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Private club walking/trail fee?

Walking club fees

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#91 klebs01

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:24 AM

View PostNorth Butte, on 13 March 2018 - 07:18 AM, said:

View Postklebs01, on 13 March 2018 - 06:51 AM, said:

View Postgr00vetech, on 12 March 2018 - 09:39 PM, said:

Be willing to bet those saying they would leave their club over a $2-$5 walking fee are the same guys who drive 20 minutes down the street to save $2 on balls instead of buying them from their Golf Shop and supporting their club lol.

I think a walking fee is a great idea if there is a specific item the money is going to such as club Jr golf, funding a special course project or something along those line. As mentioned, if simply being used as a needed revenue stream your club is already failing.

I would probably leave and I spend a couple times my dues every month at my club. It's not necessarily the money but the principal of being charged to walk when I've already paid to use the course. I really hat the nickel and diming. Just put it in the dues if the club needs more money. Items with a direct variable cost should be billed (e.g. food) everything else should be included with the dues.

Including cart fees?

No. Carts should be extra. There are some variable there like the costs of the carts, paths, and damage to the course from carts. Cart users should bear those costs. I suppose if carts are mandatory, that should be included too, but I can’t see ever joining a club that doesn’t allow walking at all times.


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#92 az2au

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:46 AM

View Postklebs01, on 13 March 2018 - 07:24 AM, said:

View PostNorth Butte, on 13 March 2018 - 07:18 AM, said:

View Postklebs01, on 13 March 2018 - 06:51 AM, said:

View Postgr00vetech, on 12 March 2018 - 09:39 PM, said:

Be willing to bet those saying they would leave their club over a $2-$5 walking fee are the same guys who drive 20 minutes down the street to save $2 on balls instead of buying them from their Golf Shop and supporting their club lol.

I think a walking fee is a great idea if there is a specific item the money is going to such as club Jr golf, funding a special course project or something along those line. As mentioned, if simply being used as a needed revenue stream your club is already failing.

I would probably leave and I spend a couple times my dues every month at my club. It's not necessarily the money but the principal of being charged to walk when I've already paid to use the course. I really hat the nickel and diming. Just put it in the dues if the club needs more money. Items with a direct variable cost should be billed (e.g. food) everything else should be included with the dues.

Including cart fees?

No. Carts should be extra. There are some variable there like the costs of the carts, paths, and damage to the course from carts. Cart users should bear those costs. I suppose if carts are mandatory, that should be included too, but I can’t see ever joining a club that doesn’t allow walking at all times.

How about the Scottsdale National model?  https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2014/01/28/bob-parsons-to-scottsdale-national.html

Parsons has gone with the principle that the people who use the club the most and spend the least are bad. Thus, a $100 “usage fee” every time a member plays.

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#93 North Butte

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:53 AM

View Postaz2au, on 13 March 2018 - 07:46 AM, said:

View Postklebs01, on 13 March 2018 - 07:24 AM, said:

View PostNorth Butte, on 13 March 2018 - 07:18 AM, said:

View Postklebs01, on 13 March 2018 - 06:51 AM, said:

View Postgr00vetech, on 12 March 2018 - 09:39 PM, said:

Be willing to bet those saying they would leave their club over a $2-$5 walking fee are the same guys who drive 20 minutes down the street to save $2 on balls instead of buying them from their Golf Shop and supporting their club lol.

I think a walking fee is a great idea if there is a specific item the money is going to such as club Jr golf, funding a special course project or something along those line. As mentioned, if simply being used as a needed revenue stream your club is already failing.

I would probably leave and I spend a couple times my dues every month at my club. It's not necessarily the money but the principal of being charged to walk when I've already paid to use the course. I really hat the nickel and diming. Just put it in the dues if the club needs more money. Items with a direct variable cost should be billed (e.g. food) everything else should be included with the dues.

Including cart fees?

No. Carts should be extra. There are some variable there like the costs of the carts, paths, and damage to the course from carts. Cart users should bear those costs. I suppose if carts are mandatory, that should be included too, but I can’t see ever joining a club that doesn’t allow walking at all times.

How about the Scottsdale National model?  https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2014/01/28/bob-parsons-to-scottsdale-national.html

Parsons has gone with the principle that the people who use the club the most and spend the least are bad. Thus, a $100 “usage fee” every time a member plays.

Well he's way out of my price league! That would cost me about 12-15 grand a year for golf.

I honestly don't care what oddball ways of splitting out the bill a club might have. Well can't say "don't care" as much as "doesn't affect whether I want to be a member there or not". I know how I'm going to use the club. I'm going to walk 120-140 times a year, never use a cart, never attend social functions and if they have a dining room I will eat there sometimes before or after a round.

So at my club that comes down to dues plus a couple bucks a round times 130-ish rounds per year. I'm either willing to pay that or I'm not.

If they upped my dues and got rid of the "walking fee" I'd still tally up what my 130 rounds are going to cost and decide based on total cost.

