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Opinion on pros and cons of private club membership - Page 2

post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by zipazoid View Post

If it were just me getting the membership, it would be all about the golf course & the value.

 

But 1484, you're talking about a family membership with 3 kids. That introduces other dynamics -

 

They got a nice pool? Junior golf programs? Spa? Restaurant?

 

It's basically going to be your family's social outlet. 

 

Lots of great advice so far and I very much agree with the above.  At a private club you're basically paying more for convenience and better course conditions.  The ability to hit balls or play 9 after work.  Place for the kids to drop off the kids and have them do golf stuff in the summer.  There are a ton of great deals out there right now, depending on where you live.  

 

1484, if you're going to playing 60 rounds during the year I think it makes sense, especially with five golfers in the household.  Invite the guys from work play on guest days or member/guest tournaments.  My parents and my family are members of the same club here in San Diego.  They have dinner at the club at least two nights a week, one of those is with our boys and they've made some new friends.  My Dad also plays four days a week so he def gets his money's worth.  I'm on a junior executive deal, all the same amenities as everyone else, pay much less but don't have any voting rights.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by caniac6 View Post

Ask about the financial stability of the club. A lot of places with no initiation and attractive packages are in bad shape financially. Get ready for assesments. If you can find a club that fits your needs and is stable, that is a great way to go. If you are like me, and are more interested in golf than the social aspects, there may be better places.

 

 

Agree, ask when the last assessment was, how much it was.  If there are any plans for renovating/repairing the golf course or clubhouse.  Any major issues with the golf course.  In California there can be an issue with having enough water or problems with course conditions with older golf courses that were built on clay.  If you have a chance try to talk to some other members and see how they like the club.

post #20 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post

I'm on a junior executive deal, all the same amenities as everyone else, pay much less but don't have any voting rights.

I have seen these types of plans at some places, and they are pretty good deals.  When do you typically have to "upgrade" to a full membership?

post #21 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

I have seen these types of plans at some places, and they are pretty good deals.  When do you typically have to "upgrade" to a full membership?

 

I think it's 36.  Some clubs are even 40 or 41

post #22 of 56

I hope to join a club one day when I retire. For now the course I work at and play most of the time feels almost like a country club. I walk into the restaurant and know most of the people in there. Its the same people every morning, the general public doesn't invade until after 10 most days.

post #23 of 56

There have been lots of great replies........

 

 

I've had both private and public course memberships over the years too.   The most important factor is what options are near your home????   For me....I wouldn't consider a course membership with unlimited playing privies unless the course was really close!   For example.....if it's 7pm in the evening and I get the itch to play a few holes.....the drive to the course shouldn't be an issue!  Convenience is key...so you can play a lota2_wink.gif

 

In my experience, I can get a membership with "MORE COURSE" by purchasing a family membership at a public course.  Where I play now, and where I've played for the past many years is much better than the private alternative....for less money.  Of course, this really depends on where you live and what your options are!!  Maybe where you live, this is not the case.  Geographics play a major role........and then it just comes down to which course offers the overall best value with all the pro's and cons considered?

 

I've been playing public course golf for the past 13 years.  I do miss some of the benefits of my private golf past, but the benefits of where I play now surpass them.   It's really a judgement call.........where I play now would cost a lot more if it was private. 

post #24 of 56

Another issue I didn't see raised, but maybe I missed it, is that you need to make sure the private club you join doesn't require use of Caddies. Here in NY alot of the private clubs require you use Caddies, although sometimes there are exceptions... like after 3PM for example. Some also don't allow walking the course. So the convenience of jumping on the course to play 2 or 3 holes can sometimes be discouraged if you have to pay ofr a cart or take a caddy...which which can cost you in fees and tips each time you play. Some course even have valets and guys who clean and store your clubs...more tips!

 

I'd love to join a private club and some local clubs have tried to get more members by lowering or eliminating initiation fees and lowering rates, but one can still end up paying $12K+ a year in fees plus food minimums and tips. And this doesn't include Assessments which some clubs can add on to pay for capital improvements. This is very hard to stomach when you live in an area where you can't play for 3-4 months of the year and the pool is only good for 3 months....yet you have to spend $300/month on food for all 12 months.

 

Make sure you check out what all the fees are and not just the basic dues.

post #25 of 56

I have been a member of a country club since December.  My CC is definitely on the cheap side when it comes to a CC.  I am on the Young Executive plan, which gives me a cheaper rate until the age of 40.

