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Welcome to the Message Board. Here you can post messages for others to read and respond to. You can chat about your rounds, local course conditions, current golf events, or just about anything. Post a message now or click on the subject of a message to post a reply. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed RSS feed icon to get updates whenever a new message is posted.


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fox den   egolfer at 8/29/10 7:15pm
just to let folks know, Fox Den just aerated their greens.
Greens update 08/28/2010   DrSchteeve at 8/28/10 10:01am
Personally checked or played (except where noted):

Verdict Ridge: punched "about 2 weeks ago" - still quite bumpy, along with some bare spots that haven't responded to the punching

Olde Sycamore: punched about a month ago, unfortunately divots from poorly repaired ballmarks mar the surfaces significantly - in other words, they look ok, and in general are in good rolling condition, but there are just too many ballmarks so almost any putt is likely to hit a ballmark (or 2)

Emerald Lake: punched about 10 days ago, still top dressed with a lot of sand, along with other issues certainly not rolling true

Skybrook: some really nice smooth areas on many greens, but also bare spots and many plugs of (presumably) poa anna, overall not bad

Highland Creek: very spotty, bare areas galore, one green (#15) gone by report

Red Bridge: mostly in very good condition, only a few greens with some isolated issues (Red Bridge greens are mini verde per clubhouse); definitely the best greens of all these (except Cleghorn, see below)

Cleghorn (this from a month ago) - in Rutherfordton, a hike, but perfect Bermuda greens (and fairways), best overall conditions I've played in all year (and maybe ever)

Hope that helps somebody...

Cost Problems in local golf   Golfmage at 8/28/10 9:12am
Reduce green fees, raise cart fees, and promote memberships. It's that simple.
My 2 cents   sawlog at 8/28/10 8:12am
Since I do not live in Charlotte, I cannot commit on the golf price and conditions. But I noticed a course has to choose what it is going to be either premium or budget. I have no problem with either way a course wants to fall in either group. However I do get frustrated if a course wants to charge a premium price for a budget course. This sadly is happing more often because of the fact of the cost of maintaining and servicing the debt that is incurred in building or purchasing a golf course.
The other problem like has been discussed is the fact that the market sets the price, if you are in an area like where I live that the majority of the courses are budget that is what the market will bear and if you do try to come in with a premium course it will be tough sell. What we all are wanting is a low green fee but the best conditions to play in, but each of us has to be realistic on the course conditions.
I do expect some things to be done, but also I am realistic in the fact if I am at a budget course then I expect budget conditions, but if I am paying premium pricing then like most of the posters I expecting everything to be top notch. Of course with this summer everyone’s bent greens have taking a beating.
the complicated answer   outliar at 8/27/10 6:54pm
This is my last post on this question ( I am headed out of town for 3 weeks).

WHY ARE PRICES SO HIGH IF IRI AND RATCLIFF HAVE "CORNERED THE MARKET"?

This would be the answer that gets you an "A" in business school.....


Price elasticity plays a role in monopoly and near monopoly price setting. The total revenue test shows that the monopolist will avoid the inelastic segment of its demand schedule. As long as demand is elastic, total revenue will rise when the monopoly lowers its price, but this will not be true when demand becomes inelastic. At this point, total revenue falls as output expands, and since total costs rise with output, profits will decline as demand becomes inelastic. Therefore, the monopolist will expand output only in the elastic portion of its demand curve.

I'm just say'in.......
I am not a Dr. but I do know this....   outliar at 8/27/10 6:32pm
Don't be naive:

Public golf prices in Charlote are high for the same reason it costs so much more to fly out of Charlotte than Greensboro or Columbia.

IRI and Ratcliff own too much of the market. In business school this is referred to as a "price maker".

To fly out of Charlotte Douglas you deal with the price set by US Air. They DESTROY competition from others each time they try to enter the market, and then jack back up the prices.

When Birkdale and Highland Creek were owned separately, they gained market share by providing a superior value proposition at the $55ish price point. Now IRI dares you to drive to China Grove or Ashville etc. to avoid giving them your $55 a round golf money. Just like US Air dares you to drive to Columbia or Greensboro to pay $225 round trip to Chicago rather than the $370 they will charge you from Charlotte Douglas.


DEFINITION: The firm is a “price maker,” that is, the firm has considerable control over the price because it can control the quantity supplied.


and YES TOO MANY COURSES...means that the same limited supply of golf rounds/dollars are spread amongst 30 courses instead of 18 courses. I could go on and on...
Too many courses   DrSchteeve at 8/27/10 4:56pm
Although they try, Carolina Lakes, at least this year, wouldn't have met my expectations for an upper tier course. Conditions, especially fairways, when I played April/May were terrible. Red Bridge has a long way to go as well (clubhouse, driving range), although their conditions, including their greens (not bent, I believe), have been quite good, and they try very hard to please with their limited staff.

I had another experience today with one of my favorite courses (I'm not going to name, since I think many courses would fit this description). I asked them their conditions, and they said they punched 2 weeks ago, but the greens had been cut and were "just a little bumpy". Well I went and played (fortunately only 9 holes), and the greens were VERY bumpy, and in poor overall condition (not just the punching). Granted, they did offer a reduced rate, but I just don't think you can get a straight answer no matter how you ask - the courses are just too hard up to get any golfer to their course given the economic conditions.
Too many courses??   Dr. Jones at 8/27/10 2:39pm
If there are too many courses then why are the prices as high as they are?

Charlotte needs more walkable golf courses as well.
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.

More information
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.

B-Man
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.

Thanks,

B-Man


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