"They put in PGA-type bunkers (sand traps).  Look, the average age of the golfer here is 78. The average handicap is 20 or above. We're not good golfers..." 
-- 73 year old John Reppert, a golf-playing resident of Rossmoor, a Walnut Creek, CA, "active retirement" community.  Developers spent $2 million on golf course improvements only to find some of its members quit because the course was too difficult.  (Source:  The San Francisco Chronicle)
    An article we are writing about Porters Neck Plantation Country Club in Wilmington, NC, and one we received in an email from our friends at Golf Vacation Insider got us thinking about the true definition of a private club.
    Porters Neck, which has been available for public play for a few decades, recently raised its greens fees by about 60% to over $100 and its initiation fees for new members to $30,000.  Last year, the members commissioned more than $1 million of work on the Tom Fazio golf course and added two tennis courts.  The club is also in its second go-round with Creative Golf Marketing, a firm that specializes in raising the membership rolls at private clubs (Porters Neck has even enrolled in CGM's 180-course "Private Club Network," which provides access to all the courses for members of clubs in the network).  Put all that together and the club is signalling its intention to be members-only.  Yet when asked if they plan to go private, Porters Neck officials say, “We’ve always been private.”  What they mean, they explain, is that they have always been “privately owned.”  Come on:  Private means members-only, not the opposite of municipally owned.
    The emailed article from Golf Vacation Insider describes how non-members can gain access to the “private” Gallery Club in Tucson where Tiger et al are competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship this weekend on the club’s South course (as we write this, Tiger has just lost to Nick O'Hern).  The North and South courses, according to GVC, alternate days when they are open to public play; in other words, on a day when the South is private, the North is public, and vice versa. That’s great for us golfers traveling in the Tucson area but, by definition, the club is not private.
    Like the word “unique” – how unique is very unique? -- privacy should never be qualified. That’s why we would outlaw the meaningless but ubiquitous term “semi-private” in favor of the more accurate “public access.”
    Of course, as always, we invite alternate views.  Just register or sign in and leave your comment here...on our semi-private blog site.