Firestone, other exclusive clubs open to public play

By Chris Lewis

Firestone Country Club, the storied private club in Akron, Ohio, recently began offering stay-and-play packages to the general public, so that anyone can enjoy a world-class golf experience that was once limited to members and the world’s greatest golfers.

That’s right … Now the Average Joe can play the course. 

Well, perhaps we should say the Above-Average Joe. A one-night stay and a single round cost $595, which is the least expensive package. And that doesn’t include travel costs.

However, you are playing Firestone …

The club —owned by ClubCorp — offers three courses, including the renowned South Course. Firestone has hosted three PGA Championships and is the current host to the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship.

“While the pandemic has offered new opportunities to explore, Firestone’s courses have continued to deliver on their natural beauty, playability and pristine conditions,” said Jay Walkinshaw, the club’s general manager. “Our imagination has been tested, and we’ve discovered a new demographic of golf enthusiasts that would be pleased to be welcomed to Firestone.”

Thus far, the stay-and-play packages have received overwhelmingly positive responses, the club said. It also noted that such offerings are limited. Members of other ClubCorp clubs enjoy a better rate.

Available for that one night plan, as well as two or three nights, the packages include lodging, dining at three on-property establishments and golf at the three award-winning championship courses (the aforementioned South Course, along with the Robert Trent Jones-designed North Course and the Tom Fazio-designed Fazio Course).

This is not the only ClubCorp club that’s opening the gates.

Three other ClubCorp-associated clubs — Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.’s Morgan Run Club & Resort, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.’s PGA National Resort & Spa and Tampa, Fla.’s Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club  — are also offering stay-and-play packages to the general public.  

“As golf’s popularity continues to rise, we’re confident the interest in stay-and-play experiences will continue to grow as well,” said Meg Tollison, chief marketing officer for ClubCorp. “More guests are looking for unique golf experiences, and ClubCorp provides them exactly that.”

And ClubCorp is not alone in exploring this either.

A number of other private clubs are offering opportunities for non-members to play at their exclusive venues. Blue Hill Country Club, located in Canton, Mass., has offered a “Member for a Day” program, where visitors can golf on Mondays.



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