How would I rate it?
I live in a Houston suburb and we have a 12 month golf season down here. This summer was the worst on record with 30 days out of 31 in August over 100 degrees and an all time high (tie) at 109 degrees. The other downside to play here is the humidity. We're 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico without the tradewinds that blow the humid air away from the coast. As to golf, there are a lot of really good private clubs and public golf to be had. Like a lot of the country there was a bit of overbuilding so a couple of former private layouts (one 36 hole setup of which I was once a member) are now public, and there are any number of upscale public courses with fees less than $75 (usually $50 or less) within a 50 mile drive. Texas is one of the most affordable states for housing and we don't have a state income tax so I think that it's a great place to live, weather not withstanding. A couple of layers of clothes in the winter are usually what's needed to play although we did have a rare Christmas snowfall last year and some temperatures in the teens, but all in all the quality and prices of the public venues make it a pretty desirable place for the golfer.
Up in St. Louis area, weather is about the same. Early fall can have some excellent golf days, as long as the greenskeepers chop up the leaves on the ground.
St. Louis area has plenty of courses on both the Missouri and the Illinois side. Illinois - St. Clair and Madison Co. - saw a jump in public courses back in the 1970s, the same time a lot of the close-in St. Louis County public courses were turned into subdivisions. In the 1990s, far West St. Louis County saw several new country clubs and public courses spring up.
Even before the current recession, region probably had excess capacity - too many courses chasing too few rounds. Some of the courses are in sorry shape, and may get subdivided when the recession ends. Some plagued by design flaws which would be prohibitively costly to repair.
In 2003 (?), the St. Louis Business Journal did an article on country clubs in the area. Over the previous decade, the net loss in memberships averaged about 4 per club. Given that certain clubs added a couple of dozen, or had waiting lists, that means that other clubs were beginning to struggle. Even before the recession hit, some clubs were starting to seriously discount their initiation fees.
Walters Golf Management runs a portfolio of high-end public courses, semi-privates, and a couple of country clubs. If you have a membership at a WGM course, you can play other courses on a space-available basis for a $17 cart fee (the country clubs don't have much space-a)
Full-price | 18 holes | with cart for the area goes something like this:
|Country Clubs / Super Semi-P||$60 and up||$75 and up|
Midrange and above offer a $10 discount for "early twilight" - 1 PM and after, and for seniors, military, and other groups. Also, you can sometimes find reduced rates through online clearing sites or the individual course sites - you just have to be able to play the day when you find the low rate.
As far as condition, the courses tend to be in excellent shape or really bad shape - not much in between. One of the semi-private clubs has lost its greens for second year in a row, while a couple of the little 9-hole layouts are in super shape. You'll find good shape and bad shape all up and down the venue classes.
For those of you seeking golf vacations, give us a try. Lots of good courses, hotels nice but not too pricey, decent food.
I live in the southern region of New Mexico and golf life out here is wonderful. My city is Las Cruces (approx. pop. 100,000) and we have 5 courses in city area. Weather is favorable from spring through fall. You can play in the winter, but only at mid-day, as the morning hours are too cold. If you really want a challenge, try playing here in April/May when the wind is howling. Average high temp in the summer is about 94 degrees, so not terribly hot.
My town is only a 45 minute drive to El Paso, TX, there are 20 or so tracks in and around El Paso to play. Southern New Mexico has some great tracks, but our state's best tracks are in the north, (some real beauty's).
Though if you make it out here to New Mexico, try some of our courses. I think you will find that the good people of New Mexico are friendly conversationalists as well.
Lets see, Jersey golf....
I love it except for a few unfortunate downsides.
1) Winter stinks, although it's not as bad in some spots the more south you get.
2) Shopping for golf stuff in my area stinks. Most of the places around here went out business in 2008-09.
I love it though.
This isn't a problem for me at all, but in my experience, most people around here tend to not be that great at golf. Not sure why that is, but usually when I get thrown in a random group, no one is any good. That being said, everyone I've been grouped with-- save for a couple bad seeds -- has been a nice person.
Also, I've never once been randomly grouped with a female player. All dudes. It'd be a nice change-up for once. Though I'd imagine this is true for golf anywhere you go.
Keep in mind when I went on a golf trip to Florida for the first time, I thought that place was golf heaven. So, it may be difficult to come here if you're used to that kind of golf world.
I grew up in northern England, and now live in Southern California. As you can imagine there are great golf courses in both these areas, both they are extremely different. In the UK I played links golf almost exclusively, I lived on the ocean and very near to Royal Lytham, St Annes - the British Open course. Amazing, tough, inspiring course that is a pleasure to play. Other than it being a links course the thing that separates it from the LA area courses is that i usually got a round in under 4 hours. There is though the big issue of weather. Very few places can match the year round climate of Southern CA, which is perfect for golf. There courses are really good and there is a huge selection. The biggest issue with playing here is the slowness. i have yet to play a round on the weekend here in under 5 hours, they are often over 6!
When I played in the UK, I watched closely how other players pace themselves since I knew rounds were much shorter there.
There is a conscious effort to move on that I just do not see in Americans.
People know how to move along in the UK, Many Americans are terribly slow players, especially in big cities, which is ironic. They linger, they dawdle, they don't think ahead, take too much time to look for balls, etc..
Yea the slow play is pretty bad in NJ, in my experience. I've learned to easily stomach a 5 hour round, even 5:30. When it starts to take around 6 hours, it's tough to deal with, but I'm getting used to it at this point. I know there's nothing I can do to change it, so I just try to learn to accept it and not let it affect my shots. My home course usually has good marshalls out there to keep the pace up, but sometimes they don't, and on those days it can get pretty bad.
I used to play 3 or 4 weeknights a week until I finally grew tired of trying to work around the leagues. The course didn't care that they were taking 3 hours to play 9 holes on a short, easy course. Worst part was they allowed the league players to continue playing extra holes after they finished their league play. I guess that's where they make their money but damn do they tear up the course and make it unplayable on weeknights. They have 3 different 9's so it would have been nice if a few nigths a week they left 1 of the 9's open for non-league play.
Then again I can see from the courses perspective why they jam in the leagues. $$$. I think half the guys pay as much for drinks as they do for the golf.
I really can't see slow play ever going away in the US. It's not like it never existed and I just don't see what could ever change the attitudes of golfers and those who run courses. Sorry for being so cynical, but I'd be very open to being convinced the other way.
Maybe if every amateur golfer was a true 18 handicap or better, I could maybe see it.