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Where do you play (public vs private)?


Gavwlee
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There are private clubs and private clubs.

Ours began as one kind of club 115 years ago and became a totally different kind through a series of events more tedious than interesting.

Many clubs are run by committees.

This would be ALL member equity clubs.

Our club is now business, not member owned,

with much innuendo about being primarily a laundromat for revenue accrued elsewhere.

It's NOT run by committees but entirely, in every aspect, by paid professional managers.

In contrast to committee members, paid managers are far less susceptible to egomaniacal self importance.

Also, my membership never cleared a membership committee.

The only thing that had to "clear" was my check.

Thus, our members tend to be a more "colorful" demographic in character than that of other clubs.

We have several politicians and public officials, for example, that I very much doubt are paying anything but their bar tabs..

 

I guess what I'm trying to suggest is that "private club" doesn't necessarily mean one specific thing.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, BostonSal said:

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.   

 

Interesting thoughts here...in my case, I suspect that in a way to improve financials at the club (private), they ran a 'no initiation fee' special for a half the year while implementing green fees for all member levels (i.e. my membership level included unlimited green fees 7 days a week but turned into green fee + cart for all 7 days, on top of the monthly dues). The no initiation fee special resulted in a large influx of new members in 2020, which was the desired effect but many of the new members very very new golfers and some relying on the club's rentals for the first few months resulting in a downturn of the general. To your point though, not sure what the new member demographics were though.

 

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On 9/9/2021 at 7:06 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, certainly not my private club experiences (and I've been a member of various clubs for 51 years ....)

At our club, if we play in the morning (before about 9 am), we can usually play in 3.5 hours or less. Weekend afternoons MIGHT be a shade over 4 hours. Tournaments play a bit slower, because, well, tournament golf. The tee sheet almost always has plenty of openings midweek, and on the weekends, you can generally slot in if you forgot to make a time the previous week. We also run "open times" from 6:30-9:30 am on Sat & Sun. Just show up and play .....

Our members are pretty good at raking bunkers and filling divots with seed. Repairing pitch marks is hit or miss, but in general, the greens are immaculate.

Virtually any public course near here is less well maintained, and plays closer to 5 hours than 3.5.

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I play public golf in the Chicago area. We have a wide range of golf courses at different price points. You can find something for all price points, conditioning levels, etc. As to round times, it is often luck. I often play the Village Links of Glen Ellyn. Nice staff and regular players, but round times range from 3:20 to almost 5 hours. Luck of the draw. Sometimes outsiders who play like they want their money's worth, sometimes regulars who think they own the course, and sometimes a great pace of play. 

I also have a group of about 15 guys and we play various courses in the area. My group plays in 4 hours for the 1st group (unless there are "Slowskies" in front, but some of the guys are closer to 5 hour types for the usual reasons. I run the group so I am out 1st.

Sounds like some of the private course are not the panacea that I thought.

 

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18 hours ago, BostonSal said:

There are private clubs and private clubs.

Ours began as one kind of club 115 years ago and became a totally different kind through a series of events more tedious than interesting.

Many clubs are run by committees.

This would be ALL member equity clubs.

Our club is now business, not member owned,

with much innuendo about being primarily a laundromat for revenue accrued elsewhere.

It's NOT run by committees but entirely, in every aspect, by paid professional managers.

In contrast to committee members, paid managers are far less susceptible to egomaniacal self importance.

Also, my membership never cleared a membership committee.

The only thing that had to "clear" was my check.

Thus, our members tend to be a more "colorful" demographic in character than that of other clubs.

We have several politicians and public officials, for example, that I very much doubt are paying anything but their bar tabs..

 

I guess what I'm trying to suggest is that "private club" doesn't necessarily mean one specific thing.

 

 

 

 

 

This is an extremely important and valid point.  Even in the realm of "private" club there differences.  Additionally region matters.  BostonSal's experience in the Northeast, that golf is becoming more elitist again, is beyond a doubt true there.  Having grown up in the heart of that type of environment I know that there simply aren't enough Public courses to support the number of potential golfers that might wish to play.  Plus the cost of living is such that there is very little disposable income or free time to work with.  Golf is not an option.  But this would not be true in other places. 

 

Within an hour drive of my house I have every imaginable golfing experience possible from a World Class resort, Innisbrook, top 100 courses in the US, one under $100 - World Woods Pine Barrens, others around $300 Streamsong courses, equity clubs that are nearly as expensive as the exclusive Northeastern ones, non-equity clubs that go for 6 to 7K.  Nice semi private clubs that go for around 3K.  High end daily fee courses like TPC Tampa Bay, lots of nice moderately priced ones around $50, munis, executive courses and short courses - we really have the best of all of it.

 

It's definitely a regional thing as to what is available - certainly Florida is a tourist destination and golf is a part of that.  I know of three courses in my area that have closed in the past 10 years - one was a muni, two were in residential areas and privately owned.  The owners felt they could get more money selling the property for development but that has yet to come to fruition.  

 

Turning another direction I've gotten to the point that I'm seriously considering moving my membership from my current club to another one, in part because of this discussion.  We shall see how that unfolds.

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20 minutes ago, revkev said:

This is an extremely important and valid point.  Even in the realm of "private" club there differences.  Additionally region matters.  BostonSal's experience in the Northeast, that golf is becoming more elitist again, is beyond a doubt true there.  Having grown up in the heart of that type of environment I know that there simply aren't enough Public courses to support the number of potential golfers that might wish to play.  Plus the cost of living is such that there is very little disposable income or free time to work with.  Golf is not an option.  But this would not be true in other places. 

