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What Is the Deal With Courses Going Cart Only?


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The course I work at is a 6400yd muni that’s mostly flat. A little hill in the middle of the front 9. I’d say 60-70% walk. Bellingham in general is a very outdoorsy town.  So, for most of the courses, I’d guess the majority walk. 

Philip Kohnken, PGA
Director of Instruction, Lake Padden GC, Bellingham, WA

Srixon/Cleveland Club Fitter; Certified in Athletic Development Model; Certified in Dr Kwon’s Golf Biomechanics Levels 1 & 2
 
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1 hour ago, phillyk said:

The course I work at is a 6400yd muni that’s mostly flat. A little hill in the middle of the front 9. I’d say 60-70% walk. Bellingham in general is a very outdoorsy town.  So, for most of the courses, I’d guess the majority walk. 

Similar to Lawrence Park GC. They have a huge push cart program, and store them in the bag room and built custom storage areas for them. The vast majority of members there walk, and many are older. I love to see it.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Most courses in my area allow walking. The courses that don't, you really don't want to walk. 

"A good conversation is not designed to win the argument. It is designed to enjoy the exchange."

Matt "Dough", P.E.
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(edited)
18 hours ago, mohearn said:

I assume this to be true, but honestly I would welcome someone with experience in the economics of running  golf course to educate me..  I've heard things that at some courses the club pro shares cart revenue?  

Different courses do things different ways. Some courses just pay the pros a salary, some places the pros get a piece of the cart revenue plus an hourly rate or a salary. Some places where the lesson traffic is high, the pros make most of their money giving lessons and the proshops are run mostly by hourly employees. I'm sure there are a number of other scenarios out there as well. 

At the course where I work our pro is on contract to run the course. It is a city course, so the city gets 100% of the greens fees and then a small percentage of the carts, range, retail, food and beverage. So that means the pro has to make all his money from selling stuff other than the actual golf.

18 hours ago, mohearn said:

Also, clubs seem to accept as a given that carts promote faster play, but my experience doesn't necessarily agree.

A quick search of the internet seems to agree with you that carts do not necessarily make people play any faster. I would tend to agree. Fast golfers play fast, and slow golfers play slow...their cart use is inconsequential. I walk 99% of the time, but I know a cart wouldn't really make me much faster, all things considered.

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18 hours ago, mohearn said:

I assume this to be true, but honestly I would welcome someone with experience in the economics of running  golf course to educate me..  I've heard things that at some courses the club pro shares cart revenue? 

The head pro will work a deal in with the owner or GM to get a percentage of many aspects, including: green fee, cart fee, merchandise, food, beverage. Could be a percent of total or only getting it if the numbers are better than the prior year or above a certain monthly COGS%. I know of many head pros that completely own the merchandise. The course may only get a very small percentage of that. 

Philip Kohnken, PGA
Director of Instruction, Lake Padden GC, Bellingham, WA

Srixon/Cleveland Club Fitter; Certified in Athletic Development Model; Certified in Dr Kwon’s Golf Biomechanics Levels 1 & 2
 
Team :srixon:!

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  • 1 month later...

So Pinehurst has taken a couple of approaches on carts.  Now, anyone can walk and in the last year or so they have allowed push carts on all courses. They charge a fee for those. During Covid single rider cars were allowed but now it’s two to a cart. If you don’t want to ride with anyone, that’s fine you can ride by yourself as long as you pay for the empty seat at $17.95. A push cart will cost you $10.00 a round.

Now that all varies if your a Resort Guest of course.  Members have options, buy your own cart or push cart. But you have to register them and pay an annual fee. A cart program exists at $3k a year. You pay $2k a year to drive your own cart. You pay just around $600 to push your push cart.

Paying to push your own cart is ludicrous! It’s a money grab. It’s my opinion your doing the Course a favor! If you pay to push one of their push carts many of them are broken, brake doesn’t work, straps are broken or missing, covers where you place your scorecard are also missing or broken, and they’re dirty and unkept.  Another money grab in my opinion.

Playing #2 or #4 you pay a trail fee anyway you slice it. (Again inclusive for Resort Guests). Members Guest pays a lower green fee, but a cart is a cart and depending which one you use you pay a the fee.  Expectation is that you play these two courses in 4hrs 45min. All other courses 4hrs. Riding or walking.

 

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26 minutes ago, Sandy Lie said:

So Pinehurst has taken a couple of approaches on carts.  Now, anyone can walk and in the last year or so they have allowed push carts on all courses. They charge a fee for those. During Covid single rider cars were allowed but now it’s two to a cart. If you don’t want to ride with anyone, that’s fine you can ride by yourself as long as you pay for the empty seat at $17.95. A push cart will cost you $10.00 a round.

Now that all varies if your a Resort Guest of course.  Members have options, buy your own cart or push cart. But you have to register them and pay an annual fee. A cart program exists at $3k a year. You pay $2k a year to drive your own cart. You pay just around $600 to push your push cart.

Paying to push your own cart is ludicrous! It’s a money grab. It’s my opinion your doing the Course a favor! If you pay to push one of their push carts many of them are broken, brake doesn’t work, straps are broken or missing, covers where you place your scorecard are also missing or broken, and they’re dirty and unkept.  Another money grab in my opinion.

Playing #2 or #4 you pay a trail fee anyway you slice it. (Again inclusive for Resort Guests). Members Guest pays a lower green fee, but a cart is a cart and depending which one you use you pay a the fee.  Expectation is that you play these two courses in 4hrs 45min. All other courses 4hrs. Riding or walking.

