Posted 28 August 2007 - 08:47 AM
Thanks for the info Strike.
To answer your question, let me firstly say that I'm not a member of the National although I have considered purchasing a membership a number of times. I have probably played there 25 times with scores ranging from 68 round the Old course to 93 round the Ocean (on a cold and windy Day!!). Things I like about the Nat are:
Its ALWAYS in good condition;
The staff are always curtious, efficient and friendly;
The views (in particular from the old) are spectacular;
The Old course is probably the best risk/reward, old style 'SPORTING' course in the country (ie make the shot or suffer the consequences!). In particular, I like shots like
2nd shot back left on 1,
Tee shot on 3 off the plates over left traps,
Tee shot on 4 to front left pin,
2nd shot on 6 to back pin,
Tee shot on 7 off plates to any pin,
2nd shot on 8 going for the green,
etc, etc, etc.
I know people think the greens on the Old are tricked up, but if you think of them are 2 or 3 greens in one, the concept works! A good shot into the bowl where the pin is located is rewarded;
The weather makes the courses infinitely different. They certainly never play the same two times in a row;
Final thing is that the houses (in general) blend in to the hills. Not like some places ie the Heritage!!!
Things I don't like;
The Clubhouse (or should I say the Barn!) How could $17,000,000 be more badly spent! The place has no atmosphere. Hardly any of it is used. The locker rooms are never used! It has all the privacy, homeliness and character of a Woolworths. It will never feel like a private club with a social life the way it is set up. If I was a president for life, I would have kept the old clubhouse. In fact, I would have only have had the one course. Growing the membership to vast proportions to service the 3 courses is IMHO a mistake! IT'S TOO BIG! At the original setup, there was a reasonable chance that you knew most of the members if you walked into the spike bar or the main bar. Not Now!
The second thing I don't like is somewhat related to the first. My general feeling for the place is that MONEY RULES! Its lack of clubby membership feel tends to put importance on what you drive, where your holiday house is and what your worth!! I prefer to judge people on their character (both personality and friendliness) rather than their financial position. Ones company and companionship on the course is the most important thing!! (Saying this, I know a number of wonderful people who are members. Ironically, they mostly say that they preferred the club when there was only 1 course!)
Thirdly, the place is expensive. $80 to $100 to bring a guest when you are already paying close to $3000 a year is silly.
Finally, I think the Norman course is overrated and the Ocean course barely playable unless the pins are in the limited flat areas. (I believe they are/were changing some of the greens to stop balls sucking 60 metres off the front.)
Now, St Andrews Beach. Unfortunately, I have only played it once! The things I liked were:
The variation and detail on and around the greens. ie many different recovery shots required. The use of hollows and humps for protection rather than the standard deep bunker. The fact that it was playable for the average hacker (as long as he was content to take bogey) as well as challenging to the scratch marker. I don't think this is the case on the courses (any of them) of the National!
The concept of a smaller members club where the golf was the thing that mattered! As the clubhouse hadn't (and I believe still hasn't) been built, I was only commenting on the spin from the promotional material. Hence why I was asking for feed back.
Hope that fills you in on my comments at the start of the topic. Finally, all said and done, I will probably join the National one day (unless I'm Blackballed!!!)