Thanks to reader Tuco for this fascinating Michael Buteau story from Bloomberg on a new club membership concept called Tour GCX. A few highlights:
Tour GCX has prospered by introducing fractional -- or time- share -- memberships at top clubs. Some could use the cash. Private U.S. golf courses, with $14 billion in annual revenue, are mired in a bunker of declining members and flat earnings, according to club officials and resort companies such as Dallas- based ClubCorp Inc. Tour GCX pays clubs a fee to discreetly schedule golfers and their guests into vacant tee times, usually at off-peak hours.
"If some members knew about this, they wouldn't be happy,'' says Gary Rosenberg, Tour GCX's marketing chief.
"The wives control the men,'' says Gold, 53. "A guy can join Tour GCX and not get the aggravation from his wife saying `Honey, we could have gone to Europe with that money.' He doesn't really want to go to Europe.''
When Tour GCX golfers arrive at a club, they'll often find a locker has been prepared with an engraved nameplate like the ones given members.