Are other private courses like this?

So this morning I got to play a local country club which is a private course. Having lived in the area for a few years now since moving here, and never stepping foot on the course I may have had some high expectations after hearing what others had to say about it and knowing who some of the members are.
Me and a buddy from work that I bs with on occasion about golf, but have never played with decided to get a round in this morning. Everything was going good even though my friend is fairly new to the game and etiquette itself, it was a good morning and we had the course to ourselves at the time.
The first par 3 we played is the second hole, a short 129 yards tee to pin with about an 118 yard carry over water. We both tee off, I leave my tee shot on the front fringe and he hits one deep over the green. We pull off of the grass near the tee box and when we get to the green he pulls WELL off the cart path into some ruts in between the cart path and green. I don't think much of it after noticing the small ruts and wait on the green for his pitch. A few holes later is another par 3 which is just shy of 170 yards. He slices it right of the green and I hit a chunky 6i to the front fringe again. So we drive off from beside the tee box (off the path again) and instead of staying on the cart path he veers off and straight across what little fairway is there and parks the cart within ten yards of the green. I'm thinking the whole time 'I hope the greens keeper doesn't see this'. I say something after we finish the hole, basically that we should stay on the path on par 3's and especially around the greens. He said 'Ah, no one will say anything'. I say that some public courses I play would kick you out or at the least if the greens keeper seen you all over a par 3 like that with a cart you would hear about it. We finish the front and get to the backside, he continues to park off the side of the path near greens/tee boxes and I finally say something again when he pulls off the cart path into more semi-beat down ruts. He just said that everyone does it to let others by because people in the neighborhood rides their carts to the country club to eat, swim or whatever. That and that the course management doesn't say anything because they don't want to offend some of the more affluent members there so it's 'ok'.
I could join this club myself, it's a little pricey, but within my budget and has a nice practice facility which is one of the more important things to me being close to home. After seeing an eightsome go off the front did it though. I counted 8 carts on the first tee after our first 18 and just shook my head.
Dont get me wrong, the course is decent besides what I mentioned and close to home, plus the bent greens were nice besides the occasional pitch marks here and there. I seen our Governor Mike Beebe who is a local resident, and ate the first cuban sandwich (yum!) i've had since I moved here. It was a good day, but I doubt I will persue a membership.
Are other private courses like that? Where management is scared to do or say the right thing in fear of offending affluent members to better the course conditions?
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Are other private courses like that? Where management is scared to do or say the right thing in fear of offending affluent members to better the course conditions?
Na, I don't think that's typical of all private courses.
Sure private cousres have their "quirks"... at ours the lady members seem to think they own the place, purposely taking forever to line up 3 foot putts to piss you off while you wait behind them. They then miss the putt.
In general the affluent blokes about our club are very friendly and relaxed. They just want to play a good game of golf and have a drink in the bar afterwards, the men's bar... yes... no ladies allowed in there (another private golf club quirk).
I think you've just got a particularly quirky one there. I'd say you should ask yourself two questions:
1 - Will you enjoy playing golf there?
2 - Are there other people at the club you think you would make friends with besides the stuffy old rich people?
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You're always going to have a select few who think they own the place. I know some folks at my club who ride all over the property regardless of the rules, but usually they are warned to stop (regardless of their net worth).
If the membership takes pride in the golf course and its condition, they'll do the policing themselves.
So to answer your question, no, most clubs are not like that.
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I've played in a lot of private clubs around the world ... my experience is that most of them develop their own sort of character - unwritten rules (or sometimes even written rules) that govern etiquette. What you are describing is rather unusual.
Generally private courses tend to have members that do not try to "get away" with things - like the things you describe, simply because there's usually a sense of ownership (and often, depending upon the kind of membership, an actual ownership of shares), a sense of connection to the course.
At public courses, it generally has to be rangers that govern things like slow play, or carts in inappropriate places. On a lot of the private courses I've belonged to, the members quite often police themselves ... if a new member starts getting a reputation for being sloppy (not fixing ball marks, not raking traps, driving the cart too close to the green, etc.), as often as not it is other members, not management, that takes them aside as has a word with them.
The course you're talking about sounds odd ... it does have its own unwritten rules, but they actually lead to a lower standard of etiquette than a public course, not a higher one. Weird.
I don't think I'd join such a place (unless I had no other option to play golf).
