There is often confusion about who can play on what golf course and why there are so many different types of courses. There is a municipal course which is usually run by the council plus a country course that may or not be private and lastly a private course.
The municipal course is open to everyone, the country club is usually more expensive but will allow non members to play, while the private course is for members only (although they do allow members to invite guests at certain times). There are also some resorts that have in-house golf courses that are only open to holiday guests and the selected few. One of the advantages of private courses is that the players are fewer, or at least more skilled, so that there are fewer hold-ups while playing on the course.
There has always been a kind of stigma associated with private golf courses since many believe there is an elite group only allowed. This can tend to be fuelled by the more expensive prices on private courses. Fortunately, this seems to be changing more in present times.
Holiday resorts offering temporary membership as part of a golfing holiday package are probably helping to change this attitude. It is quite usual to find holiday packages that offer instruction and rounds with professional golf players to help improve your game.
The condition and challenge of a private golf course is generally higher than many public golf courses (although there are some exceptional courses in the public domain). This is generally due to the controlled playing conditions and access. The higher fees can be used to help maintain the course and its facilities.
The reduced level of play can also mean less wear and tear on the course itself too. There is also the question of golf buggies. Some courses allow them while others do not, and some will insist that they follow set tarmac passages to help protect the grounds of the golf course.
Access Through Membership
There is a growing number of private or exclusive golf courses that will only allow members to access their facilities. Some of these are resorts while others are golf communities. The idea of the resorts or the communities is that you can only play if you are a member. Usually membership is part of the package you pay for a holiday in a resort or the fees for golf are paid as part of your home ownership in the community. Many such courses are in top condition as they are supported from the regular charges for the holidays or the house purchase arrangements.
Many country clubs are also part on an overall activity centre that may will include a private golf course, tennis courts, swimming and dining facility. Membership means access to these wide ranging facilities as part of the package.
Sometimes, membership can be widened to selected target groups such as business owners or directors of nearby companies which can help fund overall costs or allow for expansion. On the whole, playing golf on a private golf course is faster with less people and can offer some of the best course conditions available to its membership, which can in turn help to improve a golfers overall enjoyment of the game.