If they made the dues $1/month and charged me $100/round to walk I'd multiply 100 times 130 and ask myself if that's what I'm willing to pay.

Edited by North Butte, 13 March 2018 - 07:54 AM.

Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#94 DonatelloNobodie

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:10 AM

If you're going to be charged a fee every time you play, why pay for a membership?  Lots of good public golf available.  Discounted on GolfNow.  Let you choose from many courses.

One belongs to a club to be able to play all the golf that they want for the membership fee.  If the course needs money, raise the dues.  Hitting members with petty fees is not the answer. Charging per round will ultimately hurt the club, as members leave and others decline to join.

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#95 North Butte

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:16 AM

View PostDonatelloNobodie, on 13 March 2018 - 08:10 AM, said:

If you're going to be charged a fee every time you play, why pay for a membership?  Lots of good public golf available.  Discounted on GolfNow.  Let you choose from many courses.

One belongs to a club to be able to play all the golf that they want for the membership fee.  If the course needs money, raise the dues.  Hitting members with petty fees is not the answer. Charging per round will ultimately hurt the club, as members leave and others decline to join.

Around here there are no decently maintained public courses which do not require use of golf carts. Always walking when you play golf means either playing a low-end public or going private.

My club has been charging a "walking fee" for at least a quarter-century, longer than I've been playing golf and far longer than I've been a member. Who knows, we may well be out of business one of these days but it will not be because this $2 fee was instituted in the previous century!

Another club I'm familiar with has charged a fee per round longer than any member I've met can even remember. Maybe 50 years, maybe longer?

As I said upthread, it's all what you're used to. If a club has never charged its members per round and it starts doing so, the outrage will be palpable. But like cart fees, if they've been part of the deal forever nobody seems to mind at all.

Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.

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#96 jmudo

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:39 AM

View PostDonatelloNobodie, on 13 March 2018 - 08:10 AM, said:

If you're going to be charged a fee every time you play, why pay for a membership?  Lots of good public golf available.  Discounted on GolfNow.  Let you choose from many courses.

One belongs to a club to be able to play all the golf that they want for the membership fee.  If the course needs money, raise the dues.  Hitting members with petty fees is not the answer. Charging per round will ultimately hurt the club, as members leave and others decline to join.

I know a lot of other reasons people join clubs than for all the golf you want for the membership fee. For me personally it includes being able to find a good game, networking, location, pace of play, amenities...
That said, I agree either raise dues or assess the members.


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#97 SMcGavin1

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:28 AM

I think charging people each time when they come out to play is a little elementary and frankly could be considered low-class. To me, this applies to range fees, bag storage fees, cart fees, or walking fees. That is the point of a membership. All members pay their dues and are able to play when they want, how they want. If a club is having revenue problems, this should be solved by evenly distributing a due increase to make the difference. I agree that cart riding is more costly to the club (cart maintenance + damage to the course) however, if this is how a member chooses to play, then so be it, it is their club. If a member feels that another member is either abusing the course or their membership then the necessary complaint process should initiate. A change in the culture of the club would be much more beneficial. Highlighting the health benefits as well as the social benefits to walking.

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#98 carrera

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 03:37 PM

Agree with many of the posts above.  At my club, a "walking fee" would be dead on arrival.  Same for fees to use a pushcart, or range balls.  Our approach is to balance the club's budget each year through dues, and not nickle and diming members with ala carte charges.  Carts are the only exception.

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#99 HackerDave

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 04:59 PM

We have always had a range fee and I have no problem with that.  We have upgraded the range and practice facilities to the point where they are the best around.  The range balls are in good condition and we have both mats and grass.     The pushcart fee didn't work out well.  They bought nice ones with the intention of charging $5 a round with them.  People hated it!   It was nickel and dime and it bugged them and me.  In the end, they decided if you are going to use them, they would just charge a one time fee of $50 and that would be it.   Nobody blinked.   My wife and I both like to walk and the $50 covers the family, not each person.   It pays for the carts.  

The thing they will not allow is the battery powered carts.   They fear these, thinking it will hurt cart revenue.   Again, just charge me a single fee and let me decide.

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#100 act0fgod

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 06:30 PM

I have a place in Pinehurst and am a local member.  Pinehurst is a business so their objective is to make money.  Since joining the fees have increased.  There is a $20 trail fee. I believe it's an additional $20 for a cart.  Push carts are not permitted (although they are allowed during the big junior events).  The other thing that drives me crazy is social members (of which I am now), pay more than guests of full members during the off season (members are not permitted to play as guests of other members either).

I'm also a member at a club in Ohio where I currently live.  The only additional fees paid by members are cart fees.  I prefer the no fees model.

