Okay, so can someone tell me if I have a right to be upset. I was playing Ogbourne Downs today and had caught up with three 4 balls ahead of us. As a 2 ball we were consigned to a decent wait on the tee, but with only 4 or 5 holes to go it wasn't as if we'd been waiting on the tee at all 18 holes.
Anyway, in steps a group playing (I think) foursomes (two player playing alternate shots with one ball, yes?), and one of them says "I'm a member here and we're playing a competition and we have a right to play through. It's in the club rules and we'll be very quick".
Now we hadn't held them up at any point on the previous 13 holes and were a little stunned to get involved in debating the issue too much, other than to ask if we would be expected to let every other group behind us through if they too were playing in the same competition. To this he told us that members in competitions take precedence over green fee players and visitors. So in theory, had there been 10 groups behind all playing at the same pace then we could have been there for an hour or more, simply because we'd caught up with a group of 4 balls.
This same group who stormtrooped through my pairing then did the same with the 4 ball in front, and as I found out when overhearing their conversation on the patio afterwards, it was much to their annoyance as well.
Now part of my irritation was with the attitude which this was relayed and enforced on us, and I know from discussions in the bar there are now 6 players who left the course with a nasty taste in their mouths. This is a shame, because this is a gorgeous course with excellent facilities, and I have experience of other members who have only ever been welcoming to me in the past.
My own feeling is that I have paid my green fee and as long as I am not holding anyone up, & I am treating other course users and the course itself with respect, then I have as many rights as anyone else. However, should I be upset with the way I believe I have been treated? Or is it just the way things are and I should get over it?
Reply : Wed 25th Jul 2012 23:26
I would have raised this incident with the Secretary, asking if, in fact, they were playing a competition, although I doubt it very much.
Paying a Green Fee makes you a member for the day with exactly the same rights as anyone else. I am quite sure that they would not have got through me.
Reply : Thu 26th Jul 2012 09:19
John is absolutely correct. Not only do green fees give you the same right as members the people in the competition have no extra rights on the course. They were just chancing their arm.
Every group on the course has the same rights theses days (even individuals playing alone) and providing you are keeping up with the group in front then you retain your place on the course.
The only time people don't play through is if there is a competition with set tee times (e.g. the monthly medal). The players within the competition can let each other through but if you go out after them and aren't part of it you have to stay behind. That is my understanding.
Reply : Thu 26th Jul 2012 10:11
I've heard of this before but was warned at the Pro shop that a group playing in a match may come through due to starting on the 10th.
Reply : Thu 26th Jul 2012 11:27
When I was lucky enough to play at Woburn (dukes) we were warned by the starter that a 2 ball match had been drawn the night before and that the 18 hole playoff could not be finished. Although we were likely to be at least 7 holes in before they teed off, they may catch us up. As we were on the 15th green, a friendly and appologetic Marshall advised that the match were coming up behind and could they come through on the next tee. We had no problem with this due to the way it was done. It just shows that if done correctly it causes no problems.
Reply : Thu 26th Jul 2012 12:09
Clearly these guys were chancing their arm Neville. I had a similar situation once when playing in Portugal. I held myself in check and explained that there was no reason to let a group through us as the group in front were actually putting out on a par 3 green. We had held no one up. As we were putting out ourselves, a ball landed just to the side of the green. I walked over, teed it up and hit it back to the tee. Funnily enough, they didn't bother us again.
Reply : Thu 26th Jul 2012 22:31
Thanks for the comments, guys. I did get the impression that they resented us being there, as when we were putting our glasses back on the bar they were discussing about how golf clubs needed the money that green fees bring in, especially recently with golf courses struggling financially.
I guess that there are people like this in every club, and the trick is to realise that they're (hopefully) not representative of the rest of the members.