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Pro Shop Closed Equals Free Game?


TieGuy

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 Hello, I've been reading through TST for some time now and decided to make an account. I'm hoping someone can enlighten me on something I don't understand.

One windy, mildly chilly Sunday afternoon, I went to a public golf course nearby and noticed there were few cars parked outside. I also saw only one person in the distance playing golf by themselves. Anyway, I walk to the pro shop to inquire about playing 9 holes and it turns out the doors were all locked and the lights out.

I've only been here one other time, so I was puzzled. I decided to call the pro shop, but accidentally called some other number that is in charge of the town's golf courses or something. I told the man on the phone that the pro shop was closed, but the parking lot was open and that I saw no signs or barriers indicating that the course is closed. The hours on Google Maps also showed that the course was indeed open. To my surprise, the man told me that I can go ahead and play for free. If there aren't any signs saying otherwise, if the pro shop is closed, I'm welcome to play for free. So I did and found that everything on the course was as usual: flag sticks in the cups, tee grounds available, everything.

So my question is, why does the course let you play for free simply because the pro shop is closed? Did management figure it's too cold to play golf, so there's likely to be few patrons and so they don't bother accepting payments to play? That's all I can think of. I don't mind playing golf in low 40 degrees weather with stiff tee boxes and soggy terrain here and there if it means I get to play for free.

Is there a name for this besides "Free Golf Because It's Cold Outside"? Thank you for any input.

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First, welcome to TheSandTrap! :beer:

Second, I can't say I've ever run into that situation before.  I suppose the course management could have decided that the course wouldn't get enough business to make it worth paying someone to tend the shop for the day, and didn't want to make the effort to police the course to keep people out.  As long as the conditions weren't so bad that a few players could damage the course, I can see that decision as good sense.

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Dave

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I have seen this happen a few times. I always assumed that they just didn't have anyone to work that early in the season (this happened in Michigan). 

My bag:

Taylor Made R7 (x-stiff).
Taylor Made Burner 2 irons (stiff)
Cleveland Wedges (gap and 60)
Odyssey two ball putter (white) 

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Our city has two courses. The smaller executive course (par 67) used to close in mid-November for the season. The parking lot would remain open so we would all play for free, weather permitting. The holes remained but there were no flagsticks. We would place a small tree branch in the hole as an indicator. It was all above board, no one was sneaking on.

After years of their citizens playing for free, the city finally wised up. The course now stays open year round and charges a green fee, weather permitting. When conditions are poor, they block the parking lot.

Generally, I would not play a course if the clubhouse was locked and no employees were around. That is trespassing.

Brian Kuehn

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58 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Generally, I would not play a course if the clubhouse was locked and no employees were around. That is trespassing.

I’m kind of having a hard time wrapping my head around this statement with the story you shared at the beginning of the post 😃

It’s clear in the OP’s case that it’s not trespassing, though.

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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On 3/31/2023 at 9:11 PM, billchao said:

I’m kind of having a hard time wrapping my head around this statement with the story you shared at the beginning of the post 😃

It’s clear in the OP’s case that it’s not trespassing, though.

The difference between me today and 20 years ago.

Brian Kuehn

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10 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

The difference between me today and 20 years ago.

I see, a story with personal growth, the best kind. 20 years ago me was an asshole. Now I'm better at keeping my mouth shut :whistle:

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Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

My Swing Thread

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I've done this in NYC once.

It was a very, very cold February, and my buddies and I couldn't take the no-golf season anymore. Searching online, all the courses were closed but a 7AM tee time popped up in Staten Island, a long drive from Manhattan, but so what?

Upon arrival, it became clear that the online time was a glitch. There were no cars in the parking lot, no lights on, and nobody around except for a brutally cold 20 mph wind to add to the 20 degree temperature.

After some deliberation,  we couldn't bear to drive back to the city without at least trying. We teed off into the wind. The ball went nowhere, but once it landed, it ricocheted down the fairway to normal-drive length. After a few holes, you learned to land the ball 30 yards short of the green to avoid the superball bounce off the greens. By the time we finished, there was still nobody at the course. We drove to the nearest diner and enjoyed eggs while our hands thawed.

I never felt guilty, even for a second.

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I work at a small town muni.  We sometimes close due to weather (rain or cold).  If we close due to rain or water on the course, we sometime allow walking but no carts so if one would like to come walk in the muck and or rain, they are welcome and they play free. 

The thing that gets me is the shop closes at 6 pm during the summer hours and the big gate is locked.  We have a man gate that stays open.  As people complete their rounds the carts stack up behing the shop waiting for the cart guy to clean them after all are in.  Many times, I've been playing and watched people walk in man gate, grab a cart and go play.  In my opinion, THIS is stealing.  It amazes me that folks think that that is okay to do.  Some people are brazen.

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I've done it once.

A friend of mine was a member of a local country club that is closed on Mondays (for maintenance).  He happened to live 2 streets away from the clubhouse and had his own cart.  So he invited me to play one Monday.  It was awesome! Not only did we have the course to ourselves, but it was in great condition.  We were able to play 36 holes without interruption.

Luis

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