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Where do you play (public vs private)?


Gavwlee
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I recently joined a Private Military Golf Club close to my house. For the most part you have to be a member, but many guests frequent the course,  so it's not exclusively Private. 

The course is decent considering the lack of funding and staff it has to maintain the 18 holes adequately

 

 

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I play quite a bit public or semi private courses. I even have a membership to one closest to my house. Most private courses want you to jump thru a bunch of hoops and then charge you an arm and a leg. I'm a disabled veteran and since they changed my designation I can no longer work. But starting this fall every year I will take a golf trip to all the courses on my bucket list.

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Have always been a public course person.  When I started playing in 1984 started at Patriots Point Links in Mt Pleasant.  Actually had a membership there for a few years there and they told us they wanted to cater more to the tourists and they were canceling memberships, so we left and went across the river to Charleston and the local Municipal and have been there ever since.  I enjoy the freedom of playing at a public course.  I am a passholder at the Muni which gets me a discount on greens fees and I play in a senior men's league there.  They have remodeled the course.  A complete renovation last year in the style of Seth Raynor from the 20's.  A real tough course when it comes to the bunkers and the greens.  The greens run rather fast for a muni, on the average around 11 and they can get them faster.  A very popular course with 60K plus rounds a year.  No worries for us because we have a standing tee time at 8am.  Home of the City of Charleston Amateur Championship Tournaments; Men, Women, Senior Men, Senior Women, Four Ball, Mixed and Junior.  Like the new carts they have purchased with the renovation, when you go where you should not, they shut down.     

 

 

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On 9/9/2021 at 10:06 AM, Gavwlee said:

I recently signed up then cancelled my private club membership after 6 months when I realized members didn't care to repair divots, rake bunkers, destroy practice areas, and monopolize tee times (just in case they decided to play)...all to say, not a good experience. And the pace of play was not any better than any public course (5 - 6.5 hours when stuck behind the wrong group, thinking they're playing on tour).

With that rant aside, where do you all play? Public vs Private? Same home course all the time? Rotation of courses in and around your neighborhood? With a club/consistent group of folks?

Wow is all that I can say. Your experience is far different from any club I’ve ever been a member of or guest at. I’m sorry that this happened to you. Did you speak to the GM prior to leaving? I certainly wouldn’t have stayed under those circumstances either. Private or public I’m not playing anywhere that regularly has rounds that take over 430. In fact I haven’t played TPC Tampa Bay, a course that I love, for five years just for that reason. And there it’s extremely fixable. But I won’t bore you with that fix again. 
 

I know that my current club has a 4:15 time limit for rounds. Break that more than once and you are not able to make a morning tee time for a month. It never happens. Same holds true with missed tee times. I think this is the case for all clubs in my area. Even if it’s not formal, you will be called in for a chat if you aren’t playing at a reasonable pace, caring for the course and being courteous. 

 

of course you occasionally see unfilled divots, ball marks on the green or intakes traps but it’s less frequent than at the local muni that I will play occasionally. 
 

I split time between my club and my friend’s club but will also play a semi private course that’s about 5 miles from my house. Honestly I would join there in a heartbeat because I love the course and it’s far more walkable than mine but the dining room is not accessible. 😞

 

I get around to other courses about once a quarter often to meet someone from MGS who has traveled to Florida. 

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I should consider myself fortunate to live in upstate New York when it comes to golf. Historically this region (Albany-Schenectady-Troy-Amsterdam) was considered a world class manufacturing hub. During the 20th century communities established municipal golf courses for a burgeoning "middle class" public eager to find a way to spend their leisure time participating in a sport once only available to the affluent. (My course was built in the 1930’s as part of the WPA)

Over the past 50 years of decline, this region is now referred to as the "Rust Belt". Our prosperity has migrated to centers of influence located in larger metropolitan, cosmopolitan regions, and other parts of the world.

Golf magazines publish articles marveling at golf venues where you can play a round of golf for under $150

In contrast, my municipal course has seasonal memberships for under $900-$1200, offering unlimited golf, preferred tee times on weekends, and discounts on all entry fees for competitive events. (Cart rentals are range from $16-$26 for 18 holes) Weekend greens fees for Senior residents are around $20 walking. My group plays before 9:00 on weekends on a regular basis with little or no problem getting this tee time.

It’s common knowledge up here that you can jump in your car and drive south towards New York City for about an hour and a half and encounter golfers who would think this as delusional.

The course is run by a highly regarded PGA professional and is maintained by a superintendent who has done an excellent job of maintaining the facility for over 20 years. An on-site restaurant delivers top notch pub style meals and the bar has locally brewed IPA on tap for $4.00 a pint!

How does this happen? A simple, local explanation is that I live near the state capital where employees are paid reasonable civil service union wages and have funded pensions, and we still do have a professional class of lawyers, doctors and business owners.

Most golfers who play my Muni don’t live in the city that runs it. A city burdened by urban decay and Section 8 housing.  And a practically non-existent tax base.

But somehow the city makes money on the golf operation, so much so that it would be foolish for it to respond to lucrative offers to sell it to a private operation for a “quick buck”.

