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Asking Guests (Friends) to pay Greens Fees at your Country Club??

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

I am joining a local country club this season, and I ask: Is it wrong to ask my guests to pay their greens fees?

 

Before you answer, please let me clarify my question, and provide some color.  

 

Although I am not wealthy, they dramatically discounted the initiation fee this year to attract new members, and I have now decided to join whereas I would not have normally considered it.  I will still have the monthy food requirements and maintenance fees though.

 

I'm 31 with a 9 month old at home so I'm still getting accustomed to all of the new expenses that go along with that (which I am happy to pay). 

 

The club is a 9-hole course; although it is very nice.  Tom Doak ranked it as the 6th best 9-hole golf course in the world (designed by Hugh Wilson of Merion fame).  My Dad used to be a member here, and now is a member of another 9 hole CC that I have played many times over the years so I am familiar with CC golf and customs.....just not when it comes to my question.

 

I am not living beyond my means by joining.  I'm just conservative with my finances by nature.  I would like to enable my friends to enjoy this wonderful course with me as much as possible, but the guest rates (on weekends) aren't exactly cheap.  For certain people I invite, and on certain occasions, I would not ask for them to pay.  For example, I would not ask my Dad or any of his friends to pay...ever; or if the club is having a tournament, and I invite people to play in it with me.  I would only ask my buddies to kick in when we're just going out for a regular weekend round or something similar.  Is this acceptable?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

post #2 of 42

If you've paid for a membership at the club then effectively your friends not paying is the same as you paying again.

 

I think what you said above is spot on; choose as and when you're happy to pay for other people but default to a phrase like, "you'll have to come and play the club I joined. Green fees are expensive but discounted to guests so you won't be paying as much as normal"

post #3 of 42

I always make it clear whether or not I want the guest to pay for their green fees at my club before I set up the tee time.  I have sometimes paid myself and others I ask to pay.  Usually the latter are friends that call me and ask to play, the former are friends I invite to play.  But not always, I guess it just depends on my mood at the time to some extent. But I do always make it clear before I make the tee time about who is expected to pay for the guest fees so there isn't a misunderstanding.

post #4 of 42

Whenever I get invited to a club I typically expect to pay for the round.  If however the price is higher and that person is always asking me to go to their club because that's the only place they want to play, I may hint at a free round here or there.  It happened before and I wasn't even that big of a fan of the course, but it was near his house and cheap and he wanted to get his moneys worth.

 

The only time I don't expect to pay is when it's a client inviting me in exchange for doing business with them, or some times for a tournament. 

post #5 of 42

I also just joined a local country club, and I have no problem with having my guests pay their way because I'm getting them a discounted rate. What would be the rationale for paying for them, btw?

post #6 of 42

Of course they should pay, why wouldn't they? I do not belong to a CC but my father in law belongs to several, and everytime I'm invited to play with him I just naturally assume I'm paying for myself. There have been some occasions where he paid for me before I even got there but that is not the norm nor should it be. Perhaps I'm missing something here (Seeing as how I don't belong to a CC) but I don't see why anybody would feel obligated to pay for another player simply because you have a membership.

post #7 of 42

I think a key factor is reciprocity.  I have a friend in VA and we play at his club from time to time.  We pay our own fees - so when he plays at my place I expect him to pay.  On the other hand, I have a buddy in Canada who has hosted me at his (very high end) club a few times.  When he comes to visit I'd slap his hand if he reached for his wallet.  Another factor is the nature of the invitation - if you say to your friends "Come play my club." that could be construed as "I'm hosting."  If they say "I'd love to come and play at your place." then I'd expect that they would be expecting to play.  But whatever happens make sure that the ground rules are established ahead of time - avoids a lot of awkwardness later on.

post #8 of 42

I offer to pay part of the fee. If me and my friend went to a public course I would be shelling out ~40-60 bucks for the round.  If we play my home course my friend would pay 70 and I would pay 0. Seems fair to me to pay half so we both save money and play a nicer course. Obviously with a 4some the math changes a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek02 View Post

I am joining a local country club this season, and I ask: Is it wrong to ask my guests to pay their greens fees?

 

Before you answer, please let me clarify my question, and provide some color.  

 

Although I am not wealthy, they dramatically discounted the initiation fee this year to attract new members, and I have now decided to join whereas I would not have normally considered it.  I will still have the monthy food requirements and maintenance fees though.

 

I'm 31 with a 9 month old at home so I'm still getting accustomed to all of the new expenses that go along with that (which I am happy to pay). 

 

The club is a 9-hole course; although it is very nice.  Tom Doak ranked it as the 6th best 9-hole golf course in the world (designed by Hugh Wilson of Merion fame).  My Dad used to be a member here, and now is a member of another 9 hole CC that I have played many times over the years so I am familiar with CC golf and customs.....just not when it comes to my question.

 

I am not living beyond my means by joining.  I'm just conservative with my finances by nature.  I would like to enable my friends to enjoy this wonderful course with me as much as possible, but the guest rates (on weekends) aren't exactly cheap.  For certain people I invite, and on certain occasions, I would not ask for them to pay.  For example, I would not ask my Dad or any of his friends to pay...ever; or if the club is having a tournament, and I invite people to play in it with me.  I would only ask my buddies to kick in when we're just going out for a regular weekend round or something similar.  Is this acceptable?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.



