…30 minutes later I’m at the on-deck circle checking in with the starter. I tell him that I’m the guy that called earlier, and they paired me up with the 9:30 group. He said that the 9:30 group went out 20 minutes earlier than they were supposed to, but he would fit me in with someone. I’m not surprised by this, because it’s SOP for most muni courses that aren’t well-staffed to have a starter there whose only purpose is to check for receipts and assign carts. Who cares when they’re supposed to tee off — they paid, they’re there, first-come, first-serve. So I was basically at the mercy of whoever showed up without a full compliment of players. And although I really didn’t appreciate being told differently over the phone, that’s essentially the risk one assumes when going to a public golf course on a weekend as a single. Whatever….
So for the next 45 minutes, groups of four went out in front of me. I told the starter that I’d be at the putting green 10 yards away, certainly within shouting distance. Or for that matter, a full 10 second walk to come get me when there was a group that I could play with. I’d putted for all of 10 minutes when I noticed there was only three players hitting approach shots on the first hole. So much for making an effort to get me paired up…. that group had to have been the very next group on the tee after I had just talked with him!
So I walked over to ask him why he didn’t pair me up with that group that was already playing the first hole. His reply — “Sorry, but I’m not running a personal dating service, pal. You’re either here ready to play golf, or you’re not.” For the record, I was there 90 minutes earlier to play golf. I had waited patiently for 30 minutes to get out, but couldn’t. And more waiting ensued.
At 11:00, he said, there was a threesome scheduled to play. He would put me in with that group. He told me to hang tight, my wait was almost over. Sure enough, the three players show up. Guess who…. you guessed it, the three guys who were destroying golf clubs and trying to kill me at the range. Swimming trunks, tank tops, sandals… and oh yeah…. all three guys sharing one set of rental clubs (with a busted driver sticking out of the top of the bag). I didn’t say a word. I picked up my bag, went inside, got my money back.
I spent the rest of the afternoon picking weeds and landscaping around the house, thankful that I have a membership at a nice place that affords me the opportunity to avoid the nightmare that I had just gone through. I got my work done early, and played a nice, quiet twilight round up at the club in approximately 2.5 hours, done before dark.
I spend 3k/year for a golf membership at a private facility. Pristine conditions, the members are nice and respectful, and plenty of tournaments for members as well. New clubhouse with an awesome restaurant and grill room, game room, showers, nice pro shop with the perfect amount of inventory on hand throughout the season. In four years, I’ve gone up there several times without calling ahead of time and only been turned away once…. and that was because of course maintenance. No tennis courts, no swimming pools, just a great golf experience that in all honesty I would gladly fork out double the investment to maintain. Just don’t tell them that.
I count my lucky stars, I don’t take it for granted. I do not miss public golf on the weekends. I could never go back. I’ve been spoiled, and I’ve loved every minute of it.