Public Short Loop Concept?

DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

Wondering what people think of this “short loop” concept on public courses?

I just got an email from a local public course saying that they’ve started a 5-hole loop that starts and ends near the clubhouse for $25. Their sales pitch is: “golf, have a beer and head home in an hour”.

Setting aside the course quality itself and their small time windows for this, I really can’t get on board with the notion of playing just 5 holes...even playing 9 holes feels like a premature ending. I’ve always thought that one of the benefits of a membership somewhere would be the ability to play just a few holes when time is tight, but I can’t see paying $25 to play a handful of holes. If I only have an hour, I’d rather hit a range or short game practice area.

I understand why a course would do this: additional cash flow (and profit), fill otherwise empty slots on the tee sheet, increase play by reducing the time required, etc. but I'm interested in what other pub links golfers think about paying for this kind of option.

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  • 0351Duffer0351Duffer Members Posts: 132 ✭✭

    That wouldn't be something I'd be interested in doing. 9 holes is my minimum...I'm also wondering how they think $25 for five holes is a good deal? LMAO

  • msgmsg Members Posts: 352 ✭✭✭✭

    I don't mind doing a quick round, say less than 9 holes. I don't have the time that I used to have and sometimes I wish I can play a quick round so that I can do more things. I only play once a week, unlike before, when I had a membership, I played almost everyday. There are weeks where an 18 hole, 5 hour plus round feels like torture because I need to do some other stuff after. A quick round every now and then will relieve my urge to play and at the same time will free up my time to do some other things at home when I need to.

    The closest thing there is in our area is a 9 hole early morning promo where I start at the back 9 and finish the round in less than 1.5 hours when I am alone.

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 11, 2019 3:05pm #4

    @0351Duffer - Right? Their normal 18-hole rates are $67 M-Th and $79 F-Sun, which equates to approximately $3.70-$4.40 per hole. My feelings about 5 holes aside, I'd think it would be worth more like $15-$18 (to cover the cart fee) for someone who could live with the short loop.

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    @msg - yeah, there are 4 different 9-hole courses within 10 minutes of me that I could play in just about an hour. They're either all par-3 holes or have a couple of short par-4s, but I'd rather play any of those during off-peak times than play 5 regular holes. I feel like it would actually help my game since it would be like working on the approach and short game. Plus, those courses cost $12-$18. If I wanted to swing all the clubs in the bag, there are also two "regulation" 9-hole tracks with a full complement of par 4s and 5s, playing at about 3300 yards. Those can be played in about 1:30 off-hours.

  • VNutzVNutz Members Posts: 6,276 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Saw this email earlier this week and didn't even look at the price - yikes. I like the idea, hate the price point.

  • nsxguynsxguy Just anudder user FloridaMembers Posts: 5,943 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeeBee30 said:
    Wondering what people think of this “short loop” concept on public courses?

    I just got an email from a local public course saying that they’ve started a 5-hole loop that starts and ends near the clubhouse for $25. Their sales pitch is: “golf, have a beer and head home in an hour”.

    Setting aside the course quality itself and their small time windows for this, I really can’t get on board with the notion of playing just 5 holes...even playing 9 holes feels like a premature ending. I’ve always thought that one of the benefits of a membership somewhere would be the ability to play just a few holes when time is tight, but I can’t see paying $25 to play a handful of holes. If I only have an hour, I’d rather hit a range or short game practice area.

    I understand why a course would do this: additional cash flow (and profit), fill otherwise empty slots on the tee sheet, increase play by reducing the time required, etc. but I'm interested in what other pub links golfers think about paying for this kind of option.

    Certainly understand them wanting to increase revenue. And a lesser "portion" of anything usually results in a higher price per unit so no surprise there. They didn't say it was a "great deal", did they ? LOL

    No idea about the impact of the Mon-Fri 5-er groups, since it seems to me they're clearly looking for the players that want to get in a quick 5 holes before work. And since I've never played that early on a weekday I guess they're filling empty spots; the "whenever available" certainly supports an "empty spots" theory .

