Tom Horan talks with Peter Baumann about the time-honored tradition of reciprocal play at private golf clubs.
by Kelly Pickel
The days of head professionals at country clubs negotiating reciprocal play time for their members may be numbered, thanks to Reciprocal Golf, a Palm Springs, Calif.-based company. Now, the company says, playing at other private courses across the country is only a phone call away.
Reciprocal Golf is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service designed to make reciprocal play easier to arrange for private country club members as well as individual golfers. "Out of the 4,400 private clubs in the nation, around 1,700 offer reciprocal play between private courses, given that the proper protocol is followed," Reciprocal Golf President Pete Baumann said.
After more than 80 years of following an inefficient but time-honored procedure to play private country clubs on a reciprocal (guest) basis, the approximate 2.3 million (plus spouses) members of private country clubs now have the opportunity to bring reciprocal play into the 21st Century, into the age of cell phones and computers.
Reciprocal Golf, a Palm Springs, California, based company, has announced the introduction of its toll-free, 24/7 service now available to members of private country clubs nationwide, setting up reciprocal play for those members at hundreds of private country clubs across the country.
Of the 4,300 private golf clubs in the U.S., about 1,600 of them openly welcome reciprocal play, says Pete Baumann, who runs a Palm Springs company called Reciprocal Golf. For $350 a year, Baumann will act as a matchmaker between you and those courses. "We do the same thing a member's head pro does," Baumann explains. "We call the course you want to play and set it all up for you. The difference is that we're there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so the pros don't spend all day on phone tag while you wonder whether you'll be able to play."
Steven Polevoy, a retired bed-frame manufacturer from New Jersey, has used Reciprocal Golf several times during the past year. He hoped to play Seminole Golf Club--ranked 14th on Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest Courses--but Reciprocal Golf couldn't arrange it. Still, it recently got him on the Mayacoo Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach and the TPC at Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Fla. "It wouldn't have dawned on me that I could play these courses," Polevoy says.