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|please don't be silly||outliar at 8/27/10 2:07pm|
|OK enough with the borderline condescending "you don't understand business..."
YES I DO - so let's go to school. I understand that the courses have a very simple profit motive/business model. Over the past decade, many local public courses have been snatched up by companies like I.R.I. and Ratcliff(ie. the Carolina Trail bought up all local competition) Birkdale, Skybrook, Highland Creek...consolidation for profit/survival just like in the airline industry.
Birkdale went from a solid B+ "Arnold Palmer" course to a C- "Carolina Trail public track" because they bought out all the competition and simply rather have profit than fix the bunkers.
Charlotte public golf has 2 interrelated problems:
1)Too many golf courses; and
2)IRI and Ratcliff own too much of the market.
I guarantee in the next 5 years we will see 2 or 3 $75-90 price point courses (like Ballantyne Resort/ Red Bridge/ Carolina Lakes?) separate themselves from the morass and we will be back to the good place we were at circa 1995-2005.
Just my "B-School" back of the napkin case study.
|Course Conditions||Shane Newkirk at 8/26/10 9:31pm|
|I understand why people are upset that courses are not lowering rates while their clubs are not in perfect shape. The problem is they are not allowed to raise the rates when the courses are in perfect shape. If a course here in charlotte usually costs $59 to play, but one morning you showed up to play and the guy behind the counter told you it was $72 today because the course was in perfect shape, this message board would be full of people crying. A club's rate is its rate, good or bad people. Have any of you thanked a superintendent over the last few years at your local club when the course was in great shape? Nope.|
|blame||kravon at 8/26/10 9:10pm|
|I dont blame turf professionals for the conditions of some of the local courses this summer since the weather was completely abnormal. I certainly dont care what the private clubs are doing to keep their greens healthy though.|
|Re: Golf rates||tvrepairex at 8/26/10 7:04pm|
|I could be wrong, but I think the problem with Rocky River is that they are managed by the Embassy Suites group and they have a "captive" paying group involving the Embassy Suites guests and events.Any "outside "players is just extra.|
|Course Conditions||turfguy at 8/26/10 4:26pm|
|What is unfortunate is while most of the people who post comments to this forum may be very skilled in the game of golf they are mostly clueless when it comes to issues related to maintaining a golf course. It is unfair to ask clubs that are struggling in the economy to have 50-70 bunkers in playable condition following a 3 inch rain. You don't expect Augusta National but you expect public clubs to have staff on hand to fix bunkers in a 3-4 hour window. There are some very notable HIGH end private clubs in the Charlotte area (one of them that hosts a lucrative PGA event) that have had issues with greens during the summer of 2010 and trust me they have way more means and money to PLAN to prevent summer decline of bentgrass greens than any of the courses featured on the Bman's site. What everybody wants to ignore is that in the recession clubs are forced to cut payroll and maintenance budgets. It is unfortunate that businessmen who post to this message board and probably have had to tighten their own belts think it should be status quo for course operators. While you may be avid golfers there are not enough of you playing now days. Rounds are down everywhere and the casual players are not returning to the game. I am biased because I am a superintendent in the area and I figure this probably won't get posted anyway but I have to come to the defense of my colleagues who look at this site frequently and use it to gauge how the public feels about their courses. Even the USGA is pushing brown as the new green...Why do you think this is? It's because golf is heading towards a precipice in which water and environmental legislation will force golfers to have to deal with browner conditions. I applaud the Bman for posting links this year. Fellas when an article about poor greens makes The Wall Street Journal it is a real issue and not lazy superintendents or poor planning for summer heat.|
|Golf rates||egolfer at 8/26/10 3:26pm|
|I can't understand how there are still golf courses charging full rates when courses are in pitiful condition. Rocky River is really bad right now and yet they still charge 49 bucks. They should be ashamed to charge anywhere near that with their current conditions. Doubt I can blame the guys working at the course because it probably has to come from higher ups to reduce rates. It's obvious the almighty dollar is more important than customer satisfaction.|
|Disappointed||DrSchteeve at 8/26/10 12:47pm|
|Well I see both sides. Although you might think some planning for (super) hot weather would make a difference, virtually every course with bent grass greens has lost their greens this year. It's just a bad situation.
