“Golf takes too long to play,” my neighbor said to me this past weekend when I invited him to take advantage of a guest pass I’m holding. And his point of view is supported by thousands of golfers around the world. A study commissioned just recently by R&A received over 56,000 responses from golfers representing 122 countries. Of those who responded, 60% said they would enjoy golf more if it didn’t take so much time out of their day.
Before my husband and I joined a private country club, we, too, believed that golf took too much time to play. Then, encouraged by another neighbor, we joined Sierra View, which destroyed that notion. Here’s an example: last Thursday, my husband and I went to Sierra View and played nine holes at 3:30 in the afternoon. We walked on. We didn’t schedule it in advance. We did it on a whim. It took one hour and a half. And we walked, which means we got our “steps” in that day! Could we do that at a public course? Absolutely not.
Another example is this: On Memorial Day, we scheduled 18 holes of golf with good friends who are also members. At the turn, we wistfully gazed over to the fire pit area of the patio at Sierra View and said, “What the heck. Let’s say nine was enough. Let’s order a drink, sit out here in this scrumptious weather, and call it a round of golf.”
What’s my point? My point is that if you belong to a private Country Club, and there are ones you can join in the greater Sacramento area, golf doesn’t have to take too much time to play. Just like the Golf Superintendent’s annual survey determined, “let’s play nine” should be the game’s new mantra. And since most public courses charge you for a full round of 18 holes whether you play all 18 or not, it could pencil out for you to join a private golf club where you can play nine or two or four or eighteen or twentyseven or whatever number fits into your day.
This is a reminder to Sierra View Country Club members that we are a part of the Private Club Network which gives you access to hundreds of private golf courses and country clubs in the United States and Canada. And don’t forget to mention this gem of a fact to your friends when you are talking to them about why they should join Sierra View.
The Private Club Network adds so much value to any private country clubs’ members who travel beyond their home town golf club. Imagine having the privilege of playing your choice of exquisite golf courses which are members of this network. And it really works. Last fall my husband and I visited family in San Diego and prior to going there, we contacted the Private Club Network to arrange golf for us at a beautiful course in the area. Beautiful is not even the right word. It was breathtaking. And on checking in at the pro shop, we were given the same respect and consideration as that country club’s own members are given. It was terrific.
On the Private Club Network’s website you will find more details on how you can take advantage of this benefit of your membership at Sierra View. Unlike the Gold Card Program, where you arrange tee times at other clubs through our Pro Jim Salazar, you communicate directly with the Private Club Network concierge staff or directly through the website. You can download their brochure here.
Cost for Golf in the Private Club Network?
I know you are wondering what it costs to play the courses in the Private Club Network. The answer is “it varies.” Each club in the network sets their own fees, which range from $25 to $250. As I recall, we paid $65 per player in San Diego which included a cart. And we were treated like royalty for that exceptional rate!
If you are a person who uses Twitter, you can follow @PrivateClubNtwk to stay on top of what’s happening. New clubs are added all the time.
Have you ever wondered about the derivation of the term “Country Club”? At a meeting last evening, our General Manager, John Welch, talked about the importance of a Country Club to the community of Roseville. He went on to explain that Country Clubs typically originally were planned outside the environs of east coast cities, as a way for Club members to escape the stress and congestion of the big city and get out into the countryside. Interestingly enough, when Sierra View Country Club was formed in the 1950s, the land absolutely was on the fringe of the city. Alta Vista Avenue, our entrance street, was then the northernmost street in Old Roseville. Sierra View was truly a club in the country!
Country Clubs first began in Scotland a very long time ago. The first Country Club in the United States was built in the late 1700s. According to the United States Golf Association, the first Country Club in the United States was the Country Club of Charleston (South Carolina), established in 1786 and still going strong.
Wikipedia makes an interesting statement in their online post describing what a Country Club is. This free encyclopedia makes mention of the impact that Country Clubs have had on the suburbanization of cities, and that Country Clubs are considered to be the precursors to the concept of gated communities. If you look at the growth of Roseville, you’ll see that it expanded way beyond the boundaries of Sierra View, way beyond the center of Old Downtown Roseville, and gated communities were built within a mile of our front entrance.
