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What’s some of the shadiest things a course has done to you?


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#1 Shipwreck

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 08:38 AM

We’ve all experienced the “show up, pay and are then told it’s Cart Path Only and the greens were just punched yesterday” kind of things, but what are some other super shady things courses have done to you?

Played a local muni one time during our monsoons. There was a “chance” of rain but everyone in Tucson knows they can roll in and roll out quickly. Teed off on 1 and right as we finish the first hole the lightning hazard alarms go off telling everyone to come in. We all go in, and the downpour starts, completely soaking the course. But since we “feed” off they would only give us a 9 hole rain check, even though they closed the course for the rest of the day. BS in my book.

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#2 bermuda

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:21 AM

I called a course once (it's a course I've played several times) to ask if there would be a charge for my girlfriend (now my wife) to ride along and for her son, who was probably 6 at the time, to play or if there was a junior rate. It's a course that's connected to a timeshare my family owns, so for owners it is only a cart fee to play, and carts are required.

Was told no charge for the boy to play or him mom to ride, and we could all ride together. Got there the next day, and the person who was working in the pro shop told us there would be a fee for the boy and a cart fee for his mom, and the three of us would have to use two carts. About $50 more than I had planned to spend, plus that sort of thing where a person or organization appears to be a little disorganized really ticks off my wife, especially if it involves her son.

Another employee eventually came over and told the person we were talking with to waive the fees. Still had to take two carts for "insurance purposes."

Things like junior rates and ride-alongs aren't that unusual, and all courses should have written policies in plain sight so it doesn't matter whom you talk to.

And charging for ride-alongs due to "insurance purposes" is a shady deal. Please show me the policy.

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#3 BNGL

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:56 AM

View Postbermuda, on 29 November 2018 - 09:21 AM, said:

I called a course once (it's a course I've played several times) to ask if there would be a charge for my girlfriend (now my wife) to ride along and for her son, who was probably 6 at the time, to play or if there was a junior rate. It's a course that's connected to a timeshare my family owns, so for owners it is only a cart fee to play, and carts are required.

Was told no charge for the boy to play or him mom to ride, and we could all ride together. Got there the next day, and the person who was working in the pro shop told us there would be a fee for the boy and a cart fee for his mom, and the three of us would have to use two carts. About $50 more than I had planned to spend, plus that sort of thing where a person or organization appears to be a little disorganized really ticks off my wife, especially if it involves her son.

Another employee eventually came over and told the person we were talking with to waive the fees. Still had to take two carts for "insurance purposes."

Things like junior rates and ride-alongs aren't that unusual, and all courses should have written policies in plain sight so it doesn't matter whom you talk to.

And charging for ride-alongs due to "insurance purposes" is a shady deal. Please show me the policy.

Did they charge you for insurance purposes or made you take two carts for insurance purposes? Because every cart I have ever ridden in says, specifically, Two (2) persons per seat maximum. If it’s the former situation yes that is bs, but if it’s the latter then yeah I can see that being a problem. Just working in golf myself.

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#4 DON SVO

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:56 AM

I left my laser range finder in the cart at a course I played several years back. We finished at sundown... The cart girl never came back by, the clubhouse bar was closed up for a wedding, and it was pitch black outside by the time we finally got someone to let us in to pay the cart tab (they had my credit card). I realized the next day that in all the confusion and darkness while loading up to leave that the rangefinder wasn't put back into my bag. I called the course and the guy who answered wasn't much help and said I would need to come by and speak with the assistant from the night before (he wasn't in yet) but he would let him know to expect me. I went in after work and the assistant pro from yesterday was there. He said he asked around and no one found it. I said that it would have been in the cart, so only staff would have had access. He adamantly stated he personally checked and that he thinks some kids from the wedding party might have taken it, and said they were playing with the carts. I told him that was impossible, the lighting was shut off by the cart barn and it was literally pitch black, how would kids get through locked clubhouse doors to wander 150 yards away to mess with golf carts that they didn't even know existed in the darkness and find a range finder to steal it?!? He got pretty pissy and said he didn't find it, tough.

As I was walking back to my car, one of the cart boys came up to me and asked if I was the guy that called the assistant pro about the laser range finder. I said yes and described it. He comes back about 30 seconds later and hands me my range finder. I was livid. He wouldn't give me much detail other than to say "don't leave nice stuff in the carts when that guy's (the assistant) closing at night". I asked the cart boy if he had a girlfriend, he said yes, and I gave him a $25 gift card I had to a nice local restaurant and thanked him.

