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Why don't U.S. Private clubs allow outside play like the Scottish clubs do?


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#31 npham

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:58 PM

View PostThrillhouse, on 19 August 2017 - 10:37 AM, said:

View Postfawley, on 19 August 2017 - 07:05 AM, said:

If the club offered members, say, a $5k per year discount on their dues with the offset being that it would make up the revenue from greens fees from public play, I would guess that 90%+ of our members would rather pay full dues and maintain the status quo.


Count me in the group that would rather pay full price and keep it private. My membership is a big expense for me right now (I guess as I get older it won't be, but right now it is). I live in a really densely populated area, where yes we have a lot of courses but the pace of play is atrocious and the ones you'd actually want to play are often in the $200 CAD range, so golf is expensive regardless. The club I joined has a fantastic layout (a top ranked course in our country), is always in great shape (because we have the budget for it and everyone takes care of it), no pace of play issues as I can always play in four hours, and has lots of great people to play golf with and socialize with. A semi private club can't guarantee the pace, can't guarantee the course conditions, wont have the same atmosphere, and lacks the mechanisms to control bad behaviour should it come up.

I have a busy schedule, so I can't afford to play five and a half hour rounds of golf. I also don't want to deal with people generally behaving like idiots on the golf course (being drunk, not replacing divots or raking traps, playing slow and refusing to let people play through, etc), especially when my recreation time is limited and I want to make the most of it. I know I pay a premium on a per round basis to play private golf, but honestly the benefits and the avoidance of the issues you face with public play are worth it for me.
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#32 Jungleland

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 06:14 PM

I'm in the camp of not wanting a lot of outside play.  When you drop $150K to $200K on a membership and have assessments on top of it the last thing I want is unaccompanied guest play or rampant reciprocity.

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#33 Guia

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 06:19 PM

They don't allow outside play because they are "Private".   Those that allow outside play aren't really private!

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#34 medicoreMAgolfer

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:24 AM

View Postaabcuue, on 20 August 2017 - 09:47 PM, said:

View PostmedicoreMAgolfer, on 20 August 2017 - 07:02 AM, said:

View PostBlackDiamondPar5, on 20 August 2017 - 06:12 AM, said:

You can play a lot of private courses in the US. Many reserve Mondays for outside events like charity tournaments which someone could play. Clubs get some nice revenue from those Monday events. Private clubs also host their local usga district events which you can play.

If I joined a private club, I probably wouldn't want it open to the public as a general rule. Outsiders often play slower and don't care for the course like members. Unfixed ball marks and unfilled fairway divots are far more frequent on public tracks vs private because the public just doesn't care as much about the course.

Also, many state golf associations host "member for a day" programs at private courses.  Massachusetts has a roster of ~20 days where the public can essentially just sign up and play a private course as long as the player is a member in the MGA.  Every year they mix up the courses and outside of maybe the top 10 courses in the state they have some real gems in the program

I think the bigger issue is that the money for a club isn't as much as we would think.  Let's say a good, not great private course opens for play on Mondays.  In mass, that means probably 20 days during the season.  Let's say they charge $100 per player and let's say they get 100 golfers a day - that is $200k in extra revenue (I would argue that it would be hard to fill those 100 slots too for Monday's - people work!)

$200k in extra revenue offset probably by $75k in costs - $125k in profit.  Let's say average private has 350 members - that would only reduce their dues by $360.  With most of the good, not great courses (at least in Mass) having dues north of $6k per year - it's just not that much money!

Heck even take Brookline (best course in Boston) and let's just double the revenue figures and it still doesn't mean that much for the members to offset their costs...  also, remember that these courses frequently have corporate outings on Monday and charge $200 (and up) per player

Your rates for private outing are way off, please check again. Have seen the financials and charges from a wide range of courses, muni, county muni, semi-private, mid range private, to top100 and top20 courses.

Most decent muni & semi-privates charge over $100/golfer to the group organizing an outing. Meals and other amenities are usually extra. A cheap outing is $150 while a good class outing will be $250 & up.

Any decent private will charge at least $300/golfer. Depending on the course financial health, they sometimes have packages and other tournament add ons. Most private course outings are $500 & up.

The notable top100 courses (e.g. Brookline) even if it gives break for a 501c cause, $ is always $500+/golfer. Typical outing cost is $750 on the low to 2k/golfer.

All groups add another $50-500/golfer to fundraise. Most groups try to raise $10k to $100k from a golf outing.

Expect the outing rate to rise $50-250/golfer for extra amenities/add-ons including hole-in-one insurance.

Although ideally most silent raffle items are donations from a group member or connection, others are bought @discount in lieu of projected profit.

