Golf fans attending the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in June will arrive by land, air and now even sea thanks to a new Orange County golf cruise company.
Golf and Go Coastal Cruises is booking two sailings with itineraries that include stops at Chambers Bay during the tournament. Other cruises they are offering up until the Open include stopping to play Chambers Bay.
Golf & Go owner Jamie Austin says there’s a lot of excitement around Chambers since it’s a new U.S. Open venue. According to Austin, a similar cruise to the British Open last year sold out in two weeks.
“It’ll be interesting to see if it sells out as fast as the British Open,” she says. “We’ve had lots of calls. And to be able to golf it around the same time is just as fun.
“It’s a beautiful course. You won’t be disappointed.”
Founded last year, Golf & Go is the only American cruise company specializing in golf cruises, which are more common in Europe, Austin says.
The company, based in Laguna Hills, has partnered with elite courses up and down the West Coast – Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Spyglass Hill, Half Moon Bay, to name a few – to combine world-class golf and destination for trips of three, four, seven and nine days for groups of 50 or 60 per ship. Their destinations range all the way from Vancouver, BC, Canada, to Ensenada, Mexico.
Having the U.S. Open on the West Coast this year is a unique opportunity for the company and golf fans, Austin says.
“We’ll have tickets available for your guests,” she says. “And the great thing about going via cruise is that you don’t have to worry about staying and finding a hotel. You just go, get back on the ship and resume your cruise.”
And you’re likely tee it up the next day. The cruises are designed to be golf-intensive, although they also offer itineraries for non-golfing spouses as well.
A teaching pro travels with each group to provide, among other things, on-ship instruction utilizing the last teaching technology – swing simulators, etc. Celebrity cruise lines even has a ship with an upper deck comprised of natural turf to allow for short game and putting practice.
The touring pro also accompanies the golfers to the course and monitors their progress.
“They are there as mentors and want to help you,” Austin says. “They’ll help you figure out what works and what doesn’t to try to help improve your game.
“Getting yourself more into golf is what the golf cruise is all about. And you don’t have to think about anything else. When you get off the ship, your clubs are waiting for you.”
Austin has always been into golf, but not so much into cruising. Austin is a cruise convert, which says makes her an ideal promoter of the experience because she understands the objections and misconceptions.
“I was asked to go on a cruise several times and kept saying no. I didn’t like the claustrophobic thought of being stuck on a ship with a bunch of people I didn’t know,” she says. “Those are the things that stick in your mind when you’re not a cruiser and you don’t understand it.”
A trip to the Caribbean completely changed her perspective.
“It was a real eye-opener,” Austin says. “It was so much different than I expected.”
Among other things, the quality of the food and the level of activity far exceeded Austin’s expectations. She noted that it’s now common for wine tastings, cooking classes, shopping trips, and dancing and fitness classes to be part of cruise itineraries.
The primary concern the Golf & Go faces about a golf cruise is how to accommodate a spouse who doesn’t golf. Austin says this is addressed through a separate itinerary that combines ship activities and opportunities in the port cities.
“We work on itineraries through conversations with the group and through research of what’s going on at the port city, be it tours, festivals, concerts or whatever else might be going on at the time,” she says.
“We want to take advantage of everything our destinations have to offer, be it on the course, the ship or in the city.”
Golf & Golf is looking forward to offering the best both the golf and cruises industries have to offer. In particular, Austin hand-picked the courses the golfers will play.
“We chose these courses because I know people who’ve played them and I gathered a lot of information beforehand,” Austin says. “We’re excited to offer these courses to our clients and take them there on ships that are rich and luxurious.”
For more information on Golf & Go Coastal cruises, go to www.golfngocruises.com. To a book a cruise, contact Jamie Austin at 800.494.4067 or Jamie@golfngocruises.com.