In the cart vs walking discussion why worry about revenue?  I don't care if you make $50k if it costs $60k.  I'd love to see what the costs of carts vs what they return on revenue.  Maintenance costs (course and carts), paths, facilities (cart barn), utilities/fuel and a significant increase in staff all should all be accounted for.   I believe if courses in the UK started allowing carts the costs of golf would have to go up significantly to cover the increased budgets.  In the UK carts are reserved for those with medical conditions (not including conditions from lack of exercise) or Americans that are willing to pay high dollars because they understand they really wouldn't increase profits without a huge increase in fees.

As far as pace of play I agree I play faster when playing alone in a cart vs walking alone.  I disagree when adding my wife to the equation.  We play dramatically different games and hit from different tees.  We're quicker when walking than if sharing a cart (unless one of us essentially walks anyway).  We play dramatically different games and when walking I can go to my ball while she's hitting.  If in a cart we have to each go to different tees, I have to wait for her to hit 2-3 shots before I hit 1.  If we're on opposite sides of the fairways and have to search for a ball we'll often loose our lines requiring more search time. At places where it's cart path only a cart is way slower than walking for us because you have to walk back and forth from your cart to your ball in addition to previously mentioned delays.  If you think my wife and I play slow rounds we regularly walk 18 as a twosome in 2.25 hours.

I'm against trail fees and against carts.


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#101 knock it close

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 07:02 PM

What if they said every x $ you spend above you're F&B or pro shop min could be credited to the walking fee, then the people that play a lot but also support the club a lot would be covered.
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#102 TadWPJ

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:38 AM

They tried to implement a walking fee at the club i grew up at, it got turned down both times.  60% of the club walks.  It's really a scheme by GM's to bring in revenue to make up for all the F&B money that clubs lose.  The Clubhouse is the money pit, yet always is the first item to re-invest money in.  I'd quit out of principal if any place instituted a Walking trail fee, it's beyond idiotic that people can justify it.  Also the club got rid of F&B minimums and the food got better and thus more people came to eat.  It's funny how clubs always focus on Revenue and never expenses.  Many GM's are paid 30-50% more then fine dining GMs at public fine dinning establishments and those people has a 12 month busy season.

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#103 chachd

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

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#104 schley

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 01:31 PM

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

Cut off their nose to spite their face.  We are in an era of natural selection for private golf courses, with a correction happening before our eyes.  It is healthy and an equilibrium will be reached certainly.  This idea to charge to walk is flat out wrong IMO.  Raise the dues, period.  It is like having season tickets to watch the Chicago Cubs, but they charge you a $10 fee seating fee each game when you arrive.  Why wasn't this price included in the season tickets?  Philosophically it is the epitome of nickel and dime ing members.

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#105 NEhomer

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 01:48 PM

Interesting thread. I joined a private club this year for the first time in my 33 years of playing. It hasn't opened for the year yet so I haven't played it and I don't know if they have a walking fee or not.

If they do, I'll be disappointed. Money is no issue.....I'm joining a private club for the experience and being nickled and dimed each round is simply annoying. Add me to the lost of blokes who would prefer increases be made to the membership fee.


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#106 raynorfan1

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:09 PM

View Postschley, on 04 April 2018 - 01:31 PM, said:

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

Cut off their nose to spite their face.  We are in an era of natural selection for private golf courses, with a correction happening before our eyes.  It is healthy and an equilibrium will be reached certainly.  This idea to charge to walk is flat out wrong IMO.  Raise the dues, period.  It is like having season tickets to watch the Chicago Cubs, but they charge you a $10 fee seating fee each game when you arrive.  Why wasn't this price included in the season tickets?  Philosophically it is the epitome of nickel and dime ing members.

View Postschley, on 04 April 2018 - 01:31 PM, said:

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

Cut off their nose to spite their face.  We are in an era of natural selection for private golf courses, with a correction happening before our eyes.  It is healthy and an equilibrium will be reached certainly.  This idea to charge to walk is flat out wrong IMO.  Raise the dues, period.  It is like having season tickets to watch the Chicago Cubs, but they charge you a $10 fee seating fee each game when you arrive.  Why wasn't this price included in the season tickets?  Philosophically it is the epitome of nickel and dime ing members.

Is it fundamentally wrong for a private club to charge a greens fee each time you play?

I wouldn’t love it, but I would understand the rationale to charge members somewhat in relationship to their usage. We belong to a tennis club that has very very low dues, but a (reasonable) court fee every time you play. It’s not my favorite model, but it’s not a deal breaker (and it has the added benefit of creating a very low dues “entry point” so that few people are priced out).

With respect to the Cubs, pro sports do this in the form of PSLs - you pay a boatload of money just to get the right to buy tickets to the individual games/events.

Edited by raynorfan1, 04 April 2018 - 02:11 PM.


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#107 Pepperturbo

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:23 PM

Walking fees are becoming more common since operational costs are increasing, while in some cases, membership numbers are decreasing.  Cart fees are asigned to the Head Pro's comp plan, and depending on charter, his/her staff.

