The Senior Golf Exchange website is no longer operating. We will leave this story online for all those interested in the concept.
This is the sensational view from a Senior Golf Exchange listed beachfront home in Tennyson, South Australia. Owners Chris and Sue Watson are both members of The Grange Golf Club in metropolitan Adelaide.
Older golfers gazing longingly at travel brochures or getting all misty eyed thinking about unreachable faraway links and saying to themselves, “if only”, can take heart.
Often, for the older age group it is not finding the time to take the golfing holiday of your dreams that is the problem, it’s the prohibitive costs involved.
Well, what if you could schedule, say, a three week holiday in the Australian or international location of your choosing, and the accommodation and associated costs were just a one off $99.
That’s right, what if you not only got superior, home-style accommodation at that price, but the possibility of some special golf friendly extras thrown in, such as use of a motor vehicle, golf equipment and reduced private member introduced golf club green fees.
Not only that, but for that same $99 you could repeat the process as many times as you could arrange in a year. If it is all starting to sound like that old well-known television commercial, “but wait, there’s more!”, don’t be concerned. In this case it is all true.
This is a new, Australian based, golf related travel concept that is set to revolutionise holiday options for senior golfers. It is modeled on the spectacular growth of international and domestic home exchange programs – there are now some 60 such internet-based operations with more than 130,000 member listings.
But Adelaide entrepreneur and avid golfer Graeme Smith has taken the concept a step further and optimised it for golfers – particularly those aged 50 and over.
He has launched SeniorGolfExchange.com, which he says is the world’s only private member listing specifically designed for golfers, and one which will facilitate the opportunity to play the world’s best golf courses without incurring accommodation costs.
Essentially, Smith has adopted the increasingly popular concept of people swapping homes – or alternately hosting each other – for holidays, and improved and tweaked it for older golfers.
‘‘The aim is to offer golfers the opportunity to stay in privacy and comfort, close to virtually any world golfing region of their choosing,” Graeme says.
‘‘For Adelaide golfers that could mean a weekend within comfortable driving distance of, say, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula or the sand belt. They could also travel to further afield golfing meccas such as Perth or the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
‘‘But I expect the jewel in the operation will be the international program which will give members the opportunity to spend several months abroad – potentially playing courses like St Andrews, Pinehurst and Pebble Beach – with no accommodation costs and reduced green fees through member introductions.”
There are also other spin-offs that will add appreciably to the concept’s appeal.
“Vehicle hire costs might also be avoided by the exchange process, and the same with golf equipment, even motorised or electric buggies,” he says.
‘‘It will also give members the opportunity to live like a local in the area when it comes to meals and entertainment.”
Initially, many people are attracted to the home exchange concept because of the huge cost benefits, but often they find that it is the actual experience that is the real value. Things like making new friends and having the opportunity of living in an area like a local, rather than as tourists segregated away in an expensive but nondescript hotel.
As Graeme says, it can “provide golf travel experiences that money can’t buy.”
As a first reaction, some people might balk at the idea of having “strangers” in their homes and have a myriad of questions.
If you visit the extensive Senior Golf Exchange website you will see every possible issue and topic is covered down to the finest details. Everything can be discussed and agreed upon beforehand, so you will extensively “know” who you are dealing with long before there is any home or hospitality exchanged. (Check out some of the member profiles to see the sorts of people involved with the scheme.)
It is one of the beauties of Graeme’s service that senior golf fits so perfectly with the home exchange concept. These schemes operate quite successfully with a general populace clientele without problem. Here you know you are dealing with senior golfers only. It is also ideal for golfers wishing to travel extensively within Australia playing in major veteran golf tournaments.
Graeme admits that, apart from his own passion for the game, this is one of the main reasons he specialised the exchange for the senior golf market.
‘‘It is very much because of the ethos of the game and the fraternity it invokes,” he says. ‘‘What that means is that golfers know other golfers will respect the privileges, property and environment afforded to them. ”
‘‘It may sound corny but the great English writer PG Wodehouse got it absolutely right. ‘‘What he said was this – ‘Golf is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well’.”
Sticking with the golf theme, SeniorGolfExchange.com will also offer exchange arrangements to coincide with significant professional and amateur events around the world.
Officially launched in April, there are still foundation memberships available to the first 100 suitable applicants from each of the major regions of the world. This will entail a joining fee of $99 that will provide two years of free subscription. Life membership is available for just $499.
Enquiries can be made to at the Senior Golf Exchange website, or call Graeme Smith on 08 8344 8400 or Mobile 0412 822 233.
This US home, perched on a private golf course itself and minutes from Chanbers Bay Golf Course, selected for a future US Open, is one of the properties listed at the new Senior Golf Exchange private members club.
What Are Home And Hospitality Exchanges?
Home exchange is a reciprocal arrangement between two exchange partners to exchange vacant possession of each other’s home for an agreed period of time and with specific understandings relating to the use of each home’s facilities.
A non-simultaneous home exchange can occur if one exchange partner has a second or holiday home or may be travelling on another arrangement, and would prefer to have their home occupied in their absence, and “bank” an exchange opportunity for later.
Hospitality Exchange, sometimes referred to as “hosted”, is a two-part arrangement. One exchange partner stays with the other for an agreed period of time and at a later agreed date the positions are reversed. If, for a time, Members are precluded from offering accommodation within their home, a Hospitality Exchange, excluding accommodation may be arranged.
Exchanges don’t need to be “like-for-like”, or of the same duration. The exchange partners agree on what is acceptable to them and the end result may be a very creative combination of the various exchange options.
Because SeniorGolfExchange.com is a Private Members’ Club, it is anticipated about half of the exchanges will be Hospitality Exchange, sharing in some of their golfing experiences, and other common interests, which are discovered during search activity and time spent getting to know each other.
“First, search for a fellow Member with compatible circumstances, in a location you want to visit, then two way communication by all the means at your disposal – email, telephone, digital photos, video. Ask for references if they make you more comfortable.
Ask all the questions you need answers for. If you are still not comfortable with the prospect of handing over your home, select another Member as your exchange partner, or perhaps you are more suited to a Hospitality Exchange, with or without in-home accommodation.”
For answers to any questions, call Graeme Smith direct on 0412 822 233.