I resigned my membership at a private club about five years ago, I became
something of a "vagabond" golfer. I no longer had a home course
where I had regular group of golfing friends and a place to hang out while
looking for a game, if my friends weren’t available. So I joined a group of
"traveling" golfers, under the auspices of the South Jersey Weekday
Business Golf Association.
you can see by their current schedule, it took a lot
of travel to play most of their courses, and few of them were convenient to my
home in Eastern Montgomery County.
I lasted two years with this group before the travel knocked me out.
I discovered, there are other similar groups in the area -- the Mid Atlantic
Golf Tour for one -- but I soon developed my own personal rota
of convenient courses I could play on a regular basis with some friends:
Limekiln GC in Ambler, Center Square GC in Norristown,
Five Ponds GC in Warminster and Jeffersonville GC in West Norriton Township. I chose these courses because they are
convenient and reasonably priced. Limekiln is a fairly basic and flat 27-hole
complex, but it's less than 10 minutes from my house. My wife and I played
there on a regular basis on Sunday mornings with another couple, until
is also convenient, only about 20 minutes away. The course is usually in good
condition and it has some elevation changes, particularly on the back nine. I
had a hole-in-one there last year.
is also nearby. The condition of the greens there compare favorably with many
of the private clubs in the area.
Jeffersonville is my personal
favorite among my rota of courses. The course has
vastly improved as a result of a recent renovation several years ago. It also
presents more of a challenge than the other courses and it is more interesting
thanks to the variety of holes.
I have taken some of my friends from my former club to Jeffersonville
and they were impressed. I also
happen to like their hot dogs.
as a vagabond, I have continued to receive invitations from many of my friends
to play at their private clubs: Philmont CC, Hidden
Creek GC , Stonewall
Creek GC, Lookaway
GC, Blue Bell
CC and my former club, Commonwealth
time, I also have expanded my rota to courses that require up to an hour’s
travel. That brought in several
other enjoyable layouts: Hickory Valley
GC, Bella Vista GC, Lederach
GC, the GC at Glen Mills, Inniscrone GC, Reading CC and Berkleigh CC
in Pennsylvania and Riverwinds GC, Heron Glen GC
in New Jersey and Deerfield CC
a resident social member of Talamore CC in Ambler, I also am entitled to six rounds
of prime-season golf through my Homeowner’s Association; all I pay is the cart
the Jersey shore, my favorite course is Twisted
my carefully chosen rota and guest appearances at
friends’ clubs, I find time to play in various charity events. Through these
events, I’ve managed to play a number of the choice clubs in the area,
including now-defunct Ashbourne CC, Rolling
Green GC and Whitemarsh Valley CC.
year, my wife and I visited The Poconos for a few days. Naturally, we played Shawnee, Tamiment and Great
year, through my social membership at Talamore, I am participating in
the Golf Association of
Philadelphia’s Member Days
program, which gets me onto various private clubs. Recently, I played Huntingdon Valley CC
and I will be playing St. David's GC, Woodcrest
CC and Ledge Rock GC.
am a semi-retired lawyer, and my extended winter vacations have taken me to two
golf Meccas, Florida and Arizona, where I immerse myself in the
total golf experience. This past winter, which was a good one to escape from
Philadelphia, my wife and I rented a house from January through March in a gated
golf community in Arizona. That gave us
access to 45 holes of good, affordable, but not great, golf.
in all, I enjoy being a "vagabond" golfer. I enjoy seeking out and
experiencing "new" courses. But there are some drawbacks. Play can get very slow on the weekend
at public courses. And I’m not
able to get together with my old golfing friends as much as I would like; often
I just show up at a public course and join with strangers. Sometimes that
turns out to be good; sometimes not.
drawback is that, for most part, I don’t play as well when I’m playing a course
for the first time or if I play there only sporadically.
one advantage of membership in a private club. As you become familiar
with your home course, you can manage your game much better.
Steve Shaffer is a graduate of The
Pennsylvania State University and Temple University School of Law. When he’s not
playing golf, he works in a local golf store and volunteers for the Golf
Association of Philadelphia.