Country Club cracks down on 'sneak-ons'
In an email to members, the Country Club announced Wednesday it will begin using club staff as marshals sporadically for five weeks to address the problem of people sneaking onto the courses to play for free.
Don Thames, director of golf, wrote that he heard about the problem from members and began touring the South Course between 7 and 8:15 p.m.
Here's what he found, Thames wrote: "Golf members playing golf with unauthorized (unpaid) guests, resident non-members playing golf (unpaid), House members playing golf (unpaid) without checking in and of course, kids just looking for something to do. Upon finding these folks, I took the appropriate action (nicely) and asked them to leave or in some cases, charged their member accounts."
Here's the full text of Thames' note:
Sneaks, rules and a solution in the works
As supporters of the Club and payers of dues, our members expect and deserve the benefits of a private club. One such benefit is the right of privacy and its corresponding benefits. As a Club we want our golf courses to be enjoyed by members and our guests. On the other hand, we do not want our courses to be used by unauthorized persons that play the courses for free, use the greenbelt to walk dogs or in general to trespass for any reason.
We all know that we have a problem in this regard. We have sneak-on’s, dog walkers, trespassers, children using the courses as a playground, rules violators and various other subsets of the aforementioned. Most of the above violations are seasonal in nature and occur during the long days of summer.
As Director of Golf and self proclaimed Chief of Police I have seen the abuse first hand after hearing many stories told to me by members concerned about the problem. In response, I began touring the South Golf Course between the hours of 7:00 to 8:15 PM in an effort to monitor potential transgressions. I focused on removing golfers that were sneaking on. I found a variety of different categories of people trying to do something beyond the rules. The following dominated the list in no particular order: Golf members playing golf with unauthorized (unpaid) guests, resident non members playing golf (unpaid), House members playing golf (unpaid) without checking in and of course, kids just looking for something to do. Upon finding these folks, I took the appropriate action (nicely) and asked them to leave or in some cases, charged their member accounts.
Since bringing this problem to the Golf Committee, we have been in the process of a solution. For the next 5 weeks, golf staff will be marshaling the golf courses in the evening hours on unannounced days. We feel that this action and our presence will lead to fewer violations as attention and word of this action spreads.
In the meantime, the Golf Committee and ultimately the Board of Directors will be putting together a marshaling program that could be put into place to greatly eliminate this problem. So please be patient and aware that we are doing something about what many of you have been concerned about for some time. We are on it and will do our best to see this through.
Having been a member for 19 years and living on the sixth hole on the south I have witnessed this problem since I moved here. Why would a member feel they have the right to bring friends out and sneak them on to play for free? I don't get it. On top of that just residents who are not members stealing from those of us who pay our dues! I was unaware of house members trying to beat the system
Glad to see something finally being done. Security won't bother with tresspassers on our course. Thanks Don for your efforts!!
Thanks, Don, for taking this on. As John said, this is a long term problem that needs to be rectified. This has been going on for so long (at least the 10 years we're lived here). Folks (members and non-members) know the Club doesn't patrol the course or take punitive action for illegal use of the courses. Anything Don and the Board can do to curtain this would be greatly appreciated by the rules-abiding members.
Not that I thought you would, but it's amazing what you see people do when you live on the course and the behavior you cite isn't limited to the South. Loved the guys who were on the course outside our house at 11:30 at night playing glo-golf complete with carts and full sets of clubs jangling - like someone wasn't going to question that even if you are a member?
Thanks, Don. We appreciate your efforts. It's long needed.
Janet, when that happens you should call security.
That's just what we did. Saw in the security logs that they had already had contact with the same guys over on the south a bit earlier. They tried to tell them Don Thames said it was okay. Fat chance.
This is good news for all golf members - The only way we will ever be able to protect the courses and our investment is if our members, their guests and the public in general begin to realize that it is a priveledge to use the golf courses that many of us pay for. I am also hopeful that we can stop the abuse of the course rules such as driving next to tee boxes, greens and generally anywhere one wants to drive; repairing ball marks and divots and raking traps. Maybe with marshals who have some authority we can truly make the golf experience something we can enjoy and proudly share with others.