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hey guys, just looking for a bit of advice here.  i’m playing a practice round saturday at a local club that i’m interested in joining. 

i’ve never belonged to a country club, and didn’t grow up around one really. my grandfather belonged to one of the really ritzy ones around here, but he didn’t golf. he liked it because he could dump the grandkids at the pool and go play cards and talk business haha 

what are the things i should look out for or the questions i should ask the head pro while i’m there to make sure everything is a good fit?

thanks in advance!

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First tip is don't talk to just the pro. I love chatting with other staff and finding out how long they've been there, what they like about it, do they get playing privileges and if so, how's the course now vs typical, etc etc

The other thing is thinking about your specific needs and quirks. For example, I prefer to walk but some clubs not only don't allow it, they also charge a cart fee of $20-30. That's a deal-breaker for me.

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hey guys, just looking for a bit of advice here.  i’m playing a practice round saturday at a local club that i’m interested in joining. 
i’ve never belonged to a country club, and didn’t grow up around one really. my grandfather belonged to one of the really ritzy ones around here, but he didn’t golf. he liked it because he could dump the grandkids at the pool and go play cards and talk business haha 
what are the things i should look out for or the questions i should ask the head pro while i’m there to make sure everything is a good fit?
thanks in advance!

Make sure you understand all the costs, not just dues and golf. There could be a monthly food and beverage minimum . Also ask if any assessments pending along with history of past assessments. Note some pro shops offer a discount on equipment which puts them on par with big box stores.


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9 minutes ago, greggarner said:

The other thing is thinking about your specific needs and quirks. For example, I prefer to walk but some clubs not only don't allow it, they also charge a cart fee of $20-30. That's a deal-breaker for me.

this particular club is cart-only. i plan on asking why that is. i know they charge $15/18 holes and $8/9 hole for carts. but they are the most affordable club around by a wide margin, so i’m ok with paying for a cart 

theyre $4500 for the year, and an additional $375 for bag storage. no initiation fee

other clubs close to me are 12k and up just for initiation, and then they’re north of 15k for yearly dues. 

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4 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:


Make sure you understand all the costs, not just dues and golf. There could be a monthly food and beverage minimum . Also ask if any assessments pending along with history of past assessments. Note some pro shops offer a discount on equipment which puts them on par with big box stores.


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great point, thanks. i know bag storage is an extra cost, but i’ll be sure to ask about all the costs associated with membership 

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Being a member of a private club, I can add some considerations. Some mentioned above I duplicated but here is a few points to check into.

How often do the dues increase or when was the last time they did and by how much?

How many times is the course closed for tournaments restricting member play.

Is there an extra fee for a driving range plan with unlimited use?

What is the guest fee for when you bring guests?

Does the course host local high school or college teams for practice?

Food minimum per month

Cart fee per round or yearly cart plan.

Locker fee

Club storage fee.    I don't do it because I play other courses as well.

Some clubs are account only. Meaning everything gets charged to your account. Guest fees their food and such. Just be prepared. We just had someone ring up a  big bill and doesn't want to pay for his quests. We had to show him the club rules and then told him he was responsible to get payment from his guests. Newer member not paying attention to the club rules, it happens.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

How many times is the course closed for tournaments restricting member play?

Does the course host local high school or college teams for practice?

Ooh, yes. Good ones. And does the club have reciprocity anywhere else in the event the course is closed to members? At an adjacent club to mine, they just shut the whole course for a year while they rebuilt the greens. Not only did the members have to pay for it, they only got partial reciprocity at another club, so they were paying their dues, the capital assessment, AND greens fees at another club... ouch.

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2 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Being a member of a private club, I can add some considerations. Some mentioned above I duplicated but here is a few points to check into.

How often do the dues increase or when was the last time they did and by how much?

How many times is the course closed for tournaments restricting member play.

Is there an extra fee for a driving range plan with unlimited use?

What is the guest fee for when you bring guests?

Does the course host local high school or college teams for practice?

