Jacksonville Sports Day

Seely: The Member-Guest is a Staple at Almost Every Golf Club

The member-guest is a staple at almost every golf club. Highlight of the year for yours, probably.

It is for mine.

Fred Seely

And it’s gotten out of hand.

The issue is the sign-up. Clubs have been either too lazy or too dumb to do it differently than a first-come basis, which is okay when you aren’t going to fill up, but which absolutely is awful when people know they’re going to get left out.

The demand now is more than ever, as it is for almost every golf club from tee times to tournaments. Business is great with not much else to do and Congress sending “stimulus” checks that nicely help pay for golf.

Too great, these days.

Before this year, our member-guest was first-come and that became a horror show. Sign-up opened at 7 a.m. and people were sleeping in their cars to make sure they had a good place in line.   That’s also how they do it at my son-in-law’s Richmond club. He got there at 4 a.m. and was 49th in line!

Someone here stood up against this insanity and, from now on, my club finally — finally — has gone to a lottery system. They’ve also added a second member-guest in the fall, with those not making No. 1 getting automatically into No. 2.

Richmond is still thinking about it.

Your club should be, too.

Tee times

More about my club.

No secret that COVID has caused a massive increase in golf play. Perfect scenarios: no place to spend money, no place to go to work, wide open spaces with clean air.

Our club opened in 1923. It has never had tee times and the old boys will huff and say, “Never will.”

Never say never.

Saturday mornings turned into a two-hour wait. Sundays were going in that direction.

Welcome to the tee time world.

Here and there

            • No one seems to care about golf in the Olympic games, starting with PGA Tour players. Isn’t it time to a) admit it was a bad idea and put it away again or b) do what the Olympics should do and make it for amateurs? (Side note: I asked a travel consultant what he didn’t like about his business. Answer: dealing with the Olympic and the World Cup. “Both totally corrupt.”)

            • Now that we’ve all wished Tiger Woods well, can’t we ask what this guy still has a driver’s license? There have been at least three documented issues, and rumors of more hushed up, and it’s going to be hard for people to justify handwringing if there’s manslaughter charge down the road.

            • TopGolf showed the industry how to promote and some clubs are tagging along. One in our area has put a pub on the driving range with a lot of clever targets and is getting good business off evening play and even leagues. And remember when some industry big shots said that TopGolf would have the same impact as miniature golf?

            • Harvey Penick probably will haunt me tonight, but didn’t Austin Country Club look like one of those resort cities courses where they must cram everything into a little space?

            • The new PGA Tour headquarters is open, and everyone seems happy. Including the nearby residents, who feared putting the employees in one place would produce traffic issues. No problem so far, but we’ll see when everyone is in the massive building.

            • Way to go LPGA. $10,000 fine for slow play.

            • You noted that the Canadian Open is moving to South Carolina because of the virus and that the state kicked in $6 million to get it. You probably can hear the howls about “taxpayer money” but they think they’ll make a nice profit because of the TV ad time they can sell. If South Carolina pulls this off, it might be a future business model.

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