    But the Sat/Sun groups ? Taking 5-6 prime time groups as 5-ers @ $25 in place of what would certainly otherwise be 5-6 groups of 18-ers @ $79 certainly sounds like a losing proposition to me.

    Personally, even when I was working I'd never do this. If I was that crazy about golf I'd hit a bucket of balls before I'd play 5. Heck, I'd hit a bucket of balls before I'd play 9. I've played 9 here and there after work just to get some time away from the office with some people I'd not play with otherwise but as a rule I hate playing only 9.

    Pretty funny though that they're advertising early morning spots and their sales pitch is: “golf, have a beer and head home in an hour”.

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  • Bonneville85308Bonneville85308 Members Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 11, 2019 3:45pm #8

    Wouldn't do anything for me. I've already figured out which courses I can get 9 holes done in 60-80 minutes during twilight where I live. Most of those courses have twilight rates of $20-$30 for 18 holes including cart (I don't walk in summer in Phoenix) or as many as you can get in. No way would I pay $25 for 5 holes under pretty much any circumstances except maaaaaaybe if it was a quality course with a rack rate of like $200+ (which I would never spend) and I could get a little taste for $25, then I'd try it.

  • DancinDancin Members Posts: 290 ✭✭✭✭

    Coal Creek is a public course in Colorado that switched the 9s so they could offer a 5 hole loop. Since everyone tees off on the same first hole, they can let anyone play the 5 hole loop at any time. Their regular 9 hole rate ranges from $20-$26 depending upon time of day and the 5 hole loop is $12 weekdays/$14 weekends (not available 7-12 to avoid losing money from 9/18 hole rounds). It's priced right and If I worked near that course I would take advantage of that during the lunch hour.

  • jli2636jli2636 Members Posts: 1,065 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    The public course I buy a pass to has a few small loops that you can do and I love it. I hate beating balls on the range and would much rather play. There are various loops that you can do 2, 3, or 4 holes that loop you right back to the clubhouse. Before we were super swamped at work I could get to the course and walk
    the 3 hole loop and be back to the office within an hour on my lunch break. It’s also great for taking my daughter out late in the evening since the most she can go with maintaining interest it about 5 holes right now. Agree with someone above though, love the idea but price point isn’t right. $15 sounds about right for that amount of golf if their regular rate is $60+

  • Pwood28Pwood28 Members Posts: 397 ✭✭✭✭

    I’d be all over a 5 hole loop deal and think golf in general needs more options like this. If I could meet a buddy or take a co-worker out for a quick match after work, I’d definitely get out more. Not sure that I’d be as interested if I had to get out early morning.

    The price point doesn’t seem that bad to me, but that’s definitely going to be course and region specific.

    I do wish there were more options to play quick after work type matches. I get bored standing on the range and beating balls and the short games areas near me are like war zones with all of the balls flying around. I think short loops could be similar to playing pick up basketball at the gym or beer league softball.

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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 21,933 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I've seen several courses offering "evening bundles" for $25 that includes unlimited golf starting 2 hours before sunset, and two drink coupons.

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    @Argonne69 said:
    I've seen several courses offering "evening bundles" for $25 that includes unlimited golf starting 2 hours before sunset, and two drink coupons.

    Now THAT I can get on board with. Super twilight/all-you-can-play for about $25 hits my hot button. The drink coupons are a bonus.

    @Argonne69 where are you seeing those around here?

  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 21,933 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 12, 2019 4:12pm #14

    @DeeBee30 said:

    @Argonne69 said:
    I've seen several courses offering "evening bundles" for $25 that includes unlimited golf starting 2 hours before sunset, and two drink coupons.

    Now THAT I can get on board with. Super twilight/all-you-can-play for about $25 hits my hot button. The drink coupons are a bonus.

    @Argonne69 where are you seeing those around here?

    The last one I saw was at Brown Deer Park in Milwaukee last Sunday (mke.golf/browndeer/).

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    Ugh. Hoping it was somewhere local. Be sure to post in the Chgo thread if you see similar deals around here.

