I am pretty excited being that I've never actually played at a country club before.
What are you guys thoughts on there type of courses compared to public ones?
In my area, the country club is a very nice course, perhaps the nicest in the area, but it's not nearly nice enough to justify the membership fees IMO. There are a couple public courses that are equally as nice for a much more reasonable price. For that reason, I never get to play at the country club (have to go with a member and I don't know many). The only way I could MAYBE justify joining the CC is if my family and I were going to take advantage of all of the amenties (golf, tennis, pool, restaurant, etc...).
Since you are playing for free, enjoy it! That's a great opportunity, and the food at our local CC is VERY good. It's always a good time to go there, and I wish I could go more often, but I just can't justify the price for ours.
As to the course.....you just never know. Some are great, and some are as bad as the worst public courses you've played if they're struggling with membership and as a result money is tight.
If you buddy just bought the course, there's a reason it was for sale, and it could have some condition issues, but I'm just guessing. Go on out there and enjoy the day. Realize that he's inviting you in the hope that you'll ultimately join, so pay attention to everything. Staff, service, quality of the course, facilities, quality of the dining, etc.....
Regardless though, have fun......it doesn't get much better than golf and dinner, on someone else!
This reminds me of a tall tale:
A pro golfer many years back was invited to Saudi Arabia to play in a charity golf tournament. The King of Saudi was so overjoyed after playing with him that the King insisted on sending the pro back to the US with a gift. The pro declined and declined and finally succumbed: OK I guess you can get me a golf club if you must get me something.
A few days later he had a small package from the king, much too small to fit a club inside. He opened it and found a set of keys and a deed to a golf club.
In Chicago, a nice private club is head and shoulders nicer than the best public courses.
Long before I was a competent golfer, I made it my business to be an outstanding guest at other's clubs. I was young and knew that I wanted to be a pleasure to have as a 4th at your club. Serves me well today too.
Be gracious, follow club rules even if you find them silly, and make your host glad that he invited you. Does not matter if it turns out to be the nicest course you've ever seen or an awful course. I never join my host in bashing the club (on the rare occasion that a host complains about something -- "Not a very nice range since the lengthened number 10."). I'm sensitive to my host's lead when it comes to tipping caddies etc. Some people welcome the gesture and others feel like it would be the same as tipping the maid at their home.
Since I do not belong to a club, I can not reciprocate with a round at my club. But, I can be an appreciative and enjoyable guest.
That was my question k-troop. Buying a "country club" would be, to say the least, a fairly major event.
But to answer clutchshot's question - while a country club may not be a superior layout the conditions are frequently nicer than a public course. Primary reasons are lesser play and pressure from the membership to maintain quality conditions. This isn't always true but would be a rule of thumb. I always consider it a priveledge to be invited to play at a friend's club.
This, most private clubs are owned by the members and not a single person or business. But there are getting to be more that have financial trouble and end up in Bankruptcy and are bought by businesses.
A private, equity golf club or country club normally requires new members to pay an initiation fee, and buy some stock in the operation.
Some courses that are called golf clubs or country clubs are semi-private: they have a standing membership - either annual fee or the equity route - and allow outsiders to play on a space-available basis.
See if your friend's country club has a web site. If so, the visitor's link may give info on dress code, tipping rules, etc. Some upscale clubs frown on visitors changing shoes and shirts in the parking lot, and may provide you a day locker.