Why would I join a 9-hole private golf club?
Ten minutes from almost anywhere in Old Oakville or Downtown. Drive up, park and walk up to the tee with no reservation. Play a golf course rated 130, harder than Rattlesnake. Dine well in a comfortable clubhouse. Leave the office at 4:30, play golf and be home for dinner. Sound worth thinking about?
There is no shortage of beautiful golf courses in and near Oakville. But let’s say you have a job and a family, maybe a family cottage, maybe family members who play soccer or baseball or ride horses in the summer, and you just can’t get away for 5 hours very often, or perhaps it’s just hard to plan in advance. You like golf and wish you could get better at it, which you know means playing at least a little more than you do now. You’d like to play even more when you retire. But given your many other interests and the fact that your family is your priority, you find it hard to justify the cost of membership in a golf club.
Our club is a special place. Since 1921 men and women of Oakville have been playing our demanding course pretty much whenever they feel like it, without having to set a tee time. I live on William Street and I can leave for the course, play 9 or 18 and be back in under 3 hours most times. And my membership cost me a third of what it costs to join many nearby golf clubs.
It’s not for everyone. If you need a club mostly to entertain clients, we’re probably not the best option. I do it from time to time, and clients are always surprised by our secret and by how challenging the course is. The fact is though, it’s a club for the members. There are leagues and affinity groups of all levels playing all the time: ladies’ 9 and 18 hole leagues, men’s days, couples’ evenings, youth priority tee times, and groups that play golf and then bridge. With half the members of an 18 hole course, people get to know each other pretty quickly and it’s more suited to fellowship and making friends than to business entertaining. The membership is unpretentious and welcoming in spite of having a smattering of Old Oakville’s Fine Old Families represented, sometimes descended from the Club’s first members. We have some very skilled players and we have some duffers: you can find competition or camaraderie in any measure.
You might aspire to one of the commercial private clubs nearby, where you can play essentially anonymous public golf for the price of private golf, but have access to multiple courses and offer clients a business entertaining experience, or to join one of the beautiful grand old clubs in neighbouring communities. Perhaps that is for you…but for some of us, the incredible convenience of a 10 minute drive, no need to book a tee time, and the practicality of 9 holes given our rich lives outside of golf make the Oakville Golf Club the best option. We get to play the course selected for the 2015 Toronto Star Women’s Amateur basically whenever we want to. The Saturday of Labour Day weekend I walked on to the course without waiting, and played both tee sets simultaneously: eighteen challenging holes in less than two and a half hours. Right in the middle of Oakville.
If someone told you today they were building a first class golf course 10 minutes from your house to share with a group of friends and you could get in for $25,000 paid over five years, I bet you’d jump at it.
Well, it’s been built since 1921. Come and play it and meet some members. Maybe you’ll want to join.
Posted with the permission of the author, Chris Stoate