Monday, July 27, 2009

Hidden Creek...Hidden Fees?

For those of you that don't know that much about me, I grew up in Burleson, TX (No, I didn't know Kelly Clarkson, but ExplosiveSisters were in choir with her). Whereas Burleson may not have the greatest reputation of all time (it is somewhat known as a hick town), I really enjoyed growing up there, but it was clear that I had outgrown the town shortly after high school. I still really enjoy going back, which is pretty frequently as ExplosiveFatherInLaw still lives there. Which leads me to my post...

It was suggested that myself, ExplosiveBrotherInLaw, ExplosiveFatherInLaw and my good friend all meet at the Hidden Creek Golf Course, located off of 35-W just south of Burleson. I had never played the course (in fact, I have only played 4-5 rounds of golf in my life), so I was excited about it. Our tee time was at 8:37, and we showed up, paid our $38 a piece, and played our round. I actually shot pretty well, shooting my first ever pars on a course (I got two of 'em!). I only lost about 5 golf balls, which was a personal best for me. You see, I golf lefty, and I also played baseball all of my life. My body just doesn't want to let go of the baseball swing, no matter how hard I try, so I tend to slice it a lot. There is one hole at this course where I-35 is just off the side of the hole, and I was very nervous teeing off at that hole, because I don't want to pay to replace someone's windshield.

But, that is not the point of this post. Before I start, I should preface by saying that it is not the point of this post to rail on Hidden Creek, per se. My beef in general is with the ways that places like Hidden Creek tack on other fees to make up for lost revenue. Not knowing their policy, I showed up with a cooler full of non-alcoholic drinks. I brought the cooler over to the golf cart, and was semi-politely informed by someone on the staff there that I couldn't bring in my own cooler. Ok, kind of miffed, but not enough to put me off, but this is where it gets interesting. I was told that I could go inside and use one of their coolers...weird...I can't use my own, but you will let me use one of yours for free? No problem...I go inside, and posted inside is "THE RULES". I can use one of their coolers for no charge, as long as I purchase FOUR drinks from the snack bar. Cheapest drink? $2.25. So it now costs me $9 to use their free cooler, plus I had to leave my driver's license. At least they didn't charge me for the ice. The odd thing was that I noticed that they had a sign up that said "Need Vaseline? Just ask!". I didn't know what to make of that.

So we set off on our round, $2.25 Powerade's ready to go, and we play golf. When we get to the turn (that is after the 9th hole, halfway through the round, for you non-golfers out there), ExplosiveFatherInLaw decides he is going to go buy a 6 pack of beer. He comes back with 6 Coors Lights in hand and a pained expression on his face. "Everything OK?" "Yeah...they just charged me $18.50 for 6 beers."

$18.50! Are you kidding me!!? So, the Vaseline sign made sense (no, they really didn't have a vaseline sign). Now, I know that Hidden Creek is actually on the cheap end of golf courses, and I don't mean to single them out, because A LOT of places do this kind of stuff to you. They kind of lure you in, and then nickel and dime you to poverty. I also know that our current economic climate dictates that companies do this to you. If American Airlines just rolled the checked bag fee into their ticket prices, no one would buy their tickets for being so expensive.

This is why I LOVE Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and why I am somewhat afraid of the Rangers getting a new owner. They allow coolers! With your own drinks!! What a concept! Heck, you can stop at Wendy's before the game and bring your own food in! Man, that is a great idea...and even with that, we STILL make a trip to the concession stand for food and drinks, if you can believe it!

If you have your own nickel and dime story, I would love to hear it. Put it in the comments...I need to know which places I need to avoid!
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