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What is a semi-private golf course? What you need to know

What is a semi-private golf course? Here's why you should swing away on these kinds of greens

A gorgeous view of an empty golf course.
craig hellier / Unsplash

You aren’t a crazy kind of golfer until you’ve driven by a course and wondered what type it is. Is it an exclusive private club? Is it one open to the public where everyone from college kids to retirees is fighting for the same tee time? What about something in between, like a semi-private golf course? What is a semi-private golf course? It’s where cost meets prestige, allowing lovers of the game to putt on the same green in a way that works for everyone. Here’s why a semi-private golf course should be on your radar for your next round.

The different types of golf courses

Two people playing golf together.
Andrew Anderson / Unsplash

There are a variety of places to swing your irons. Where you normally sink your shot might depend on how often you go, how well you want to know the place, how well you want them to know you, and your financial budget. The main types of golf courses people play on are public courses, private courses, and semi-private courses.

A public course should sort of speak for itself in that it’s a public space like the public park or public library. But to understand what a semi-private golf course is, you should know a little bit about a private course for comparison.

A private golf course

To get the hang of what a semi-private golf course is, we need to know what its counterpart — a private golf course — is. A private golf course is exactly like what you see in the movies. One of those is it’s a perk if you know old so-and-so to get an interview to join kind of places. It is a members-only club where you have to pay an annual fee. It’s exclusive, but the perks that come with the costs are well worth it if you use them properly.

Members are allowed to invite guests to spend the day basking in the amenities. Speaking of those, there is a wider range of facilities in a private club, since it’s usually owned by a small group or individual. The restaurants offer private event options, pro shops are almost guaranteed at a private club, and tee times are all yours.

A semi-private golf course

A golf course with water views.
ping lee / Unsplash

Take a private golf course and scale things back a bit. There will be an overlap between a private and semi-private golf course in certain areas.

The main points of a semi-private course

  • Open to the general public.
  • Offers memberships that come with perks.
  • Members get first dibs on things like tee time and other amenities.
  • More affordable option if a private golf course is out of budget.
  • The grounds might not be taken care of as nicely as at a private club.

Semi-private could still be exclusive

The first thing you might recognize is that a semi-private golf course is technically open to the whole public. But now, these types of clubs could still offer a paid membership. Those folks will get the first say on tee times, priority reservations at club restaurants, and a discount for anything else the club offers.

Membership to a semi-private golf course will be cheaper than a private golf course since it is less exclusive. Even if you don’t opt to be a member, the regular facilities are cheaper than at a private club. You may see a free round offered, specific days or times when the green fee is waived, and no charges to enjoy those golf carts.

What could cause a divot about semi-private courses

This isn’t to say semi-private courses don’t have a little bit of a downside. These clubs don’t have the clout private ones do, so the upkeep isn’t to the same standard. Those impeccable greens at private clubs won’t always be seen at a semi-private club. The other downside is semi-private clubs will be a bit more crowded. They won’t be crawling with as many people as a public course, but you will see a greater rotation of people than on a private course.

Go where your budget lands

It’s honestly about your budget versus how often you’ll test out your favorite driver. If you golf more regularly, a private club offers perks that may appeal to you. If you love to golf but it’s not a must-do three days a week on the same days at the same times, a semi-private course — even a more affordable membership to one — would better suit you.

If battling every single golfer on a beautiful Sunday morning does not sound like your idea of a good time, see if there is a semi-private course close to you. You’ll find additional perks there that public courses don’t offer, and could maybe swing a membership for even more exclusivity when you play a round. The semi-private clubs are a way to bridge the gap between private and public courses to make sure there is a little green for everyone.

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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