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Moppy

Invited to play at a private club -- Etiquette?

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This place is apparently pretty snooty. You are required to have a caddie, the caddie has to pull your club.. etc. Is there anything I should know? I know that it is going to cost more than it is worth for the caddie, but aside from that?

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tip everyone, especially the caddie, also the guy who pulls them out of the trunk, puts your clubs on the tee, cleans clubs, shoes etc. Over dress the dress code. Mind your manners, be respectful of the course and how they do things. If you are a guest of someone, sometimes lunch or hole 19 is expected. make sure to offer them a drink/ beer etc. do some research about the course, this will reduce a lot of questions. it also tells the host that your are grateful to play it so much, you did some research. Best of all forget about the money and enjoy the round, take it all in. Also get two score cards one to keep and the other one circle the lowest handicap holes. Make a mental note of which one they are. all too often you'll get caught up in the beauty of the course, ignoring the tougher holes and what Lies ahead. Resulting in a higher score if you had only paid attention. Ditto for the easiest holes, these will be your scoring holes. Hopefully you'll have a decent round.
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Lose the "they're snooty, the caddie is over-priced, the beer is expensive, etc...." attitude/expectation.  Be genuinely appreciative of the fact that the member invited you to be his guest and remember, you're his guest and you are a reflection on him at club. If you're introduced to other members, or the GM, thank them for giving you the opportunity to come out.

Find out what an appropriate tip is for the caddie.  Depending on the experience and quality of the caddie, that's likely to be somewhere between $20 to $50, in addition to the caddie fee.

Also, remember that every employee at the club is just that, a hard-working guy/girl just like you or me.  They're paid poorly and earn their living on tips.  Bring a stack of $5's.  At a minimum hand one to the cart girl every time she gives you something, even if your member tells you that the tip is included in the charge.  One for the guy that cleans your clubs after the round, and another for the guy that puts them in the car.  That $20 or so that you spend will say more about your appreciation than just about anything else you do.

Have fun, and let us know how it went!

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Remember that the member that is hosting you is responsible to ensure that you are complying with all the club's policies.

I would check with the member of the club on their tipping policy.

My club has a no tipping policy. There are at least two other private clubs in my area with the same policy.

The staff are all unionized and the members pay into a tip pool twice a year as part of the monthly dues.

Make sure you comply with the dress code for both the golf course and dinner afterward. Some clubs require a jacket in their dinning rooms.

Don't wear flip flops as a lot of clubs prohibit them except in the pool areas.

A lot of clubs have a "no cash" policy on the course. What this means is that the member has to sign for everything from the round to all the food etc. so check with the member.

When I am invited to play at another club and we have dinner afterwards I will often ask the member if I can buy the wine for dinner. If agreed I will approach the Sommelier (wine steward) or waiter and acquire the wine separate from the host's dinner bill. I will leave the table to do this and pay for it at that moment.

If you are not comfortable asking the member about the club policies then phone the club and ask to speak with either the general manager or the head professional and ask them all the questions. They will be happy to help you as they want all their guests to enjoy the experience too.

I know to a lot of you this sound like a whole lot of trouble but you will get to play at a course that you would not normally be able to and I am sure you will enjoy the experience.

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Also, some clubs do NOT allow cell phone usage on the premise.

Some also do not allow hats to be worn inside a building.

Like Spitfisher said, tip everyone.

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Lose the "they're snooty, the caddie is over-priced, the beer is expensive, etc...." attitude/expectation.  Be genuinely appreciative of the fact that the member invited you to be his guest and remember, you're his guest and you are a reflection on him at club. If you're introduced to other members, or the GM, thank them for giving you the opportunity to come out.

Find out what an appropriate tip is for the caddie.  Depending on the experience and quality of the caddie, that's likely to be somewhere between $20 to $50, in addition to the caddie fee.

Also, remember that every employee at the club is just that, a hard-working guy/girl just like you or me.  They're paid poorly and earn their living on tips.  Bring a stack of $5's.  At a minimum hand one to the cart girl every time she gives you something, even if your member tells you that the tip is included in the charge.  One for the guy that cleans your clubs after the round, and another for the guy that puts them in the car.  That $20 or so that you spend will say more about your appreciation than just about anything else you do.

Have fun, and let us know how it went!

100% on all of this, and 1000% (I know, I know) on the bold.  I would add/revise two things:

  1. A lot of the info you need is probably available either online or from your friend.  Most private clubs have private websites but do have a "guest" section with everything you would need to know.
  2. Make sure it's not a "no cash" club before you start tipping.  I've been to one of those before.
  3. Use the locker room!  Assuming the "snootiness" you mention is accurate, then you'll look like a schmuck (to them) changing your shoes at your trunk.
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Yiipes! Sounds like I am going to end up tipping more than I spent on my Top Flight clubs at Dicks! Spreading fins like snowflakes. I know the caddie fee is $100 right there. I have been to this club before, but I didn't play golf then, it was just for parties my friend threw there or events. Maybe I can talk my wife into an upgrade... Hmmm....  Honestly, the money is not an issue. The ratty golf bag, on the other hand....

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Many UK clubs with "standards" as all above and personally I am all for regimented Grace and manners in and around golf clubs/courses There is however a UK problem of falling.g memberships and good old fashioned snobbery and over priced joining fees with more cost in annual fees generally to blame From my own observations the clubs with the biggest membership problems are those where hierarchical snobbery is obvious and the "blazers" forget that the members are the clients and they should be the focal point not the "blazers"
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Don't assume the staff is judging you by your gear. No doubt they have seen it all before and you, like it or not, are only one of probably thousands who come along yearly as a guest. Be a normal, warm caring human and you can't go wrong.

