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I've heard there are a lot of people on resignation lists??

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm tired of hearing people who are close to me or are golf friends of mine upset because they joined the wrong club.

It seems to be all to often and it is because people don't know all the facts that are important.

 

The truth is a private country club is a volatile setting.  It lives or die by the economy, membership fees, assessments, HOA's, and many other things.

 

I have spent many hours calling clubs and studying the not so prevalent topics that clubs may not tell you before you sign that check and receive your share.  Simply understand that you wouldn't by a house without doing some good background checks and speaking to a middleman or consultant.  Well the same goes for picking a country club.  And, the country club plus the house to retire too is way more money!!

 

If anyone is involved in either a nice country club or a bad one both advices could be shared in this group.  We will learn from each other

post #2 of 25
Why does it feel like youre about to sell us on golf course membership consulting or something?
post #3 of 25

Why not join a club without up front, expensive initiation fee?  That way, the worst you can do is play for a year and move on to another club.  I am doing exactly that.  Next year, I may join another club for a year.  I love the current club but it gets bored playing one course most of the time. 

post #4 of 25
My club selection criteria:

(1) Something I can afford without a bunch of unexpected assessments.

(2) The people that play there (almost number 1).

(3) The condition of the greens.

I'm not very picky about anything else. I can have a blast playing in a cow pasture with people I really like.
post #5 of 25

I'd be very nervous about paying a big initiation fee or buying a house on a course.  We've had an 18-hole track turn into 9, and a 9-holer disappear altogether to build more houses.  what's your property value worth when you're looking at a house instead of a golf course? I took a trip to Murtle Beach in '06 and that was happening all over--4-course resorts turning turning into 3 or 2.  Initiation fees and assessment disasters--I've seen that too, but I don't want to be typing all night.

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

that is a great way to live the golf life.  I kind of like that, like a drifter with no roots in the ground.  It goes with the laid back lifestyle of golf itself.

 

I find that most clubs without a significant membership fee will not have that great of a course and the amenities (restaurant, pool) will not be that great. 

 

It might be cheaper, which I like, but usually the course conditions actually can hurt your game depending on your playing level.

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 

Well Gary this is what I think.  When we get a republican president back in the white house the country club lifestyle will rebound. 

They too are volatile like the economy which is interesting how much each private country club runs like its own government.  The point is country clubs are an American standard and many people like you and myself would love to retire with golf in mind.  Just like the real estate market  we will return to par.

post #8 of 25
Clubs are also prone to the local economy. We had a dip in membership, much bigger in years past, due to two reasons:

1 - it was a horrible winter and people are relocating. Actually true. I've joked about it this winter, but people with the means did pick up and move (at least 4).

2 - Heinz was bought and there was massive reshuffling, a number of people lost their jobs or went to lower paying jobs. Or relocated away for another job.

The thing about assessments is true as well. Where I caddied as a kid, they did an assessment one year and about 20 members out of 500 dropped out.


Some of the things I think you should ask, mainly in hindsight from my experience:

1 - are you an equity club, or owned by someone else?
2 - do you have any capital projects or what is the view on enhancements down the road?
3 - is it golf oriented or are there a lot of family activities?
4 - how hard / easy is it to get a tee time?
5 - are there a lot of groups that are easy to join to play?
6 - what is the guest policy? ( I don't like this where I am, guests are over-charged, IMO)
7 - how often are tournaments played, and does that interfere with normal golf?


I also have people ask me about whether the initiation fee is refundable, or what those terms are. Also, how the staff treat you and is the club management receptive to issues?
post #9 of 25

Naples has a lot of those exclusive golf country club communities. Let me tell you, that lifestyle isn't cheap. And then they may throw on cart fees or high trail fees if you bring your own cart. Personally, if I put tens of thousands of dollars into a membership each year, I'd think that I wouldn't want to play any other course and would get tired of just one course.  I have played several nicer courses, not Naples quality though - in Sarasota and Bradenton. Nice courses, nice communties, not exclusive to members only, but open to the public - won't get on Golf Digest's top 100 to play in the state, but still nice courses with known architects (Waterlefe in Brandenton,  River Strand Bradenton.....The Meadows is a country club in Sarasota that I played last summer and really enjoyed.  Nice restaurant, nice pro shop, practice facility, tennis courts, etc.......http://www.meadowscc.org/Default.aspx?p=DynamicModule&pageid=250755&ssid=108486&vnf=1

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkim291968 View Post
 

Why not join a club without up front, expensive initiation fee?  That way, the worst you can do is play for a year and move on to another club.  I am doing exactly that.  Next year, I may join another club for a year. 

I subscribe to the above line of thinking.   My private club experience is owning 2 private club memberships in the 1990s.    Membership #1 was all stock. The reason I quit was because the course had flooding problems that I didn't know about before joining.  When the spring floods came, I thought to myself...WTF did I get myself into!?  Luckily I was able to sell my stock for about what I paid for it. 

 

Course #2....I paid a modest non-refundable initiation and enjoyed 4 good years playing this course.  When I relocated out of state December of 1999,  I quit my membership and said goobye to my club and the initiation fee.   Both courses were well maintained, but they weren't the strongest layouts by modern standards. 