That's why I said "and up"!  I have been heavily involved in two outings in Boston area fort university's alumni association.  We have hosted at two private "B" clubs (good, not great) and cost was $300 per golfer, but that $300, was really $200 for golf and $100 for box lunch, post round appetizers, and miscellaneous - hence my amount.

That being said, your point is valid and only further goes to say what I was attempting to - private clubs (at least the ones most would pay to play) won't really move their economic needle by allowing public play

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#35 Bluefan75

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:41 AM

View Post6x6, on 20 August 2017 - 08:29 PM, said:

View PostThrillhouse, on 20 August 2017 - 11:29 AM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 20 August 2017 - 11:16 AM, said:

View PostmedicoreMAgolfer, on 20 August 2017 - 07:02 AM, said:

View PostBlackDiamondPar5, on 20 August 2017 - 06:12 AM, said:

You can play a lot of private courses in the US. Many reserve Mondays for outside events like charity tournaments which someone could play. Clubs get some nice revenue from those Monday events. Private clubs also host their local usga district events which you can play.

If I joined a private club, I probably wouldn't want it open to the public as a general rule. Outsiders often play slower and don't care for the course like members. Unfixed ball marks and unfilled fairway divots are far more frequent on public tracks vs private because the public just doesn't care as much about the course.

Also, many state golf associations host "member for a day" programs at private courses.  Massachusetts has a roster of ~20 days where the public can essentially just sign up and play a private course as long as the player is a member in the MGA.  Every year they mix up the courses and outside of maybe the top 10 courses in the state they have some real gems in the program

I think the bigger issue is that the money for a club isn't as much as we would think.  Let's say a good, not great private course opens for play on Mondays.  In mass, that means probably 20 days during the season.  Let's say they charge $100 per player and let's say they get 100 golfers a day - that is $200k in extra revenue (I would argue that it would be hard to fill those 100 slots too for Monday's - people work!)

$200k in extra revenue offset probably by $75k in costs - $125k in profit.  Let's say average private has 350 members - that would only reduce their dues by $360.  With most of the good, not great courses (at least in Mass) having dues north of $6k per year - it's just not that much money!

Heck even take Brookline (best course in Boston) and let's just double the revenue figures and it still doesn't mean that much for the members to offset their costs...  also, remember that these courses frequently have corporate outings on Monday and charge $200 (and up) per player

This is another important factor - maintenance costs (and expectations) are so much higher in the US than in the U.K. that the price where it would begin to make sense for the private course would be waaaay out of line for the general public golfers. A better private club would probably want ~$400 in greens fees, maybe more, and not many people (other than those who are members already) are willing to pay that kind of money.

Same thing in Scotland to some degree - I know a bunch of guys from the East Lothian area, and none have played Muirfield - it's "too expensive"...

The price the top UK private clubs charge is extremely high (probably for the reasons you're noting). Wentworth West was over 400 GBP ten years ago when I played it, so roughly $800 USD at the time (for the record I didn't pay that much lol, would have been crazy). Sunningdale was less but still expensive, over 200 GBP for sure. They offer a daily thing as well where you can play both courses and get breakfast and lunch, I think it's 300-400 GBP, something like that.

So even though they "allow" public play they price it so high hardly anyone is going to pay it. You'd either have to be very wealthy (and still a member of a club somewhere so you can have a letter written for you, some places will ask for that), or be a complete golf nerd who is willing to pay a lot to tick a great course off of your list.

If I could play Winged Foot and The Country Club in Brookline and other places like that for $400 would I do it? Sure, maybe once a year I'd go knock out a top 100 private club. If it was $1000? Probably not, I mean I might do that for once in a lifetime places like Augusta or Cypress Point but it's just excessive, and I think the top U.K. Private clubs are aware of this. Honestly it costs so much I doubt the outside play is much of a revenue stream for the London clubs (might be different for the Open venues), which again makes me interested about the reasons why they allow it.

The price is so high hardly anyone is going to pay it. That almost sounds like a Yogism, "Nobody goes there anymore it's too crowded". If they are priced so high why have those on the forums who have played some of the courses in the UK and Ireland done just that, while having to book their time many months in advance because the demand is so high for the opportunity. I guess we're just "nerds". I'll never get the chance to play WF or the Country Club so I'll just be content to play top 100 courses that give me the opportunity and appreciate my being there.

Not sure why Wentworth West would be so expensive when its not even ranked in the top 20 courses in the UK. Perhaps as you mention, it has to do with its location near London. Yet, you can play Royal St. George's for 190 GBP, Royal Birkdale for 205 GBP, Muirfield and Troon for 230 GBPs etc. So playing Birkdale for about $260, Muirfield etc for less than $300 doesn't seem too outrageous. Granted thanks to Brexit or other factors, the exchange rate is great for us going over from the states now.