I will never step foot on that course again.
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#5 SkiSchoolPro

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:57 AM

Played in a charity event and was later told the course didn't donate the $.

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#6 jdl

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:20 AM

My group was playing at a local muni over Labor Day weekend a few years back, teed off around 9 am. On the 12th hole, one of the staff drove out in a cart and told us we needed to "skip ahead" to #16 because they had a 1 pm shotgun event and needed the carts so they could start setting up. We told him to kindly go #^$% himself and kept playing. When we did get to #16, there were groups from the shotgun getting ready to start. We convinced them to let us go through, though our second group behind us wasn't as lucky. Took quite a while to play those last few holes. No idea what the course was thinking in booking us for those tee times and then expecting to be able to put out a full course shotgun outing just 4 hours later.

Also had something similar happen at much nicer upscale course, i.e. approached on the back 9 because they "needed the carts". In that case again we refused, partly because we would have preferred to walk but they had the "carts required on weekends" policy.

Another time we showed up and were waiting to tee off when the starter told us someone had screwed up and forgot to book a small outing in their system, so they were going to "squeeze in" 4 foursomes in front of us. So 40 minutes later we finally get to start and that of course turned into a 5+ hour round.

One of the guys I play with puts all these courses on his "never play again list" but he's starting to run out of course that are acceptable. :)

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#7 Argonne69

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:28 AM

I was playing an early morning round on a Saturday. We made the turn in 2 hours, and I noticed dozens of electric carts set out for what appeared to be an outing. I figured they would be doing a partial shotgun on the front nine shortly.

When we got to the 13th teebox, there was a foursome on the tee that wasn't in front of us for the first 12 holes. The f*cking course went ahead and executed a shotgun start for the outing right in the middle of everyone's round. Where there were previously two groups per hole, there was now four. It took us over 3 hours to finish from that point. At no point did the course every say that they were going to attempt to blend in an outing into the regular Saturday morning flow. Un-f*cking-believable. The course was immediately added to my permanent sh*t list.

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#8 Argonne69

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:35 AM

My buddy and I booked the first tee time on Thanksgiving Day a few years back. Since we were planning to spend the majority of the day with our families, we wanted to get in a quick round and hit the road. Of course there turned out to be a frost delay that lasted ~1 hour. When we got to the 1st tee there was another twosome on the tee, and the starter said that we'd be going off second after his friends. They were obviously chummy with the starter. We told him that we had the first tee time, and that they could follow us. He insisted that they were going to play first, and that they would be out of our way before long. Yeah, right. We we on their tails the entire round, and they refused to let us play through. In hindsight we should have skipped a hole. What p*issed me off the most was that the course didn't ask us if it was OK for the twosome to jump the line. We'd have probably said "No", as we are very fast players, but at least they could have had the courtesy. That course was also added to my permanent sh*t list.

There are over 200 public courses in my area. Courses that treat their customers like dirt don't get my business. It's quite simple.

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#9 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:47 AM

View PostArgonne69, on 29 November 2018 - 10:28 AM, said:

I was playing an early morning round on a Saturday. We made the turn in 2 hours, and I noticed dozens of electric carts set out for what appeared to be an outing. I figured they would be doing a partial shotgun on the front nine shortly.

When we got to the 13th teebox, there was a foursome on the tee that wasn't in front of us for the first 12 holes. The f*cking course went ahead and executed a shotgun start for the outing right in the middle of everyone's round. Where there were previously two groups per hole, there was now four. It took us over 3 hours to finish from that point. At no point did the course every say that they were going to attempt to blend in an outing into the regular Saturday morning flow. Un-f*cking-believable. The course was immediately added to my permanent sh*t list.

Wow. That one takes the cake for me.
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#10 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:53 AM

The local public course here,  I think really wants to be closed over the winter.

The super closes all the teeboxes and cuts a small patch out of the grass. About 3’ X 6’.......beside the women’s tee boxes. But the women can still use their box.

Then he cuts all the pins within a step of the front of all the greens. Then during the winter when it gets dry he puts a sprinkler on the greens, with the water spraying right over the cup.