 

Yes, seems like a total money grab.  Pinehurst #2 is an iconic course, but really, c'mon!  Do they have caddies available?  There must be other courses in the area (somewhat comparable) without such an approach for getting into your wallet.

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There are some courses that really should not be walked. Also, some courses just have one fee, not the walking / cart fees. 

"A good conversation is not designed to win the argument. It is designed to enjoy the exchange."

Matt "Dough", P.E.
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What's in My Bag
Driver: :callaway: GBB Epic,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: :srixon: (4-PW)
Wedges:
:edel: Trapper (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :bushnell: Tour V2

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1 minute ago, saevel25 said:

There are some courses that really should not be walked. Also, some courses just have one fee, not the walking / cart fees. 

 

1 minute ago, saevel25 said:

There are some courses that really should not be walked. Also, some courses just have one fee, not the walking / cart fees. 

In Sandy Lie's defense, I've played Pinehurst #2, and it's very walkable.  Flat city.

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I’m a Member there. It’s the best deal in town being able to play nine courses. I play a lot of rounds there. So far 110 this year.  

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3 hours ago, Sandy Lie said:

Paying to push your own cart is ludicrous! It’s a money grab. It’s my opinion your doing the Course a favor! If you pay to push one of their push carts many of them are broken, brake doesn’t work, straps are broken or missing, covers where you place your scorecard are also missing or broken, and they’re dirty and unkept.  Another money grab in my opinion.

I was ready to agree, which I do, and add that it would be a deal-breaker for me to have a course that charged me to bring my own push cart.  Then I saw below that you have played 110 rounds so far this year, and I think I'd put up with that if I could play 110 rounds by mid-June.

The course I played yesterday + today (not Pinehurst), I played in 3-3:15.  Both days I used a cart, required but included ($39 including cart to play) walking not an option, but there's no way I could have played that course walking in three hours.

Then again, I know very few courses in the general La Quinta area that are permitting walking this time of year.  I can think if two, maybe? 

-- Michael | My swing! 

"You think you're Jim Furyk. That's why your phone is never charged." - message from my mother

Driver:  Titleist 915D2.  4-wood:  Titleist 917F2.  Titleist TS2 19 degree hybrid.  Another hybrid in here too.  Irons 5-U, Ping G400.  Wedges negotiable (currently 54 degree Cleveland, 58 degree Titleist) Edel putter. 

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Many courses charge a trail fee if you have your own driving cart. Makes sense - you're adding wear and tear to the course, etc.

I don't like it when courses charge you to take a push cart… but many private clubs solve that problem by simply not allowing them. So, if the choice was paying $x00 per year to use a push cart versus having to carry my bag, I think I'd probably end up paying the push cart trail fee.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instructor Development, 5 Simple Keys®/Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins • Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 • "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 • Penn-State Behrend Head Coach • • • • • • • • • • :aimpoint: :edel: :true_linkswear:

Check Out: New Topics | TST Blog | Golf Terms | Instructional Content | Analyzr | 5SK.com | LSW | Instructional Droplets

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Some private courses around here make you take their push cart. I’ve played Charter Oak several times and they have Clicgear carts.

Scott

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

Many courses charge a trail fee if you have your own driving cart.

Like a "corkage fee" if you bring your own wine to the restaurant...

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2 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Like a "corkage fee" if you bring your own wine to the restaurant...

I feel like a restaurant provides more for you with corkage fee than a course does with a trail fee for a push cart, but I see the point you're making.  They make some money off of renting push carts, so a trail fee is their way of recovering their lost profit from you bringing their own.

-- Michael | My swing! 

"You think you're Jim Furyk. That's why your phone is never charged." - message from my mother

Driver:  Titleist 915D2.  4-wood:  Titleist 917F2.  Titleist TS2 19 degree hybrid.  Another hybrid in here too.  Irons 5-U, Ping G400.  Wedges negotiable (currently 54 degree Cleveland, 58 degree Titleist) Edel putter. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am amazed that courses charge a fee for using your own push cart. That’s shameful. The use of ride on carts( buggies)  in the UK is still very limited. The two clubs I have been a member of both have buggies for hire. However the use of buggies in club competitions requires a medical exemption, otherwise it’s walking for everyone. 
Most courses in Uk  pre date carts and there’s only a few I would want a cart for. Some recommended a cart but I’ve never heard of a course here where walking is banned. That’s part of the game ffs

Stevie T

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  • 4 weeks later...

My home course has some steep hills that are tough to walk without a bag, carrying or otherwise.  There are also several long stretches between holes, so walking is rare.   You can walk at any time, and there is an additional 9 hole course where walking is encouraged to save carts for the main 18.  I have walked the course several times and there are virtually no shortcuts either, like having a parallel fairway and you can drop your bag halfway down a hole and bring your driver and putter for example.   
 

i have a carry bag, there are a couple of much easier courses to walk and I will walk there.  Even if I wanted to tackle the walk when playing with the regular people. I’d probably end up not being able to talk with anyone much.   However if everyone walks in a group that can be very social.   I used to walk 3-4 rounds a weekend when I played much flatter courses back in NJ.  And I really enjoyed that.  

—Adam

 

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I can't get the two guys with whom I most often play (one younger than me, one a couple years older) to even consider walking.

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