Private golf clubs are too expensive.  Private golf clubs are snobatoriums.  Private golf clubs only want good players.  These three assumptions create a barrier that prevents many avid golfers from enjoying the next step in their love affair with this amazing game and are the primary reason private golf in Rhode Island is struggling. These statements, though correct to varying degrees at some clubs, are not the norm at most.

 Let us look at three clubs in particular, two public and one private, and two golfers, Rory and Eldrick.

Rory is a 26 year old avid golfer.  He is single and wants to play golf almost every weekend day and maybe two to three nights during the week.  For arguments sake, he tries to play eight times in April, Twelve times in each of May, June, July and August, eight times in September and October and six times in November.  That is 78 rounds over the course of one season.  If he plays 32 weekend rounds at an upscale public course in Middletown and 18 weekend rounds at a good public course in Providence and 28 weekday/evening rounds at the same Providence venue, he will pay over $4,200 in greens fees. 

Those same 78 rounds would cost him under $3,300 at a classic private course in East Providence.

Breaking down even further, if he played 90 rounds or 120 rounds at the private course, the $3,300 price stays the same.  Plus, he would have unlimited use of the practice area and putting greens.  He would never have to make a tee time, never have to worry about a five hour round of golf, and always enjoy some of the finest course conditions (and arguably THE finest greens) in Rhode Island.  He would have a locker, shoe service and club storage.  All of that for $3,300.

Eldrick is 40 years old.  His fees would be $4,950 instead of the $3,300 that Rory would pay.  Again, he can play as often as he would like and have unlimited access to the practice area.  If he has a family, they would have access to the golf course (almost impossible at a public venue) and just like Rory, he would be playing a round of golf in 3¼ hours instead of 4½ hours.  His priorities are different than Rory’s, but “access” is the name of his game.  He is home sooner, at the little league field sooner, back at work sooner.  And little Charlie and Sam, his children, grow up playing the game of golf without holding up the entire golf course.

Lastly, the private club has golfers of all abilities, every age, every gender and every race.  Rory and Eldrick will make friends easily and find matches that suit their games right away.  Expensive, snobby and elitist?  More like affordable, accommodating and fun.