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Should I Join A Club / What's Reasonable Price

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

This is my first post on TST, so I'll try to be brief. I've golf all my life but only become an avid golf since Aug '12. I've been considering joining a club but would appreciate some feedback. First I use GolfNow and typically play their "hot deals" 2-4 times per week. In my area this often means paying $10-20 w/ cart to play. I'm currently a 12.4 hcp, but looking to improve which means time on the range. I've been doing research about joining clubs for the benefits of using the range versus paying $10-15 for a large bucket of balls.  My 15 yr old stepson and wife have recently got into golf as well.  Since a lot of country clubs offer swimming and fitness as amenities, I"m wondering if it's worth the cost. I've done the math for what I'm spending playing a variety of courses and all in all it seems to be a wash.  We are a middle income family, so cost is a factor. What are your thoughts around becoming a member of a club and what is a reasonable monthly due? Thanks.

post #2 of 23

Once you join, all things being equal, its quite likely your frequency of play will actually increase.  Mostly due to holiday, and squeezing in a 9 hole round after work.  Additionally, you may find your wife and step son wishing and actually playing more as well.  So with the cost being a "wash", I'd say go for the membership.

 

Additionally, dont discount the added benefit and enjoyment of tournaments.  Being a member also makes it much easier to have a regular group to play with.

post #3 of 23

Private country clubs will vary on cost depending on the area. In NY most of the private clubs have initiation fees (partially refundable) plus annual fees so the buy in can get pretty expensive.

 

Most of the clubs I checked out also charge a cart or "trail" fee which range from $15 - $40 per person. When you factor in all the fees and related costs of belonging to a private country club in NY you're looking at a first year investment of about $35,000 and about $15,000-$25,000 per year after plus cart fees.

 

From a cost perspective it doesn't really pay to join a private country club even if you take advantage of all the amenities, it's more about having access to a well maintained course that you are willing to play a few times per week, tournaments, scheduled tee times, less on course annoyances, unlimited access to range, putting and chipping greens and the networking and friendships you develop over time from being a member there.

 

There are a few clubs that aren't private but offer memberships that provide discounted green fees / cart rentals and priority tee times. They are more reasonable, typically $1500 - $2500 per year.

post #4 of 23

Memberships, season passes, monthly dues and daily green fees VARY WIDELY by region.  You have done the math for your region and decided it is a wash, so it really comes down to other criteria besides $.

 

Would you prefer to play the same course all the time with a chance to meet some regular guys to play with, or do you prefer the variety?

 

As far as practice goes, are there any courses that offer a season range pass?  This might be an alternative to joining a club.  Of course, clubs can offer extras amenities as well as some social benefits.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the quick replies!  Any recommendations for clubs in the Jax area. We live near the intercoastal but willing to consider any clubs in the area.  Thanks!

post #6 of 23

Personally for me, it was join all the way. Depending on how the membership is at the moment, you may also be able to convince them to waive the initiation fee with a 1 year commitment etc (I was at my club) and the dues break even if you play 5 weekend rounds a month (I do plus another 7 weekday rounds) as well as completely free unlimited driving range (I use it a lot) etc. The wife and kid get the pool, tennis courts, etc and enjoy it so all in all I come out ahead. 

 

I'll never go back to not being a member somewhere. Another very nice private country club in my area is looking for younger members and waived the 8k initiation and I'd jump on that one in a heart beat if they weren't 35 miles away from me, the amount of gas I'd use as often as I play would kill the savings in short order so I stick with a nice semi private that's ten miles away. 

post #7 of 23

I have no idea what private memberships in Jacksonville cost, but in Southern California, a decent club will usually set you back about 20-50k upfront (equity membership) or 5-10k (non-equity), plus an additional grand per month for dues, bar minimums, pro shop and range fees. Add on top of that cart fees and the occaisonal charge to bring a guest, and you will probably spend $1,500 a month. I explored that option myself, but given that I only play once per month, there is really no way to justify the cost. If money were no object, then I would join a club in a heartbeat.

post #8 of 23

As Big C said, no idea what the cost to join a club is in the Jax area, but a couple more issues to consider.  If you do an equity membership, there can be additional cost, like they need a new cart barn so they add $20 to your monthly fee for the next 18 months, stuff like that.  Also, tee times can be hard to get during prime time.  The "regulars" that have been members for a long time, will have those Saturday and Sunday 8am to 10am tee times all locked up, so if that's the time of day you like to play you may not be able to get a tee time.  Lastly, one of my friends joined a country club and had a hard time even getting on to play, every time he thought he was in an "off" time to go, the club had events going on, like junior events, ladies events, local organizations tournaments, things like that. 