Because costs are increasing more members are walking to save $$$, which cuts into Cart revenue.  That revenue loss must be recovered from somewhere, so walking fees and or pull cart fees are the most likely target.  I was on the board of Pvt equity club and benevolent owner club.
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#108 Dpavs

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 02:49 PM

I think they should charge a club house breathing fees. After all there is a climate control expense that needs to be considered.

Edited by Dpavs, 04 April 2018 - 02:49 PM.


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#109 TadWPJ

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 05:17 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 04 April 2018 - 02:23 PM, said:

Walking fees are becoming more common since operational costs are increasing, while in some cases, membership numbers are decreasing.  Cart fees are asigned to the Head Pro's comp plan, and depending on charter, his/her staff.

Because costs are increasing more members are walking to save $$$, which cuts into Cart revenue.  That revenue loss must be recovered from somewhere, so walking fees and or pull cart fees are the most likely target.  I was on the board of Pvt equity club and benevolent owner club.

Inflation isn't a new thing, but I do understand maint budgets slightly increasing with Healthcare.  Let's not paint walkers as cheap skate's.  I've seen keepers leave and build their own course and the maint is better then the prior club they were at and they do it for $200-350k less.  There is a LOT of waste at private clubs and they continue to focus on REVENUE and not the wasteful expenses.  If you are relying on cart fees to break even, then your model is jacked up.  The problem is private clubs think they are only competing against other private clubs for members, upscale and destination exist now and people have options they didn't have 25+ plus years ago.  Also as stated prior GM's can make 30-50% more then fine dining restaurants in town that have a 12 month season.  Club pro's used to rely on giving lessons for a nice chunk of income, now they are door greeters.  

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

I know your area well and know exactly which course(s) you are talking about.  It's funny the one with lowest dues and 3rd best track in the area has NO debt, no walking restrictions, and a near full membership.  Consider a National membership.  Your last sentence is spot on, they would rather close their doors then admit the idiocy of their attitudes.  It pisses me off to see Golden Age courses in danger of NLE due to elitist attitudes.

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#110 TadWPJ

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 04 April 2018 - 02:09 PM, said:



Is it fundamentally wrong for a private club to charge a greens fee each time you play?

I wouldn't love it, but I would understand the rationale to charge members somewhat in relationship to their usage. We belong to a tennis club that has very very low dues, but a (reasonable) court fee every time you play. It's not my favorite model, but it's not a deal breaker (and it has the added benefit of creating a very low dues "entry point" so that few people are priced out).

With respect to the Cubs, pro sports do this in the form of PSLs - you pay a boatload of money just to get the right to buy tickets to the individual games/events.

Tennis is in a decline.  Heck the Tennis club I joined when I was younger is now a paint ball facility.  What needs to be considered at a few more clubs in each area that are hurting is going to a single membership model.  We have 700 individual members at one of the courses I play at, we do 30,000 rounds in a 6.5 month season and only have 2-3 outings.  It's basically the Aussie model.  More people can afford to join and most people are hardcore golfers.  The problem is everyone is focused on Sat/Sun morning tee times.  Well people play outside of those times.  Using a Tennis club model to compare what private golf clubs charge is rather disingenuous imo.


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#111 raynorfan1

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 06:03 PM

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM, said:

Tennis is in a decline.  Heck the Tennis club I joined when I was younger is now a paint ball facility.  

So is golf. This particular tennis club has a pretty absurd wait list right now; no real risk of being turned into a paint ball facility...

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM, said:

Using a Tennis club model to compare what private golf clubs charge is rather disingenuous imo.

I'm not comparing what they charge, I'm comparing how they charge. Private clubs have been charging greens fees for years (except they call them "cart fees"...and require a cart).

I'm not saying that I would like it, but if Pine Valley called me up and said that they had a spot for me, except it was going to be $200 every time I wanted to play, I wouldn't give it a nanosecond of thought.

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#112 TadWPJ

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 06:19 PM

View Postraynorfan1, on 04 April 2018 - 06:03 PM, said:

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM, said:

Tennis is in a decline.  Heck the Tennis club I joined when I was younger is now a paint ball facility.  

So is golf. This particular tennis club has a pretty absurd wait list right now; no real risk of being turned into a paint ball facility...

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM, said:

Using a Tennis club model to compare what private golf clubs charge is rather disingenuous imo.

I'm not comparing what they charge, I'm comparing how they charge. Private clubs have been charging greens fees for years (except they call them "cart fees"...and require a cart).

I'm not saying that I would like it, but if Pine Valley called me up and said that they had a spot for me, except it was going to be $200 every time I wanted to play, I wouldn't give it a nanosecond of thought.

Golf was on a minor decline.  Tennis has been for 3 decades.  That is great that they have a wait list, but you and I know their monthly or yearly fees are nothing like what most private clubs charge.  I don't mind the Tennis club model, that actually might help some clubs.  Using PV is an exaggerated example.

