BY ROBERT GAUTNEY Contributing golf columnist GAUTNEY@ATT.NET.
By the time you have reached 62, or 55 or even 50 years of age, you have earned the right to get a little discount in life right? AARP says so if you are over 50 (I've had my card for 3 years now). After all, you get discounts at restaurants, movie theaters, certain sporting events and county fairs just to name a few for being a "senior", although at 53 I don't consider myself a senior.
But the golf world recognizes us seniors too, and our local public courses all offer some type of senior discount. A couple of weeks ago I received an e-mail from a gentleman (Ken) who stated that he was moving to Bakersfield from the Midwest and wanted to know where he could play golf and what type of discounts were offered to seniors and at what age (Ken said he was 56).
After a bit of research, I found that every public course in Kern County offers some type of discount. So for Ken and any other golfer out there 50 and over, here is a quick look at those discounts at our public courses in Kern County.
Buena Vista, Kern River and North Kern: Our three county courses offer a discounted M-F (age 50 and over) rate of $25.50 (which includes cart rental). The regular rate is $33. There is no discount for weekend or holiday play. The courses also have weekly "senior" games which are very popular. At BV on Tuesdays at 9 a.m., you can play and ride a cart for $28 which also includes lunch and prizes, while at NK on Wednesdays it's also a 9 a.m. start and cost is $30. At KR, Director of Golf Jim Foss says "every day is seniors day". Actually, they play senior games M-T-Th-F at 10:30 a.m. and the cost is $15 (plus the senior rate). All three say these games are very popular with anywhere from 25-50 players (you taking notes Ken?). To play in these games, you just need to show up a bit in advance to get your name on the list.
RiverLakes Ranch: The northwest links style course offers a discount for those 55 and over on M-W-F for $32 which includes cart rental. They also have a "super senior" day on Tuesdays, but the age is the same and cost is $30, they just try to get the 60-plus crowd out for this. The course also offers a senior monthly membership (again 55+) which is $175 and is for unlimited play M-Th with a cart. According to course management, there are big groups on Wednesdays and Thursdays available for the public to join in on and play. The course also offers discounts in varying degrees for advance purchases of range balls, starting at 20% for a $50 purchase, although this is not senior related.
Delano Golf Course: The 9-holer has a 60-and-over discount of $2 off of greens fees for any day ($9 for nine holes and $11 for 18).
Horse Thief: The mountain course in Stallion Springs will give seniors 55-and-over a $5 discount any day of the week which makes the rates $20 on weekdays and $30 on weekends and holidays. Cart rental is additional. They also offer an annual senior membership (55+) for $1,875 plus a $600 cart fee for unlimited play. The membership also entitles you to a 15% discount in the pro shop and 20% in the restaurant. And if you are veteran (which includes many seniors), you can play for free but you will need to show proof of service.
Tierra Del Sol: If you are making the trip out to Cal City to play golf during the week (M-F) and are age 62 or older, you can enjoy a 50% savings on greens fees, making the rate $8 for 18 holes, but you have to buy a senior monthly card which is $20. A quick addition shows that you would have to play at least three times in a month to reap the discount benefit. They have a 1-year senior membership which is $200 but includes weekend play for the same 50% discount in greens fees.
Valley Rose: The course does not offer any special rates for seniors. Cost is $20, which includes a cart.
Northern Trust (LA) Open tickets
The Callaway Golf gift card offer thru the SCGA for Northern Trust Open tickets will end on Feb.4. For every ticket purchased to the PGA Tour event at Riviera CC this month, you will receive a Callaway Golf gift card equal to 100% of your ticket purchase.
You can take advantage of this offer on the SCGA website of scga.org and click on the Northern Trust Open link.
Phil flirts with 59
If you haven't heard, read or seen by now, Phil Mickelson lipped out a birdie putt from 25-feet on the 18th hole in the Phoenix Open on Thursday that would have given him a 59!
Mickelson was trying to become the 6th player in a PGA Tour event to shoot 59. Al Geiberger was the first in 1977 at the old Memphis Classic and Stuart Appleby was the latest at the 2010 Greenbrier Classic. Mickelson's round of 60 gave him a 4-shot lead over those players who completed first round play at the TPC Scottsdale course.
Pace of Play Pledge
The SCGA launched a Pace of Play Pledge to all Southland golfers, urging them to play faster and change the slow play culture. The SCGA hopes the pledge will lead to quicker rounds and more enjoyable play.
For a limited time, those that sign the pledge will receive a Pace of Play bag tag and helpful hints for faster play. Even the PGA Tour had its problems this week when it took the final group at Torrey Pines four hours to play 11 holes on Monday and winner Tiger Woods voiced his displeasure in his post round victory interview.
Everyone knows how to play faster -- get your yardage and club ready in advance, play ready golf, help with lost balls, read your putt before it's your turn, etc. But, if you don't make a conscious effort to speed up play, the 5 and 6 hour rounds of golf will remain!
-- Don't forget about deadlines this month to enter the SCGA Foursomes Championship, the SCGA Amateur Net Championship or the SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship. Entry information can be obtained at scga.org.
-- If any readers out there have sons or daughters that are thinking about trying to play college golf within the next couple of years, the SCGA Youth on Course College Golf Summits will be Feb.5 and 13 at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim and at the University of San Diego. This is an excellent way to find out about preparing for college golf in areas such as recruiting, academics and what college coaches are seeking in student/athletes. The summits are held every year in February and August. Go online at the SCGA.org website and click on the "Youth on Course" tab and then the date you are interested in to register to attend.
-- Updated information (stats, etc.) on local players that are now competing in college golf (Men and Women) is always encouraged by Tee to Green as are golf related stories and information you believe that the readers would want to know about. Send the info to the e-mail address listed below and thanks in advance!
Tee to Green appears weekly at Bakersfield.com/sports. You can reach Gautney @ firstname.lastname@example.org.