On the other hand, absolutely there are courses that have handled the greens issues and the general financial stress issues better than others. I never understand why ranges aren't kept neat, ice water available, club washers attended to, etc., yet that now seems the norm for public and semi-public courses in Charlotte.
|Re: general disappointment||Dan at 8/26/10 11:19am|
|I couldn't have said it better myself. I truly believe that most courses around here don't even care anymore. What do greens have to do with bunkers being prepared correctly? What do greens have to do with the staff being understanding and courteous? What do greens have to do with the tee boxes being level and in decent shape?
Why this year? Is this the first time it has been hot in the Charlotte area? Don't the courses PLAN for this kind of thing? They should have some sort of plan in place for all kinds of things like.....drought/insects/heat. It is like they react to it instead of anticipate it which is always to late........Then they want to charge you high rates for a sub-par course to make up for it. I personally have been driving an hour outside of Charlotte to play in order to get decent courses at an affordable rate.
|Charlotte isn't alone||The B-Man at 8/25/10 10:04pm|
|Everyone that has been witnessing and commenting on the troubles local courses have had this summer with bentgrass greens should read this article from the Wall Street Journal. It does a great job explaining the losing battle courses have faced this summer around the country, not just here in Charlotte:
The Ugly Summer of 2010
|general dissapointment||outliar at 8/25/10 9:34pm|
|What happened to the respectable $55 public round of golf? Am I asking for too much (greens with grass no weeds, bunkers with sand and raked and fairways cut and decently clean????
I don't need Augusta National - but Golf Links, Birkdale (not alone, but for example) don't even TRY anymore.
It is a crying shame to see they are now no better than Charles T Meyers.
|Conditions and staff||Bigacito at 8/24/10 12:29pm|
|Just as reminder that not all golf course try to keep information from you, I remember I called Golf Links a few months back to make a tee time and the man who answered the phone volunteered the information that the greens had just been punched. And Sunset Hills, which I know has a reputation as one of the poorest maintained golf course in town, DID reduce their already cheapest in town fees even lower last month due to the conditions of their greens.
And as for rude staff, I no longer go to Renaissance because I cannot stand the man who is always behind the counter at the pro shop whenever I go there. He is at best unhappy to be there and usually either rude or condescending.
|Course conditions||DrSchteeve at 8/23/10 8:29am|
|I also find few places that volunteer information about course conditions and other things like outings. I try to make a point of remembering to ask: "When did you or will you punch your greens?" and "Are there any outings that day?" I don't bother to ask "What condition are the greens in?" because I've been lied to so often that the question is irrelevant.
In fairness to course supers, this has been an unusual year in that virtually every course with bent grass greens has gone through a period of nearly or definitely losing their greens. The only courses I've played this summer with no issues were courses with Bermuda or mini-verde greens.
|Re: Biased?||Dan at 8/22/10 6:33pm|
|I agree with Karl......In fact, I think all of the courses around the Charlotte area lie about their conditions on a regular basis. I refuse to ever golf again at Emerald Lake because of their staff and cocky attitude. I just recently played Renaissance a week ago and specifically asked the guy behind the counter the conditions of the greens. His response......"excellent, best in the area". Well, the front nine was "okay" at best and the back nine had several greens that were in "sub-par" condition. I have heard all the excuses as to why the greens are suffering, but if you ask me, it is just plain ignorance. What else really upsets me is that the courses "play" dumb and make no effort to adjust their greens fees to make it a fair deal. I bet none of the course GM's would buy a new car with just primer on it...! ....I feel ripped off everytime I golf.|
|Emerald Lake||egolfer at 8/22/10 4:32pm|
|I've played Emerald Lake more in past months than I normally would with my friends because alot of others' greens are in trouble. The course can bite you especially 3,7,8,9,16 and 18. The more I've played it the better I've shot at it. It's a bit of a drive for me(40)mins. I've come to like it ok except for hole 9 which is not really a fair hole unless the pin is in front left because the green slopes down front to back and sticking a ball with a wedge is difficult with big bunker in entire front of green. Never had an issue with staff then again I never call for t times. Don't know about being not told about aerification.|
|Aeration||The B-Man at 8/22/10 1:37am|
|I had taken a few days off since playing last weekend but went back to Emerald Lake today and found that the greens had been punched Mon/Tues. I only played a few holes before dark, but the greens are going to be slow and bumpy for another week or two.