A final thought, have you seen what Pebble Beach gets these days ($525?), Bandon Dunes, Whistling Straights? They are just as expensive or more yet people have no problem paying to play there.

So you're comparing public course prices?  The courses you mention are charging market rates.  A private in the UK is going to charge based on one of two things:  1)we want a bit of revenue, so we'll price it so that some people come here, but not too many, or 2)we really don't want outside play of any sort, but if you're willing to pay that, then we'll take your money.  The other thing to remember is that those courses can say no, because they don't need the money, they have the dues.  The public courses you mention can't really say no or else they lose revenue.  There are so many other factors involved.  The ones you list, you just make a tee time. You have to put in a lot of effort to get on to Sunningdale, or Walton Heath.  You can't just say here is my money.


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#36 Petethreeput

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:48 AM

Raynorfan nailed it. Most clubs incorporate as non-profits. Depending on the designation, I suppose they could file as more than one type, but they can only take in so much outside (non-member) revenue before they lose their NP status.

3 years ago our little club was audited by the IRS. The maximum outside revenue permitted is 15%.

IMO, this is the final and real reason why they don't offer open play and instead rely on tournaments. The GM can better control outside revenue than free play days.

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#37 Bluefan75

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:53 AM

View Post6x6, on 20 August 2017 - 01:02 AM, said:

View Postfawley, on 19 August 2017 - 07:05 AM, said:

View PostThrillhouse, on 18 August 2017 - 11:03 AM, said:

I love that the UK private clubs allow non member play. I've played both courses at sunningdale, wentworth west, both courses at Walton Heath, and others through it, had great experiences and played some of the best courses I've ever played, absolutely awesome.

That being said I wouldn't want to be a member at a club that allowed it in North America where it's not our practice. I like that my club is members and guests only, I like the atmosphere and sense of community that is built when everyone is a member. Also we do have reciprocal play at private clubs in North America, where we sort of share our clubs with other private club members, which is a great way to get to play private courses in other places.

This.

I pay for the privilege to play at my private club.

Part of that privilege is that outside of scheduled events, I can play whenever I want (there are no tee times), I know that the vast majority of people playing the course will take care of it because it's "their" course, the amount of play the course gets is low enough that the greens staff can always keep it in excellent condition, and I know it'll be rare that it takes me more than 4 hours to play.

All of those things would go away if the club allowed public play.

Thanks for denigrating those of us that don't have the means, connections or the desire to join a private club. My personal experience has been different than yours.

I have been fortunate for the opportunity to play private courses, often with friends. Contrary to your suggestion that if the public were allowed to play, the course would not be taken care of. My three older brothers taught me to respect the game. This includes repairing ball marks, replacing divots, raking bunkers basically all the normal things one should do, while all the time treating others with respect and courtesy. The friends I play with also have the same habits. Yet, when I am playing a private course as a guest or visitor I try to make certain I go even further in "taking care" of the course and being respectful of the surroundings. During my younger years I worked as a caddy and later I worked at another club in a different capacity for a couple of years. I witnessed many examples of member's boorish behavior and the attitude because it is "their" course, rules and accepted etiquette doesn't apply to them. These folks were not in the "vast majority" yet there were enough to make up a noticeable percentage of the membership.

Regarding pace of play, I was lucky enough to play Royal Birkdale, Ballybunion, Lahinch and many of the courses in the Open Championship ROTA this past April and May. Most rounds were under four hours and nearly all of them stressed the importance of ready golf.  Muirfield was especially vigilant in keeping up pace of play. During the round the Marshal/Ranger would drop by every few holes to briefly chat with the caddies and our group, consisting of two Japanese gentleman and one man's wife, as a reminder to keep us on time.

So, based on my experience allowing visitors to play at a private club for limited tee times on certain weekdays, the condition of the course or your ability to play in under four hours would not "go away".

YOu are also posting on golfwrx, which makes you a tiny fraction of the golfing public.  As was stated, you are the exception, not the rule when it comes to golfers at public courses.  A too large percentage just doesn't care.  And while you are to be commended for having the right attitude about it, you don't make up for the jackwagons who don't.  I'm a member at a private club, and like the other poster, I can tell when an outside event has taken place.  The course is beat up and not cared for like it normally is.  It's just a fact.

And you can be certain that your group saw the marshals as often as you did due to the make up of your group.  PC has not taken over as badly over there, and most of the people were quite willing to tell us about how the Japanese/Koreans are the slowest players they have ever seen.  The caddies hate getting assigned one.  I never played with any, and I saw marshals twice a round at St Andrews the whole 3 days I played.