  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 21,933 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 12, 2019 4:19pm #16

    @DeeBee30 said:
    Ugh. Hoping it was somewhere local. Be sure to post in the Chgo thread if you see similar deals around here.

    Wilmette has super twilight (5 pm) rates of $23/$25 (weekday/weekend). At Sportman's Classic 18 it's $27 weekday. The East 9 is $19 after 6 pm weekdays.

    Springbrook has $25 weekday rates after 5 pm. The nine hole River Bend course in Lisle, a personal favorite, is $22 weekday. Orchard Valley is $25 after 5 pm. Village Links is $26 after 3:30 pm.

  • mci711mci711 ChicagoMembers Posts: 1,223 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Just another way to get money. Packing people in as much as possible. I have no interest in playing anything less than 9 holes, and even at that, I feel like I just got started. I am way more for short courses, par 3 courses, putting courses etc. But to have a little loop of the full 18 course and charge $25 to play it couldn't be much less interesting to me. Chicago golf season is so short already, they need to be creative to get their money though.

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    Klein Creek’s last ditch money grab before they get bought...?

  • geochitowngeochitown Members Posts: 1,831 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 12, 2019 6:21pm #19

    Arlington Lakes offer 3, 6 and 9 hole loops post-renovation and flipping of nines.
    Not the best course, but a nice option, $9 for 3 holes and $14 for 6 holes.
    https://www.ahpd.org/golf/arlington-lakes-golf-club-rates/
    A hole by hole description
    https://www.ahpd.org/assets/1/6/Playing-Tips.pdf

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  • geochitowngeochitown Members Posts: 1,831 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 12, 2019 6:27pm #20

    which 5 holes at klein creek?
    1, 2, 3, 17 and 18?, edit, nope, need to add 16 in there to connect (6 holes).
    must be 10, 11, 12, 8 and 9?

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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members Posts: 21,933 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I live downtown Chicago, so any late afternoon play is pretty much a no-go. If I lived in the burbs close to a course I could see myself stopping by after work for a few holes. I'm no range rat. Hitting ball after ball from a perfect lie is no fun for me. I'd rather go out and play four to six holes.

  • DavePelz4DavePelz4 A golf course in the Chicago area.ClubWRX Posts: 24,809 ClubWRX

    @DeeBee30 said:
    Wondering what people think of this “short loop” concept on public courses?

    I just got an email from a local public course saying that they’ve started a 5-hole loop that starts and ends near the clubhouse for $25. Their sales pitch is: “golf, have a beer and head home in an hour”.

    Setting aside the course quality itself and their small time windows for this, I really can’t get on board with the notion of playing just 5 holes...even playing 9 holes feels like a premature ending. I’ve always thought that one of the benefits of a membership somewhere would be the ability to play just a few holes when time is tight, but I can’t see paying $25 to play a handful of holes. If I only have an hour, I’d rather hit a range or short game practice area.

    I understand why a course would do this: additional cash flow (and profit), fill otherwise empty slots on the tee sheet, increase play by reducing the time required, etc. but I'm interested in what other pub links golfers think about paying for this kind of option.

    Klein Creek in particular, has been in trouble for 5+ years. After not paying the property taxes for 3 years, they didn't make the loan payments to MB Bank who then filed to take control of the course which they were given. They listed the course, land, equipment, restaurant, etc. for just over $1.1M which on paper, appeared to be a steal for even just the land only. It's being run by Oliphant out of Madison, WI and they're the folks that run Lawsonia, Lake Arrowhead and a few other courses. Will be interesting to see what happens as at one point they were doing 25,000 rounds a year and are down now to under 15,000.

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    @geochitown - the rates for the loops at Arlington Lakes sound more reasonable for something like this.