You will want to explicitly ask about aeration when you make tee times over the next month. This is the time of year when most courses will aerate the greens and sometimes fairways too.
Let me know if you hear when courses are aerating and I'll post the schedule here.
|5th Annual Larkhaven Founders Tournament||The B-Man at 8/19/10 4:21pm|
|Got an email on this today and thought I would share. Also, I have not received any updates recently on Larkhaven. I'm curious how it is holding up this summer.
5th Annual Larkhaven Founders Tournament
October 2 & 3, 2010
$270 per team
Larkhaven Golf Club cordially invites you to join us for the 5th Annual Founders Tournament on October 2 & 3, 2010. Entry deadline is Wednesday, September 29, 2010.
Entry includes all cart & greens fees for tournament, Bar-B-Que Cookout following Saturday's round, lunch Sunday, Gift and CASH prizes for each flight, closest to the pin prizes and more. Optional team skins game held both days. Payment must be received by Wednesday, September 29, 2010 or the entry will increase to $300.
Format will be two person Captains Choice. Women play red tees, seniors, 60 and older, play gold tees, everyone else play white tees.
|Re: Biased?||Jamie at 8/19/10 6:47am|
|B-man your assessment about EL definitely matches what I have experienced, although I have had a few strange situations there. Back in the spring we played on heavily sanded and aerated greens, even though staff informed us when we booked on the phone the exact opposite - we were not pleased. Generally the greens are very good and consistent. I like the course, it's just that EL is not usually a course that offers the discounts that Carolina Trail and several others offer. Nice layout, particularly #5 and #14. The only hole I hate is #9 (old #18) because of the green being constructed backwards, sloping from front to back and toward the water, making it a 3-shot hole for even the longest hitters. I was told several years ago the course had intended to reconstruct it but has not. All in all a very good course even with its quirks.|
|Re: Biased?||The B-Man at 8/18/10 11:00pm|
|Karl -- actually, I have indeed given other course GM's the opportunity to respond to negative feedback here on the site -- the most recent example was Birkdale, but before that I've done the same for Charlotte Golf Links and Rocky River, to name a few. And I will always give course staff the opportunity to respond here on the site if they contact me.
If you read one of my recent reviews of EL, I actually said I would not post a review every time I play (since it would be frequently). Most likely I'll only post a new one if conditions change. So watch for my next update because it likely means something's going on (perhaps when they aerate).
As I said before, please post your own reviews of Emerald Lake and other local courses. This site is built on player feedback and opinions. If I post a review that you don't agree with, post a comment. If you think my coverage of Emerald Lake is biased or not accurate, then don't take my word for it.
