The true semi-private golf club: why so unpopular?
I don’t pretend that this idea is at all original, but every time a golf course goes private or public, I revisit this notion. Why, oh why, doesn’t a true, semi-private golf club have more of a place in our golfing society?
The old-money private clubs have no need for income, so they simply close their courses on Monday. Less-affluent clubs open their tee decks to charity events as money-makers on the first day of the work week. What if you took your less-affluent club, made Mondays available for charity events and outings, and opened play up to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursday through Sunday would be shut down for membership play only. Here’s why it works…
You have a member who likes to invite guests out for play, but is limited to the number of guests she/he can have per month. The primo guests still receive their weekend invitations, while the less-critical-but-still-
important guests get to play on Tuesday or Wednesday, at the member’s expense, but without the stigma of “guest” status attached.
Imagine that you come out on Tuesday or Wednesday, and are so smitten with the club property that you decide to join. Kind of like fraternity rush or something…you get a chance to test the waters without some membership chairman following you with contract in hand. It just seems like it would work.
Reserve half the tee times for members on Tuesday and Wednesday to start. If you find the demand for public play is up and the member play is down for those days, alter your strategy. Your members can’t complain if they have four consecutive days for quiet play. Most of them won’t be back for a few days after playing Saturday and Sunday.
The true semi-private course is an idea worth investigating for the many struggling private clubs in western New York and beyond.
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There were a couple of newer courses in southern Ontario that were attempting something like that in the early 90s, don't know how it turned out though.