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#38 6x6

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:39 PM

Bluefan75,


Funny, seems like I could get on the Old Course at Sunningdale fairly easily. http://mhsserver3.co...okings/44118078 and the new course quicker than that. They take bookings for visitors year round Mon-Thurs.

Thrillhouse commented on how high the costs of playing at private clubs in the U.K. were. I pointed out, imo, that paying about $290 for likes of Muirfield and Troon, $250 for Birkdale and a bit less for St. George's didn't seem that bad to me. For others those fees are too high as someone pointed out, whose local friends don't pay that to play Muirfield. Somewhat off subject but I wonder what if his friends would pay 230 GBPs  for the opportunity to play a Winged Foot or Oak Hill.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to throw public resort type courses into the comparison with private clubs as you correctly point out the dynamics are much different. Rather, I just trying to make the point that people will pay as much or in some cases much more, for the experience of playing some highly regarded courses. I apparently failed to make the connection that the UK courses mentioned were not "highly" priced compared to what others pay here for courses they can play.

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#39 raynorfan1

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 02:12 PM

View Post6x6, on 22 August 2017 - 12:39 PM, said:

Bluefan75,


Funny, seems like I could get on the Old Course at Sunningdale fairly easily. http://mhsserver3.co...okings/44118078 and the new course quicker than that. They take bookings for visitors year round Mon-Thurs.

Thrillhouse commented on how high the costs of playing at private clubs in the U.K. were. I pointed out, imo, that paying about $290 for likes of Muirfield and Troon, $250 for Birkdale and a bit less for St. George's didn't seem that bad to me. For others those fees are too high as someone pointed out, whose local friends don't pay that to play Muirfield. Somewhat off subject but I wonder what if his friends would pay 230 GBPs  for the opportunity to play a Winged Foot or Oak Hill.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to throw public resort type courses into the comparison with private clubs as you correctly point out the dynamics are much different. Rather, I just trying to make the point that people will pay as much or in some cases much more, for the experience of playing some highly regarded courses. I apparently failed to make the connection that the UK courses mentioned were not "highly" priced compared to what others pay here for courses they can play.

The exchange rate swing also makes the comparison difficult - when I did the full day at Muirfield in 2013, it was ~$500 including lunch. Now it's ~$400 for the same thing because of the weakness of the pound.

To continue to harp on another point though, there's no upside for the major (call it Top 100) clubs to do this. They already host a TON of outside play from accompanied guests of members every day of the week. Many probably do 15,000 guest rounds a year...at $250/round plus the bar bill, its a good chunk of cash. What do they really gain from unaccompanied outside play?

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#40 onlyomar

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:42 PM

View PostBEND OF THE RIVER GC, on 18 August 2017 - 01:44 AM, said:

The private courses that don't allow it probably don't need the money or the members prefer the exclusivity. In Europe almost all privates are accessible, albeit you may pay a high fee to play. I wish we took this approach as well. In short, golf, for whatever reason, is more pretentious here than overseas.

Yeah, because nothing says lack of pretension quite like a $450 greens fee.


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#41 Nuggets

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:08 AM

200k for membership??? Is that for a year or life!?

And do they lube you and the broom handle up before they bend you over?
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#42 Nuggets

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:09 AM

I'm a member of a very very old U.K. Club that has a lot of American visitors throughout the year and compared to the prices you're paying for muni courses it's excellent value!

Seems crazy paying that much to me
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#43 disk

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:54 AM

View PostNuggets, on 23 August 2017 - 07:08 AM, said:

200k for membership??? Is that for a year or life!?

And do they lube you and the broom handle up before they bend you over?

Really depends on where you live, in Chicago there are tons of private clubs that won't cost you 200k but a bunch that will cost you more. There are tons of semi private clubs that are a couple thousand a year (US semi private clubs seem to be the closest comp to a U.K. private club to me). You can also book a year long permenant tee time at some public courses or spend a couple grand on a "membership" at a public course that usually gets you things like unlimited weekday golf and preferred weekend tee times. Not everything gets you shafted haha

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#44 North Butte

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 01:02 PM

View Postdisk, on 23 August 2017 - 10:54 AM, said:

View PostNuggets, on 23 August 2017 - 07:08 AM, said:

200k for membership??? Is that for a year or life!?

And do they lube you and the broom handle up before they bend you over?

Really depends on where you live, in Chicago there are tons of private clubs that won't cost you 200k but a bunch that will cost you more. There are tons of semi private clubs that are a couple thousand a year (US semi private clubs seem to be the closest comp to a U.K. private club to me). You can also book a year long permenant tee time at some public courses or spend a couple grand on a "membership" at a public course that usually gets you things like unlimited weekday golf and preferred weekend tee times. Not everything gets you shafted haha

There are a lot of member-owned and member-governed, truly private clubs in UK which do allow visitor play and are not really comparable to a semi-private USA operation. Most USA golfers probably can't quite get their head around the fact that even clubs which host Open Championships are much less expensive to their members than run-of-the-mill private clubs in Philadelphia, Chicago or Los Angeles.

