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Opinion on pros and cons of private club membership - Page 3

post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCfanatic35 View Post

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.

LOL!! A few years back we had a few guys who went up to the office and told them to stop taking out the $2 insurance for a hole-in-one. The next time someone had one, they were first in line for the free drink but were kindly told they didn't qualify by the staff. They went nuts and got their drink but totally embarrassed themselves.

post #38 of 56

i wouldn't mind living on a course, but i get really bored playing the same muni all the time.  there are about half a dozen courses that i play at any one time, and if i start playing a whole lot i am even willing to drive further to go to a different course.  i can't see how a private membership would ever be something i would partake in unless i lived on that course, and even then i'd be going to other courses every now and then.
 

post #39 of 56

If you just want to play golf, a private / country club isn't likely going to make financial sense for you. 

 

Private clubs that I checked out here in NY range from $0 - $150,000 for initiation fees and $12,000 - $35,000 (they go higher) annual fees.  These are full service private clubs with pool(s), tennis courts, beautiful golf courses, fine dining, gym, etc.  I figured I'd have to play at least 300 rounds to cover the annual fees alone for most of the clubs I considered.  Then there are quarterly food / beverage minimums ($400 - $1000), club storage fees, and most still charge some green fees and cart fees ($25 - $50) per round plus guest fees.   Some clubs require member sponsorship and have a pretty painful new member evaluation process which  definitely reeks of the snob factor.

 

A private club makes sense imo if;

  • you want to have a place for the family to go while you play golf or practice
  • want to develop new friendships and connections
  • entertain business associates
  • be part of a club where the people share your passion for golf
  • want access to well maintained, challenging course, that is well managed, has available tee times, enforces pace of play rules
  • want to be involved in tournaments and events. 

 

I joined one that had $0 initiation fee late last season because I didn't want to be financially committed if private club membership didn't turn out to not be what I expected.  I love the course but joined too late for any of the outings and tournaments so I'm looking forward to that this year.  The food is excellent, and it's nice to take the family there on the weekend for brunch or dinner.  It's also great for entertaining business associates and making connections so I'm hoping it will be a good investment for myself and the family.  If at the end of the year I didn't get out of it what I expected or my family didn't enjoy it as much as they thought they would, we'll reconsider retaining the membership. 

 

I'd suggest that anyone on the fence about joining a private club do some research on the private clubs in your area, compare costs, review membership requirements, demographics, tee time schedules, play the course a few times as a guest, eat in the restaurant in the evening to gain some familiarity of the membership demographics.  I'd also suggest you pick one if it's your first time that has minimal initiation fees so you can walk away if country club life isn't for you. 

post #40 of 56

Good advice there newtogolf. 

 

This is a very interesting thread for me.  The development I live in has a CC with a very fine, Rees Jones course I've played on 3 or 4 times now as a guest - most recently a few days ago at an "Open Day" for all residents that they have once a year.  Membership includes spa and dining (monthly minimum) - I already have tennis/swimming/exercise access which would also be included of course (i.e. upgrade to present level of membership).  The monthly fee is well over 1K but the entry fee was dropped substantially from when we moved in 10 years ago and seems competitve with quality clubs in the area.  It's a rather spectacular track, views of the Pacific from some holes but more of a hilly desert feel to it (native plants).  The clubhouse itself is quite superb - all you would expect.

 

I used to think that playing the same course would get boring but somehow this doesn't seem to bother me any more, maybe because I've played so many of the courses around here since we moved in.  If I joined I'd get reciprocal privileges for some fine private courses I've never played around town but would mostly play here of course - it's just down the road. 

 

One thing you have to consider is possible dues increases down the road - they've gone up quite a bit in the past few years, even as the equity cost has gone down.  I'm tempted, but then I think of Torrey Pines and all the other good public courses here in sunny SD.  Wouldn't I feel obligated to play at the club almost all of the time?

 

p.s. my wife doesn't play and wouldn't use the spa - big factor.  We're retired now so I'd play much more than before.  The practice area is quite magnificent - I'd probably go there and hit almost every day.


Edited by Chas - 2/28/13 at 1:32am
post #41 of 56
what club is this that you speak of? I'm Philly area as well
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post

I've been playing 90% of my golf at the same club for almost thirty years and I have never been bored. If you are getting bored then the course is not very interesting and your green staff is lacking as well.
There are plenty of options in my area (Philly suburbs), from ridiculously expensive and exclusive to affordable and welcoming and, while there are some very good public facilities in the area, I would never go that route after belonging to a club for so long. It is very important to me to be able to play where the pace of play is important to everybody, I can play whenever I want and the course is well maintained at all times. I belong to one of the "affordable and welcoming" clubs, but our course has a great history and will challenge you to use every club in you bag. There really are no two holes that are alike.
In any particular year I end up playing with at least 40 different people, yet I also have the option to play with a regular group. I play regularly in team matches against other clubs, so there is the opportunity every spring to play other private clubs in the area at no cost. The area courses have reciprocal programs when there is heavy work that may shut down a course, and we really get to go on tour in those instances. Our course went through a heavy reconstruction a couple of years ago and I played golf at 11 different private course in the Philly area that fall (at no cost other than a caddie or cart) because we reciprocate in kind.  
I have also have the opportunity to play a lot with my family and my kids will probably play the game for the rest of their life. We have a well maintained practice facility. The green staff is on top of everything at all times, like leaves in the fall. We never have to play the "leaf rule". The staff knows us and we know them, so there is mutual respect that carries over to both parties taking care to maintain the course properly.
The price is the only con that I can think of. Not ony the dues, but we can't carry our own bag until 3:00 PM so there is always an additional cost of a caddie or cart. I love playing with a caddie (we have a robust caddie progam) so that is a cost that I must endure. Some years (college years for the kids) I ended up playing a lot with a cart or late in the day. Still, I wouldn't do it any other way.
post #42 of 56