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#11 sprcoop

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:54 AM

Looking for cheap golf on either GolfNow or TeeOff and saw what looked like a super deal at Rio Rico GC, a Robert Trent Jones course.  18 holes and cart for cheap.  I should have known.  The  website had pictures of a beautiful course.  Rio Rico is a bit of a drive from Tucson but not bad.

Show up to check in and informed only 9 holes open as the back 9 had been closed and neglected for years so for 18 play the front twice using 2 different tees.  Driving range was knee high weeds (tee area also) and the front 9 also looked like it had been abandoned.  On the 3rd tee there was someone mowing the tee boxes with a gas push mower.  No need on the fairways because they were just dirt.  We agreed any putt within a putter length was given the greens were so bad.  It was one horrible round of golf, and I'm not picky.  False advertising in my opinion.

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#12 Bloom

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:56 AM

Played in a big cash scramble towards the end of this year (not for charity).  All prizes were paid out as cash or gift cards to pro shop.  Two weeks after tournament, course announces that due to financial difficulties they would no longer be honoring gift cards.  The course ended up closing down at the end of the season.

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#13 DavePelz4

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:03 AM

This story has a happy ending.

Our group of 12 guys had an event scheduled at one of the nicer courses in the area.  I usually book everything on line and a couple of days before we're playing call the course to confirm all is good.  We have are booked for 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  On Friday afternoon around 1PM I happened to check my personal email and there was a cancellation notice from the course.  No phone call or text.  I tried to reach out to the course and there was no one answering the phones.  Seriously.  

After probably 10 phone calls, someone answered and I got to the GM. He shared that there were 2 outings and that we'd be sandwiched in between them and it would be a 5-6 hour round.  He offered to have us tee off at the beginning of the day, but we'd have played the first 5-6 holes in the dark...not fun.

We got lucky and found another course that could accommodate us and then the GM provided the happy ending of giving us free rounds to play at our convenience for the trouble caused.

The End.

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#14 GMR

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:37 AM

Not exactly shady and not too mad about it but sorta annoying at the time nonetheless. Played at a nice public course in the Dallas area as a two-ball. We both had family commitments in the afternoon so decided we'd play as early as possible. Call up the proshop and they give us the first time out at 7am...GREAT!  Well it was great for all of about 8 holes when we caught up with the greens staff. To be entirely fair to them we were tearing around the course and had played the first 8 in under an hour, so I don't fault them too much.  BUT...they hadn't told us when we booked, but apparently at this course they pull all the pins out each night and then go around and refresh all the hole locations first thing in the morning (which one of the greenskeepers was nice enough to come over and explain to me).  So basically our two options were to play behind the greenskeepers and wait on the fairway/teebox every single hole for them to place the new pin position, or to play through the greens staff, and play the rest of our round with no pins on the greens!  We chose to just wait, since we were making such good time anyway. Glad we did too because it was a very lovely course, and while it obviously added quite a bit of time to the round we still made it around in about 3.5 hours.

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#15 jwortsman

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:45 AM

Most of the courses doing online booking do so through GolfNow or another larger web-based service. When you book up front, you pay a small fee that is (as I've learned) non-refundable in the event of change or cancellation. I've had a few times where I need to change the time or location and either have to call the course and golfnow in order to try to get a refund. Small $, but adds up.


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#16 Ferguson

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:51 AM

Years back we belonged to a semi-private club where members received preferred tee times 7 days out. Excellent course with great practice area.   For the first four years it was awesome, we played the exact time every weekend 8:28 am on Saturday and 9:18 am Sunday.  It all changed when a local course closed down and 50 of their members agreed to join our club after striking a deal that included a block of weekend tee times.  Our club failed to divulge that information to existing members.  I remember making my request within hours of the 7 day window only to learn the first time available was 10:00.  This went on for weeks.  Many of us complained and received a blank stare, being told we needed to call as early possible 7 days out.  So we did that only to get 10:46 as the earliest time.  Finally, 40 of us wrote and letter asking for a prorated refund on our memberships threatening to quit.   The new members argued that their deal included all tee times from open to 10:00 am.  

Approximately 80 people left that semi-private club with the following 10 months, and soon after the club went public. The club tried everything to get us back and we all went elsewhere. One bad decision changed that club forever.   The place has recently fell into disrepair.