Some of those top tier UK clubs are at least a *exclusive* as any USA club in terms of what sort of person you have to be in order to be invited for membership but that exclusivity does not mean the members, once in, are expected to splash out $20K, $30K, $40K a year on an ongoing basis. Or to ante up $100K upon joining. That's just not the cost scale that they historically operated on.

Of course allowing a couple thousand punters per year to show up and pay $200 or $300 to play on Tuesdays and Thursday helps immensely with operating the club, given they are not charging USA type dues...
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#45 RRstein82

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:26 PM

View Post6x6, on 20 August 2017 - 01:02 AM, said:

View Postfawley, on 19 August 2017 - 07:05 AM, said:

View PostThrillhouse, on 18 August 2017 - 11:03 AM, said:

I love that the UK private clubs allow non member play. I've played both courses at sunningdale, wentworth west, both courses at Walton Heath, and others through it, had great experiences and played some of the best courses I've ever played, absolutely awesome.

That being said I wouldn't want to be a member at a club that allowed it in North America where it's not our practice. I like that my club is members and guests only, I like the atmosphere and sense of community that is built when everyone is a member. Also we do have reciprocal play at private clubs in North America, where we sort of share our clubs with other private club members, which is a great way to get to play private courses in other places.

This.

I pay for the privilege to play at my private club.

Part of that privilege is that outside of scheduled events, I can play whenever I want (there are no tee times), I know that the vast majority of people playing the course will take care of it because it's "their" course, the amount of play the course gets is low enough that the greens staff can always keep it in excellent condition, and I know it'll be rare that it takes me more than 4 hours to play.

All of those things would go away if the club allowed public play.

Thanks for denigrating those of us that don't have the means, connections or the desire to join a private club. My personal experience has been different than yours.

I have been fortunate for the opportunity to play private courses, often with friends. Contrary to your suggestion that if the public were allowed to play, the course would not be taken care of. My three older brothers taught me to respect the game. This includes repairing ball marks, replacing divots, raking bunkers basically all the normal things one should do, while all the time treating others with respect and courtesy. The friends I play with also have the same habits. Yet, when I am playing a private course as a guest or visitor I try to make certain I go even further in "taking care" of the course and being respectful of the surroundings. During my younger years I worked as a caddy and later I worked at another club in a different capacity for a couple of years. I witnessed many examples of member's boorish behavior and the attitude because it is "their" course, rules and accepted etiquette doesn't apply to them. These folks were not in the "vast majority" yet there were enough to make up a noticeable percentage of the membership.

Regarding pace of play, I was lucky enough to play Royal Birkdale, Ballybunion, Lahinch and many of the courses in the Open Championship ROTA this past April and May. Most rounds were under four hours and nearly all of them stressed the importance of ready golf.  Muirfield was especially vigilant in keeping up pace of play. During the round the Marshal/Ranger would drop by every few holes to briefly chat with the caddies and our group, consisting of two Japanese gentleman and one man's wife, as a reminder to keep us on time.

So, based on my experience allowing visitors to play at a private club for limited tee times on certain weekdays, the condition of the course or your ability to play in under four hours would not "go away".

How did he denigrate you or other non-private golfers?  This is such a common theme in the US these days, e.g., "you can afford something I can't and you talk about, so you must be an a******."  I 100% with those who said they would rather pay full dues than have public play in exchange for a discount.  As mentioned, community is a huge part of the experience; when I go out I pretty know or have at least met almost every single person I encounter.  If my club started allowing public play, this wouldn't be the case.  Second, I'm lucky enough to be able to play weekdays.  With the club closed most Monday's, allowing the public to play on a certain day would mean that I would have a harder time being able to play a 45 minute 9 hole round, or 2 hour 18 hole round, which is a huge part of what I pay for.  As for the conditions and behavior of potential public players, while you might be the paradigm of golf course ettiquette, not everyone else would be.


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#46 jli2636

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:34 PM

View PostPetethreeput, on 22 August 2017 - 07:48 AM, said:

Raynorfan nailed it. Most clubs incorporate as non-profits. Depending on the designation, I suppose they could file as more than one type, but they can only take in so much outside (non-member) revenue before they lose their NP status.

3 years ago our little club was audited by the IRS. The maximum outside revenue permitted is 15%.