The course conditions are excellent, not comparable to private clubs I've played, but if a city budget would allow for improved drainage, expanded cart paths and a replacement for a 50-year-old manually run irrigation system I do believe it could achieve "country club" quality.

Lamentably, this is a hard argument to make to a municipal government burdened by the realities of our current economic times.

 

 

 

 

 

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Semper fi buddy. I retired USMC in 1994.

Not sure how you would classify a military course. I guess semi-private. In any case, play Luke AFB course 2-3 times a week all year round. Also live in a maturely aged golf community with 3 18 hole courses. Only play there in the summer because the rate in the winter isn't worth it and we walk at Luke anyway for exercise.

BTW- we play as the first or second group and usually 3 hours or less. Maybe you have a military course close to you? Check it out as you don't need to be retired anymore to play, as far as I know.

As an aside, my golf cart looks like a jeep and is USMC colors. 

 

Cart (1).JPG

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The Chicago area has wonderful public golf courses, but playing less than four hours with bunkers NOT raked, divots NOT filled and pitch marks NOT repaired on greens made me switch to private play a few years ago.  

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Public and semi-private. The public couses I play have all upgraded their greens and overall maintenance to the point they are as good as the semi-private ones. The biggest difference is the clubhouses, with the semi-private ones having bigger and fancier ones. Played a fully private course a couple weeks ago and I have to admit both the course and clubhouse were a step above any semi-private course I have played. That said, I would not want to only play one course and at the price I would likely feel compelled to play the private course to justify the expense. I suspect many private course members justify the cost as business related expenses, but I am retired. As Groucho Marx said: "I wouldn't join any country club that would have me as a member."

Apropos of nothing, when Groucho was told he couldn't join a club because he was Jewish he replied: "I'm only half Jewish. Can I use the pool if I only go in up to my waist?"

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7 hours ago, Beakbryce said:

Semper fi buddy. I retired USMC in 1994.

Not sure how you would classify a military course. I guess semi-private. In any case, play Luke AFB course 2-3 times a week all year round. Also live in a maturely aged golf community with 3 18 hole courses. Only play there in the summer because the rate in the winter isn't worth it and we walk at Luke anyway for exercise.

BTW- we play as the first or second group and usually 3 hours or less. Maybe you have a military course close to you? Check it out as you don't need to be retired anymore to play, as far as I know.

As an aside, my golf cart looks like a jeep and is USMC colors. 

 

Cart (1).JPG

Semper Fi!

When not deployed, I frequented Camp Lejeune’s Paradise Point. 2-18 hole course where 1 was open to all military and guest and the other was military and guests with an established handicap. Best private experience ever. Fast rounds, great condition and everyone did their part to keep things squared away. I’m going to have to take a look around my area for any on base course!

That’s a sick jeep/cart!!

Edited by Gavwlee
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Along these lines of public vs private:  Taking a trip back to Eastern PA and taking my clubs.  I found 23 private, 4 semi-private and 14 public courses with 20 miles around the Downingtown area.  It was hard to find any public courses with both  current and good reviews, but I finally settled on Wyncote which has both.  According to my wife's relatives there, most everyone they know who plays golf belongs to a private club.  I imagine the population density there can support the number of private clubs present.  Oregon's population is 4.3M within 98.4 Th Sq miles while PA's population is 12.2M within 46.0 Th Sq miles.  Here in the High Oregon Desert we can't find 250k people, but we have 23 private and 10 public courses within 20 miles of one another; and all 10 public courses are 4-5 star rated.  Sounds like I'm bragging, but I'm just relieved.  Welcome to my world.  Our courses are also supported by 1.5M visitors every year who come to enjoy all the recreation opportunities available to them.

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I belong to & regularly play a Semi-Private course.  The course condition & maintenance is fantastic all year round & as good private courses in the area.  The tee time availability, the ability to walk, course condition & staff makes it enjoyable! Couple of times a month will go out and play other area courses. 

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Lucky to play at a private club which has 4 championship courses & over 3,000 members. We have 4-4.5 hour rounds and marshalls on the courses to ensure pace of play. Every day is competition day. Dress regulations are strictly enforced, in particular shirts with collars, no cargo pants and no caps on backwards and no hats/caps in the clubhouse. It is a golfers club with 20%+ members off single figures, 5% off scratch or better. Everything is focused on GOLF so it also has awesome practice facilities… all this for $4,000 US pa 

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I play a private course. We have a standing tee time every Saturday and Sunday at 7:10. If we are not going to be there we let the pro-shop know.  Our members are caring about the course and help maintain its beauty.  The issue we have is we let the local high school play and they have not been replacing divots, fixing ball marks when playing.  We have brought it to the coaches attention and hopefully it will be addressed. Slow play has also been a big topic this year. Rounds have started to exceed 4.5 hours on a 6700 yard course.  The club president is the biggest culprit. It was taking 4.5 to 5 hours to play on a weekend when we tee'd off at 830 ish, which is why we play at 710 now. We are done in around 3 hours and then still have the whole day to enjoy ourselves.  I hope they start penalizing pace of play especially in tournament play. In our club championship, it took some groups 5 plus hours to play. 