I wish someone would have given me these 5 tips when I was a new golfer. Or even before I stepped foot on a golf course. These tips are just downright sensible. If you have been reluctant to take up golf, these 5 tips for new golfers should give you some comfort.
Don’t feel like you have to keep score. There’s plenty of time to do that after you’ve become more comfortable playing golf. It’s not important that you know how many times you swung at the ball. Just expect that it’s a LOT and it doesn’t matter. But if you are counting, and you get to something approaching 9 on any hole, pick up your ball and let the rest of your team finish the hole. No harm, no foul.
Remember nobody cares how well or how poorly you play. They were new golfers once, too, and I’m sure they remember being at the point you are at right now. They don’t care how well you play, but they do care how fast you play. That’s really all they care about. So watch your pace, keep up with the rest of your team, and you’ll be fine.
Buy a couple dozen cheap balls or recycled balls. You are bound to lose many, many balls as a new golfer. And one way to keep up the pace of play is to not spend too much time in the rough looking for your lost ball. They’re cheap, they’re almost disposable, so don’t fret over lost balls. Just know you’ll lose many balls at first.
This may sound rude, but don’t talk too much. Too much talking on the course slows down play, and your partners will appreciate silence when they are setting up to the ball and taking their shot. Judge your chattiness by watching your partners and let that be your guide to your talkativeness.
The rules of golf are important, and you can learn those later, so don’t worry about the rules just yet. But do read up on golf etiquette before you play golf. Included in golf etiquette is knowing how to dress for the course you are playing, keeping your cell phone on mute, avoiding walking on your partners’ putting lines on the green, and more. Do your internet research. There are many good articles on golf etiquette. Arnold Palmer’s Golf Etiquette Tips is an excellent one.
Many of the husbands at Sierra View Country Club have non-golfing wives. It is our hope that all of the women partners at Sierra View feel comfortable taking up the game. It’s a sport husbands and wives can play into their golden years!
According to Parade Magazine’s article in their Sunday, April 5, 2015 issue, finding a “tribe” such as is found in a country club, can extend life, in some cases up to 14 years. Maybe I’m reading something into the article that’s not there, but I don’t think so. I think it’s a fact. Read the article for yourself and you decide.
Here’s what the Parade Magazine article says: Among the four lifestyle changes that give you the possibility of living to the ripe old age of 100, finding a tribe is the most important and weighs more than the other three, more than what you eat, more than having a purpose, more than physical activity. Your tribe, the people you hang out with, trumps all three for lengthening your lifespan in the most positive ways.
Country Clubs attract like-minded, healthy, fun-loving people, the perfect kind of tribe. And when I look around at the super seniors at Sierra View Country Club, I see a vital, sharp, funny, classy bunch of men and women. And another common element among this group is this: they have been hanging out with their country club tribe for a long time. They didn’t just join yesterday.
The article was written by Ginny Graves, based on over 10 years of research by journalist Dan Buettner. Dan spent the past several years studying the lifestyles of the healthiest, longest-living people all over the world. What he found in these pockets of longevity are not the frail oldsters, but vital, active people enjoying life. Some are still working! And to his surprise, these centenarians all have a tribe, some sort of social group from within their extended family or from good friends.
The tribes at a country club might be the men’s group, or the women golfers, or simply the natural coming-together of groups of club members who resonate with each other’s personalities or professions.
I don’t know about you, but I found this research to be fascinating. I am glad I found my tribe early!
OK, this is a cheap trick to capitalize on the popular movie, but I’ll bet you don’t know how many varieties of trees are found on Sierra View Country Club’s golf course. The answer is at the end of this post.
Golf course managers inventory trees on the courses they care for, with plans for future pruning and replacement. You’d be amazed at how many different trees you play in and around and among on our course. For me, I’ve stuck every one of them. At lunch with a friend yesterday, she remarked that during a recent round she hit four trees with a negative yardage consequence on each one! Every day is “Arbor Day,” she added.
Recently, a large branch from the tree that guards the approach shot from the left on number six was removed. We heard a loud and boisterous hooray from all of us who have exclaimed, “It didn’t go through” on that approach shot. Yes, we lament those truly infamous trees that add strokes to our scores. But think about what Sierra View’s golf course would be like without those fifty shades of green?