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#113 raynorfan1

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 06:32 PM

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 06:19 PM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 04 April 2018 - 06:03 PM, said:

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM, said:

Tennis is in a decline.  Heck the Tennis club I joined when I was younger is now a paint ball facility.  

So is golf. This particular tennis club has a pretty absurd wait list right now; no real risk of being turned into a paint ball facility...

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:24 PM, said:

Using a Tennis club model to compare what private golf clubs charge is rather disingenuous imo.

I'm not comparing what they charge, I'm comparing how they charge. Private clubs have been charging greens fees for years (except they call them "cart fees"...and require a cart).

I'm not saying that I would like it, but if Pine Valley called me up and said that they had a spot for me, except it was going to be $200 every time I wanted to play, I wouldn't give it a nanosecond of thought.

Golf was on a minor decline.  Tennis has been for 3 decades.  That is great that they have a wait list, but you and I know their monthly or yearly fees are nothing like what most private clubs charge.  I don't mind the Tennis club model, that actually might help some clubs.  Using PV is an exaggerated example.

I think you’d be surprised. Tennis dues and golf dues are pretty darned close to each other (but not directly comparable numbers for a few reasons).

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#114 schley

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 12:55 AM

If you are a member of a club that in essence covers utilizing the facilities with a surcharge for everything are the dues enough?  The status quo is hard to break and has been established for a reason, so in psychology changing the status quo is a difficult paradigm to crack.  Such is our example, where walking to play a round of golf renders yet another charge on your folio what can you do that isn’t a surcharge?  It is and unpopular model for a reason, thus the general consensus is to raise dues a fraction.

The personal seat licence was unpopular when initiated and by top clubs like the Dallas Cowboys and New York clubs.  It has eventually trickled down to be more commonplace.  Is that the trend for private golf clubs?  I certainly hope not, and until it does you will continue to see critical threads of those clubs which have chosen to implement them.

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#115 Pepperturbo

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 01:01 PM

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:17 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 04 April 2018 - 02:23 PM, said:

Walking fees are becoming more common since operational costs are increasing, while in some cases, membership numbers are decreasing.  Cart fees are asigned to the Head Pro's comp plan, and depending on charter, his/her staff.

Because costs are increasing more members are walking to save $$$, which cuts into Cart revenue.  That revenue loss must be recovered from somewhere, so walking fees and or pull cart fees are the most likely target.  I was on the board of Pvt equity club and benevolent owner club.

Inflation isn't a new thing, but I do understand maint budgets slightly increasing with Healthcare.  Let's not paint walkers as cheap skate's.  I've seen keepers leave and build their own course and the maint is better then the prior club they were at and they do it for $200-350k less.  There is a LOT of waste at private clubs and they continue to focus on REVENUE and not the wasteful expenses.  If you are relying on cart fees to break even, then your model is jacked up.  The problem is private clubs think they are only competing against other private clubs for members, upscale and destination exist now and people have options they didn't have 25+ plus years ago.  Also as stated prior GM's can make 30-50% more then fine dining restaurants in town that have a 12 month season.  Club pro's used to rely on giving lessons for a nice chunk of income, now they are door greeters.  

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

I know your area well and know exactly which course(s) you are talking about.  It's funny the one with lowest dues and 3rd best track in the area has NO debt, no walking restrictions, and a near full membership.  Consider a National membership.  Your last sentence is spot on, they would rather close their doors then admit the idiocy of their attitudes.  It pisses me off to see Golden Age courses in danger of NLE due to elitist attitudes.

The bold statement above does NOT paint ALL walkers as cheapskates.  Re-read and include all the words.  A lot of people join clubs without knowing actual long-term annual costs and become uncomfortable spending $800-1500 a month +.  I am acquainted with three-course owners and been chairman of the finance/budget committee that pays bills at two clubs with heafty budgets, all included bar, restaurants, one had tennis & pool club as well.  I talk from my experiences, NOT conjecture from sidelines.  You speak of four seasons as if applicable for all clubs: it's NOT.   There's also a large difference between a golf club that has food serivce and a full size country club, some with multiple courses.  Private clubs are owned and managed by charters & benevolent owners/corps or equality membership.  Bars or club rooms generate the most revenue because of booze, regardless of the season.  NO club that I've been to or been part of showed all P&L segments as profitable.  One or two segments had the largest black ink revenue streams which offset red ink segments.

Curious, you present yourself as a P&L expert.  Did you own a course or are you CEO / President of a golf course, mulit-division or bar/resturant chain?  I ask because I'd like to know what your basing your opinions on.   Mine comes from having run my my own multi-division P&L company for over forty years and actual board experiences.

I find it almost entertaining when people on golfwrx argue over effective club management, when most never have run a multi-million dollar P&L.  When people are rich, they have every right to piss money way, however, they see fit.  Most members of private clubs have some degree of wealth and accept club costs knowing individual club membership is expensive.   However, some clubs are rather simple structure and not costly by comparsion.  Clubs in CA, AZ and TX that I frequent are on the mid-high end.

