)
We highly suggest that you contact your bank prior to departure to inform them you are traveling internationally. This could avoid a temporary stop on the card as banks protect their clients from potential fraud.
- We suggest that you do not take large amounts of cash, but instead use your ATM card from home to make withdrawals as you need them. Please check with your bank before your departure for any fees which might be associated with this. ATM machines are plentiful AND give most current exchange rates. This is a very convenient way to get cash for those places which do not accept credit cards and for caddie fees.
- Traveler‘s checks are now issued on a card and accepted at all merchants who take credit cards as they are processed through that system for purchases much like a debit card.
- Credit cards are widely accepted in Ireland at most stores, hotels, restaurants etc. Many credit card companies charge a fee for foreign transactions. Please check with your credit card company as to their policy. The foreign transaction fee is usually around 3% of your purchases.
Q: Can you make dinner reservations on our behalf?
A: Once your trip is finalized, you will receive a restaurant suggestion guide. We are happy to make dinner reservations on your behalf but please note that many restaurants/pubs are quite small and it is strongly frowned upon to cancel the reservation last second.
Q: I keep seeing the term "smart" under dress code recommendations. What does that mean?
A: Ladies "Smart" Dress Code Recommendations
Bottoms: Slacks, a skirt or formal/dark denim. The skirt can be long or short. If denim is worn, the woman should opt for a more formal top or blazer to avoid being too casual.
Tops: Blouses, turtlenecks, sweaters, jackets or blazers that correspond with their bottoms. Avoid T-shirts, spaghetti strap tops and tube tops as they are too casual. Stick with a jacket or blazer when wearing denim on the bottom.
Shoes: A heel shoe or dressier flats are most appropriate.
Men "Smart" Dress Code Recommendations
Smart casual or business casual dress for men is a clean, ironed shirt with a collar (like a polo or button down) and only a jacket if the weather permits. ―Smart‖ dress usually means no tie. Smart casual pants for men should be either khakis or chinos that are pressed. Jeans and tennis shoes are not recommended for Smart Dress- they are seen as Casual Wear.
- Sunglasses, even in winter. The glare from sun reflecting on wet surfaces can be blinding.
- Sunscreen – the wind can make it seem deceptively cool but the sun will still burn.
- Umbrella, a wind-breaker and a waterproof rain suit- although you will be traveling during the dry season, there is always the possibility of rain.
- Tees and pencils - Overseas clubs do not provide.
- Golf balls are more expensive overseas ($22 a sleeve for ProVI.)
Q: I hear the electricity has different voltage internationally. How does that affect me?
A: You should ensure that all electrical appliances, such as shavers and hairdryers, can be used internationally without causing damage. (Irish, Scottish and English voltage is 240AC. Spain and Portugal voltage is 110AC. United States voltage is 110AC.) Larger hotels may supply adapters upon request, although we recommend that you carry one. Converters can be purchased on the internet, some larger stores and usually at all airports.
Q: Can I use my cell phone internationally?
A: First, figure out whether your phone works in your destination country by asking your mobile-phone service provider. Next, you need to determine the cost of any calls data and texts you will make or receive while overseas. Please call your provider and ask for this information so that you do not get an expensive surprise when you return home.
A second option to consider may be renting a phone from World Cell (www.worldcell.com).
Q: Will my hotels have internet access?
A: Almost all hotels have WiFi at least in the lobbies if not the rooms. We would be happy to provide this information.
Q: Do you recommend travel insurance?
A: SGH Golf strongly recommends the purchase of the Travel Protection Plan. This plan provides protection for your non-refundable tour costs and cancellation fees should you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unforeseen circumstances. It also provides important medical benefits and assistance while traveling on your SGH Golf vacation.
Q: Any suggestions where I should purchase travel insurance through?
A: We offer a great travel protection plan! The cost is 7% of the total amount that you would like insured.
When this protection plan is purchased to cover the full tour cost within 14 days of your initial deposit, and you are medically able to travel at the time of purchase (and have not filed a claim for trip cancellation due to a pre-existing illness within 120 days of the effective date of this insurance), the Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion will be waived.
We can insure guests up until 48 hours prior to departure but if you choose to buy after 14 days of initial deposit, the Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion will not be waived.
Q: When will I receive my final details?
A: We typically ship your final details + SGH Golf luggage tags 3 to 6 weeks prior to departure. The SGH Golf luggage tags make it easier for the ground handler to spot and greet you upon arrival.