That far-off look in your eyes means you’re thinking about golf…again. For a memorable game, you don’t have to travel far, or risk sending your precious clubs into the dark reaches of an airplane cargo hold! Great golf getaways – solo or with friends and family – are within a day’s drive. Prep & Planning Tips: Timing is everything. Traveling now, at the very beginning of the season, is ideal for finding low “shoulder” season rates. You can also keep the costs of your golf getaway down by traveling mid-week, and scheduling tee times for later in the day. Bring your own clubs instead of renting, and skip the cart! Use the power of the Internet to get familiar with the links before plunking down a sizeable deposit. Don’t wait until you get to the tee to realize that the course is too challenging for you! Golf fanatics have it good; there are choice courses in every northeast state. If you’re on top of your game, consider going where the pros go. Not all championship courses are open to the public, but there are some notable exceptions, like Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, NY, the Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon, PA, and the Blue Heron Pines Golf Club near Atlantic City, NJ. Make it a “Mancation.” Trips that guys go on with their buddies are growing in popularity, with golf getaways at the head of the trend. Look for a resort where you can stay, play, eat, and enjoy the nightlife without leaving the property. Combine golf and gaming for round-the-clock fun. Try the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos in CT, or Atlantic City, NJ. Naturally, the further south you travel, the more options you have in terms of the weather and number of courses. Check out Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia if you need the sun on your back when taking that first swing. Williamsburg, VA has been named one of the “top 25 golf destinations in the world.” Determine “down time” activities. Obviously you’re going to play golf. Then what? And what will your travel companions do if they don’t share your affinity? Consider cities like Boston and Providence, which offer plenty of cultural and historic sites while also being within minutes of several courses. Package it up. Instead of paying separately for lodging, greens fees, car rental, meals, etc., look for golf vacation packages at hotels and inns which include everything, and pass along savings to you. Here are several “stay and play” packages currently available within a few hours’ drive: Mercury Grand Hotel, Poughkeepsie, NY (Hudson Valley) Placid Bay Inn on Lake Placid, NY Hilton Garden Inn, Saratoga Springs, NY Caesars Atlantic City, NJ Hotel Vienna, Windham, NY