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skydog

What is 'right' number of members for private course

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So I'm looking at re-joining a private club in my area after a several year hiatus from the club scene and am looking at a few different options. One concern I have is that as clubs have had to cut their initiation and monthly dues to keep and attract members over the past several years, they may have offset that financial hit by letting in more members than they would have before. Part of the reason I want to join a private club again is so I don't have to fight for tee times on the weekends, so I want a club that doesn't have too many members fighting for too few tee times.

So with that said, from your experience with clubs, what have you all found to be the 'right' or optimal number of members to have for an 18 hole course. I know there are several factors that are tough to determine with answering that question, but I'm just trying to get a sense here. Thanks in advance

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So I'm looking at re-joining a private club in my area after a several year hiatus from the club scene and am looking at a few different options. One concern I have is that as clubs have had to cut their initiation and monthly dues to keep and attract members over the past several years, they may have offset that financial hit by letting in more members than they would have before. Part of the reason I want to join a private club again is so I don't have to fight for tee times on the weekends, so I want a club that doesn't have too many members fighting for too few tee times.

So with that said, from your experience with clubs, what have you all found to be the 'right' or optimal number of members to have for an 18 hole course. I know there are several factors that are tough to determine with answering that question, but I'm just trying to get a sense here. Thanks in advance

There is no right answer, it depends on when people play.

At my club, we have a ton of members that play Monday through Friday, but will not be caught dead with the *slow* 3:45-4 hour round on the weekends.

More members is good for keeping dues affordable. If you want the place empty on the weekends, be prepared to pay more.

At my club, Saturday tee times are 7:30 - 9:22am off front and back, meaning 128 people can tee off before 9:30 on Saturdays - if demand becomes more, they will change it to a shotgun start every week to accommodate more golfers.

I wouldnt worry about there being *too many* members anywhere - many private clubs are struggling to stay afloat.

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So with that said, from your experience with clubs, what have you all found to be the 'right' or optimal number of members to have for an 18 hole course. I know there are several factors that are tough to determine with answering that question, but I'm just trying to get a sense here. Thanks in advance

Kinda depends on the club. From my experience it's about 400-450, you're "safe" up to 550. Enough members that the club is financially secure but not crowded. That's just counting "regular" members, not "out of town" members or junior members.

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Kinda depends on the club. From my experience it's about 400-450, you're "safe" up to 550. Enough members that the club is financially secure but not crowded. That's just counting "regular" members, not "out of town" members or junior members.

Yep....

I'd tend to agree with 400-500 range.  If it's a club with more facilities and amenities than just golf......an active tennis association, pool, racquetball/squash, etc... then a higher number will be reasonable and necessary because all members won't necessarily be competing for space on the golf course and more revenues are needed to maintain the facilities.  A younger membership will tend to play more on the weekends, while an older membership will play throughout the week a bit more.

While a smaller membership may mean less crowding on the course, a lot of private clubs have had to transition to accepting public play around here in the past several years.  Good for those of us who can now play them, but a tough nut for the membership to swallow.  With lower membership numbers, comes increased exposure to economic downturns.  It's a fine line.....

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Yep,  I agree guys. Thanks for the input. Definitely a fine line to walk between overcrowding and being financially stable/keeping dues reasonable.

I was also thinking the same range in the 400-500 ballpark but just wanted to make sure I wasn't way off.

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I worked at my first course for 20 years. they always had 285 members (9 hole course) which was the cap max. the first 10 years or so the course was not busy in fact the place would be empty after noon time on the weekends. as new members came in there was a steady increase in play where now the run tee times in a split tier system till almost 3 in the afternoon. so I think its not just how many members but also how active of a membership too.

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