I played the Blue Monster on February 20. No doubt the revamped course is a severe test of golf and was in excellent condition when I played. However, for a total cost of more than $550, the entire experience did not measure up with Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass and Pinecrest 2. The staff were all very polite and my forecaddie (Sean/Shawn?) and his colleague were terrific but the full fee should not be charged until they can deliver the full expectation of service and amenities that comes with that price point. The day I played was the first day that the new pro shop was open. After paying, I asked to use the restroom - it wasn't available yet and I would have to go back to the Spa where I had parked and taken a shuttle to the course....However, they pointed out that there were portable toilets out on the course for the forthcoming tournament, so I could wait and use one of those. Thankfully, portable toilets were available at the practice range because those on the course were wired together and locked-up. The golf cart I was given had no scorecard and no divot repair material in either bottle. When I arrived at the first tee 8 minutes before my tee time, I noticed a PGA pro with others beside the tee. Course staff asked me to immediately tee off on my own and catch up to the threesome that was approaching the first green - then changed his mind and drove me out to the threesome, saying I could play the first hole at the end of my round. I guess my $550 isn't worth the same as others'. Those considering playing here should know that airliners fly low overhead every 90 seconds - two minutes. One last observation - the pro shop would not validate my $18 parking fee, saying that charge is "part of the business". While a small part of the total cost, I would observe that Pebble, TPC Sawgrass and Pinehurst don't charge for parking if you have a tee time, so this just seemed to be part of an overall strategy to gouge every possible dollar from guests. While the golf course itself was great, I left feeling that I had gotten "the business".
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