 

From the year 2000 on, I buy annual passes at upscale public courses that are much stronger layouts.   I pay less per year to play them, they are well maintained courses, and carts are included with no long term commitments.   I've had memberships at 4 different courses since the year 2000 with no plans of returning to the private scene.  There are 2 private courses close enough to where I live for serious consideration, and my current public home course is at an entirely different level......waaay more golf course. 

post #11 of 25

I don't think I'll be joining another club if golfnow.com continues as it currently operates.      Simply too many good tee time deals out there to justify club membership fees (at least in my area)...

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post
 

I don't think I'll be joining another club if golfnow.com continues as it currently operates.      Simply too many good tee time deals out there to justify club membership fees (at least in my area)...

To really play golf....unlimited play benefits are an absolute must.   For the occasional/casual golfer playing <40 rounds per year.....yea, get the online tee times.   I can't imagine paying each time I tee it up........(4 times a week in season)  You'd be surprised how much you can play when there is no concern for how many holes you can complete before darkness.  

 

For people that play a lot, you get the urge and go play.........   You may have a regular weekend group, but this is a small percentage of total play. 


Edited by BuckeyeNut - 4/1/14 at 9:30pm
post #13 of 25

There are some areas within 75 miles of where I live that have very good and very cheap packages at city courses where you have a choice of playing any of the courses. Close to those areas choosing to play the city courses makes enough sense to make that decision over joining a club unless you just enjoy the country club atmosphere and like not having to put up with public play.

 

In our more local area there are not really any good deals at public courses (except that they are low cost by golf standards). The choice here comes down to how much golf you want to play and whether other family members also play golf. Then figuring out the cheaper route to go.

 

In my case when I first started playing my son was still living at home and we both wanted to play a lot. Even with the fairly cheap rates around here at the public courses it would have cost me a small fortune to play as much as we ended up playing after joining a country club. Joining the club was also the reason my wife started playing golf. It didn't cost any extra for her to play so she started playing. Simply a case of "Might as well since it's already paid for."

post #14 of 25
With 2 young kids, I am lucky enough to get out 8-12 times per month in golf season. What I would pay for my home course times that works out to be a good deal. However 3-4 months a year when I don't play you still pay the fees. The people that work there are really good and they have a lot of social activities so it works for us.

It does depend on what you are looking for. Around where I live there are a lot of former private courses that got hit by the economy and there are great deals to be had for strictly golf. They don't have a pool, full restaurant or tennis courts...but it depends on what you are looking for.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 

There are some areas within 75 miles of where I live that have very good and very cheap packages at city courses where you have a choice of playing any of the courses. Close to those areas choosing to play the city courses makes enough sense to make that decision over joining a club unless you just enjoy the country club atmosphere and like not having to put up with public play.

 

In our more local area there are not really any good deals at public courses (except that they are low cost by golf standards). The choice here comes down to how much golf you want to play and whether other family members also play golf. Then figuring out the cheaper route to go.

 

In my case when I first started playing my son was still living at home and we both wanted to play a lot. Even with the fairly cheap rates around here at the public courses it would have cost me a small fortune to play as much as we ended up playing after joining a country club. Joining the club was also the reason my wife started playing golf. It didn't cost any extra for her to play so she started playing. Simply a case of "Might as well since it's already paid for."

I can understand......

 

If I lived in a rural area in a small to mid sized town, I would definitely join the "Town" country club because the public alternatives are slim to none.   

post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckeyeNut View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthehole View Post
 

I don't think I'll be joining another club if golfnow.com continues as it currently operates.      Simply too many good tee time deals out there to justify club membership fees (at least in my area)...

To really play golf....unlimited play benefits are an absolute must.   For the occasional/casual golfer playing <40 rounds per year.....yea, get the online tee times.   I can't imagine paying each time I tee it up........(4 times a week in season)  You'd be surprised how much you can play when there is no concern for how many holes you can complete before darkness. 

 

For people that play a lot, you get the urge and go play.........   You may have a regular weekend group, but this is a small percentage of total play.

 

every club in my area has a cart fee if you join.     That cart fee often exceeds what I play for hot deals on golfnow.    I played over 100 rounds last year using golfnow - it works out to be significantly cheaper than any unlimited play club in my area - even the muni's.    The only way an unlimited play club would be better is if you walk ...

post #17 of 25
All about how you do it. I put a pencil to everything I do. At the course I play most I buy the lowest level of membership and use golfnow to book times. They still honor the member discount and just consider the gn booking like any other online reservation. The benefit is I work towards gn rewards and get the discounted rated of $20/18 holes. The unlimited membership there is nearly 3k and doesn't include cart fees. So if I play 100 rounds it is far less than the membership and I get free stuff from gn. The basic membership is $188 and gets me not only discounted golf but 10% in the bar and pro shop.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

Obviously you have to be a millionaire to join most of the clubs I have worked at but the fact is there is a market for those who can afford.  In south florida the memberships are very expensive but many other places you can join for under 10,000 and still be at a greatly maintained facility.  Shop wisely.  Also many mens leagues in areas with lots of country clubs can reciprocate to other local clubs.  I worked at a club in Bonita Springs.  I would play with the mens group and honestly I played over 40 courses for free!!  All in the time frame of 5 months now that answers the concerns of being stuck playing the same course till you can play it blindfolded.  Face it everyone wants to play multiple courses and there are establishments that handle those concerns.  Its all about making the member happy.

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