On Being a Tourist

It’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week.

Since I suggested a warm golf getaway last week, I felt the need to share some tips on how to be a tourist. In particular, how to be a golf tourist. I’ve actually never been a golf tourist before, sad I know. I’m pretty sure though I know exactly what to do based on a few things I’ve seen around these parts.

As Bre pointed out, it’s not always easy being an expat, especially in the Caribbean. Throughout the year, we endure rainy season, hurricanes, and endless Facebook posts about the beauty of autumn. Then we literally dream of white Christmases, cable-knit sweaters, and boots in every color. But as we usher in the new year, it all seems worth it. While most of our friends are digging their way out of the snow, the weather in our neck of the woods is almost perfect. The unbearable humidity of hurricane season is gone and replaced with cloudless blue skies and perfect temperatures. It’s definitely a great time to be on the island, but as a resident, it can also be the worst. Why? Because the beautiful weather brings with it a whole bunch of tourists. It’s great for the island’s economy, but it can also be frustrating for those of us who actually call a popular tourist destination home.

Sometimes the beach feels like this! (source)

Each and every year, as people take a break from winter and descend upon our little chunk of paradise, I notice the same thing. The roads become congested, the grocery store aisles become jammed, the beaches are packed, and restaurants are busy and loud.

Now I could easily go on a four page rant about why I think wearing a bathing suit in a grocery store or a sandwich shop is NOT appropriate, even if you are on holiday, but I won’t. Instead, I would rather focus on the issues that impact us golfers.

For such a small country, Barbados has a lot of spectacular golf courses, and it’s no wonder golfers from around the world want to play them. However, for some, it seems that while they’re on holiday, so is their etiquette. I understand the tendency to think that rules and formalities are unnecessary when on vacation. That’s what vacations are for, right? I get it, you’re here to relax from the rigidity of every day life. But wherever one goes, some basic rules of kindness and respect should still apply. If you’re going to be a guest on a golf course, here are 5 examples of how NOT to behave. And yes, I’ve experienced them all.

  1. Not sticking with your scheduled tee time. Either showing up late and forcing others to rush their game, or teeing off early while we’re still setting up our second shot, within 150 yards of the tee box!  Not very cool, and kinda scary! Also, if your plans have changed, please take the time to call and cancel. You might just make someone’s day with a last minute spot.
  2. Ignoring the cart path only rule. Even during the dry season, we can get torrential downpours and the golf courses tend to flood quickly. If the course director puts this rule into effect, it’s for good reason. Driving on a soggy course can leave lasting damage and ruin the course for everyone.
  3. Leaving cigar butts on the course. Having a cigar while playing golf is totally fine, but please dispose of your leftovers in the garbage, a used cup, or anywhere else other than the fairway, a bunker (nope, it’s not a giant ash tray), or the green. Would you believe I’ve actually seen one on the green? All you golfers out there are probably shuddering right now.
  4. Not raking the bunkers. This is standard golf etiquette. Grab a rake and do your part.
  5. Feeding the wildlife. It might make a great picture for your album on Facebook, but it’s not the best idea. It’s unsafe for humans and wildlife alike. Those cute little monkeys, yeah, they’re pretty crazy.

On the flip side, you are on vacation, so you might as well enjoy every second of it. So here are 5 things to do while on your golf getaway!

  1. Play as many courses as possible. There are loads of excellent courses out there, and playing some might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So spend the extra $$ on green fees and go for it!
  2. Join a local tournament. Most courses have details online and you can make the arrangements before you even arrive. It’s a great way to meet others who share your passion for the sport and immerse yourself with the locals. We’re actually pretty cool!
  3. Take pictures. Don’t get so wrapped up in the game that you forget to record the day. Every course is unique, so grab your camera and start snapping!
  4. Book a late tee time. The temperature starts to drop in the afternoon, which is important if you’re not used to playing in heat and humidity. And after your round, you can enjoy the sunset from the clubhouse while you indulge in a glass of wine. Nevermind, go for the whole bottle instead!
  5. Most importantly…relax! Who cares if you don’t play well, you’re on vacation!

Do you play fast and loose with the rules while you’re on holiday? Do you live in a popular tourist destination? Do you have any holidays planned?


6 Comments

  1. 1

    I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida for a few years (my parents still live there), and the winter months were always packed with tourists and ‘Snow birds.’ Living in Augusta, Georgia now, we don’t get too many tourists except for that one week for the Master’s each spring. I’ve learned not to journey anywhere near the Augusta National during that week.

    Thanks for posting this. I’m guilty of having touristy moments myself, but I always try my best to blend in and respect the locals.

    • 2

      I would imagine the amount of people that descend upon Augusta that one week would be the same amount we get all year! I hope to get there some day to watch the pros do their thing 🙂 And we have our touristy moments too..we can’t be perfect all of the time!

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