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The car paths at the CC i play at do not always lead up to the greens and or teeboxes. And on some holes the isn't a cart path at all. Players will park a respectable distance from the green in the rough. Sometimes there are lazier members on the course who will go around/backwards to park right next to the teebox or green. The walkers at my course (who feel they are a cut above the riders) get pretty annoyed with this.
If its by the green then yes that can be a big deal, matting down the grass around it and such can change a chip shot. But by the teebox, i could care less. There are some holes where there is a cart path right next to the teebox, other times there isn't a cartpath but coming from the typical side of the green you already very close but to get to the right side you have to drive all the way around. Thats pretty lazy and stupid i think but i'm not going to cause a fuss over some members who do it.
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That seems odd. At the private courses I've played and the one I belong to the membership has a sense of pride in the conditions of the course. The members like it to look nice when they bring guests.
Also pace of play is kept up at the private courses I've played. In fact it is one of the biggest reasons I joined a course.
DH
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Depends on the course, depends on the management. My course has no problem telling people when they're driving too close to the greens, especially since it's marked where you cannot drive.
However, I've heard other baseless rants by members and the management capitulates. I would suspect when you hear complaints most of the time, sometimes you just have to pick your battles.
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Are other private courses like that? Where management is scared to do or say the right thing in fear of offending affluent members to better the course conditions?
I'm reminded of stories about Augusta National, where years ago then-member President Eisenhower wasn't catered to by club management. Every year on the Master's broadcast they recall the story about the Eisenhower Tree. So I guess my answer is no, management isn't "always scared to do or say the right thing in fear of offending affluent members . . .".
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I haven't played @ Searcy.
I grew up in Russellville. That was the club to join according to the people there. However after playing there and other clubs, Russellville isn't near the club their membership thinks it is. Its nice, don't get me wrong. But its not the elite club they all think it is.
Our club here in Fort Smith has its some members who drive off of the paths on every hole. However they are the really old guys and gals that still play.
I don't have a problem with it. I will be there someday too.
An eight-some is a tad much no matter the age. I can live with a five-some. No more though.
Let's face it. Times are tough and many country clubs are struggling across the nation. Piss off the members and cash flow stops in some cases.
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I belong to two clubs and they are almost polar opposites.
At one the members all think they own the course and anything goes. No marshaling - no management, it's basically a free for all. The course is not particularly well maintained or respected by the members. I belong here because it is close to my house and workplace and a good place to practice or run out and play a few holes when time is limited.
The other club is pristine and is respected by the members. The rules are followed by all and few if any "incidents" occur.
As someone posted earlier, each private club has its own "personality" (for lack of a better word). My suggestion would be to join one that fits your personality and expectations. Otherwise, you will question your investment later.
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Best club in my area has one rule- "there are no rules". It is a great place full of moneybags. Top 100 classic course per Golfweek. The closest thing to a rule is that playing in more than a sixsome on the weekends is discouraged! They play in 3 hours and run over you with their flotillas of carts as they play their six or eight some. Unbelieveable place. Very few cartpaths so those crazy rules aren't needed.
It is all what you expect. I have found that sometimes the richest clubs have the least pretension. The "nickel millionaire" club is the worst usually.
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That seems odd. At the private courses I've played and the one I belong to the membership has a sense of pride in the conditions of the course. The members like it to look nice when they bring guests.
Also pace of play is kept up at the private courses I've played. In fact it is one of the biggest reasons I joined a course.
DH
+1
Driving the cart in the manner you described would get you a visit to the grievance committee for a 1st offense and a 30 day vacation from the club for a second.
I love being able to get in a 2-3 hour round at 5pm during the week.
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Some private courses are run to accommodate the albeit childish attitudes of it's most influential members; all depends on who owns the club. Owner aside, doesn't matter how exclusive a club is there are idiots that drive up near the green; idiots that don't know any better, and idiots that don't think rules are for them, and idiots that just don't care. Idiots are everywhere, so don't not join because of them. Private club golf is way better then public for a number of reasons.
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Who cares how affluent someone is? Their dues bill is identical to mine.
As others have said, it's all about the club's culture. Hard to get the horse back in the barn if members are already used to doing whatever they want.
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No - each club is unique and attracts different kinds of members. I just joined one this year based on 1) the awesome course 2) great members (some seriously good golfers) and 3) great practice facilities. Also no bs-y stuff like a swimming pool and tennis - just golf.
