Plenty of people take up golf every year, but what many don't understand when they're first starting out in the sport is that there are two different types of golf courses: public and private. Which type you play on depends on a variety of factors, so make sure to do your research before heading out to the golf course you've chosen. Is it public or private? We'll tell you what difference it makes and how it will effect your plans.

Public Courses

Like the name suggests, public golf courses are open to anyone who wants to play on them. Whether you work for a deck construction business or have a trust fund, you'll be treated equally by the staff. That doesn't mean you get to play for free, of course, since running a golf course is a considerable expense. With the landscaping and the upkeep, most public courses need to charge at least a cursory fee, known as a green fee, in order to afford the upkeep. Much like a Waterloo home owner would have to pay a landscaping company (visit here) to maintain their lawn, a golf course has to pay for their greens upkeep as well.

Public golf courses are generally owned by cities, municipalities, counties, or provinces and are maintained by public employees. Municipal tax money goes into maintaining and running them, so it's only fair that anyone who pays real estate taxes along with anyone who lives in the area and anyone they choose to bring with them can play. When planning your golf vacations, public courses are a sure thing so long as you can get a tee time and you obey the course rules.

Private Courses

While anyone at all can play on a public course, private courses have a more select clientele. Only people who have purchased memberships to the course are allowed to play on it. Some private courses will allow anyone to purchase a membership but others may turn up their nose at you. The membership fees and green fees for a private golf course are almost always more expensive than public courses.

Private courses are usually owned and operated by country clubs, so unless you qualify for membership in the country club you will not be permitted to play golf there. Take this into account when you're planning your golfing vacations. One way to get around the membership requirement is to go as the guest of a person who does have a membership. Private courses usually also have strict rules as to conduct and dress while on the course.

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