TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – Golf and air planes first arrived in North America within 30 years of one another. Now the two seemed tied together as time-deprived golf tourists desire to reach the top golf courses in Canada as fast as possible. If this sounds like you, the next time you book a golf vacation to one of the fine courses up north, consider taking a private plane to get there sooner.
Since Bill Lear popularized the private jet with the introduction of his Lear Jet 23 some 40 years ago, flights for hire have grown in popularity among tourists looking to a quick golf vacation getaway. Currently North America’s 500 jet-charter companies have about 3,000 planes available at any given time. Private jet fleets have doubled in the past decade and as supply outstrips demand charter firms have become increasingly competitive and creative in marketing their services to those business and leisure travelers who value time and convenience over commercial fares and delays.
“For me, it’s worth more to save time on the private plane than to waste a day in airports,” said John Li, a golfer and banker from New York City.
Just as special occasions call for chauffeured livery around Canada, golfers can splurge on a private air charter to garnish a special holiday or golf trip to BC, Ontario, PEI or any of the other provinces in Canada. The options are dizzying.
Fly Niagara offers an all-included, one-day return jaunt out of Buttonville Airport, north of Toronto, Ontario, to Niagara Falls’ municipal Whirlpool Golf Course for approximately $500 per person. (All prices in Canadian dollars unless specified.) This would not be classified as a private jet junket as they fly small single props.
If you dream big for your Canada and have the budget to match, consider Golf-Ahoy’s Wednesday to Sunday luxury package to golf’s Valhalla. For $22,400 (U.S) each, based on 12 travelers, their Gulfstream IV jet takes you from JFK in New York to an all inclusive, helicopter-linked playing tour of the most hallowed courses in the British Isles. They include the Old Course of Ballybunion, the Old Course of St. Andrews, Kingsbarns Golf Links, Royal Dornoch Golf Club and the Ailsa Course at Turnberry. Caddie fees are included. Taxes are not.
Flightexec, an air charter service operating from Ontario bases in London and Buttonville, specializes in business, leisure and medical evacuation jet services. In partnership with Toronto, Ontario’s Golf-Away Tours, the company tailors golf getaways worldwide. While ferrying high-flying golfers represents a single-digit percentile of their business.
Typically, private jets are rented by the hour. A six-passenger short-haul Cheyenne III twin jet-prop that clocks 260 mph goes for $1,600 an hour. A 16-seat Falcon 900 runs $6,500 an hour, but gets you further twice as fast. Flightexec has nine flight crews available on one hour’s notice and always has a two-pilot crew. Supplemental charges include taxes, airline transportation security charges, over night charges from $500 to $1,000 plus crew accommodation expenses.
A Cheyenne III for six golfers, Friday to Sunday, from Buttonville to Deerhurst Resort’s private landing strip in Muskoka north of Toronto runs $3,900. From take-off to tee off, it’s 25 minutes compared to a three-hour drive. Add $800 per person for two nights in a luxury Pavilion room at the resort and rounds, with cart, at Deerhurst Highlands, Taboo and Bigwin Island. Excluding taxes and meals, you can weekend like a PGA pro for about $1,450.
Private Planes Worth the Cost on a Golf Vacation to Canada
For perspective, compare a similar weekend outing from Ontario to British Columbia on a commercial versus private jet. Air Canada takes you there and back for approximately $2,200. Flightexec’s seven-place Falcon 10 can be engaged for about thirty grand. That’s $4,285 a golfer, so it’s not too bad if you are splurging on a golf vacation to Canada.
It is if your destination, for example, is the splendid Borgata Lodge at Quail Ridge in the Okanagan Valley. Commercially, you will endure a full day. Privately, it’s a four-hour flight, landing at the Okanagan Airport, 10minutes from the Lodge, instead of a five-hour drive from Vancouver Airport. Golf packages start at $1,050 with three nights’ accommodations in a loft or one-bedroom suite (based on double occupancy), three rounds of golf with cart on Quail Ridge, The Bear, and Predator Ridge, all championship caliber golf courses.
The only issue with taking a private plane to reach your golf course is that you will want to purchase a plane to escort you on your next golf vacation to Canada. Although, that money might be better spent splurging on more golf packages to BC, PEI and Ontario.