In our experience of planning golf trips to Ireland and Scotland for more than 15 years, the one question that comes up time after time is whether to self drive or have a driver.
There is no right answer to this one as it entirely depends on the preferences of the group, however there are some guidelines that may help you to decide.
Generally speaking, where there are more than four golfers travelling, the recommendation is to have a driver and luxury van. The chauffeured experience tends to enhance the overall trip experience, as the drivers provide a reliable and engaging service as well as acting as your very own concierge throughout the golf tour. They keep the drinks cooler topped up, advise on and make restaurant reservations and often include side trips ( time permitting) to visit popular sightseeing landmarks travelling to and from the golf courses of Ireland and Scotland. The coaches are usually of an excellent standard and fitted with captains chairs, tables and in the newer models will have onboard wi-fi.
Apart from the comfort in travelling between destinations and golf courses, the major advantage of the chauffeured option is that the logistics are taken out of the golfers hands. Once the driver has the itinerary complete with tee times and accommodation arrangements, he or she will recommend the pick up times from the hotels and the departure times from the golf courses so as to keep the itinerary running smoothly.
However, it is important for the group to be aware that the drivers' working hours are regulated, and for this reason he must take the prescribed rest periods as required by the law. This may mean that 36 hole golf days may be possible only when the courses are at the same location ( for example Ballybunion Old and Cashen courses) or are close together such as Lahinch and Trump Doonbeg and that, importantly, there is no requirement for onward travel after two rounds of golf.
The driver will also advise on the best locations for dinner taking into account the driving time and distances involved. In such cases where there are 36 hole golf days or exceptionally long driving days, a relief driver will be drafted in to assist on the itinerary.
Our experience is that the golf drivers in Ireland, Scotland and throughout the UK are thoroughly professional and reliable and in addition are engaging characters with plenty of stories to tell and yarns to spin! It is no wonder that we have returning golf groups requesting their previous driver to take care of them on their next tour of the golf courses of Ireland and Scotland, travelling the highways and byways from the Highlands to the Ring of Kerry.
On the other hand, we have a number of golf parties that prefer the self driven option, as they enjoy the experience of driving, even if we are often told that we drive on the wrong side of the road over here! This option suits smaller parties , as we find that four golfers with golf clubs and luggage is about the optimum number of passengers, and any more usually necessitates two rental vehicles for comfort.
The key advantage for the self driven option is the added flexibility for golfers and sightseers who want to move more frequently and come and go as they please. If you are not taking your own GPS ( Sat Nav) unit with you on the trip, it is recommended to pre-order one at the time of booking. Don't worry as we will confirm the request when we are making the rental reservation on your behalf. Another consideration when self driving, is whether you want to have the added peace of mind of super cover, which removes any liabilty to an excess charge in case of damage to the rental vehicle. Again, based on our experience , we find that many golfers will add this cover at the desk when picking up their rental vehicle. In the vast majority of times, it does not come in to play, but good to have it in place just in case!