I am acquainted with one guy that left my last club and now owns three semi-private clubs.  Three others left a club and bought a club together.  Each of them figured they could afford to lose 100k per month, out of pocket, against operational cost red ink, each month for three years.  They eventually sold the club for less than they paid and didn't care because they got their investments worth elsewhere.  Wealth has its perks.  Have a good day.

Edited by Pepperturbo, 05 April 2018 - 01:04 PM.

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#116 TadWPJ

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 09:43 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 05 April 2018 - 01:01 PM, said:

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:17 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 04 April 2018 - 02:23 PM, said:

Walking fees are becoming more common since operational costs are increasing, while in some cases, membership numbers are decreasing.  Cart fees are asigned to the Head Pro's comp plan, and depending on charter, his/her staff.

Because costs are increasing more members are walking to save $$$, which cuts into Cart revenue.  That revenue loss must be recovered from somewhere, so walking fees and or pull cart fees are the most likely target.  I was on the board of Pvt equity club and benevolent owner club.

Inflation isn't a new thing, but I do understand maint budgets slightly increasing with Healthcare.  Let's not paint walkers as cheap skate's.  I've seen keepers leave and build their own course and the maint is better then the prior club they were at and they do it for $200-350k less.  There is a LOT of waste at private clubs and they continue to focus on REVENUE and not the wasteful expenses.  If you are relying on cart fees to break even, then your model is jacked up.  The problem is private clubs think they are only competing against other private clubs for members, upscale and destination exist now and people have options they didn't have 25+ plus years ago.  Also as stated prior GM's can make 30-50% more then fine dining restaurants in town that have a 12 month season.  Club pro's used to rely on giving lessons for a nice chunk of income, now they are door greeters.  

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

I know your area well and know exactly which course(s) you are talking about.  It's funny the one with lowest dues and 3rd best track in the area has NO debt, no walking restrictions, and a near full membership.  Consider a National membership.  Your last sentence is spot on, they would rather close their doors then admit the idiocy of their attitudes.  It pisses me off to see Golden Age courses in danger of NLE due to elitist attitudes.

The bold statement above does NOT paint ALL walkers as cheapskates.  Re-read and include all the words.  A lot of people join clubs without knowing actual long-term annual costs and become uncomfortable spending $800-1500 a month +.  I am acquainted with three-course owners and been chairman of the finance/budget committee that pays bills at two clubs with heafty budgets, all included bar, restaurants, one had tennis & pool club as well.  I talk from my experiences, NOT conjecture from sidelines.  You speak of four seasons as if applicable for all clubs: it's NOT.   There's also a large difference between a golf club that has food serivce and a full size country club, some with multiple courses.  Private clubs are owned and managed by charters & benevolent owners/corps or equality membership.  Bars or club rooms generate the most revenue because of booze, regardless of the season.  NO club that I've been to or been part of showed all P&L segments as profitable.  One or two segments had the largest black ink revenue streams which offset red ink segments.

Curious, you present yourself as a P&L expert.  Did you own a course or are you CEO / President of a golf course, mulit-division or bar/resturant chain?  I ask because I'd like to know what your basing your opinions on.   Mine comes from having run my my own multi-division P&L company for over forty years and actual board experiences.

I find it almost entertaining when people on golfwrx argue over effective club management, when most never have run a multi-million dollar P&L.  When people are rich, they have every right to piss money way, however, they see fit.  Most members of private clubs have some degree of wealth and accept club costs knowing individual club membership is expensive.   However, some clubs are rather simple structure and not costly by comparsion.  Clubs in CA, AZ and TX that I frequent are on the mid-high end.

I am acquainted with one guy that left my last club and now owns three semi-private clubs.  Three others left a club and bought a club together.  Each of them figured they could afford to lose 100k per month, out of pocket, against operational cost red ink, each month for three years.  They eventually sold the club for less than they paid and didn't care because they got their investments worth elsewhere.  Wealth has its perks.  Have a good day.

If you are wealthy enough to be spending $800-1500 a month on dues (which is like .5% clubs), then complaining about a walking fee means you are poser or an idiot for paying that much to be a member at a club.  Exclusiveness is earned, not bought.  I have very close friends and one who has built 28 courses and owns 3 of them.  We talk weekly.  I've opened courses from scratch, worked golf construction, have close friends that are GM's, keepers, Archies, and pro's and they seem to value my opinion.    Have many family members and close friends that have served on boards, they advise me I have better things to do with my time.  There are Golf clubs with pools (grew up at one) and I've played many high end and highly ranked CC's regularly with $7M budgets.  My wise friends know the minute successful members drive through the gates they lose all rational thought and senses.  Serving on boards isn't valuable experience, any member owned club's financials can be looked up online.  I never proclaimed to be a P&L expert, most solutions require common sense, which isn't common at private member owned joints. Again board experience at a club is an excuse to get away from your wife, nothing gets done 99% of the time.