 

Pros

What I love about my CC is that is on my way home from work and 5 min from my house.  I usually take 1 club and stop off on the way home and 1-2 buckets.  The price I pay gives my whole family the same privileges as me, so it's easier to get my kids involved with golf.  I don't worry that they will hate it and waste the money because I am already paying for it.  I like that I get to walk out there and tee off within 15 min.  No one around so usually I can play 2 balls or hit extra shots when I feel like it.  The clientele is way better than at the muni courses near my house.  All of the club functions/tournaments to enter.  Also I enjoy playing with the usual guys, which they automatically give us the same tee time every weekend.  Guests pay a rate about the same as the muni courses, so they are more likely to play with me because the course is nicer.  Perfect greens, and for the most part tee boxes all year long including winter. I actually save money belonging to this CC. My game has improved every month I have been there because of playing more.  Even though I am paying for the golf it doesn't feel like it when I go out there because no money changes hands so I feel like I am playing for free.  Discounts on all merchandise, equipment, clothing, etc.

 

Cons

I guess I could get tired playing the same course, I haven't yet. Other than that I don't have any.  Possibility of raising dues or assessments in the future.

 

Not to make everyone hate me but it cost me 182 dollars a month to belong to this CC, not counting monthly food.  Initiation was $500.  If I were to play at the local course 4 times a month, with range balls and driving it would cost me about $200.  Anyone interested in moving to the Central Valley of California, we are looking for new members.

post #26 of 56
Quote:

Not to make everyone hate me but it cost me 182 dollars a month to belong to this CC, not counting monthly food.  Initiation was $500.  If I were to play at the local course 4 times a month, with range balls and driving it would cost me about $200.  Anyone interested in moving to the Central Valley of California, we are looking for new members.

 

 

Damn!!!

post #27 of 56

I grew up as kid belonging to a private club.  It was great for a kid.  Swim teams, golf events, tennis camps.  Never a dull moment for a well run family oriented club. 

 

As an adult I've never belonged to a private club but it's definitely a different perspective when you are the one paying the bills.  My brother and parents both belong to different private clubs.  My brothers has 2 courses(1 was just redone by Rees Jones I think) and is unbelievably kid friendly with pools,  etc.  He really enjoys it and it's very social.  I've played there several times and it's a good group of members. 

 

My parents club is totally different.  Geared more to the older crowd, not squat for kids to do but it's an A+ classy club.  The course is an awesome Fazio mountain course.  My only gripe is that the guest fees are high enough my friends can't afford to visit with me.  I get a family price deal but they get hammered for their budget.

 

What I have noticed is that if you have to think about affording it, you probably can't.  Trail fees, cart fees, caddy fees, monthly minimums etc can eat you up pretty fast.  Another thing to consider is if you are taking guests, cash/CC's usually aren't accepted at private clubs.  It's all put on the members tab.  That can be awkward getting green fees, bar tabs, etc back from buddies unless you want to treat them or you really trust them and they have the money.

 

I do belong to a public club that has 2 courses.  Both courses are totally different with one being a Pete Dye and the other built in the 20's with rolling hills and mature trees.  It's a really nice option depending on what you want to play.  When Dye is set up for tournament play it can be brutal.   I used to play about 10 different courses a year jumping around depending on deals and where my buddies and I wanted to play.   Now I mostly just play the 2.  I don't get bored necessarily, but I do like variety at time.

 

I do really like the unlimited green fees/cart/range balls.  For us the best part is we can just show up after work and walk or ride 5-6 holes and jump around as we want as long as we don't impede anyone.  We even walk our goldens when we play some evenings and it's fine when you are a member.  With the wife and me playing we definitely get our moneys worth.  It's well managed unlike lots of public courses that allow memberships and pace of play is monitored as well as dress code.  The Dye course has 10 minute tee times that really helps.  The only problem I have is that it is about double the daily rate of other courses in the area so most of my friends can't afford to play with me.  We can play the other course for about 1/2 as much but it's still pricier than most of the $25 courses they play.  That's about the only downside I've seen to a membership.   Not sure I'll ever have interest in private after this public experience.  But I'm guessing this public one may be an exception.

 

Good luck in whatever you decide.

post #28 of 56

Finances are a major concern for me (and the main cog in how well I play at any given time).