If you went to a more "country club" atmosphere you'd get more of the cigar toting fringe driving members. But at my course everyone replaces or fills their divots, fixes their ball marks, rakes the traps and respects the course, which we take a lot of pride in. Most people walk because it's a good walking course, and those who do drive carts are always good about it.
Point is when you join a club, put a lot of time and thought into what you want and what the club offers - each one is special in its own way but only one is the best for you.
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Who cares how affluent someone is? Their dues bill is identical to mine.
As others have said, it's all about the club's culture. Hard to get the horse back in the barn if members are already used to doing whatever they want.
You might want to check that, most clubs have a tiered membership of sometype and i assure you that whoever is a "Senior" member (while representative of age sometimes, i'm not referring to older aged men) will get taken care of. I am in no way saying these members can do whatever they want, they typically respect the course even more, just that this is politics, and everyone is not on a level playing field so you might as well accept it.
Most Country Clubs have so many levels if payment. From social, golf, and full memberships and under the full categories there is another break down, from 40 or under guys who pay less, to the 40 and over guys who pay more to the members who have been there 15-20+ years who pay less.
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Who cares how affluent someone is? Their dues bill is identical to mine.
As others have said, it's all about the club's culture. Hard to get the horse back in the barn if members are already used to doing whatever they want.
You might want to check that, most clubs have a tiered membership of sometype and i assure you that whoever is a "Senior" member (while representative of age sometimes, i'm not referring to older aged men) will get taken care of. I am in no way saying these members can do whatever they want, they typically respect the course even more, just that this is politics, and everyone is not on a level playing field so you might as well accept it.
Most Country Clubs have so many levels if payment. From social, golf, and full memberships and under the full categories there is another break down, from 40 or under guys who pay less, to the 40 and over guys who pay more to the members who have been there 15-20+ years who pay less.
don't forget equity v. non-equity members and the vesting period to become equity.
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No - each club is unique and attracts different kinds of members. I just joined one this year based on 1) the awesome course 2) great members (some seriously good golfers) and 3) great practice facilities. Also no bs-y stuff like a swimming pool and tennis - just golf.
If you went to a more "country club" atmosphere you'd get more of the cigar toting fringe driving members. But at my course everyone replaces or fills their divots, fixes their ball marks, rakes the traps and respects the course, which we take a lot of pride in. Most people walk because it's a good walking course, and those who do drive carts are always good about it.
Point is when you join a club, put a lot of time and thought into what you want and what the club offers - each one is special in its own way but only one is the best for you.
You're absolutely right when it comes to clubs having different cultures and the difference between country club facilities and a golf club with just golf and food. However, you over looked in metro areas where many clubs exist and a player is willing to drive he could still face limited choices with some clubs because other clubs might not be so easy for just anyone to join; it's even more limiting in a remote area where one or two clubs exist with two different cultures.
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Who cares how affluent someone is? Their dues bill is identical to mine.
As others have said, it's all about the club's culture. Hard to get the horse back in the barn if members are already used to doing whatever they want.
You're right about dues being the same. But, sounds as though you've overlooked many corporate owned and equity clubs with long history's and tenured members puts much greater value on a members contribution to clubs leadership and culture along with how much he spends at the club each month over dues. I won't mention how much my average bills have been but dues are nothing. What I am saying is dues have nothing to do with the effects of affluence.
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Well, also being from Arkansas, I can share a little about a few of the courses I've played.
There are two different public courses that I play fairly often. Both of them have about the same type of golfers but one has better cart paths guys that will keep an eye on you and let you know if you get out of line. The other course will let you get away with almost driving your cart on the green.
The country club that I'm a member of is also pretty relaxed. The dues are $75 a month so I certainly don't expect it to be Augusta. In years past, our course, while a great layout, hasn't had the best when it comes to greenskeeping and course upkeep. Because of this, some people were doing things similar to what the OP described.
Last year the club hired a new greenskeeper and he's really been making some improvements to the course. He's redone a couple of the bunkers, turning them into real hazards, and also has grass growing nicely in places where just a year ago the ground was bare due to carts driving near the front the greens and all over the place in general. Because of these improvements, the members are seeing the effort put forth by the greenskeeper and are taking more pride in the course and it's resulted in the course being in better shape than it has been in a long time.
That being said, I played in a eightsome there this past Tuesday evening. We just happened to be the only people on the course so it was no big deal. I think the club rule is no more than 5 or 6 players in a group, but no one gets bent out of shape over a large group as long as they stay out of the way and don't hold anyone up. It's really a fun club to be a member of.
