I searched through the Phoenix Area golf courses available on Golf Now and identified 10 membership golf clubs that offer tee times to the public. I almost hate to share the secret of these great courses but here you go.
The List, 10 membership golf clubs in the greater Phoenix Area that offer tee times to the public
Go to Golf Now to find the course. Click on a tee time to see more about the course. Courses are listed this way because they are all on Golf Now, but not all have their own web site.
2. Desert Springs
3. Granite Falls
4. Mountain Brook
5. Palmbrook Country Club
6. Red Mountain Ranch Country Club
7. Sun City Riverview
8. Sun City South
9. Sun City Willowcreek
10. Union Hills Country Club
And a supplemental list, also accessed through Golf Now: These courses freely offer tee times to the public but also offer membership packages, so they are somewhere in between a private and public course:
1. Arizona Biltmore
2. Kokopelli Golf Resort
3. McCormick Ranch
4. Raven at South Mountain
5. Sunridge Canyon, a Troon Resort
If you want to join a golf club
Perhaps you will find after playing at some of these clubs that you are interested in joining. Some are offering discounted memberships, some are offering deferred initiation fees. It is a buyer’s market. Golf Digest offers an informative article on basics to research before signing up, such as fees and assessments.
Why are private clubs opening their doors?
The economy has forced many members to leave the clubs and demographics have changed, according to an Associated Press article by Jim Fitzgerald.
Golf courses were built to raise the value of related houses, but the housing market is depressed. The building boom of the 1990s resulted in an oversupply of golf courses and golf course residences. Fitzgerald quotes a realtor as saying that “a dozen or more golf properties in Arizona are in foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings.”
The family lifestyles have changed, men don’t spend the entire weekend and/or much of the week out on the course.
One strategy to keep a club alive is to open tee times to the general public.
How Do Club Members Feel About It?
An unscientific survey through a golf forum I visit received mixed responses when I asked how people would feel if their golf club opened to the public.
Some saw it as a way to keep their golf club going. According to one respondent, “I think most members are fine with this providing a balance is maintained so that we still get the tee times we want.”
Others said that they would quit their golf club. One noted “If the general public was allowed to play under the same circumstances that I was, I would see no need to pay a monthly membership fee for the same rights that others got for free.”
My experience playing at two local private golf clubs that offer public tee times is that the clubhouse staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. For the most part, the members that I have run into have also been very friendly, although this morning one of them seemed impatient and irritated at the outsiders.
What are the disadvantages and advantages to booking a tee time at a private club?
The disadvantages are that my research has shown that many only offer limited tee times, such as afternoons, or one to six tee times a day. Most don’t offer public tee times more than a few days in advance. Many do not indicate on their web site that public tee times are available, but the ones I found all offer tee times through Golf Now.
If you go out by yourself as I often do, you may end up playing solo. So far I’ve been teamed up with someone but there just aren’t a lot of people out there.
The advantages are that the courses that I have played at are very well kept. Hardly anyone is there on a Sunday morning, unlike the crowds at popular public courses. Rounds take about 3.5 hours. Buckets of balls are typically included in the price. The prices are reasonable.
So grab your clubs and skip the municipal course this weekend. Try out some of these country clubs and see how the other half lives. See a more in-depth review of the Sun City Country Club and Palmbrook Country Club, now two of my favorite courses.
Associated Press, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g_dypqath6me9xWrVj6O7to3TD2QD9HNVON05, US Golf Clubs In the Rough
Golf Now, http://www.golfnow.com/, course lists and tee times
Golf Digest, http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-courses/2008-10/privateclubs_avery, How to Join a Private Club
Associated Content, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5667482/sun_city_country_club_golf_course_review.html, Sun City Country Club Review
Associated Content, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5687966/sun_city_palmbrook_country_club_opens.html, Sun City Palmbrook Country Club Opens Golf Course to Public
Independent research: survey and golf course visits