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpuckeroo View Post

As Big C said, no idea what the cost to join a club is in the Jax area, but a couple more issues to consider.  If you do an equity membership, there can be additional cost, like they need a new cart barn so they add $20 to your monthly fee for the next 18 months, stuff like that.  Also, tee times can be hard to get during prime time.  The "regulars" that have been members for a long time, will have those Saturday and Sunday 8am to 10am tee times all locked up, so if that's the time of day you like to play you may not be able to get a tee time.  Lastly, one of my friends joined a country club and had a hard time even getting on to play, every time he thought he was in an "off" time to go, the club had events going on, like junior events, ladies events, local organizations tournaments, things like that. 

Yes, before joining anywhere, it makes sense to do your homework.  While some CCs make it easier to get out for members compared to local public courses, others may not...can depend on how many members there are (or will be in the future), etc.  Definitely try to talk to multiple members, the starter(s), the pro(s), etc.

 

I had a season pass this year at a course that offers memberships also and while membership does carry some additional perks, there are about 30 guys on the wait list to get out and only a few guys joining each year.  Other places might be completely different.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback. Decided not to join in favor of the GolfNow deals.
post #11 of 23

I wish there were more "Golf Clubs" vs "Country Clubs".  In Northern California, I belonged to a "Golf Club" - it was a totally private course with no amenities.  They did have a bar and grill but there was no requirement to spend money there.  No pool or tennis court and the "clubhouse" was a shoddy old building with deer antlers on the wall.  That was very reasonable and as long as I played more than 4 times a month it was cheaper than greens fees.  Plus the course was awesome and usually uncrowded.

 

Around San Antonio, though, we seem to have only expensive country clubs or Public courses that you can "join" to get discounts off your greens fees.  I wouldn't go for either of those since the discounts that come with Public course "membership" aren't enough to trade for the freedom of playing any course you want at any time (not to mention Golf Now usually has deals that compete) and, of course, Country Club membership is out of my grasp, financially speaking.

 

We also have a deal where you can get discounts off all the city courses - so you can pick from 5 instead of just be tied to 1 . . but it's still not worth it because you can play those courses at twilight for 10-12 bucks.

post #12 of 23

Public and semi-private memberships around here aren't worth the money, even the cheaper ones. 

 

For instance, for someone who works full time, they can get out, at most 2 times a week on the weekends.

 

My home course, which is pretty cheap

 

Members:

 

150 startup fee

150 a month ( also a 12 month commitment )

16 cart fees

45 Flat fee per month for unlimited walking in addition to the dues 

 

say you play both days on a weekend, and that's all you have time for

 

150 dues + 128 in cart fees = 278 a month total

 

Non-member:

 

37.50 greens fee and cart * 8 = 300

 

That is provided you can make it out all the days you plan to.  The 22 dollars saved isn't worth the commitment. Walking full time is a decent deal if you can get out enough.  I just can't justify it right now. 

post #13 of 23

I guess I should be thankful for the membership I have.  I have access to two local municpal facilities and can play 7 days a week anytime for $55/month.  That doesn't include cart fees (which are $10 per 18) but I walk anyway.  They are only average cources but good enough and it is great to work on my game.

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

You are lucky SloverUT. I've wanted to start walking but GolfNow is big in my area.  There are "hot deals" daily which make it too easy to ride for the same price or less than walking if you are flexible with playing times which i am. i play about 3x per week and with the hot deals usually pay no more than $20 a round. 

post #15 of 23

I paid about $2k for an annual pass at a public course owned by the city but run by billy casper.  That gets me unlimited play, with carts, plus free use of the range.  On top of that I get discounted rates at all the other courses in the area run by the same company, usually $30 for courses that charge $60-90.  

post #16 of 23

Membership here in Kuwait is about $5500 annual or 2700 semi annual for unlimited golf, cart, gym, pool, and tennis.  But the green fee is $150 including the ridiculous 40 dollar cart fee.  It is a no brainer if you want to play and you live there full time.  The membership is justified if you only play once a week and so I don't even hesitate if I know I'm going to be here for six month minimum  because the only time that it is busy is on the weekend.  You can tee off at 5:15 a.m. in the summer and play 18 and be at work before 9:30.  The back nine is also floodlight so you can play on the course until 10 at night.  It is also 40 bucks to use the practice range so you can see how the membership may seem steep but since there is only one show in town the membership is definately the way to go. 

post #17 of 23

I don't remember seeing any golf courses in Kuwait.. lol.  Are these located near some of the camps or in the city itself?

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SloverUT View Post

I don't remember seeing any golf courses in Kuwait.. lol.  Are these located near some of the camps or in the city itself?

Grass  Golf Courses: Sahara Golf Club and Kuwait International Golf Club (9 holes soon to be 27 when finished)

 

2 Desert Courses

 

Sahara is right in the middle of the city.  KIGCC is 2 exits from Camp Arifjan!  The grass has been growin for about 7 years now!

 

My avatar is the first teebox matter of fact!

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