Imagine how Sierra View looked in the early 50’s when it was first opened. All of the trees were either native to the property and fully grown (and I’ve seen the footage…there weren’t that many mature trees) or saplings. Imagine for a moment how deathly hot it was for those early members, when the temperature was 105 in July or August, trying to crouch in the smidgen of shade offered by a two-year-old red bud tree.
I checked with Kyle Dykstra who is responsible for the amazingly wonderful conditions of our golf course in all kinds of weather and through all the seasons of the year. The answer to the question is 40. Forty shades of green. There you have it.
Sierra View members, as we launch the 2015 spring membership campaign, let’s keep in mind the reasons we joined Sierra View and why our friends should join, too. For many of us, it’s the “Club” in Country Club that eventually becomes the biggest reason. But until you have joined, you may not know why people join a country club. How about these reasons:
For golfers, it’s Conditions. Most private country clubs keep their course in pristine condition and Sierra View certainly meets that requirement. Playing a course that is in good condition improves your golfing skills, too, as you are playing the way golf was meant to be played. on lush fairways and greens.
For golfers, it’s Time. If you value your time, pace of play is the next reason to join a country club. Members of a country club have an emotional and personal investment in making sure the quality of the experience is good for themselves and others. Members of a country club want fellow members to know they are pace-conscious. Pace of play is almost guaranteed to be on target at a country club. Public golf course rounds are typically one hour longer than at private courses. Time matters.
For golfing, tennis or social members, it’s Friendship. That’s the “Club” in Country Club. The country club experience creates a special circle of friendships and camaraderie that you can’t find anywhere else. Walking in the clubhouse lounge and feeling at home means a lot. And as members age, this group becomes more and more important. Members care.
Options. Most country clubs have a variety of membership categories. Prospective members should seek out the membership category that best suits their pocket book and needs. Many country club members start out as social members, and finding that they enjoy the other aspects of the club, evolve into full memberships. The social membership gives a family a great way to experience many of the benefits of membership, with dining and events that are very special.
The Niceties. When the server in the lounge remembers your beverage preference, when the golf pro offers you a suggestion on the driving range, when you know you can leave your wallet at home, when the golf shop shuttles you out to the parking lot to retrieve your clubs, when your children or grandchildren order snacks poolside, these are the little things that keep members happy and involved.
I was going to post this news topic in the spring, but the current California drought means cloudless days. We are playing golf during sunny afternoons once the morning fog dissipates. So talking about sun damage is appropriate right now.
Sun damage can lead to skin cancer. We all know that, and the scary messages are in the news more and more these days. The good news is that manufacturers are designing clothing and accessories that will help protect us from sun damage on the golf course. Many golfers are setting a good example for their golf partners. Golfers of all ages, all ethnicities, need to do everything possible to prevent further sun damage.
Many of us are from the generation that basked in the sun for hours as youngsters, slathering ourselves with baby oil laced with iodine. What were we thinking? Well, today many of us are paying the price for that uninformed behavior. If you have ever sat in the waiting room of a dermatologist’s office, you’ve likely seen people’s face and head areas hidden by pretty impressive bandages.
Golfers are exposed to at least four hours of sun during an 18 hole round. More if you add the time at the range warming up. New courses and links courses offer darn little, if any shade. Lucky for members of Sierra View Country Club, we have a lot of big-canopy trees (too many, some say!) which afford us some moments of shade. But there are many things we can do to avoid further sun damage and the dermatologist’s scalpel. Here are a few:
Become an early riser and get an early tee time. When that dreaded alarm goes off, instead of lamenting the fact that you have to get up and get out the door, pat that smooth, baby face of yours with both hands and be grateful for being a conscientious healthy human. If you cannot get an early tee time, get one later in the day. The most damaging hours of sun are between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon.
Become a shade hopper. If your cart partner doesn’t know how to seek out shady spots to park the cart, take over the driver’s seat. With the new wearable GPS devices, it’s no longer a matter of having to situate your golf cart right where your ball lies. Lacking shade from trees, situate your cart at an angle that protects the riders. You may feel silly with your cart pointed back toward the tee box rather than toward the green, but feeling silly is a small price to pay for protecting your skin.
