When is it worth joining one

Thinking of joining a golf club but don’t know anything about it? There’s a lot to consider⁠, especially cost⁠, but your decision shouldn’t be based solely on money. Like most purchases, the answer to many of your questions will likely be “It depends.” Here’s what you need to know when starting your search.

How much does a membership cost?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room right away. The cost varies a lot. For some clubs, if you have to ask, then you can’t afford it⁠, but those are also the same clubs that might not let you in even if you have the money. They may be looking for some notable achievement in sports or some degree of celebrity status, such as being a public figure.

Key takeaways

  • A golf membership can often be purchased within a country club membership, either as part of it or as a standalone program.
  • Most golf clubs (and country clubs) charge a one-time initiation fee to join.
  • It is difficult to quote the average cost of a golf club because the prices are diverse and the cost depends on the club and the amenities. Some have annual fees of $ 3,000 a year and others can be as expensive as $ 100,000.

For most clubs, however, that’s not the case, although they are still going to take a bite out of your wallet. According to the website, TheGolfMembershipSpotAverage annual dues for private clubs range from $ 3,000 to $ 10,000 for private clubs, and that doesn’t factor in one-time initiation fees that could go as high as $ 100,000.

What you get with your membership

Price doesn’t tell the whole story; you have to look at the value. Within that monthly rate, you are probably paying $ 50 to $ 100 per month for food and beverages. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it fee, so you can also take the family out for dinner if you’re not using it on the course. You may be paying locker fees, hole-in-one insurance fees, and tournament fees. There are also assessments for club renovations and other capital expenditures, as well as a start-up fee.

You may already be paying for this

You should plan to pay at least $ 200 per month for the lower tier clubs. However, before succumbing to the shock of extreme stickers, keep in mind that depending on how much you play, you could be spending more money on daily fee courses than you think. A round of golf on an intermediate course in 2020 costs around $ 61. If you play 25 rounds per year, that’s more than $ 1,500, without any of the benefits that come with club membership.

Most golf clubs offer tiered membership levels that vary in price and amenities.

How do I choose the right club?

Suppose you are convinced to join a club. How do you know where to go and which ones fit what you are looking for?

First, are you looking for a golf club or a country club? A golf club focuses more on the playing experience: the quality of the course, a full-featured professional shop and practice facilities, etc. A country club can offer a great golf experience, but it is designed as more family-friendly. You’ll usually find a high-quality restaurant, pool, social activities, and other things that make for a great family destination. In reality, most clubs are a combination of both, but they will probably lean one way or the other.

Next, are there multiple levels of membership? What is called social membership, for those who are not that interested in golf, it is probably cheaper. You can also find discounts for younger people and for those who live out of state, as well as family and corporate membership fees. A one size fits all fee structure only works if you are a hardcore golfer. Another obvious approach is to look at the clubs that your golfing friends belong to or believe to be the best of.

Also, ask about the rules. If it is a private club and you are a woman, or you play regularly with women, make sure the field does not have outdated regulations that limit whether or when women can play; most of them disappeared a long time ago, but possibly not everywhere. Similarly, if you want to introduce golf to the children in your family, ask the same questions about whether the course is open to children. Also, many clubs still have some form of dress code for members, such as wearing collared shirts on the golf course.

The bottom line

If you’re signing up for golf, play the course a few times before joining. It would be a shame if you joined only to find that the course is not well maintained or not challenging enough for you. You should also ask when the course was built, when it was last renovated, and how many sets of tees it has, as well as determining yards, rating, and grade.

Also ask some of the same questions about the clubhouse and practice facilities.

Few people can take a money-not-an-issue approach to golf club membership. There is a wide range of club prices and levels to choose from. Most importantly, be honest about how much the club will use. Unless you’re playing a lot of golf, entertaining a lot of clients, or have a lifestyle that allows the family to spend a lot of time using the club’s amenities, you may find it difficult to justify the cost. However, if you can swing it, then by all means, “Fore!”


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About the author

Mark Holland

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