The Captain’s Away Day

The Captain’s Away Day is one of the most enjoyable days of your Captain’s year. 

But the Captain’s Away Day does not just happen by itself – it takes a lot of planning and organising, and you will have a number of questions such as: – 

  • How do you select and book a course?
  • Do you need to book transport?
  • How many members will be attending?
  • How many prizes do you need?


What is a Captain’s Away Day?

Most golf clubs have a tradition of arranging a Captain’s Away day at some point at the height of the summer. 

This is arranged at another golf club for the members of your own club to attend. 

It usually consists of a golf competition followed by a dinner and prize presentation. 

If you can arrange a coach then it offers the advantage of your members able to have a few drinks afterwards without having to worry about driving. 

Some clubs even have a tradition of a Captain’s weekend or Captain’s tour, spending one or more nights away in a hotel and playing two or more days pf golf, concluding with a grand dinner and prize giving.

Planning your Captain’s Away Day

Whatever format you choose for your Captain’s Away Day, you need to confirm a venue well in advance. 

My Captain’s Away Day was arranged over twelve months before the event and the planning activities were initiated about fifteen months in advance. 

This allowed me to inform the members of my club of the date and venue at least six months in advance. 

The club secretary then arranged for a coach and agreed the meal prices so that we could subsequently inform the members of the cost and format of the day. We thereby gave the members plenty of time to arrange their diaries and to inform us of their intent to play on the day.

Some of the party relaxing in the sun at the end of the Captain’s Away Day

Choosing a venue

There are two methods of choosing a venue for a captain’s away Day. 

Firstly you can book a course just as you would for a visiting party. Many clubs have special rates specifically tailored for Captains Away Days. 

Captain’s exchange

Alternatively you can arrange for an exchange with another club, whereby your members use their course for free and their members use your course for free. Then you just pay for the food, transport and prizes. 

However, not all clubs are willing to enter into an exchange arrangement. 

It is usually only member-owned clubs that will be amenable to an exchange for a Captain’s Away day and even then they will expect to exchange with a club of equal quality to themselves. 

My club has been arranging Captain’s away days on an exchange basis for a number of years, and as one of Yorkshire’s premier clubs we have not had any problem finding a willing reciprocal club each year. 

If you are the Captain of a Proprietary owned club, you might find that your owner is less willing to participate in such an arrangement, as it will result in lost revenue. 

In a member owned club such an arrangement is seen as a benefit for its members. 

If you do arrange your Captain’s away day on an exchange basis then it is even more important that you start planning at least a year in advance. 

Easy to get to

The other important aspect of choosing a venue is, if it is just a one day event, then it is easily and relatively quickly reachable. You don’t want to be travelling several hours there and several hours back afterwards. 

The easier it is to get to and the better the quality of the course then the more members will want to attend and make it a success.  

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Format of the day

My club normally plans the Captain’s Away Day as follows; –

  • Coach from the club car park in the morning.
  • Bacon sandwiches on arrival at the host club.
  • 9 hole fun team competition in the morning
  • Soup and sandwiches for lunch
  • 18 holes individual Stableford competition in the afternoon
  • Evening meal and prize presentation
  • Coach home

Note that some members will still prefer to drive even if you arrange a coach. Just let them get on with it.

Some clubs prefer just to have 18 holes rather than 27 holes of competition. 

The numbers of members attending varies from around thirty to over fifty. 

If you get much more than fifty then it becomes difficult to squeeze everything into the day. 

You will need some help

You will need some help in organising the day.  

You will have to undertake a draw, provide score cards, collate and check the results. You might also have a putting competition that takes place in the evening after the main event. 

If your professional or assistant professional attends then they can help, but if not you need to delegate. 

Also, there is always someone who does not turn up, due to illness or forgetfulness, therefore, however well you prepare the draw in advance, it will need redoing on the day. 

You also have other things to manage on the day, such as paying the coach driver and paying the host club caterers for the food. 

As Captain you need to enjoy your Captain’s Away day, so do not try and do everything yourself, otherwise you will not be able to enjoy it. 

And don’t forget, as captain, you do also play and can win the prizes.


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Courtesy of exchange days

If you do arrange your Captain’s away day on an exchange basis, then it is traditional to leave a note and a gift for your reciprocal Captain who will be playing and dining at your club on the same day. 

It is normal to provide him with a bottle or two of wine for him to enjoy with his dinner.

Captain’s away Day – Conclusion

In conclusion, choose your venue well, plan the day well, be happy and your members will thoroughly enjoy themselves. 

Which is what it is all about!

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