The big one in

chachd

area is a top 100 and they are $2M in debt.  The best burb in town has a median income of $91,000, with the GM of that said club making $200,000 a year for a 6 month season.  This stuff isn't rocket science.  I'm a small business owner of 14 years and plan on buying a golf course in 12 years, nothing fancy just good land and good bones that is neglected.    Clubs in AZ, CA, and TX big cities doesn't represent Golf in Fly over area and most of the US.  I live in a city of 5M people, with some very good clubs, only one has dues in the price range you listed.  I only know of 1 CC in my current state where they make money on F&B, it's because the downtown has no nice restaurants.  Everyone knows that men's grill rooms make money due to alcohol sales, but then explain why money gets poured into the money loser areas of the club?  Which then leads to the justification of walking trail fees.  Smart clubs, even ones with $7M budgets that used to just close the month of Jan, now close 3 months out of the year.  This thread mainly is talking about 2nd and 3rd tier privates that are in danger of going NLE after next downturn and pose like it's the 1950's.  Lastly many of the people that posted on this thread are possibly potential members of clubs, they are the market, might wanna start listening to your customers.

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#117 smashdn

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 06:50 PM

Our situation:

Pay dues and buy stock.
You pay to store your private cart in the cart barn. Extra for electric carts.
Club owns about three carts that can be rented.
No waking culture. Walking is not forbidden, members just wouldn't know what the hell you we doing not riding a cart, drinking beer or playing music.  Kind of irritating for someone who prefers to walk.

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#118 wpm1123

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 03:44 PM

I'm on the golf committee at my club and we had this discussion this winter as well.  We shot it down; the main board asked us to re-consider, and we shot it down again.

About 15 years ago, we dropped the mandatory carts before 12 on the weekends and cart revenues dropped.  Of course they have had the cart fees flat for some time and 18 holes at $18/$10 was one of the lowest in our region.  
We have a new fleet of carts arriving and our fees will go up to $24/$13 putting us in line with the average.  

Our course is probably 65% walkers, maybe more; so they have to have the carts, but were looking for other revenues.  We said if they really needed the money, add $5 to monthly dues and that would more than compensate the $3 proposed trail fee.

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#119 Bluefan75

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 04:58 PM

View PostTadWPJ, on 05 April 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 05 April 2018 - 01:01 PM, said:

View PostTadWPJ, on 04 April 2018 - 05:17 PM, said:

View PostPepperturbo, on 04 April 2018 - 02:23 PM, said:

Walking fees are becoming more common since operational costs are increasing, while in some cases, membership numbers are decreasing.  Cart fees are asigned to the Head Pro's comp plan, and depending on charter, his/her staff.

Because costs are increasing more members are walking to save $$$, which cuts into Cart revenue.  That revenue loss must be recovered from somewhere, so walking fees and or pull cart fees are the most likely target.  I was on the board of Pvt equity club and benevolent owner club.

Inflation isn't a new thing, but I do understand maint budgets slightly increasing with Healthcare.  Let's not paint walkers as cheap skate's.  I've seen keepers leave and build their own course and the maint is better then the prior club they were at and they do it for $200-350k less.  There is a LOT of waste at private clubs and they continue to focus on REVENUE and not the wasteful expenses.  If you are relying on cart fees to break even, then your model is jacked up.  The problem is private clubs think they are only competing against other private clubs for members, upscale and destination exist now and people have options they didn't have 25+ plus years ago.  Also as stated prior GM's can make 30-50% more then fine dining restaurants in town that have a 12 month season.  Club pro's used to rely on giving lessons for a nice chunk of income, now they are door greeters.  

View Postchachd, on 04 April 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

Interesting that when you follow this thread you see why so many private clubs are in financial distress. I live on a private club and have been a member in the past. They are constantly struggling but are happy now that they've hijacked 30 members from another private in the area. They charge $24 cart fee and require carts before 2 pm. You can walk and pull a cart but you have to rent theirs for $15, and can't bring your own. There are 7 private clubs in my area and the last one was added in 60's. I know that at least 4 are having financial problems. All but one are resistant to doing things that might add members as not being the way that we do things!! No sympathy from me - you all deserve the problems with your elitist attitudes.

I know your area well and know exactly which course(s) you are talking about.  It's funny the one with lowest dues and 3rd best track in the area has NO debt, no walking restrictions, and a near full membership.  Consider a National membership.  Your last sentence is spot on, they would rather close their doors then admit the idiocy of their attitudes.  It pisses me off to see Golden Age courses in danger of NLE due to elitist attitudes.