    Also, I was wondering about the 5-hole routing and finally just called the course to ask. You nailed it on your second attempt: it's 8-12, though the guy I spoke to said you tee off on 8, which wouldn't make sense since that doesn't really start or end you near the clubhouse. I asked what happens after hole 12 and he said you just drive back in (though he admitted there's nothing really stopping people from playing their way back in on 8 & 9...two bonus holes!). BUT I'd bet that, upon actually booking it, they'd say you tee off on 10, play 11, 12, 8 and finish on 9. That would make the most sense in terms of having a logical flow from & to the clubhouse and ensuring they only play 5 holes.

  • postfoldpostfold oh how I LOVE putting Members Posts: 393 ✭✭✭✭

    I used to play a 5 hole loop often when I had an annual pass, a great way to get in a few swings and a nice walk before sunset. Dunno that I'd do so paying a greens fee, but I like the option.

  • 2bGood2bGood Members Posts: 5,213 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Jul 29, 2019 7:52pm #25

    Money aside, I play 4 -6 hole loops all the time. I am a member of club, so it is at no fee, but I love playing for 45min-hour in the evening. It is more about going for a walk and working a few shots and is in addition to golfing 18 holes a few times a week.

    Post edited by 2bGood on
  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    Yeah, the ability to walk on and play 4-5 holes as practice or just to wind down from the work day would be awesome. I can definitely see the benefit for people with memberships. The core of my question is how many people value it enough to pay for it...and then, I suppose the question becomes “what’s it worth to you?”.

  • SecondandGoalSecondandGoal South Shore MAMembers Posts: 253 ✭✭✭✭

    @2bGood said:
    Money aside, I play 4 -6 hole loops all the time. I am a member of club, so it is at no fee, but I love playing for an 45-hour in the evening. It more about going for a walk and working a few shots and is in addition to golfing 18 holes a few times a week.

    This time of year, I can usually manage to get in 9 after work no problem, last night a friend and I got in 18 teeing off at 6:00. But in the spring and fall, when it's getting dark much earlier here in MA, the wife and I will go down to the club and play whatever we can get in before dark, whether it's 3, 4, 5, 6 holes. That's one of the best things about having the membership, it's not like we've got a cost invested in that particular round. It helps that we're just over a mile from the club.

    If I didn't have the membership option, and somebody offered something like this at a reasonable price, I'd definitely do it. Some golf is better than no golf, and I find playing much more fun than banging range balls.

  • DeeBee30DeeBee30 Chicago areaMembers Posts: 423 ✭✭✭✭

    I understand that everyone's different when it comes to practicing vs playing, so this isn't intended to be the right answer for everyone...

    If I only have an hour or so, I'd much rather spend an hour at the range or practice green (chipping & pitching). After warming up with 15-20 balls, I use a random practice routine where I pull out a scorecard and play a simulated round of golf on the range instead of just banging 100 drivers or 8-irons. It's been very productive for my game and (for me) it's very mentally satisfying.

  • jut111jut111 Members Posts: 1,709 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Big fan of the idea. Awful price. Can you walk for say 15?

  • bazinkybazinky Members Posts: 1,670 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @2bGood said:
    Money aside, I play 4 -6 hole loops all the time. I am a member of club, so it is at no fee, but I love playing for an 45-hour in the evening. It more about going for a walk and working a few shots and is in addition to golfing 18 holes a few times a week.

    My club has several different 3-5 hole loops that end up back at the clubhouse. I'm able to play a significant amount of golf in a short amount of time in the late afternoon if I want. It's especially great for those times when I'm not sure exactly how much free time I'll have until my presence is required by wife and/or daughter. As a pay to play concept on a public, however, I just don't see the attraction. It really only works on a largely empty course.

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  • HonestPlayerHonestPlayer Members Posts: 205 ✭✭✭

    The idea is good, the price is too much. I thought and read up on the concept of a 6 hole golf course recently (as playing it 3 times over equals 18 holes - and of course 9 hole courses - the history of the number of holes in golf courses was actually quite interesting).

    Personally I play a 6 or 7 hole loop on my course sometimes instead of 9. Usually 9 holes though. In my view 5 holes can be enough but probably should be 3 par 4's, a par 5 and a par 3 with at least one short and one long par 4 or you'll feel like you haven't played enough holes even for a quick 5.

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