Years ago you could hit golf balls aft on a ship and they would fall into the water… It became a “no-no”, and the first cruise company to purchase a golf simulator in 1997 was Princess Cruises. Now on the Queen Mary 2 of Cunard Cruise Line there are two “Full Swing Golf” simulators, and they have more than 35 simulators on major lines.
Please know that I don’t play golf. I’ve “walked” courses around the world, and once sat on a log on the island of St. Croix and watched a Robert Trent Jones’ course being dug and shaped. One of the project managers wondered who I was, and came over to sit down with me. He finally showed me the design for the course, and I was amazed at how complicated it was from angles, mounds and the number of sand traps plus challenging vistas.
Golf on ships and ships featuring golf on themed cruises is growing. Crystal Cruises has an 11-day golf cruise out of Hong Kong to Singapore aboard their 940 passenger Crystal Symphony. The cruise features putting contests, private clinics and golfing tips from Bill Stutzer, head P.G.A. golf pro from San Diego’s Pauma Valley Country Club.
The four world-class courses are in Vietnam and Thailand including the stunning 18-hole Montomerie Links overlooking the Marble Mountains and China Beach coast in Da Nang, Vietnam. If you don’t golf just relax in the spa, get a tan on deck and feast on fabulous food.
The simulators use real balls and clubs, plastic grass, electronic sensors and a video screen. The simulators combine the feel of playing golf with the visuals of a live P.G.A. event (cruisesshipgolf.net). Don’t forget that if you take a regular cruise to the Caribbean, for instance, your onboard Concierge can usually make arrangements and tee times for you to play at some of the courses on the islands. Talk with your travel agent, and bon voyage.