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We play a 5700-6200 yard track in about four hours, riding, but frankly, I'm in no hurry.

I know that slow play is a problem on crowded courses, even the ones at other private clubs, but on weekday mornings,

nobody is rushing us. Having the whole remaining day to enjoy myself may mean lounging around the clubhouse afterwards, lest somebody have something for me to do if I go home.  We all live different lives, right?

But those who play on weekends face totally different circumstances, I'm sure.

Our course has been here for 115 years.   It remembers more leisurely times. 

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On 9/12/2021 at 4:28 AM, 6 Aces said:

Along these lines of public vs private:  Taking a trip back to Eastern PA and taking my clubs.  I found 23 private, 4 semi-private and 14 public courses with 20 miles around the Downingtown area.  It was hard to find any public courses with both  current and good reviews, but I finally settled on Wyncote which has both.  According to my wife's relatives there, most everyone they know who plays golf belongs to a private club.  I imagine the population density there can support the number of private clubs present.  Oregon's population is 4.3M within 98.4 Th Sq miles while PA's population is 12.2M within 46.0 Th Sq miles.  Here in the High Oregon Desert we can't find 250k people, but we have 23 private and 10 public courses within 20 miles of one another; and all 10 public courses are 4-5 star rated.  Sounds like I'm bragging, but I'm just relieved.  Welcome to my world.  Our courses are also supported by 1.5M visitors every year who come to enjoy all the recreation opportunities available to them.

That's an interesting point/stat...the shift in the golfing community to private clubs vs public. With the number of private clubs greater than public, there must be a demand for it. Wonder if the private club demand is increasing and outpacing the number of golfers on public courses.

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15 hours ago, Pat Snr said:

Lucky to play at a private club which has 4 championship courses & over 3,000 members. We have 4-4.5 hour rounds and marshalls on the courses to ensure pace of play. Every day is competition day. Dress regulations are strictly enforced, in particular shirts with collars, no cargo pants and no caps on backwards and no hats/caps in the clubhouse. It is a golfers club with 20%+ members off single figures, 5% off scratch or better. Everything is focused on GOLF so it also has awesome practice facilities… all this for $4,000 US pa 

Sounds like the place to be to get beaten into submission until you get your game up to snuff!

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On 9/11/2021 at 10:12 AM, revkev said:

Wow is all that I can say. Your experience is far different from any club I’ve ever been a member of or guest at. I’m sorry that this happened to you. Did you speak to the GM prior to leaving? I certainly wouldn’t have stayed under those circumstances either. Private or public I’m not playing anywhere that regularly has rounds that take over 430. In fact I haven’t played TPC Tampa Bay, a course that I love, for five years just for that reason. And there it’s extremely fixable. But I won’t bore you with that fix again. 
 

I know that my current club has a 4:15 time limit for rounds. Break that more than once and you are not able to make a morning tee time for a month. It never happens. Same holds true with missed tee times. I think this is the case for all clubs in my area. Even if it’s not formal, you will be called in for a chat if you aren’t playing at a reasonable pace, caring for the course and being courteous. 

 

of course you occasionally see unfilled divots, ball marks on the green or intakes traps but it’s less frequent than at the local muni that I will play occasionally. 
 

I split time between my club and my friend’s club but will also play a semi private course that’s about 5 miles from my house. Honestly I would join there in a heartbeat because I love the course and it’s far more walkable than mine but the dining room is not accessible. 😞

 

I get around to other courses about once a quarter often to meet someone from MGS who has traveled to Florida. 

I wouldn't be able to live with that 4:15 rule, Rev,  just out of truculent resentment to it.

Memberships, even senior weekday ones [only golf is limited to weekdays], are too expensive for that level of autocratic tyranny.

But we don't have it here at our club so no problem.  And we can usually just walk on as far as weekday mornings go.

 

In response to another post on this thread, I don't think that private courses are predominating over public courses due to a shift in preference.   I think it's due to a shift in demographics.

The working class golf explosion that took place in more prosperous times has clearly begun to diminish, and golf is reverting to a more elitist game again.   If I were young with a young family and the expenses that go with it, I can't begin to  imagine playing now as I was able to play back then.   

 

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Play a rotation of 4 courses or so between 10 and 40 minutes away. We have a solid 4 ball for most weekends, every once in a while if someone can't make it we'll fill it in without any problems.  Might join a semi-private club next year on a credit line membership since one of the 4 in our rota is closing.  If you want to join a full time club around me you're paying no less than 13G's in membership fees plus the minimum dining charges per month. etc.  Just can't see spending that kind of money

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I've been a member of a private course in NW GA for 25 years. The course is 68 years old, but they keep it updated and everyone who visits says it is in the best shape of any course in North GA. We have one of the top teaching Pro's in the country. Golf Digest listed him as a top 10 teacher that no one has ever heard of. That's one of the things I love about it, great course, great people and laid back with no snobby people.

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