 

post #9 of 42

If you invite me to play with you, I surely won't expect a free round of golf just because you belong to a CC.  That would be awfully presumptuous of me.  I would like to have an idea what I am going to be paying before I show up, though.  I would not want to be surprised with a $100 greens fee when I was expecting $20.  So just make sure they know ahead of time what they are expected to pay.

 

However, I don't know the etiquette with members of other CC's though.  Between you guys, maybe it's expected that you cover all of the expenses at your course, while they cover all of the expenses at their course when you play there?  I don't know.

post #10 of 42

Interesting question simply because I would never expect anyone to cover my green fees.  Someone would actually expect a club member to cover everything?

post #11 of 42

When invited to a private club, I am a guest. I have learned over the years to be a gracious and appreciative guest. I have a good friend who told me he thinks guilty reciprocity cheapens his generosity. He and I do not keep a ledger sheet of who owes who. Still, I often look for ways to thank my host like an invitation to a charity outing as my guest and certainly as a fourth in my public club 4-some as my guest.

 

The closest I come to offering to pay as a guest at a club is a group of four of us play 36 on one summer day each year. 18 at a public course and 18 at one of the guy's private club. The three non-members pay for the public course and dinner for our host. He sometimes has allowed us to tip our own caddies -- but not always. What we pay for that day does not come close to making him whole, but it is a gesture.

 

 

post #12 of 42
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the thoughts/opinions!

 

Some people wondered why the guests would not expect to pay or why I would be expected to pay.  The reason is two-fold.  First, when you play at a private club, you don't go into the pro shop and hand them a credit card to pay for your guests.  It is just noted that you have guests, and you receive an extra charge(s) on you monthly bill.  So there isn't really an opportunity to just let the guest(s) pay for themself.  The same goes for lunch after the round.  Second, the club I'm joining isn't a Merion, Oakmont, Shinnicock, etc.  If I was invited by someone to play at a really upscale club, I would certainly expect to pay the $150+ guest fees (educated guess) myself.  But at a lesser club like the one in question, the greens fees are significantly less, but borderline expensive (for me at least).  Also, I have never been asked by my host to pay for my round when I was invited to this club.

post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by x129 View Post

I offer to pay part of the fee. If me and my friend went to a public course I would be shelling out ~40-60 bucks for the round.  If we play my home course my friend would pay 70 and I would pay 0. Seems fair to me to pay half so we both save money and play a nicer course. Obviously with a 4some the math changes a bit.



 



While I do understand your logic, another way to look at it is that you have already paid you annual dues (thousands of $), and continue to pay your monthly maintenance costs.  On top of that, you're providing your friend access to a course that he/she would otherwise not be able to play.  So while you would technically not have to pay greens fees when you go to your course, you are just pre-paying them every year at the beginning of the season.  And unless you play A LOT, I guarantee you are paying more in greens fees than your guest.

 

post #14 of 42
I've never even considered paying for anyone else or have anyone else pay for me. If I play golf, I pay for it. If others wants to play with me, they pay for themselves.
post #15 of 42

These can get sticky as some people misinterpret an invitation to mean"free".  I think you should make it clear what their cost would be when you ask someone to join you so it isn't awkward the day of the round.  People who aren't country club savvy usually don't understand that while no money changes hands at the time, you get a bill at the end of the month for the guest rounds, food and beverages you consumed.  I've seen guys eat and drink like kings cause they thought it was free and it created some hard feelings between friends. 

post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek02 View Post

I am joining a local country club this season, and I ask: Is it wrong to ask my guests to pay their greens fees?

 

Before you answer, please let me clarify my question, and provide some color.  

 

Although I am not wealthy, they dramatically discounted the initiation fee this year to attract new members, and I have now decided to join whereas I would not have normally considered it.  I will still have the monthy food requirements and maintenance fees though.

 

I'm 31 with a 9 month old at home so I'm still getting accustomed to all of the new expenses that go along with that (which I am happy to pay). 

 

The club is a 9-hole course; although it is very nice.  Tom Doak ranked it as the 6th best 9-hole golf course in the world (designed by Hugh Wilson of Merion fame).  My Dad used to be a member here, and now is a member of another 9 hole CC that I have played many times over the years so I am familiar with CC golf and customs.....just not when it comes to my question.

 

I am not living beyond my means by joining.  I'm just conservative with my finances by nature.  I would like to enable my friends to enjoy this wonderful course with me as much as possible, but the guest rates (on weekends) aren't exactly cheap.  For certain people I invite, and on certain occasions, I would not ask for them to pay.  For example, I would not ask my Dad or any of his friends to pay...ever; or if the club is having a tournament, and I invite people to play in it with me.  I would only ask my buddies to kick in when we're just going out for a regular weekend round or something similar.  Is this acceptable?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.


They should pay if they want to play there.  I pay my own fees when I play at my brother-in-law's club, and don't have any issue with that. 

 

post #17 of 42

I don't think it's your job to provide free golf fror friends.

Maybe as a birthday present or something you could pay - that would make friends realise that they have to pay their share.

Just curious - do you have the type of friends who would expect you to pay, or would you be embarrassed to mention to them what the green fees are?

 

 

post #18 of 42

The guests privilege is to be able to play at a club that they would not normally be allowed into unless they are playing with a member. My guests average fees per round at my course are cheaper than mine so it goes without saying that they would pay it.

 

The only exception is my father in law - and that's just a race where the first one there pays for the other. (and if i am there first and pay he'll get sneaky with the bar crew and pay the tab before I ever see it)

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