Though it has already been posted on this blog last month, today was the official opening of the Prestige Players Club in Toronto, a new concept that includes Angus Glen (which held the 2002 Canadian Open), The Club at Bond Head and Taboo.
The idea is to take public golf to semi-private model, allowing 1,000 players to “join” the three clubs for $5,000 — without an initiation. All three are top tier courses — though the access might be an issue for players joining the “club.”
Nonetheless, it is an interesting model — one that might become more common as courses come under financial pressure across North America. After all, who has $60,000 to join a club — and then another $5,000 in fees each year?
This partnering arrangement would allow clubs to fill rounds and generate revenue from the start of the year — and big factor in balancing their books.
By the way, The Club at Bond Head looks to be a pretty good Michael Hurdzan course — though most of the design was done by associate Jason Straka. Most interestingly, it will have a caddie program of sorts included in the $200 green fee. I hope it works — there are only a handful of courses in Canada with caddie programs, all of which are private clubs.
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Robert, you have really put your finger on a pulse here. This may be a mini-watershed moment in the game and is at least a trend that deserves careful watch by those concerned with consumer access to great golf. A US group out of NY/NJ has done something similar with Pine Hill, Pine barrens, Twisted Dunes and Branton Woods…a super membership at $5000. A thought occurs…are they the same people? Also, can you tell us all more about whether you think this is a trend and whether or not to be alarmed. I note this…the Empire golf courses all toppped out at $125-140 with twilight at about $80…they had a BIG problem getting enough play. Thats why they are going quasii-private…I know some guys who lost jobs…terrible. All they had to do was charge less…greed kills.
Bond Head does look interesting…almost Eagle’s Nest-like. Hurdzan and Fry are doing some decent work here…I hear Georgian Bay decent as well.