IMO, this is the final and real reason why they don't offer open play and instead rely on tournaments. The GM can better control outside revenue than free play days.

This. I worked at a course through school that could be called semi private just based on the location(only decent course within probably an 80 mile radius). If you lived in nearby counties you could only play the course 3 times in your life before having to become a member to play it again. Whenever I make it back I offer to pay for my greens fee but the pro just tells me to take a cart and head out. My guess is he does this to keep numbers for outside play low.

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#47 duffer987

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:34 PM

View Postonlyomar, on 22 August 2017 - 08:42 PM, said:

View PostBEND OF THE RIVER GC, on 18 August 2017 - 01:44 AM, said:

The private courses that don't allow it probably don't need the money or the members prefer the exclusivity. In Europe almost all privates are accessible, albeit you may pay a high fee to play. I wish we took this approach as well. In short, golf, for whatever reason, is more pretentious here than overseas.

Yeah, because nothing says lack of pretension quite like a $450 greens fee.

LOL. As others have pointed out, it's not about "pretensions" as you like to put it, but having a revenue stream to offset the cost of membership and help with the upkeep of the course.
I'm sure most who have experienced golf across the pond could attest to how unpretentious playing at members clubs is, whether pedigrees large or small.

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#48 Roadking2003

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:18 PM

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

I've played lots of private clubs in the USA.  It's really quite common.

In fact, I'm playing one tomorrow and another one on Friday.

Edited by Roadking2003, 23 August 2017 - 03:19 PM.


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#49 Roadking2003

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:24 PM

View Post6x6, on 20 August 2017 - 01:02 AM, said:

Regarding pace of play, I was lucky enough to play Royal Birkdale, Ballybunion, Lahinch and many of the courses in the Open Championship ROTA this past April and May. Most rounds were under four hours and nearly all of them stressed the importance of ready golf.  Muirfield was especially vigilant in keeping up pace of play. During the round the Marshal/Ranger would drop by every few holes to briefly chat with the caddies and our group, consisting of two Japanese gentleman and one man's wife, as a reminder to keep us on time.

So, based on my experience allowing visitors to play at a private club for limited tee times on certain weekdays, the condition of the course or your ability to play in under four hours would not "go away".

I played Carnoustie last month.  Pace of play was almost five hours.

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#50 North Butte

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:25 PM

View PostRoadking2003, on 23 August 2017 - 03:18 PM, said:

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

I've played lots of private clubs in the USA.  It's really quite common.

In fact, I'm playing one tomorrow and another one on Friday.

I've played a few very nice USA private courses as the invited and/or hosted guest of a member. In fact on a couple of those occasions the entire experience was indistinguishable from being an invited and/or hosted guest at a UK club.

But there's no equivalent to the very nice UK clubs who will let you go to their web site and book a round for some specific date and time with no introduction or connection required. That is very much a straight-up commercial transaction of a type that is extremely rare at USA clubs.

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#51 duffer987

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:30 PM

View PostRoadking2003, on 23 August 2017 - 03:18 PM, said:

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

I've played lots of private clubs in the USA.  It's really quite common.

In fact, I'm playing one tomorrow and another one on Friday.

It's quite common for private golf clubs that want to host a US Open or a PGA Championship, to make available directly to the public multiple teetimes so that they can meet some condition of hosting said events?

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#52 raynorfan1

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:37 PM

View Postduffer987, on 23 August 2017 - 03:30 PM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 23 August 2017 - 03:18 PM, said:

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

I've played lots of private clubs in the USA.  It's really quite common.

In fact, I'm playing one tomorrow and another one on Friday.

It's quite common for private golf clubs that want to host a US Open or a PGA Championship, to make available directly to the public multiple teetimes so that they can meet some condition of hosting said events?

I don't believe that being open to public play has anything to do with qualification to be on the Open Championship rota. Having blatantly exclusionary membership policies does (Muirfield was theoretically kicked off until they decided to admit women), but I don't think being open to the public is a prerequisite. It's just a different cultural norm.

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#53 duffer987

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:41 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 23 August 2017 - 03:37 PM, said:

View Postduffer987, on 23 August 2017 - 03:30 PM, said:

View PostRoadking2003, on 23 August 2017 - 03:18 PM, said:

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

I've played lots of private clubs in the USA.  It's really quite common.

In fact, I'm playing one tomorrow and another one on Friday.

It's quite common for private golf clubs that want to host a US Open or a PGA Championship, to make available directly to the public multiple teetimes so that they can meet some condition of hosting said events?

I don't believe that being open to public play has anything to do with qualification to be on the Open Championship rota. Having blatantly exclusionary membership policies does (Muirfield was theoretically kicked off until they decided to admit women), but I don't think being open to the public is a prerequisite. It's just a different cultural norm.