Let me know if you have a suggestion for how I should handle Emerald Lake reviews and feedback. I couldn't tell from your post what you were expecting me to do differently. And if you want to handle it off the board, feel free to send me a direct email.
|Re: Biased?||Karl at 8/18/10 10:19pm|
|i agree that bman has been fair and objective in his reviews. My only issue, and it is not really an issue because i really dont care, is that if someone has a very bad experience at emerald lake, and they post it on here, bman will go to emerald lake and get their side of the story, which of course will refute any negative comments. no other course has that opportunity. i am sure you can email the course gm and let them know about the feedback, but emerald lake now has a direct link to this website while no other course does. again, no big deal, i just thought it seemed sketchy. bman, if the course is in horrible shape and should be avoided at all times, will you post that for all to read, even though you know that the staff at emerald lake reads this site often? if you think that a shop guy is a jerk, will you write that for all of your readers to see even though you will see him the next time you check in to play at your "home course?" tough call.|
|Re: Biased?||hawk22 at 8/18/10 7:02am|
|A few things as a long time reader of these forums
1. Emerald Lake is a good course with fantastic staff. I've been going there for years and I've never understood the negative reviews on these boards given my countless positive experiences there. The range is great and the course is always in good shape.
2. BMan has not been biased about his reviews, just honest and objective. I don't think that will change now that he has joined Emerald Lake. I agree with others....keep up the good work!
|Re: Biased?||panthersfann55 at 8/17/10 10:55pm|
|he must have had a bad round. i for one play emerald lake a few times a year and find the staff and course enjoyable. keep up the good work b-man.|
|Re: Biased?||The B-Man at 8/17/10 7:12pm|
|Karl -- thanks for the feedback, always welcomed. Let me first say that, sure, you can consider my reviews of Emerald Lake biased -- just as you would anybody's reviews of a course they play frequently and know well. Since I joined on 7/30, I have played there probably 8 or 10 times for at least 9 holes. I also know the staff pretty well.
That said, let me clear up a few other things you mentioned. First, the Featured Course on this site's home page is automatically selected based on the course with the most recent review. So with me having posted 3 reviews since 7/23, there's a good chance when you've visited the site recently that Emerald Lake was the Featured Course -- as it will remain until a more recent review for another course is posted. Please, by all means, if you've played another course recently, post a review and that course will become the featured one. Just note that the selection is based on the date you played not on the date you submit the review.
Secondly, my defense of Emerald Lake over the last 12 months has more to do with me living so close to the course and knowing the staff. I can see for myself whether the reported conditions are as someone describes. I can also get the other side of the story directly from the staff -- which I have posted in fairness and to provide my site visitors with more information so they can judge for themselves. I have never withheld replies from the original reviewer. In the previous cases here on the message board, the reviewers never posted another message or contacted me.
Lastly, I would encourage you to post a full review if you had a bad experience at Emerald Lake. Other players can then comment. I, for one, as biased as I may be, don't know what courses you are comparing Emerald Lake to that you would consider it a "cow pasture." As I've noted, the only issues I have seen are ball marks on the greens from lots of recent play, a few greens with small bare spots requiring a top dressing of sand and a few tee boxes that are thin. The greens roll very true, the fairways are lush and weed-free and the bunkers have been kept in good shape. There are only a few courses in the Charlotte area I would consider a "cow pasture" -- due to weeds in the fairways, greens not mowed, bare dirt spots around the course, grass in the bunkers, etc -- and one of them closed a few years ago (Crystal Creek).
I encourage other readers to weigh on and comment on my recent reviews.
|Biased?||Karl Markham at 8/17/10 5:49pm|
|Just an observation and you do not have to post this if you feel as though it shouldn't be, but it just seemes a bit biased that you joined Emerald Lake a few weeks ago and now they have been the "Featured Course" on your home page for weeks now. There are coupons posted all over your website now for this course. Also, going back over the message board, it seems as though you have defended Emerald Lake against bad reviews. How do we know that all reviews are being posted about your "home course?" I know that there has to be negative reviews out there because I played there last Friday and thought the place was a cow pasture. Just an observation.|
|Olde Sycamore/Oak Hills||DrSchteeve at 8/17/10 4:23pm|
|Sadly heard that Olde Sycamore's greens are going the way of everyone elses - not horrible, but not good.