As someone living in MA right near RI, I can say that while thinking golf up here is becoming "elitist" might be a nifty thing to say, it's simply not true. There are far, far more munis and semi-privates with a wide range of public tee times than there are private clubs. I have never had a problem getting a tee time at any number of courses if I wanted to play. If one course was booked, I simply found another within the same distance. And this includes heading out towards Cape Cod.

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The season is shorter up in Canada.  But I am fortunate to be able to play a private course with 45 holes.  Lots of variety and options. All of it is pretty walkable which is nice too. The ability to play in 4 hours or less most days is a big plus to private courses.  Also the ability to play 9 last minute or play 18 on the same day if the weather is decent is awesome as well.  

The pandemic made booking even on private courses tough up here, but its a lot better this year.

I do play a few of the same public courses in my area every year, which is nice since some places are gorgeous and great resort style mountain courses.  Different challenges and scenery is nice too.  I do try to avoid public courses generally on weekends unless its an early morning time.  4.5 to 5 hour rounds with lots of waiting is not fun.

Not as many options like FL, AZ or CA, but its not bad up here in Canada for public and semi-private options.  

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I can truly say that my experience with private clubs is nothing like that of the OP.  I have been a member of numerous private clubs since I was 26 years old.  I am now 75.  I live in a gated country club community where you must be at a minimum a social member to own/live here.  I play about 65% of my rounds at this club.  However, I belong to 2 traveling tournament leagues and we play between 15 to 20 different golf courses in the greater Houston area and between those 2 leagues I have played 70 rounds in the past year. 

Even if I did not live where I do, the cost of golf would probably be prohibitive if I did not belong to a club.  I have played 238 rounds in the past 12 months and 172 round just in 2021.  

I am not a shy person.  When I moved here, I only knew a couple of residents.  My regular group that I play with came about because I walked up to the 3 of them on Sunday and said "Hey, do you mind if I play golf with you guys?"  Even when I travel alone out of state, I try to get paired with someone.  Sure, there are going to be politics to deal with but once you join a club, you have to realize you have a vested interest in it and you must get in there and become involved in the Men's Golf Association or the Senior Men's Golf Association, sign up for the tournaments or play days.  Get involved.  Then you realize the benefits of being a club member.  

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27 minutes ago, RickK said:

Sure, there are going to be politics to deal with but once you join a club, you have to realize you have a vested interest in it and you must get in there and become involved in the Men's Golf Association or the Senior Men's Golf Association, sign up for the tournaments or play days.  Get involved.  Then you realize the benefits of being a club member.  

RickK shows us a great example of how club memberships can differ.  There's virtually no politics at our club because you're not investing in anything.  It's like belonging to a gym. You pay your dues and you do pretty much what you want. 

You don't have any equity in anything.  You have no assessments.  No huge initiation investments. Nobody asks your opinion about club rules.  If you like it, you come back, and if you don't, you find a similar corporate owned club which will be all too glad to take you.  There are adds on for which you pay individually like bag room service. It's almost like having a season pass at a public course except you have all the private club amenities and your guests are completely on your tab.

I have a senior weekday membership which means that I have access to all the club facilities all the time except the golf course which is limited to weekdays.  This late in the season, even that isn't strictly enforced.

And on weekdays, you can reserve tee times, but you can usually just walk on.  

This is the perfect type of situation for me.  We have locally any number of totally different member equity clubs, where you need to be sponsored to get on the waiting list, and when your name comes up, there's a membership committee to say, well, maybe not.  You pay a substantial initiation fee.  You're liable to assessments as they become required.  Member committees rather than hired professionals run pretty much everything. You go to emergency meetings and vote on things.  Traditional dues might actually be a little less is one saving grace.  But everything the traditional private club member expects and has learned how to live with is everything that would drive me out of golf.   

But in this day and age, there are alternatives if you look for them.   Unfortunately, some public courses are closing down.  There are definitely fewer than there were twenty-five years ago, and they're almost all privately owned.  The venerable George Wright is going strong, but for the most part, the muni courses are non-existent in this area. At least I don't know of many.

One poster claims the South Shore near Rhode Island is different.  Maybe so.  If I'm leaving the city in a car and not a plane, I'm definitely heading North, not South.  I don't even go south for Patriots games at Foxborough.  

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On 9/14/2021 at 11:22 AM, russtopherb said:

As someone living in MA right near RI, I can say that while thinking golf up here is becoming "elitist" might be a nifty thing to say, it's simply not true. There are far, far more munis and semi-privates with a wide range of public tee times than there are private clubs. I have never had a problem getting a tee time at any number of courses if I wanted to play. If one course was booked, I simply found another within the same distance. And this includes heading out towards Cape Cod.

That's great to hear.  I lived in Fairfield County which was another animal altogether.  Land was too valuable - there was one course in my town and it was private - I had to driver 30 minutes to get to the muni in Bridgeport, Fairfield or Norwalk and all were crowded as at the time they were the only public tracks in those towns - the one in Bridgeport had 36 holes but that was the extent of public golf in a city of 200 K residents.

 

I had no issues finding reasonable places to play when I lived on Cape Cod and Eastern Connecticut, just after getting married.  

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Wilson D7 forged 6-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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