I know :)
I just found it an odd reply, in the context of what was quoted.

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#54 vancouver81

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:50 PM

I would just like this opportunity to complain that the true private clubs in Vancouver are $75k-$100k initiation, and that's not happening for me anytime soon.  Should have got on as an intermediate I suppose.  But yes, even though I'm on the outside looking in, (but can't really complain as I live 2 mins from probably the best public course in the lower mainland) I get why private clubs don't just let randos on the street book a tee time.  Otherwise why would anyone pony up $75k.

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#55 raynorfan1

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 03:56 PM

View PostThrillhouse, on 19 August 2017 - 07:13 PM, said:

Does anyone have an explanation for why UK private clubs allow public play? It's so common there must be a reason (beyond some courses being on public land as stated above).

This thread has piqued my interest a bit, so I've been doing a little digging. The most consistent answer I have found is that it is, in fact, cultural and based on the fact that the old courses (Musselburgh, St. Andrews, Leith, Gullane, et. al.) were built on "common" grazing land (as the overwhelming majority of "links" land in the UK is.) Clubs (the R&A, HCEG, etc) laid out and maintained courses, but couldn't really prevent people from just showing up and playing them, because they were on publicly-owned land.

Imagine an orienteering club lays out a course for competition in a National Park in the US (or Canada). They use it for their events, but it's also just sitting there, and anybody with a compass can walk up and run through it. This is golf in 1800s Scotland.

Fast forward 200 years, and the orienteering club has arranged a lease with the National Park, in exchange for maintaining their now-famous course. As part of the lease, the National Park Service says: "you can't just ignore all these people who have been using the thing for all these years, they have a 'right' to it too!" and you offer to let them use it for a nominal fee to help cover maintenance. This is golf in 2017 Scotland.

In North America, we have no such historical or cultural expectation that we have a right to use the courses at Augusta, Shinnecock, etc.


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#56 BIG STU

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:06 PM

View PostThrillhouse, on 19 August 2017 - 10:37 AM, said:

View Postfawley, on 19 August 2017 - 07:05 AM, said:

If the club offered members, say, a $5k per year discount on their dues with the offset being that it would make up the revenue from greens fees from public play, I would guess that 90%+ of our members would rather pay full dues and maintain the status quo.


Count me in the group that would rather pay full price and keep it private. My membership is a big expense for me right now (I guess as I get older it won't be, but right now it is). I live in a really densely populated area, where yes we have a lot of courses but the pace of play is atrocious and the ones you'd actually want to play are often in the $200 CAD range, so golf is expensive regardless. The club I joined has a fantastic layout (a top ranked course in our country), is always in great shape (because we have the budget for it and everyone takes care of it), no pace of play issues as I can always play in four hours, and has lots of great people to play golf with and socialize with. A semi private club can't guarantee the pace, can't guarantee the course conditions, wont have the same atmosphere, and lacks the mechanisms to control bad behaviour should it come up.

I have a busy schedule, so I can't afford to play five and a half hour rounds of golf. I also don't want to deal with people generally behaving like idiots on the golf course (being drunk, not replacing divots or raking traps, playing slow and refusing to let people play through, etc), especially when my recreation time is limited and I want to make the most of it. I know I pay a premium on a per round basis to play private golf, but honestly the benefits and the avoidance of the issues you face with public play are worth it for me.
Exactly you nailed it--- The things you mentioned is what we run into with the semi-private clubs here in this tourist mecca. There are 3 or 4 exclusive private clubs along the Strand. Recently The Surf Club which used to be private then went semi private went back members and guests only they were tired of the tourist a holes tearing up the place. The Members Club at Grand Dunes was purchased by the members and went back private for the same reasons. I wish I was finanically able to join there or at Debordeau club in Pawley's Island again for every reason you stated.
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#57 BIG STU

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:10 PM

View PostRRstein82, on 23 August 2017 - 02:26 PM, said:

View Post6x6, on 20 August 2017 - 01:02 AM, said:

View Postfawley, on 19 August 2017 - 07:05 AM, said:

View PostThrillhouse, on 18 August 2017 - 11:03 AM, said:

I love that the UK private clubs allow non member play. I've played both courses at sunningdale, wentworth west, both courses at Walton Heath, and others through it, had great experiences and played some of the best courses I've ever played, absolutely awesome.

That being said I wouldn't want to be a member at a club that allowed it in North America where it's not our practice. I like that my club is members and guests only, I like the atmosphere and sense of community that is built when everyone is a member. Also we do have reciprocal play at private clubs in North America, where we sort of share our clubs with other private club members, which is a great way to get to play private courses in other places.

This.

I pay for the privilege to play at my private club.

