Country club walls come down in Sacramento area

Some of the most exclusive country clubs in the Sacramento region have opened their golf courses to nonmembers as owners struggle for survival in a flagging economy.

Elite courses previously reserved for those paying tens of thousands of dollars for private memberships can be played for as little as $40 in daily fees because of insufficient membership numbers and fierce competition from the two dozen area courses opened in the past 15 years.

"Every club has to be looking at allowing some public play when the members aren't taking advantage of the facility," said Dylan Hills, head pro at Winchester, one of the area's newer courses. "Except for the most established clubs, it's a sign of the times."

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