Create your own shade. At Sierra View Country Club, more than half of the golfers walk the course. I’ve done some research on how many walking golfers use an umbrella for protection (not only from the sun but also from the heat of the sun). A high percentage of women members use an umbrella, but very very few men do. Somehow we have to make it cool, make it fashionable, make it macho, for men to use umbrellas too.
Don’t BURN! It’s sunburn that causes the most dangerous skin cancers. Always wear a sun block and reapply. Yes, I know, reapplying is the hardest to habituate. Sun blocks that contain zinc are supposed to be the most beneficial, but people sometimes avoid them because of how they make us look ghostly. CVS makes a broad-spectrum clear zinc sun block called Clear Zinc Sun Lotion. It’s a 50 spf and it actually goes on clear. There are many other sun blocks with good reviews online. Don’t forget a block for your lips, too.
Wear a wide brim hat that covers your ears and neck. The men at Sierra View Country Club eschew the umbrellas but more and more of them are wearing wide brim hats. Women are slowly catching on. Someone could make a lot of money designing spiffy wide brim hats for women that won’t blow off or get in the way of the golf swing. Visors are the worst. Your entire scalp is exposed to the sun and just try to protect that area with sun block. Hard to do. The times I’ve sat in the waiting room of the dermatologist’s office, I’ve seen bandaged ears and scalps as often as bandaged noses.
Make sure your sunglasses are high-quality, and wraparound is the best design. Some golfers say they don’t like wearing sunglasses. Sun is unkind to eyes as well as to skin. Take care of those precious eyes of yours.
Sierra View Country Club Tournament Champions for 2014
Let’s start this year’s first golf news blog by looking back at 2014 and congratulating our Sierra View Tournament Champions. Here they are:
Senior Club Champion – Mark Ross
Old Oak Champions – Gary White and Ed McGreehan
Kaseberg Champions – Chris Clark and Frank Luna
Scotch Champions – Dennis Dearbaugh and Don Gearing
Acorn Champions – Bob Warner and Terry Bunk
Club Champion – Tanner Makimoto
Ladies Club Champion – Lynn Cowan
Ladies Handicap Champion – Deb McSherry
Mixed Invitational Champions – Lorne Miller and Judy Hillier, Bill and Gwen Barker
Oak Leaf Invitational Champions – Carol Siefkin and Julie Thomas, Diane Cooper and Connie Krekelberg
Member-Member Tournament Champions – John Bierer and Nick Cejka
Update on 2015 US Senior Open Volunteering
As of early January, we have 30 Sierra View Country club members registered as marshals for the open at Del Paso Country Club. Sierra View Country Club is assigned to the 15th par 5 hole. We still need 20 more volunteers from among our membership. If you want to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, sign up at the USGA website and use the code “SIERRAVIEW” when signing up. You can always contact Jim Salazar if you need help getting involved. What a chance to see the best senior players in the world compete against each other. And you could be right there, front and center!
Cart Lease Program Special Offer
If you typically ride the Sierra View course and you play more than 75 rounds a year, it makes good sense to get signed up for the annual cart lease program. Sign up before the end of January and you can get in at the cost of $1,275 for a single golfer or $1,800 for a couple. Save yourself some money and get in on this offer.
January Holiday Schedule
Reminder that the course and clubhouse will be open on Monday, January 19th for Martin Luther King Jr. day. The following day, Tuesday, January 20th, the course and clubhouse will be closed.
I almost forgot to congratulate our latest golfers with a hole in one: Phil Gouran and Matt Winans both recently aced a hole!
Pace of Play and how to get it under control are being discussed all over the internet right now. If you use Twitter, follow the conversation at #usgapaceofplay to listen in on the chatter. Slow play may be keeping some people from taking up the game of golf, or has resulted in people giving up on the game entirely. Among those of us who are active amateur golfers, it’s something we want to find remedies for, to ensure the future of the sport which we love so much and which adds immensely to our lives.
