Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Tough Reality of Golf

Gary Van Sickle of Sports Illustrated and Golf.com fame wrote a short piece yesterday about his own experience with the struggles in the golf business.

Van Sickle admits to landing in Miami and driving the short distance from the rental car area to Melreese Golf Course, a municipal course in the area owned by the city of Miami. Set on playing some golf, Van Sickle admits to trundling into the pro shop to drove a few dollars to play what is described as a course in good condition. The thing is, the pro shop attendant wanted $158 for a non-resident of Florida. Didn't she know he was a journalist?

That is basically what the golf quagmire is right now. The courses still want a decent amount of cash to keep everything moving right along, but when pockets are short, spending $120 on golf as opposed to, ya know, groceries or something isn't exactly logical.

For instance, I use the website Golfnow.com a lot when I'm looking for courses around the Phoenix area. I was actually turned on to the site when it used to just be Golf520.com and golf480.com, but now it works nationally and you can find some good deals.

Just clicking around for a minute makes Van Sickle's point for him. Talking Stick, a public "desert" golf course managed by Troon Golf, is one of those courses that every Scottsdale visitor wants to play (I'm not a fan of the North Course at all, but the South is solid). If you and a buddy were going to tee it up tomorrow, it would be $110 each. Troon North, with a discount label below the number that says "You Save 20 Percent" is still $195. Even Camelback Golf Club is $99.

Prices are just too high for golf right now. I'm sure some people are playing them, but I guess I'd rather have a full tee time at discounted prices than have 50 people on my course all day at the prices people are used to. One of two things will happen in the next year. The economy might get a little of that Alex Rodriguez juice and become something again or you'll be able to play some golf at a few courses for dirt cheap ... before they go under.


Marc said...

In the DC metro region we have the high prices plus we have really slow players. It's one thing to pay 100 bucks for a good quality course but not when it takes 5 to 6 hours to play. Even the 9 hole exec course near me takes 2 and half hours to play. I love the game but I'm also rather attached to the family so spending an entire day on the course at a high fee doesn't always work. Now once the little guy turns 9 or 10 then who cares:) Luckily my wife plays too.

John said...

The situation you describe may be the only reason I am happy that I am still a relatively unskilled golfer; I'm not near good enough to even CONSIDER playing anyplace that expensive.