Editor's Note: Trip Manager by Golf Genius has been discontinued for 2022.
There's nothing more rewarding in golf travel than leading a great buddies trip. But if you're in charge of a big group, there's a lot to keep track of. TheTrip Manager powered by Golf Genius software is a hugely powerful tool that specializes in all things trip planning - from setting up rounds to teams, games, finances and handicapping. Common questions/requests you'll receive as a trip captain:
- What are we playing for?
- I want to play with so-and-so
- How do the handicaps work?
- Who's leading after Day 1?
- What do I owe for dinner?
- What's the address to the house?
And so on. And it's all trackable with the Trip Manager app.
Golf Genius is a leading provider of golf tournament software. If you belong to a club or compete in association or amateur tour events, the tournament director may very well use it. When you set it up, you'll see how powerful the games and scoring features are. But there are perks specifically designed for the nuances of the casual golf trip, too.
I used the app extensively on my recent buddies trip to San Diego. Here is what the software is capable of and how I found it most useful.
As your buddies commit to the trip, set up their golfer profiles and include their handicap (if they have official handicaps, you can search and import their GHIN automatically). You can begin to keep track of finances and who has paid you the deposit. As you book your tee times, add the course, date and expected tees to play from.
Closer to the trip, you'll want to set up pairings and games. I had some optional short course rounds during my trip, and some of my players had to come late to the trip. I was able to adjust games accordingly. In fact, I set up our individual Stableford game to count your best two of three scores, so those who missed a round were at a disadvantage but could still theoretically win.
I also spent some time prior to the trip making sure the pairings were fair. This can be one of the more finicky parts of being a captain depending on the group. I definitely received some requests, and I also wanted to make sure that there was a mix of handicaps playing together. For one of the rounds, I was able to pair walkers and non-walkers together.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, I sent messages to the group through the Trip Manager to provide some trip details, tease course photos and links to course reviews and more. It was a good way to get initial engagement and I also encouraged everyone at that time to download the mobile app, which would be necessary for us to have live scoring.
Games and scoring
As a first-time captain and user of Trip Manager, this is where my head exploded. There are more golf games you can set up here than I ever thought possible. You can start with basic skins, but you'll also want to set up a popular Ryder Cup, multi-round team game. For each round, I had an individual skins game, a different team format per day, and the multi-day Ryder Cup and individual Stableford going. (Did I go overboard or not far enough?)
Spend some time reading this article from Golf Genius on common tournaments to get started. When playing new courses, it's usually a good idea to not play stroke play and instead play team matches or Stableford - formats that won't destroy your day if you have an uncomfortable hole or two. You can also swap partners and teams rapid fire with 6/6/6 or 9/9 matches.
If you are playing for money, just enter the purse amounts for each game and it will automatically calculate payouts, too.
IMPORTANT: Make sure each foursome has a designated official scorekeeper with a smartphone and be sure to give them their round GGID to access to the app scoring. This way, everyone can follow along during the round. And afterwards, the captain doesn't have to spend any time calculating handicaps and payouts. Yes, the captain can relax with a couple pops, too!
Using Trip Manager when the trip is over
After the trip is over, the captain can send the group final leaderboards, purse payouts and who owes what. You can also add photos to the app and send that way. I also shared some fun statistics with the group, like which courses we had the best and worst averages on, as well as who made the most birdies, who was most consistent, etc. You can really have a lot of fun looking through all the data if you're a geek like me.
One last warning: Once you use the app, you'll have a tough time going back to the old fashioned way.
If you've never been a captain or don't use mobile apps very often, using the tool for the first time might be little overwhelming simply because of how many features are possible. There is a learning curve involved but you'll get the hang of it in no time. If you do have questions, and I had a couple, Golf Genius support can reach out very quickly, or you can consult the knowledge base which has step-by-step directions on setup and also instructional videos.