Patrick Mateer published a book a few years ago called “The Return of the 4 Hour Round.” According to his research, seventy-two percent say more golfers would consider taking up the game, and fewer golfers would abandon the game if we could return to the ideal of the four hour round.
Fortunately for us members of Sierra View Country Club, which prides itself as “The Fast Play Club,” pace of play complaints are few and far between. That’s not the case elsewhere. And the recent pace of play campaign called “While We’re Young” with its tongue in cheek approach to the problem, hasn’t seemed to have made any inroads.
Here’s an interesting story from the Weston Golf and Country Club, where they made a concerted effort to get all golfers fully aware of what the course professionals determined was the ideal and manageable time to play 18 holes: 4 hours and 12 minutes. So “4:12” became the mantra at the country club. The bar charged $4.12 for the daily special drink. 4:12 was printed on the cocktail napkins. The code for the locker room was changed to 412. When a foursome was called to the first tee they were given a card showing their tee-off time, which also showed them the time plus 4:12. What happened? Not everyone made the 4:12 time allotment, but everyone’s awareness was raised. Slow golfers started believing they might actually be the slow ones! Read more about this story.
Pace of Play Tips for Golfers
Here are suggestions I’m seeing tossed about by leaders in the industry:
On public courses, charge by the hour, not by the round. (This is a new one on me…sounds impossible to administer.)
Train marshals on how to tactfully tell slow golfers to play faster.
When checking in golfers, show/tell them the lengths from each set of tees and match that with what the golfer states as the length of average drive. Do not let short hitters tee off from inappropriately long tees. Play it Forward must get traction in the sport of golf, but it needs teeth.
Mow the rough a shorter height. So much time is spent by golfers looking for balls in the rough. If the rough is cut a wee bit shorter, it could definitely help reduce the minutes spent looking for balls.
Space tee times. If you are spacing at 10 minute intervals, try 11 minute intervals. Statistically, this suggestion results in decreasing round time by 18 minutes on average. The issue, of course, is lost revenue. Similar to achieving more leg room in the cabin of an airplane, when you add a minute between tee times, you can accommodate fewer rounds.
On checking in golfers, give every golfer a card that says something like, “If you can’t see the group in front of you and you can see the group behind you, you need to pick up and move on.
When your foursome is on the green and you are ready to putt and the person who should be putting is walking yet another circle around the green examining every possible nuance, just putt.
Clear the green right away. Don’t just saunter off casually, taking your sweet time. Get moving and mark your score card when you have reached the next green.
Ready golf on the fairway means it’s ok to remind your partners that they are up, and if you are ready to hit and there is no issue of safety, even though you may be closer to the green, just hit.
Talk with your partners while you walk/ride, not while another person is preparing to hit. That player may be waiting for you to stop your yammering.
If you have putted out, and the next tee is open, don’t wait for everyone to putt out. Go tee off. Your group will catch up with you.
Pros may take four, five, six, twelve practice swings, but us amateurs should limit practice swings to one or two at the most. Check your routine.
Watch your partners’ balls. Make a mental note where they land, if off the fairway. Too much time is spent looking for balls in the rough, in the trees, in the barranca. Hit a provisional if the ball has landed in what looks like an impossible spot to hit from.
Weather can be a factor in Pace of Play. In rainy weather, Cart Path Only days mean players are trying to manage the cart and walking zig zag all over the course. It takes a pretty terrific player to always manage placing his or her ball near the cart path! On Cart Path Only days, if you are able, use a push cart and walk. You’ll end up walking less than if you ride. Almost guaranteed.
There are people who believe five-somes should not be allowed in regular play. I used to agree with that until one day, recently, my threesome had a dickens of a time keeping up with the five-some of men in front of us, all walkers. These guys had black belts in Ready Golf!
Personally, my advice for any golfer is to consider joining a private country club, preferably with a walker-friendly golf course like Sierra View Country Club of Roseville, where pace of play is a closely guarded, almost sacred concept. Decide how many rounds of golf you’d ideally like to play every month, and do the math. My hunch is you’ll find that the costs work out quite well. Take into consideration, also, the amount of time you’ll save monthly – time you can spend in other pursuits. Read all about Sierra View at http://sierraviewcc.org.