You won't be playing on Martha's vineyard with the POTUS, will you?   If so, then special  rules apply.

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Wow, eye-opening. I could never ever afford to be a guest at a private club.

Not all private clubs are that expensive.  As with so many things, amenities, services, and prices can vary widely.

At my former (very nice) club, guest fees were $60 and at least once a month they were reduced to $45 to entice members to invite guests in the hope of attracting additional membership.  No caddies.  Snacks and beverages from the cart girl were priced about the same as most of the other local courses, as was lunch in the grill.

All in all, nothing much different from a round of golf at any other nice course.

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There are 70 members at this club. Another friend of mine and his wife played there, she hated it because she hated having her clubs pulled for her, all of the formality. I guess that makes me a little paranoid. I wouldn't play there until I got my slice under control. He invited me last year. The slice will probably come back.. Just kidding.. can't think like that. Anyway, if the course is anything like the clubhouse, it should be beautiful.

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There are 70 members at this club. Another friend of mine and his wife played there, she hated it because she hated having her clubs pulled for her, all of the formality. I guess that makes me a little paranoid. I wouldn't play there until I got my slice under control. He invited me last year. The slice will probably come back.. Just kidding.. can't think like that. Anyway, if the course is anything like the clubhouse, it should be beautiful.

There's not a club or a caddie in the world who won't "allow" you to pull your own club if you prefer.

Remember.  The caddie is there to help make your round more pleasant.  If you'd rather pull your own club, or prefer that he stand someplace other than where he tends to during your swing, don't hesitate to mention it.  A good caddie will pick up on your game pretty quickly though, and knows his course very well.  If you reach for the 8, and he recommends the 7, I'd suggest you think hard about taking his recommendation. ;-)

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Doesn't sound like a club I would like to play at. I'm sure it will be beautiful but with all those rules and policies sometimes that right there takes away from what we should remember golf is. Its a game for probably 95% of us. Yes there are few that think they are pros even though they are not getting paid to play the game (I love those ones). Golf should be fun! I think too many people have lost track of that along the way. Just be yourself! remember your friend who invited you knows that his reputation is on the line according to the other members (I wouldn't give a f*ck what they thought of me or my invited guests) and if he thought you were a jackass he probably wouldn't have invited you. Don't let the hype of private clubs ruin your round. just go and enjoy a round of golf with your friend.

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I don't know about tipping the cart girl $5 every time I get something from her, that's a bit overboard considering I'd be at most buying a $2 item. I would probably give her $1 every time I got something. I'm not going to be there to impress people with my generosity or to spend a ridiculous amount of money on "pleasantries". If I'm required to tip everyone I see and it doubles the expense of the golf trip then I won't be taking part in it. This, of course, is based on me not having a lot of money to throw around in this manner and would be different if I were a wealthy individual who didn't have to worry about a budget. Other than that, I wouldn't have problems following the rules of dress code and conduct for the round.

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I don't know about tipping the cart girl $5 every time I get something from her, that's a bit overboard considering I'd be at most buying a $2 item. I would probably give her $1 every time I got something. I'm not going to be there to impress people with my generosity or to spend a ridiculous amount of money on "pleasantries". If I'm required to tip everyone I see and it doubles the expense of the golf trip then I won't be taking part in it. This, of course, is based on me not having a lot of money to throw around in this manner and would be different if I were a wealthy individual who didn't have to worry about a budget. Other than that, I wouldn't have problems following the rules of dress code and conduct for the round.

Agreed.  Cart girls tip is usually a buck, but could be 1.50 if I don't need any ball markers.

Slightly off-topic tipping etiquette question/comment.  I play (occasionally, or more accurately, rarely) at a couple of resort courses around here that have free valet parking.  While you go inside to check in, the valet brings your clubs around to the guys who gets them loaded on the cart for you.  At the end of the round, these same guys are the ones who wipe the clubs down, then remove them from the cart and take them back around front to the valet.

I have been giving tips to the valet at each end, and the club cleaner guy at the end as well.  Anybody think that is excessive, or is that about right?  Sunday, I ran out of 5's and I didn't want to stiff the guy so I had to give him 10.   (I felt like a high roller at Caesars, though, because my car was parked right there in the circle next to all of the Benzs and Maseratis instead of off in the garage.) :beer:

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I doubt you'll have much to worry about over tipping. My experience is cart service is slow to non-existent at private courses. The only person I've ever tipped at the club is the kids that run out to clean clubs. Trust me they are quick. I park in the lot and walk my bag to the range so no bag drop service. There will only be so much you can do unless the member is with you every step. Chances are they will pay for most of it with their member number. If anything bring a token to give to them for treating you, box of good balls etc. They have to spend so much every month so don't be surprised.

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A private club is a place where people that have the dough go to play.  The benefits are good tee times, an impeccable course, like minded members.  Having the staff know you is also very nice.  They see you and grab your clubs, get you a wet towel whatever your idiosyncrasies are.  I am a member of a club and I get invited to other peoples clubs.  I make sure if I am a guest to handle all the tipping.  Whatever you spend will be less than he guest fees.

I would like to add that respecting the course is important, divots and ball marks ... The caddie will probably handle it but keep an eye out.

That said, I hate tipping it is a hassle to me.  I go the other way at my club.  Periodically I go around with a hand full of $20's and hit everyone.  Less periodically I go around and hit a few people with $100's (lockroom guy and starter).  I am treated very well and I think people remember the bigger tip.

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