If you're planning to do a traditional shotgun tournament on just nine holes, the most golfers you can schedule is 72 (two foursomes per hole at the start).
If there's one thing devoted golfers love when they are traveling for business, it's sneaking in a little play on the side. The following six destinations feature layouts that allow planners to arrange just that for the entire group using only nine holes of a larger course, an executive nine-hole course, a par-3 layout or a putting course. It's also less expensive to arrange a shortened outing (hint to the budget-minded who still want to please the duffers in the group).
The Bear, Beaver and Elk Nines The town of Breckenridge, Colo., has three mountain nines designed by Jack Nicklaus called the Bear, the Beaver and the Elk. Balls fly here at more than a 9,300-foot elevation. All manner of wildlife, such as beaver, deer, elk, moose, bear, red fox and red-tailed hawks, has been known to wander through. Each of the nines can be used for group events, but if the Bear is not already scheduled for play, it's the best one for shorter events because of its close proximity to the clubhouse. For neophyte golfers, the Bear also doesn't have as many challenging elevation changes that so bedevil players on the Beaver and Elk nines.
For the meeting itself, many groups like to check in at the 500-room Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center, which offers more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Another 600 guest rooms are spread among six area properties run by Breckenridge Hospitality, which have a total of approximately 43,000 square feet of event space.
The Lodge at Koele
Four Seasons Resort Lana'i While the Four Seasons has two fabulous courses -- the Experience at Koele, created by Greg Norman and Ted Robinson and featuring lush island interior views, and the nearby Challenge at Manele, designed by Jack Nicklaus and running along the stunning Hulopo'e Bay -- the Lodge also offers an 18-hole putting course that is perfect for a quick and easy event. Sharing the location of the Experience at Koele, the putting course dips through countryside that once held the ranch house of a pineapple plantation. Golf balls and putters (a favorite club of beginners) are provided for those who don't travel with their golf bags.
Along with sweet Hawaiian breezes and plenty of sunshine, the resort features 102 guest rooms, two restaurants with ocean views, plus the main dining room and several lounge areas. Other highlights for groups: three recently resurfaced tennis courts, croquet and, of course, the beach. The property has more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space.