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Who cares how affluent someone is? Their dues bill is identical to mine.
As others have said, it's all about the club's culture. Hard to get the horse back in the barn if members are already used to doing whatever they want.
You're right about dues being the same. But, sounds as though you've overlooked many corporate owned and equity clubs with long history's and tenured members puts much greater value on a members contribution to clubs leadership and culture along with how much he spends at the club each month over dues. I won't mention how much my average bills have been but dues are nothing. What I am saying is dues have nothing to do with the effects of affluence.
My point is that it makes no sense getting all excited about a guy who may be disproportionately rich compared to the rest of the member ship. At one of my clubs (I get 3 bills a month) I know several guys worth 9 digits....that's without the decimal point. Doesn't make one bit of difference, they pay the same as what I do. Kissing their butts isn't going to earn the club one more penny. Funny thing is, they drive Buicks to the club and are some of the most pleasant people there.
As for dues, you're right....they don't scratch the surface of my monthly bills.
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After re-reading what I wrote I may have made it sound a little worse then it actually was. We haven't had much rain to speak of in the last month so that might of contributed to the areas where people were driving their carts. I had fun and plan on playing out there again soon. Someone said that they are waiving the initiation fee ($4000) in hopes of getting membership up so that might play a part in some of the things I mentioned. There's a few other courses in the area doing the same at the moment as well.
No - each club is unique and attracts different kinds of members. I just joined one this year based on 1) the awesome course 2) great members (some seriously good golfers) and 3) great practice facilities. Also no bs-y stuff like a swimming pool and tennis - just golf.
If you went to a more "country club" atmosphere you'd get more of the cigar toting fringe driving members. But at my course everyone replaces or fills their divots, fixes their ball marks, rakes the traps and respects the course, which we take a lot of pride in. Most people walk because it's a good walking course, and those who do drive carts are always good about it.
Point is when you join a club, put a lot of time and thought into what you want and what the club offers - each one is special in its own way but only one is the best for you.
That kind of sums it up. I know there's plenty of players at this club, but it seemed like the main attraction was the club house.
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... even though my friend is fairly new to the game and etiquite itself, ...
... He just said that everyone does it to let others by because people in the neighborhood rides their carts to the country club to eat, swim or whatever. That and that the course management doesn't say anything because they don't want to offend some of the more affluent members there so it's 'ok'...
Are other private courses like that? Where management is scared to do or say the right thing in fear of offending affluent members to better the course conditions?
Your indication that your friend is new to the game and the etiquette should be your clue. His actions with the cart show extreme disrespect and his comments about course management show that he really does not have a clue.
As guests at a private club, you are quite lucky you were not invited to NEVER return. If this club tolerates that type of behavior, and that may be the case given your description of the ruts beat down areas off of the paths, it would not be a club I would want to join.
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My club is sort of on the other end of the spectrum. Even though we don't have many "players", everyone has a lot of pride in the condition of the course. Most people are very good at raking traps, fixing ball marks, only driving carts in the proper areas, etc. If a new member or a guest isn't following the rules/customs of course care, another member usually politely informs them of their errors. We even have some old-timers who volunteer to go out there during off-times and fill in divots, rake leaves, etc.
We're not a very high-end club, and our lowered/eliminated initiation has brought in people outside of the typical "mold" of the club. Still, I don't know how it happens that everyone has such pride but I'm not complaining as the course looks great. Maybe since it's an older established club (50+ years), who knows.
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... even though my friend is fairly new to the game and etiquite itself, ...
... He just said that everyone does it to let others by because people in the neighborhood rides their carts to the country club to eat, swim or whatever. That and that the course management doesn't say anything because they don't want to offend some of the more affluent members there so it's 'ok'...
Are other private courses like that? Where management is scared to do or say the right thing in fear of offending affluent members to better the course conditions?
Your indication that your friend is new to the game and the etiquette should be your clue. His actions with the cart show extreme disrespect and his comments about course management show that he really does not have a clue.
As guests at a private club, you are quite lucky you were not invited to NEVER return. If this club tolerates that type of behavior, and that may be the case given your description of the ruts beat down areas off of the paths, it would not be a club I would want to join.
Thanks for pointing out the clue, Sherlock. That's just what I figured after talking to him at work and what I witnessed on the course that day. After playing another round with him yesterday and talking some more I found out he has been a member there for close to two years, he's just a little clueless. If the course doesn't want a guest that's actually conscious of etiquette then that's fine with me.