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Posted by on in Village Blogs

I'm not going to kid myself. I know that people who read about golf also play a lot of golf. And they want to play the best courses and try not to bat an eye when they pay the green fee. So the prospects of this blog, which chronicles a golfer who has to limit his number of rounds to the cheapest ones he can find, having much traction with those folks is pretty far fetched.

Read the remainder of this blog at Tim Price Sports Books and look for the Golf Like You're Poor tab.

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Posted by on in Village Blogs

Here’s one of my problems in golf: The trees can’t knock my drives toward the fairways, and my email’s spam filter can’t block the lousy offers I get via golf courses from landing in my inbox. Good ones do roll my way, even if they drop into the hole at the rate of my birdie putts.

You can put a red number on my scorecard now because I just got an email with a really imaginative golf offer. It comes from Woodlake Golf Club, which was the site of the PGA Tour’s Texas Open during a stretch in the ‘70s including the year NCAA champion Ben Crenshaw came down from University of Texas following his college eligibility and won in his first try on tour.

This is a course that has struggled the past few years with its condition, and I wonder if it will survive the development of real estate that’s been eating up the open ground along the northeast edge of San Antonio. But there’s been little struggle that I can tell with the management of the course, at least in terms of using imagination to get people to play there.

The latest move has the Woodlake golf operation teaming up with American Express’ “Small Business Saturday.” A cardholder is required to register online to get a one-time $25 credit if a good or service is purchased at a participating small business this Saturday (Nov. 26, 2011). Woodlake is participating, so it looks like I’m in line for a refunded green fee, range balls and change left over for a snack between nines.

There’s still some computer red tape to go, and perhaps some fine print that I may have missed. So we’ll see how it goes. I don't have to play Saturday. As long as I buy the round on Saturday, I'm good to go when I have time to get back out there (I can even get the card bought over the phone and not worry about driving out there until I'm ready to play).

This course normally offers some every-day value for a golfer always on the lookout for it. But the greens became spotty about a year ago, a new superintendent was hired, then the Texas drought came along and hasn’t helped matters out there -- I imagine; I haven’t played there in a while.

But this offer gives me reason to go out and check the place again, and possibly return it to my playing rota. I need that, I need a place like this, because more places that offer value and stay vibrant can work to keep green fees down. The operator of the municipal courses here has announced a green-fee increase. So I’ll vote against their green-fee increase by slapping down some plastic on the counter of the golf shop across town.

I imagine the credit card’s mindset is to get people to look at an alternative to the big-box stores. I like the alternative. Particularly, I like being able to make the choice. And I like it in golf.

You can follow Tim Price on Twitter @golflikeurpoor and read his blogs at Tim Price Sports Books.

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I'm going to get specific on how I play golf and yet make it work within my budget. But I want to add some thoughts to my first entry ("Golf Like You're Poor? You're kidding, right?") that I think are important and serve as the foundation for Golf Like You're Poor.

I once was in debt to the tune of $25,000 on an annual salary of less than $40,000.

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Perhaps one of these days I’ll be moved to wax poetic on the benefits of walking while playing golf. Oh, how it’s a spiritual experience and how we can commune with nature as we trod foot after foot upon verdant fairways as the gentle wind rustles the trees and our hair …

Sorry for the lack of sentimentality, but to me that’s a bunch of hogwash -- or drivel from a golf travel writer, at least. Yeah, I feel good as I walk and carry my clubs during the round, but I Golf Like You’re Poor and I like walking because it saves me money.

If I stick to my budget and play every other week and the cart fee is $10.81 for 18 holes, I save $281 annually by telling the golf shop to keep that cart in the barn and let it rot.

Bingo, ‘nuff said, let’s go play.

But before I sign off, I would like to make a little statement here. In a preamble, I’ll tell you my political leanings are as fiercely independent as the saying “Don’t Tread On Me” might indicate. I don’t lock my step with conservatives or liberals. I vote my mind. Usually, it’s of a fiscally conservative set because I conduct my own life by a budget with the thought that if I can save money on golf, or toothpaste for that matter, I can set aside that money and better secure my future and that of my child without burdening the government to do so. At the same time, I think there are things government can do, and should do, and I’ll vote for a liberal mind if that candidate can promote a good idea with solid fiscal backing and a commitment to work with others to get it placed. Quite often I’m disappointed by all politicians, so I don’t waste much time talking about it.

But when political ideas come to the golf course, it’s uncanny to me how many times those words are fueled by a conservative talk-show host and how many times those words come riding out on a golf cart and drink from a can of beer chased by Three Musketeers. Of particular absurdity is the fact that those conservatives complain about health care reform, yet one of the major reasons for health-care costs blowing through our roof is the inability of way too many people to practice preventative health care by being active and doing it right. I know there are plenty of liberals out there smoking cigarettes and eating apple dumplin’s who only stay active by yelling at Fox News, so I say to everyone that there can’t be much better exercise done right than walking the golf course and bending down every now and then to fix a divot.

There are so many good things to say about walking at the golf course that I’ll bump back into this idea in blogs to come. For now I’ll end by doing something I never thought I would do: quote the advertisement of a major golf retailer (Golf Galaxy) and not ridicule the words.

“For many golfers, the best way to enjoy a round is by walking the course. Nothing brings a player closer, or gets them in the rhythm of the game, like experiencing every contour, rise, slope and every foot …,“ OK, enough of that. Let’s try this: “Walking is good for your health. It’s good for the health of the golf course as well. While course length and terrain may vary, the average golfer walks somewhere around six miles and burns around 1,500 calories per 18 holes.” Another page in this advertisement does more math: “1,233 feet multiplied by 18 holes, divided by 2 feet equals 11,097 steps per round.”

When you Golf Like You’re Poor, this is the sort of stuff that makes your experience rich.

My blogs are listed here, and if you're interested in more stories you can go to Tim Price Sports Books. There is also a Twitter account @golflikeurpoor. Enjoy the reading, and your golf, no matter if you're rich or poor.

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Posted by on in Village Blogs

Everyone likes to play where the tour pros play, and for us south of Dallas and west of Houston it's TPC San Antonio (assuming the wind hasn't blown that place off the map by now). You won't see me out there any time soon because I ain't bringing in much dough these days. Can you tell book sales are sagging? So the budget became mandatory.

I'm a domestic dad (a househusband?) whose second job is writing. Here's my challenge: Keep my game sharp, if not showing at least a little bit of improvement, compete, and maintain my equipment -- all for $100 each month. I'm ready.

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