Private club membership is a bit of an enigma. Having gone through whatever process your local golf or country club requires of candidates for membership, your access is limited to that club. Your ability to enjoy other similar facilities is restricted by your personal network of friends and associates who are Members at other clubs. Alternatively, you can always ask your local PGA Professional for assistance in the hope that his or her professional network extends to another club you are trying to access.
Yesterday afternoon I went to hit some balls on the way home from the office. It was a perfectly clear Carolina Blue sky day. Not a cloud in the sky and a light breeze. The Club was quiet with a few people on the range and even fewer on the putting green. I went to the short game area and immediately heard a fellow on his cell phone. He was at a minimum 40 yards from me and I could hear every word. He was sitting in a cart, enjoying the view and seemed to be having a difficult time on this conversation. I felt it inappropriate for me to amble over there and give him some friendly advise on how to handle this tough situation, other than to tell him to get off his phone! The arrogance or ignorance of some people never ceases to amaze me. I came to hit balls not listen to another man’s problems. Did his parents never teach him about a “church voice”. A friend reminds me that his Club prefers to instill “manners” as opposed to “enforce rules” and I could not agree more. A Club can only ever be as good as the Members are willing to allow it to be. This morning I saw the article from Jerry Tarde of Golf Digest that was perfect on this subject.
There is the long standing comment about Britain and America being divided by a common language. Golf contributes it’s fair share to this confusion. Case in point, “Private” golf clubs.
In the British Isles “private” golf clubs imply they have a membership. In the U.S., a club that is designated as private probably restricts access to the course and facilities to members only. The British “private” does not, indeed most “private” courses in the British Isles welcome and are somewhat reliant on visitors for revenue.