As I sometimes do on Monday evenings, I worked until 5:30 or so and went over to my club to play some holes. I hopped on a cart and tried to race around what is usually a pretty empty course.
My conclusion on this night was pretty simple: Hosting Monday outings is akin to making a deal with a devil.
Why? Because while the revenue is great and crucial and the outings can lead to some membership leads, they come with a price.
I don’t know what group had an outing at my club yesterday, but afterwards it looked like Ronnie, The Situation and Paulie D had taken over the place. It was trashed.
I wish I knew how many ball marks I actually fixed on the greens. They were all over the place. And I’m not talking about the kind of ball marks you see because the sun is getting low and they stand out a little better. I’m talking about pretty good sized ball marks that were extremely obvious. Is it too hard to fix your ball marks? Apparently so.
And there was trash everywhere. These people drank. A lot.
So is there an answer? Having been on the board of my previous club, I get the economics of Mondays. When a group hosts an outing on a Monday that includes food and beverage, the host club is making serious coin. There’s a whole lot of profit built in as there is very little in terms of cost.
While clubs could certainly choose to have zero outings and use Mondays strictly as a day for the grounds crew to work (or open it to member play in the afternoon), that would mean dues increases to offset those revenue losses. At my club, I would estimate that dues would have to go up $50-75 a month. Would it improve course conditions? I would guess probably.
That, in a competitive environment to get members doesn’t seem realistic.
There isn’t an easy answer in Minnesota when it comes to outings. There is a limited number of Mondays each golf season, so most clubs have events every Monday and some clubs routinely have a morning and an afternoon shotgun start.
I would think that clubs in a more temperate climate don’t feel the same pressure to host an outing each week as they can spread the same number of outings out over more weeks of the year.
I don’t know if there’s an answer, but seeing what our greens looked like last night left me thinking about it.
- I did finish 18 holes last night, but I can’t imagine there will be many more nights when I can go out after work and play 18 holes. It was just about 8 p.m. when I got to the 18th tee last night and it was really getting dark. Had I walked, I would have had zero chance of finishing. And that bums me out.
For me, after work golf is like therapy. Most of the time I walk, so I get a little exercise. I think about the shots I need to hit and that gives me a nice break from reality. Evening golf, simply put, leaves me happier and healthier. I will certainly be able to play nine holes or even 13 (since the No. 13 green is near our clubhouse). That’s not bad. But it’s not the same.
- Is it possible to read a golf publication or even a newspaper without reading about long/belly putters? Dang the stories are everywhere. Even the Wall Street Journal got intot the action with a pretty good story. I will admit to trying one very briefly at Golf Galaxy the other day. It was weird. But watching guys such as Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott and Webb Simpson roll in almost everything makes me think there’s something to it.
- Final item. If you’re in the market for a private club membership, this just might be the time to pull the trigger. My inbox is filled with offers from clubs. Many with no initiation fee. Others with reduced initiation fees. With the exception of the older west metro clubs, pretty much every club in town is looking for members. And most everybody will let you play this fall for free in exchange for a commitment for next year.