Battle of the travel bucket lists

When I was young we had ‘wish lists’, but somewhere along the way this was replaced by ‘bucket lists’ and now we’re all meant to have at least one bucket. 

My personal bucket is labelled ‘Golf courses I want to play before I die’. 

My partner’s bucket is labelled ‘Places I must walk before I die’. Unfortunately, this does not involve walking golf courses, otherwise we might be able to empty both our buckets at the same time. 

I asked my kids whether they had bucket lists and they don’t. “We’re too busy living in the now,” said my oldest son, and they are. 

Bucket lists are for those who have some money and some free time. The more you have of both, I suspect, the deeper your bucket. 

I’d love to go to the US Masters, in Georgia, but my bucket isn’t $10,000 deep, so I’m planning a trip to Tasmania and then King Island to play four different courses. This will set me back about $3500, drinks included. 

Twelve of my mates are off to the Masters soon, while another group of golfing friends has just returned from playing in Ireland. I’m envious, but that’s the way life works.

My partner would love to walk across Spain. Then – and not on the same walk – Machu Picchu. And a seven-day trek out of Alice Springs. And perhaps Croatia. God knows where else. 

Walking is a fine pursuit. It can be cheap, it’s healthy and it can relieve stress. Golf, on the other hand, is usually expensive and can add to your stress levels, even though it shouldn’t. 

But people who walk can only ever say: “Weren’t they beautiful views?” A golfer, who can also enjoy the views, might add: “I wish I’d hit the ball straighter. If only I could putt. I’m buying new clubs. Did you see that great drive I hit on the 10th? Tomorrow’s a new day.”  

So what’s the point of all this? 

The point is that some out there will have buckets with the word ‘golf’ written on them, and some will have partners who see such buckets as hedonistic in the extreme, financially irresponsible, spiritually irrelevant, culturally unfulfilling and time-wasting. 

So, here are four reasons why those with golfing bucket lists should be encouraged: 

  1. Happy of mind, healthy of body. I have no idea if that’s a fact, but surely it works.
  2. Friends at the club may be taking golfing holidays. Do you want your partner to be the odd one out?
  3. Think of the benefits of getting some personal time while your partner is away.
  4. Golfers don’t take holiday snaps or videos. Phones aren’t allowed on golf courses. 


If you have a gap on your golfing bucket list, here are our top five: 

  1. The US Masters. Most tours include rounds of golf in California, such as Pebble Beach. The best tours will come with tickets for four days and accommodation. Try to make sure you’re staying in a house near the course.
  2. Ireland. There are so many great courses but try to include a tour of the Guinness factory.
  3. Scotland. You’ve got to play St Andrews, but be prepared for a five-hour round. And a good ‘smoky’ course is Gullane.
  4. Queensland. We won’t recommend any courses because course ownerships change so often, especially on the Gold Coast, and this can influence playing conditions. Brookwater, near Ipswich, is different, while Royal Pines is a good place to base yourself.
  5. Tasmania and King Island. Lost Farm and Barnbougle Dunes, on Tassie’s west coast might reduce you to a bumbling mess, and if they don’t, Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes on King Island certainly will. Fun, nevertheless.


Is golf on your bucket list? What else is?

Related articles:
Golf at the top of the world
The ultimate bucket list
Australia’s top 10 golf courses

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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