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#17 rightslice

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:57 AM

There's a 90 deg dogleg left par 4 on our local course. Need to hit a good draw and long to see the green. Once you get to your ball you can barely see the green since there's a tree front left that covers the green. It's almost impossible to flight a ball in there and have it hold. I've hit that tree more times than I can remember with what I thought were good shots.  The par three after had the same setup but not as penalizing. That tree died and they removed. Pretty shady they didn't get the other one too.

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#18 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 12:20 PM

View PostFerguson, on 29 November 2018 - 11:51 AM, said:

Years back we belonged to a semi-private club where members received preferred tee times 7 days out. Excellent course with great practice area.   For the first four years it was awesome, we played the exact time every weekend 8:28 am on Saturday and 9:18 am Sunday.  It all changed when a local course closed down and 50 of their members agreed to join our club after striking a deal that included a block of weekend tee times.  Our club failed to divulge that information to existing members.  I remember making my request within hours of the 7 day window only to learn the first time available was 10:00.  This went on for weeks.  Many of us complained and received a blank stare, being told we needed to call as early possible 7 days out.  So we did that only to get 10:46 as the earliest time.  Finally, 40 of us wrote and letter asking for a prorated refund on our memberships threatening to quit.   The new members argued that their deal included all tee times from open to 10:00 am.  

Approximately 80 people left that semi-private club with the following 10 months, and soon after the club went public. The club tried everything to get us back and we all went elsewhere. One bad decision changed that club forever.   The place has recently fell into disrepair.

I can’t believe how often that happens. The regulars, who have been supporting an establishment (no matter what kind) get screwed over in an attempt to add new customers. It’s a shortsighted business idea just to assume that becasue someone is already there (likely for an extended period) that they won’t ever go anywhere else.

Why don’t they try to show the new potential customers how well the regulars are treated on a daily basis instead?  Doesn’t make sense to me. We do everything possible to keep our customers happy, and not going anywhere else.
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#19 fairways4life

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 12:32 PM

Called and scheduled a tee time for later that afternoon.

Showed up to check in and handed over my credit card to pay.

Guy swipes my credit card and hands it back.

Guy then tells me that two holes are closed and one of the par 5's is playing as a par 3 with a temporary tee box in the fairway. So the 18-hole, par-72 course is now a 15.5 hole, par-62.

Never mentioned that minor detail on the phone. Never mentioned that minor detail prior to taking my money.

Haven't been back.

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#20 Shilgy

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 12:43 PM

A few years back a friend organized a summer out up in Sedona. We had about eight groups and made the times about three months in advance. After repeated assurances the course would be in great shape we arrived to find the greens had been punched the day previous. To make it worse the top dressing sand had not been thoroughly spread into the holes. By that I do not mean the usual some holes were missed. In this case we had piles of sand on the greens as much as 6" high to putt through and around.  The organizer wrote and called the head pro and GM at the club to air the grievance and demand at minimum a refund. Only reply was basically a FU from the pro.  The lost a lot of business based on that incident as our group never went back and neither did any friends groups that we could warn.

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#21 golfgirlrobin

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:08 PM

Had the fourth time of the day and sat through a two and a half hour frost delay.  Ate breakfast in their restaurant, spent some money in the pro shop.  At 10:00 the frost finally clears and they tell us that instead of having a shotgun start, they’re going to start with the 10:00 a.m. tee time and “work in” all the groups that have been patiently waiting for two plus hours.  Make a 10:00 time and you start on time, make an early time and you wait through the delay plus another hour or more.

Zero notice of the practice beforehand. We never went back.
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#22 Rosco1216

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:15 PM

Cart girl promised she would be back soon and never did.
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#23 Dr.Frankenputz

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:24 PM

Spent a few hours spending money on food/drink being told we can get out when the rain clears. Rain clears & course non-apologetically closes the course due to water. Some staff not working the pro shop surprised they had us wait as they knew no one would be getting out.


Also several times called ahead on weekday afternoons when trying to get out as a single. “Come on out, we’re wide open!” Get to the course 20 minutes later to a pretty full parking lot & wait on every hole, plenty of groups out on both 9’s.