 

I was a club member for 4 years on a family plan that only cost $140 a month. My wife plays occasionally but my son and I are (or were) fanatics. We both played almost every single day and on any day I didn't work we played from daylight to dark. Sometimes we even got a few holes in after dark using the lights on my golf cart.

 

That much golf would have cost a small fortune even at a "cheap" public course. The family membership was well worth it and both my son and I advanced our games much faster than the average weekend players.

 

When my son moved away I had to re-evaluate and decided to just be satisfied to be that weekend golfer at public courses. The cost is probably slightly higher than I was paying at the club but the benefit is that we often go to Chattanooga where my son lives to play. We wouldn't be able to do that if we were still paying the club membership. Getting to play golf with my son as much as possible is more important than the state of my game or getting to play more often.

post #29 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by flintcreek6412 View Post

I grew up as kid belonging to a private club.  It was great for a kid.  Swim teams, golf events, tennis camps.  Never a dull moment for a well run family oriented club. 

As an adult I've never belonged to a private club but it's definitely a different perspective when you are the one paying the bills.  My brother and parents both belong to different private clubs.  My brothers has 2 courses(1 was just redone by Rees Jones I think) and is unbelievably kid friendly with pools,  etc.  He really enjoys it and it's very social.  I've played there several times and it's a good group of members. 

My parents club is totally different.  Geared more to the older crowd, not squat for kids to do but it's an A+ classy club.  The course is an awesome Fazio mountain course.  My only gripe is that the guest fees are high enough my friends can't afford to visit with me.  I get a family price deal but they get hammered for their budget.

What I have noticed is that if you have to think about affording it, you probably can't.  Trail fees, cart fees, caddy fees, monthly minimums etc can eat you up pretty fast.  Another thing to consider is if you are taking guests, cash/CC's usually aren't accepted at private clubs.  It's all put on the members tab.  That can be awkward getting green fees, bar tabs, etc back from buddies unless you want to treat them or you really trust them and they have the money.

I do belong to a public club that has 2 courses.  Both courses are totally different with one being a Pete Dye and the other built in the 20's with rolling hills and mature trees.  It's a really nice option depending on what you want to play.  When Dye is set up for tournament play it can be brutal.   I used to play about 10 different courses a year jumping around depending on deals and where my buddies and I wanted to play.   Now I mostly just play the 2.  I don't get bored necessarily, but I do like variety at time.

I do really like the unlimited green fees/cart/range balls.  For us the best part is we can just show up after work and walk or ride 5-6 holes and jump around as we want as long as we don't impede anyone.  We even walk our goldens when we play some evenings and it's fine when you are a member.  With the wife and me playing we definitely get our moneys worth.  It's well managed unlike lots of public courses that allow memberships and pace of play is monitored as well as dress code.  The Dye course has 10 minute tee times that really helps.  The only problem I have is that it is about double the daily rate of other courses in the area so most of my friends can't afford to play with me.  We can play the other course for about 1/2 as much but it's still pricier than most of the $25 courses they play.  That's about the only downside I've seen to a membership.   Not sure I'll ever have interest in private after this public experience.  But I'm guessing this public one may be an exception.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
If you bring guests to your private course, it's standard etiquette to pay for them. You shouldn't be asking them for that money back. Kind of like when you said "if you have to think about affording a private club, you probably can't."
post #30 of 56

IMO.......If one is looking at the $$$$ to join a private clubs you are:

1) likely not willing to pay for amenities associated with a club

2) or you can't afford the club.

post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr22putt View Post

IMO.......If one is looking at the $$$$ to join a private clubs you are:

1) likely not willing to pay for amenities associated with a club

2) or you can't afford the club.

So I'm understanding you correct, one should just sign-up for a country club and then worry about how much money it costs when the bill shows up? What's wrong with knowing what you're paying for and if it can fit into your budget, regardless of how big or small that budget is?

 

If you are referring to nitpicking every dollar spent, then I am with you on that one.  One of my friends who I wanted to join was asking me questions about the 2 dollar hole-in-one fee, or if he could opt out of the 10 dollar a month range ball fee.  I knew when he was asking me those questions he was not going to join and shouldn't be joining if that's what concerned him.

post #32 of 56

Advice from someone who has joined two private clubs.