On a bright note, played Oak Hills in Columbia - a great track with Bermuda greens and fairways in great shape. I definitely recommend if you are in the area.
|HeartBright Golf Invitational September 17, 2010||Whitney Urschel at 8/10/10 2:04pm|
|The HeartBright Foundation makes an enormous impact on its surrounding community by filling the gaps for chronic care patients. This is done through resourcing individuals by increasing their awareness of their chronic care issues and helping them to reach health goals through consistent care and access to providers. When you donate to HeartBright you sustain programs that educate all ages in cardiovascular health, from teaching children battling obesity better nutrition and exercise, to the elderly new ways to self-advocate. HeartBright reaches over 4,500 men, women, and children weekly in the Greater Charlotte Area and with your support we can continue to improve the health of our community.
On September 17, 2010, at the Golf Club at Ballantyne, we are going to hit the ball for HeartBright! The HeartBright Foundation is holding an invitational golf tournament and we wouldn’t want you to miss the opportunity to play and/or sponsor the event. The sponsorship options are numerous and the benefits to the Foundation will continue long after the final shots are made. This is going to be a fantastic day for HeartBright starting with an 11:00am registration; 1:00pm shot gun start/scramble format, and a 5:00pm after party. Please visit our web site at: www.heartbright.org/golf for more information and various sponsorship opportunities.
Come out and have some fun for HeartBright! Friday, September 17th, HeartBright Golf Invitational! We look forward to seeing you at what will prove to be a great fundraiser for the HeartBright Foundation. This will be one tee time you will not want to miss!
|Charlotte National||egolfer at 8/8/10 10:51am|
|Charlotte National's greens are pretty much gone. There were a couple that were still in good shape but most were burnt up with sand patching dead spots. Rest of course is ok but like others, their greens are dying.|
|Columbia, SC||DrSchteeve at 8/5/10 3:14pm|
|Going to be playing there next Sunday, August 15. Looking for recommendations for best public course - right now it looks like Oak Hills. Any other suggestions? Thanks for any info.|
|Cleghorn Plantation||DrSchteeve at 7/31/10 8:15pm|
|Played today. The bad news: 40 minute delay from tee time for no excusable reason (it certainly wasn't a frost delay!). Fairly slow round as well - apparently the course was packed, perhaps because of a $25 dollar special (included cart & range balls). The good news: gorgeous course, in the best conditions I've played all year. Champion Bermuda greens were perfect. Fairways perfect. Rough was punishing but fair. Worth the drive but it is a hike (about an hour and 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte).|
|Update course conditions from local GM's||The B-Man at 7/30/10 2:31pm|
|Spurred by the article in yesterday's paper, I polled several GM's by email and got these responses:
Skybrook: "We have been very fortunate, we are in great shape! Even with the extreme heat our crenshaw greens are outstanding!"
Tradition: "Things are doing pretty well here. The heat has been tough on everyone. The greens are good and fairways are great."
Eagle Chase: "We have had problems with our greens due to August heat starting in June. They are still VERY PLAYABLE. They just do not look as good as normal. People have become accustomed to our greens and all the other courses greens looking green and plush. Unfortunately the early extreme heat makes that almost impossible for bent grass. The ma! jority of our regular players seem to think it has not affected there game. They are still scoring around there handicap. If you hit the putt solid and on line the ball still will go in the hole. I think people judge greens based on appearance more than any thing else. What players have to realize is the cost of a golf course increases in times like this due to applications of chemicals to the greens at a cost of about $1000 per wk. I would plead with golfers to continue to support their local golf courses thru this very difficult summer."
Waterford: "We are on pace to open September 3. The sprigs are growing in nicely."
|Charlotte Observer article about local courses losing greens||The B-Man at 7/29/10 10:56am|
|The Charlotte Observer has an article about the summer heat has ruined greens at several local courses. It also includes official word that Springfield and Waterford have closed for ~2 months to fix them. Here's the link:
Heat is toasting local golf course greens
Please let me know if you hear of other courses closing due to green conditions.