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#24 farmer

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:31 PM

Not shady, but aggravating.  I was visiting family wanted to play a little golf.  Called a course to see if they had any available tee times, and that I would be fine with twilight or whatever was open.  Sure, plenty of times, come on over.  When I arrived, the course was packed, the pro shop guys said there was some event, but no problem, just jump in wherever there was an opening.  Obviously that was not an option, so I left.  Not a big deal, but they could have saved me a trip if they had mentioned the event.

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#25 BrockPSU

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:33 PM

View Postdeadsolid...shank, on 29 November 2018 - 12:20 PM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 29 November 2018 - 11:51 AM, said:

Years back we belonged to a semi-private club where members received preferred tee times 7 days out. Excellent course with great practice area.   For the first four years it was awesome, we played the exact time every weekend 8:28 am on Saturday and 9:18 am Sunday.  It all changed when a local course closed down and 50 of their members agreed to join our club after striking a deal that included a block of weekend tee times.  Our club failed to divulge that information to existing members.  I remember making my request within hours of the 7 day window only to learn the first time available was 10:00.  This went on for weeks.  Many of us complained and received a blank stare, being told we needed to call as early possible 7 days out.  So we did that only to get 10:46 as the earliest time.  Finally, 40 of us wrote and letter asking for a prorated refund on our memberships threatening to quit.   The new members argued that their deal included all tee times from open to 10:00 am.  

Approximately 80 people left that semi-private club with the following 10 months, and soon after the club went public. The club tried everything to get us back and we all went elsewhere. One bad decision changed that club forever.   The place has recently fell into disrepair.

I can’t believe how often that happens. The regulars, who have been supporting an establishment (no matter what kind) get screwed over in an attempt to add new customers. It’s a shortsighted business idea just to assume that becasue someone is already there (likely for an extended period) that they won’t ever go anywhere else.

Why don’t they try to show the new potential customers how well the regulars are treated on a daily basis instead?  Doesn’t make sense to me. We do everything possible to keep our customers happy, and not going anywhere else.

In my area right now, courses are giving new members memberships for 1/3 the cost as the average member to try and get new members. So you have the people that are always course hoping and this will eventually kill one of the courses in my area. Its disgusting that the only way that think they can get income is to try and get new members with that low of cost, when it just makes members that have been there forever leave because of the way they treat you.

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#26 Zac1321

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:40 PM

Had a round booked for an amazing course on a sunday so decided to walk 9 at a course that is in terrible shape Saturday afternoon because i knew it would be dead and i could take my time hit multiple balls etc. Check golfnow and the course website and both have the same twilight rate and a wide open tee sheet according to golfnow(no online booking direct on the site). Decide to not book anything since its wide open and I could save the $2 golfnow fee. show up and there is a sign that thecard machine is down and cash only. no problem. except the kid in the shop gives me the morning rate ($15 more) and when I ask why it says differently online he says "oh that's weird its always been this rate"

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#27 Soloman1

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:42 PM

I was robbed of a couple of birdies yesterday at a local course. Thieves.
I'm quitting at 6.022 x 10^23 posts.
Avogadro would be proud.

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#28 Ferguson

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:52 PM

All I wanted was a heads-up from the club - "listen to keep membership fees down, we let these guys join.............bla, bla, bla."  

But, most GOLF GMs are not professional business people. They are golfers who run a retail operation.  I get it.
The more they can churn and burn the better.


It burned them in the end and that GM that made the deal is now some teaching pro at a driving range.

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#29 ani5009

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 02:09 PM

I've had so many shady situations with different courses when I've booked the tee times on Golf Now. From being told carts aren't included in the greens fee (even though it says the price was to ride on Golf Now) and being charged extra, to being charged multiple "hospitality" fees from the course. It makes me think these courses don't like people using Golf Now to get out and play for whatever reason, but I don't get why they would post the tee times on there in first place.
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#30 Ferguson

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 02:16 PM

View Postani5009, on 29 November 2018 - 02:09 PM, said:

I've had so many shady situations with different courses when I've booked the tee times on Golf Now. From being told carts aren't included in the greens fee (even though it says the price was to ride on Golf Now) and being charged extra, to being charged multiple "hospitality" fees from the course. It makes me think these courses don't like people using Golf Now to get out and play for whatever reason, but I don't get why they would post the tee times on there in first place.


I loathe GOLFNOW and Hugh Jackman equally.

Joining a private club like we did 10 years ago (if you're able) is the only solution.


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