 

I joined my first private club before I had any kids and then realized by the time my youngest kid was 10 year old I only managed to play less than 20 rounds a year and the monthly dues (not including the non equity initiation fee) of $500 meant each round cost me $300. So I quit and walked away from the initiation fees.

 

My kids got older and I didn't have to spend every moment driving them around and the golf itch was growing. So I joined a second club and I am averaging 50 - 60 full rounds a year and 9 hole rounds daily in the summer.

 

1. Don't calculate how much per round it is costing you. Joining a private club gives you access and freedom to play 1 or 18 holes. Don't force yourself to play 65 or 70 round to "break even". The enjoyment of the game is all that matters for the $$$ spent.

 

2. Don't forget to include other costs like range access fees, minimum tips for the staff, minimum food charges, golf bag storage, hole in one insurance etc. These add up.

 

3. You should support your club pro. So I purchase at least a few clubs, shirts, shoes, bags, balls from the pro shop every year. The prices are usually higher than at the large discount golf shops but it is worth it to support your club pro.

 

4. I really enjoy having at least two separate groups that I play with on the weekends on a regular basis. Even when I don't play with my regulars I can always find a game any time.

 

5. Most clubs have ladies and mens nights and that means at least two afternoon of the week are not available for walk on play.

 

6. In general I find private clubs are in better shape. Usually members will fix ball marks, divots, rake traps etc. If they don't word usually gets around.

 

7. Don't force yourself to just play at the club because you've already paid for the fee. I usually play at least an additional 20 rounds outside of my club every year. Variety is the spice of life.

 

8. Expect to pay for the round of golf and food/beverage for your guests. Most clubs operate on what I call a "no wallet" basis. That is to mean the pro shop staff will automatically charge your guest's fees to your account. All food and beverage is paid via a charge to your account. The staff at private clubs very quickly know who you are and will charge to your account without asking for your name or membership number. I actually like that fact most staff will figure out quickly what you like in terms of food or drinks.

post #33 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by walk18 View Post

If you bring guests to your private course, it's standard etiquette to pay for them. You shouldn't be asking them for that money back. Kind of like when you said "if you have to think about affording a private club, you probably can't."
I totally agree. That's why I threw that out there. If you are worried about the cost then I'm guessing the $500 its going to cost you to invite a few buddies for a round with lunch might be a deal breaker.
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by walk18 View Post

If you bring guests to your private course, it's standard etiquette to pay for them. You shouldn't be asking them for that money back. Kind of like when you said "if you have to think about affording a private club, you probably can't."

I would agree also, I can appreciate what everyone has posted as to the other amenities that go with private course membership, but for me it was all about economics.  If I play 20-30 rounds of golf in a year, and spend between $1000 and $1200 for green fees, I'm not willing to pay twice that, play the same amount of golf, just for a few amenities. 

 

Last year I was able to join a private club, with private used loosely.  I pay $50 a month, unlimited golf, and I can walk the course.  For me, there are no amenities, but it does have a decent workout room and a pool (I don't workout and I have a pool in my backyard).  I joined in the middle of the year last year, and this year I hope to get in 40 rounds of golf, which would make each round about $15, even if I get in 30, it's a bargain. 

post #35 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by flintcreek6412 View Post

I totally agree. That's why I threw that out there. If you are worried about the cost then I'm guessing the $500 its going to cost you to invite a few buddies for a round with lunch might be a deal breaker.
Maybe it's that I belong to a cheap CC compared to others, but I have never paid for someone else's green fees when they are my guest. Never have and never will, I do usually buy lunch or other things for them. All the times I have been invited as a guest to someone else's CC, even before I was a member, they have never paid for me or even offered nor would I expect them to or let them. Maybe it's because it costs guests 35 dollars to play at my club, which is the same price as all the muni's around. If I were a member of a club that charged hundreds of dollars to bring a guest then I guess that would make more sense because your probably paying a lot just to be a member.
post #36 of 56
About that 'standard etiquette' of paying for your first time guests.... But is also standard etiquette of your first time guests to OFFER to pay the guest fee. But the standard is to pay that fee, the FIRST time they play.

After that they should be willing to pay the fee- unless you take care of it all the time, which is entirely up to you. Then what incentive do they have of joining? you're paying their way...!

I've played with a few different people and always offered to pay that first time at their club. They've always said, "no, no- this one is mine". But they never said that I got a free ride every time, I paid a guest rate the next time and maybe buy lunch or something to thank him for the opportunity.
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