The bold statement above does NOT paint ALL walkers as cheapskates.  Re-read and include all the words.  A lot of people join clubs without knowing actual long-term annual costs and become uncomfortable spending $800-1500 a month +.  I am acquainted with three-course owners and been chairman of the finance/budget committee that pays bills at two clubs with heafty budgets, all included bar, restaurants, one had tennis & pool club as well.  I talk from my experiences, NOT conjecture from sidelines.  You speak of four seasons as if applicable for all clubs: it's NOT.   There's also a large difference between a golf club that has food serivce and a full size country club, some with multiple courses.  Private clubs are owned and managed by charters & benevolent owners/corps or equality membership.  Bars or club rooms generate the most revenue because of booze, regardless of the season.  NO club that I've been to or been part of showed all P&L segments as profitable.  One or two segments had the largest black ink revenue streams which offset red ink segments.

Curious, you present yourself as a P&L expert.  Did you own a course or are you CEO / President of a golf course, mulit-division or bar/resturant chain?  I ask because I'd like to know what your basing your opinions on.   Mine comes from having run my my own multi-division P&L company for over forty years and actual board experiences.

I find it almost entertaining when people on golfwrx argue over effective club management, when most never have run a multi-million dollar P&L.  When people are rich, they have every right to piss money way, however, they see fit.  Most members of private clubs have some degree of wealth and accept club costs knowing individual club membership is expensive.   However, some clubs are rather simple structure and not costly by comparsion.  Clubs in CA, AZ and TX that I frequent are on the mid-high end.

I am acquainted with one guy that left my last club and now owns three semi-private clubs.  Three others left a club and bought a club together.  Each of them figured they could afford to lose 100k per month, out of pocket, against operational cost red ink, each month for three years.  They eventually sold the club for less than they paid and didn't care because they got their investments worth elsewhere.  Wealth has its perks.  Have a good day.

If you are wealthy enough to be spending $800-1500 a month on dues (which is like .5% clubs), then complaining about a walking fee means you are poser or an idiot for paying that much to be a member at a club.  Exclusiveness is earned, not bought.  I have very close friends and one who has built 28 courses and owns 3 of them.  We talk weekly.  I've opened courses from scratch, worked golf construction, have close friends that are GM's, keepers, Archies, and pro's and they seem to value my opinion. Have many family members and close friends that have served on boards, they advise me I have better things to do with my time.  There are Golf clubs with pools (grew up at one) and I've played many high end and highly ranked CC's regularly with $7M budgets.  My wise friends know the minute successful members drive through the gates they lose all rational thought and senses.  Serving on boards isn't valuable experience, any member owned club's financials can be looked up online.  I never proclaimed to be a P&L expert, most solutions require common sense, which isn't common at private member owned joints. Again board experience at a club is an excuse to get away from your wife, nothing gets done 99% of the time.

The big one in

chachd

area is a top 100 and they are $2M in debt.  The best burb in town has a median income of $91,000, with the GM of that said club making $200,000 a year for a 6 month season.  This stuff isn't rocket science.  I'm a small business owner of 14 years and plan on buying a golf course in 12 years, nothing fancy just good land and good bones that is neglected. Clubs in AZ, CA, and TX big cities doesn't represent Golf in Fly over area and most of the US.  I live in a city of 5M people, with some very good clubs, only one has dues in the price range you listed.  I only know of 1 CC in my current state where they make money on F&B, it's because the downtown has no nice restaurants.  Everyone knows that men's grill rooms make money due to alcohol sales, but then explain why money gets poured into the money loser areas of the club?  Which then leads to the justification of walking trail fees.  Smart clubs, even ones with $7M budgets that used to just close the month of Jan, now close 3 months out of the year.  This thread mainly is talking about 2nd and 3rd tier privates that are in danger of going NLE after next downturn and pose like it's the 1950's.  Lastly many of the people that posted on this thread are possibly potential members of clubs, they are the market, might wanna start listening to your customers.


Don't worry about pepper.  He is legendary around here.   How he isn't chairman of ANGC based on his posts is kind of a mystery here.

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#120 Sir Slicealot

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 05:36 PM

I have a few questions based more on the smaller size private courses. In this case a local pasture golf course nine hole. They currently charge $13 a day unlimited walking, $9/9 holes for a cart and it goes up on weekends to $14 greens fee. I have no idea what their profits are but assume they average 20 per weekday with walkers and carts 50/50. I'd guess it goes up to 40 a day weekends with similar ratio of walkers. They bring in maybe 200k (based on a down turn in the colder months) a year in fees plus whatever retail trade they do in the clubhouse selling drinks and snacks. There is not real evidence that they are doing a great deal of reinvestment into the business. The greens are rock hard, the bunkers lacking sand, and the fairways
Why would they not pursue memberships?
Why would they be vehemently opposed to trail fees or an annual cart permit for private carts?
They haven't gotten the idea to mandate the use of their hand carts. Probably because they'd definitely lose customer base.  
Seems to me they would accrue working capital to make improvements and perform maintenance around the place as well as encouraging more patronage on the course.

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