Part of that privilege is that outside of scheduled events, I can play whenever I want (there are no tee times), I know that the vast majority of people playing the course will take care of it because it's "their" course, the amount of play the course gets is low enough that the greens staff can always keep it in excellent condition, and I know it'll be rare that it takes me more than 4 hours to play.

All of those things would go away if the club allowed public play.

Thanks for denigrating those of us that don't have the means, connections or the desire to join a private club. My personal experience has been different than yours.

I have been fortunate for the opportunity to play private courses, often with friends. Contrary to your suggestion that if the public were allowed to play, the course would not be taken care of. My three older brothers taught me to respect the game. This includes repairing ball marks, replacing divots, raking bunkers basically all the normal things one should do, while all the time treating others with respect and courtesy. The friends I play with also have the same habits. Yet, when I am playing a private course as a guest or visitor I try to make certain I go even further in "taking care" of the course and being respectful of the surroundings. During my younger years I worked as a caddy and later I worked at another club in a different capacity for a couple of years. I witnessed many examples of member's boorish behavior and the attitude because it is "their" course, rules and accepted etiquette doesn't apply to them. These folks were not in the "vast majority" yet there were enough to make up a noticeable percentage of the membership.

Regarding pace of play, I was lucky enough to play Royal Birkdale, Ballybunion, Lahinch and many of the courses in the Open Championship ROTA this past April and May. Most rounds were under four hours and nearly all of them stressed the importance of ready golf.  Muirfield was especially vigilant in keeping up pace of play. During the round the Marshal/Ranger would drop by every few holes to briefly chat with the caddies and our group, consisting of two Japanese gentleman and one man's wife, as a reminder to keep us on time.

So, based on my experience allowing visitors to play at a private club for limited tee times on certain weekdays, the condition of the course or your ability to play in under four hours would not "go away".

How did he denigrate you or other non-private golfers?  This is such a common theme in the US these days, e.g., "you can afford something I can't and you talk about, so you must be an a******."  I 100% with those who said they would rather pay full dues than have public play in exchange for a discount.  As mentioned, community is a huge part of the experience; when I go out I pretty know or have at least met almost every single person I encounter.  If my club started allowing public play, this wouldn't be the case.  Second, I'm lucky enough to be able to play weekdays.  With the club closed most Monday's, allowing the public to play on a certain day would mean that I would have a harder time being able to play a 45 minute 9 hole round, or 2 hour 18 hole round, which is a huge part of what I pay for.  As for the conditions and behavior of potential public players, while you might be the paradigm of golf course ettiquette, not everyone else would be.
I also agree with you 110%--- I only wish I could afford to do so myself----- I do not begrudge anyone including you that can afford to do so
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#58 Bushwood Country Club

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 04:35 PM

View Postgolfandfishing, on 19 August 2017 - 05:51 AM, said:

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

Simply untrue. Not uncommon at all for a private club in the US to allow outside play from non members. Resort guests from affiliated properties, member for a day promotions and flat out making a small amount of times available to the public are all found at private clubs throughout the US.
Also charity events at private clubs allow non member play....
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#59 The General

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 07:56 AM

I wish private clubs would allow players with established handicaps of 5.0 or better to play their course for a small fee, something like $75-$100. Walk in, show your USGA verified handicap card and be on your way. Obviously the membership comes first so certain tees times would never be available for walk ups, but as a way to reward good players, and give other players something to strive for - opening up a great course to someone that normally wouldn't drop a peg there is a good thing. The better players generally know how to take care of the course so that wouldn't be an issue. And it would definitely be a 1 strike and you're out with the rules of the facility and taking care of the course. Now if you chunk it off the first tee, you may get a "background" check on your handicap.

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#60 RRstein82

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:30 AM

View PostBushwood Country Club, on 23 August 2017 - 04:35 PM, said:

View Postgolfandfishing, on 19 August 2017 - 05:51 AM, said:

View PostLiquid, on 18 August 2017 - 01:32 PM, said:

The UK courses need to allow limited outside tee times if they want to host the Open Championship. That's why you see a handful of groups playing Muirfield two days per week. Also applies to Troon, Turnberry, etc. You will NEVER see that at any U.S. private courses.

Simply untrue. Not uncommon at all for a private club in the US to allow outside play from non members. Resort guests from affiliated properties, member for a day promotions and flat out making a small amount of times available to the public are all found at private clubs throughout the US.
Also charity events at private clubs allow non member play....

Aside from just meeting people through work and other friends, charity events are probably the best way to get on some of the private clubs.  Not gonna happen with the nationally known heavy hitters, but I've played a number of high end clubs in the LA area through charity events.  The other way is through team play at your club.


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