Didn’t know Pebble Beach was in Lexington!

Words on the outrage over Lexington Golf and Country Club’s increased golf rates

Will Pittman

April 15th will go down in history. 

Sure, it is the date of the sinking of the Titanic and the birthday of Da Vinci (and Seth Rogan!), but these are of no pressing significance. 

April 15th will be remembered as the day Lexington Golf and Country Club raised its rates by an astonishing 300%, a move that left much of the W&L student body dumbfounded.

On a small campus with tons of intercommunication, a lot of things can arouse the students. Covid-19 regulations, the name change, and the Kellen debacle, all had their moments. But for the last few weeks, the talk of the town has been about Lex Golf and their new rates. 

The new rates come only a couple of months after the only other course in the area, Buena Vista Links, had to close operations due to a settlement reached with ACA Financial. With the next nearest golf course at least 35 minutes away, the Lex Golf board realized they were in complete market control of the area. 

And they know their customers too. I really do think it might be the case that the W&L student body, by percentage, has the highest number of golfers than any other university. Golf, as golfers know, is a contagious, often obsessive sport, and I’m sure Lex Golf believed that this, coupled with the convenience of their course, was enough to continue getting good business.

It would be one thing if Lex Golf had redone their entire course, changed the grass on their greens, worked to turn their bunkers from hard rock into actual sand, trimmed their fairways neatly, and kept everything in great shape. But anyone that has played there knows that is not the case. Lex Golf is, at best, a markedly average course. The mountains in the backdrop of the holes make for a pretty sight, but at the end of the day if you have played more than about three golf courses in your life you should be able to conclude that the course is not worth its current weekend 18-hole rate of $80. 

To gauge the public sentiment concerning these matters, it is worth turning to trusty ole yik yak. 

One yak, with just short of 100 upvotes, calls for a petition to stop playing at Lex Golf until they reduce their rates. One comment, with 22 upvotes, reads, “like its actual bullsh*t. I’m a broke college student who likes to play, and this sh*it sucks. They are literally price gouging the sh*t out of it after the BV course closed.”

Another yak reads, “that course thinks they’re pebble beach when they are really a municipal course with a monopoly thanks to BV closing.” 

Lex Golf was a great place to go for casual golfers like myself and many of the student body, spending $15 to be outside on a nice day and walk nine holes, hoping for a couple of pars here and there.

And as anyone with minimal spending money knows, there is a BIG difference between $15 and $45. For the type of golfer I am, $45 is about the maximum I would pay to play 18 holes with a cart on a very nice course. 

As one student said, “Golf already has a stuck up reputation and decisions like that of Lex CC only give more credence to that unfortunate stereotype.” As most know, golf has traditionally been a sport connected with country clubs, white people, and wealth. This image of golf has been changing a lot and the sport is far more accessible than it used to be, but when entities like Lex Golf jack up their prices they narrow their customer base and reduce accessibility. 

We’ve seen it with Lex housing for W&L students (see my last article), and now we’ve seen it with Lex golf for W&L students. Blatant price gouging because as students of a wealthy private institution we (or maybe more accurately, our parents) will continue to pay. 

If you continue going to Lex Golf to pay these prices you are letting them get away with this, as eloquently stated by one yakker, bullsh*t. If you want or need to play golf, make the 35 minute drive to one of the other courses outside of Rockbridge; at least their prices actually reflect the quality of their course.