For me, membership has a lot to do with economics.  I play so much golf that a membership is an absolute must.  I couldn't imagine paying to tee it up every time I play because I play so often!!

 

I've owned both private and public memberships over the years.  In general, the private membership comes at a premium...as they should for the exclusivity.  On the other hand, an annual pass at an upscale public course will include carts and often times...they are much higher caliber courses.   In the past several years, I chose the public option. (annual pass/including cart)....no restrictions....

 

It depends where you live, but where I live.......I can play one of the best courses in the state (public or private) for less than the area private courses that are much weaker courses.   For me...it's a no brainer......................

 

My home course is a beast.........I want a challenge!!

post #43 of 56
What I appreciate most about my club:

-- Unlimited use of good practice facilities.

-- Course is kept in top shape and never overbooked, so slow play isn't an issue.

-- Handicap committee is aggressively on the ball, so club tournaments are competitive.

-- Very cold beer.

For me, in toto, these are worth paying for.

You really have to ask yourself what your individual golfing priorities are and to what extent you can satisfy them given your own individual budget constraints.
post #44 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 never expect someone to pay for my golf.  If they offer to pay, I'd accept it, but I would normally plan to pay my own way.  Maybe I'm in a different class of income, and I grant that I don't know that many club members.  My friends and I play public most of the time.  When I played at my brother-in-law's country club I always just paid my own fees in the shop, the same as if it was a public course. 

post #45 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by divot dave View Post

what club is this that you speak of? I'm Philly area as well

Whitemarsh Valley.

post #46 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckeyeNut View Post

For me, membership has a lot to do with economics.  I play so much golf that a membership is an absolute must.  I couldn't imagine paying to tee it up every time I play because I play so often!!

 

I've owned both private and public memberships over the years.  In general, the private membership comes at a premium...as they should for the exclusivity.  On the other hand, an annual pass at an upscale public course will include carts and often times...they are much higher caliber courses.   In the past several years, I chose the public option. (annual pass/including cart)....no restrictions....

 

It depends where you live, but where I live.......I can play one of the best courses in the state (public or private) for less than the area private courses that are much weaker courses.   For me...it's a no brainer......................

 

My home course is a beast.........I want a challenge!!

It is just the opposite in the Philly area. The best courses are by far the private ones. And if you are a member of one, access to the other ones is easier through multiple venues, usually tournaments.

post #47 of 56

I am thinking of joining a local club.    Now that I am retired I am trying to play more quality golf.    After the initiation fee,   I pay $300.00 /mo.    It would be more than I am playing now as I only play golf about 2-3 times a mo.   What I like about the club  is they also have Tennis,  Swimming pool,   nice lounge ,   activities for the wife,   gym with decent equip, social events.

 

 

With what we pay for gym memberships and golf  several times a mo.    I would pay about $150.00 - $200   more per month than I am paying now.  I am not figuring in any restaurant costs of eating out right now.     It would not be worth it if I do not increase the number of times  I play right now.    Just a few thoughts.

post #48 of 56

The main downside I see to joining a club is limiting oneself to one course.
 

post #49 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regis View Post

The main downside I see to joining a club is limiting oneself to one course.
 

I was concerned about that as well before I joined my club.  As a high handicapper I find the course challenging and seem to always end up in different places on it,  That and the combination of different tee boxes and pin locations keeps it feeling new, even though the overall layout of each hole is the same. 

 

I think for a low handicapper or scratch golfer playing the same course could get mundane.  I'd think they would be good enough to play each hole the same way each time with only variance being the approach shot and putting. 

post #50 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regis View Post

The main downside I see to joining a club is limiting oneself to one course.
 

 

I've made that argument before too, yet as a public course player, I've had the same home course for 30 years now.  I do play other courses on occasion, but but 90% of my golf is at one course.

post #51 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Regis View Post

The main downside I see to joining a club is limiting oneself to one course.
 


Doesn't joining a private course give you reciprocal access to many other private courses? I'm not sure how this works.

post #52 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post


Doesn't joining a private course give you reciprocal access to many other private courses? I'm not sure how this works.
Mine has reciprocal access to one course for free, and then hundreds of private courses around North America for half the price of the guest green fee.
post #53 of 56

3 hour rounds on the weekends….and that is walking, numerous tournaments throughout the year, universal membership that takes pride in the upkeep and appearance of the course, etc…….

post #54 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmac20 View Post


Mine has reciprocal access to one course for free, and then hundreds of private courses around North America for half the price of the guest green fee.


Thanks for the info.

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