Food minimum per month

Cart fee per round or yearly cart plan.

Locker fee

Club storage fee.    I don't do it because I play other courses as well.

Some clubs are account only. Meaning everything gets charged to your account. Guest fees their food and such. Just be prepared. We just had someone ring up a  big bill and doesn't want to pay for his quests. We had to show him the club rules and then told him he was responsible to get payment from his guests. Newer member not paying attention to the club rules, it happens.

 

 

@Tom the Golf Nut, those are all great questions, thank you!

the tournament question is of particular interest to me because as i get a little better id like to compete in those tourneys. 

thank you for the heads up about paying for guests, that’s something i’ll definitely ask about 

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this particular club is cart-only. i plan on asking why that is. i know they charge $15/18 holes and $8/9 hole for carts. but they are the most affordable club around by a wide margin, so i’m ok with paying for a cart 
theyre $4500 for the year, and an additional $375 for bag storage. no initiation fee
other clubs close to me are 12k and up just for initiation, and then they’re north of 15k for yearly dues. 

Not sure where you're located but here that would be a pretty good deal - especially if it's year round.


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2 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:


Not sure where you're located but here that would be a pretty good deal - especially if it's year round.


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i’m in new york. the clubs on long island are insanely expensive. if i joined one of them the coke and hooker budget would take a big hit. 

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Not sure where you're located but here that would be a pretty good deal - especially if it's year round. Of course that's provided you'll end up playing a lot. Our golf fee plan at our private club is unlimited play. Last year I did the per round cost: total golf cost/number of rounds and it equaled about $15. a round.

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:titelist-small: SM7 54* Wedge

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1 minute ago, Chip Strokes said:

@Tom the Golf Nut, those are all great questions, thank you!

the tournament question is of particular interest to me because as i get a little better id like to compete in those tourneys. 

thank you for the heads up about paying for guests, that’s something i’ll definitely ask about 

Sometimes the tourneys are private outside events. Company events, college matches, Boys and Girls club events. Those you can get in with a team. School fund raisers. 

Then you will have club member events. You can play in any of those and they are usually flighted by handicap. Don't worry about getting better first. We have one every other month or so. But they usually charge you to play in them and you win pro shop credit. It puts money back into the club.

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Well now everyone is make the expensive semi private club, best on around here just not enough people to be full private, seem like a bargain. Though they are a resort based course so they make out on the rentals and events, big wedding spot.

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15 minutes ago, greggarner said:

Ooh, yes. Good ones. And does the club have reciprocity anywhere else in the event the course is closed to members? At an adjacent club to mine, they just shut the whole course for a year while they rebuilt the greens. Not only did the members have to pay for it, they only got partial reciprocity at another club, so they were paying their dues, the capital assessment, AND greens fees at another club... ouch.

Good point Greg, I have reciprocal at 4 other courses in the event I want to play somewhere else. You have to have your pro call and set it up. The charge is cart fee only.  My issue is they are all an hour away. But you are still playing a nice private club.

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reciprocity would be awesome!

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14 hours ago, Chip Strokes said:

this particular club is cart-only. i plan on asking why that is. i know they charge $15/18 holes and $8/9 hole for carts. but they are the most affordable club around by a wide margin, so i’m ok with paying for a cart 

theyre $4500 for the year, and an additional $375 for bag storage. no initiation fee

other clubs close to me are 12k and up just for initiation, and then they’re north of 15k for yearly dues. 

that sounds like a good deal.  bag storage seems really steep, our is around $100 but we have a pretty crappy bag storage area so I don't use it much, usually keep my clubs at the house.  My wife likes hers at the club.  We also have an annual locker fee if you want one but it's not required.  We have 2 courses and one requires cart usage due to some holes having a long distance between the green and the next tee box.  It would take way too long to walk between them.  The other course you are allowed to walk and either carry or use a push cart.   Our cart cost per round is around $24 or you can do an annual cart plan which is great if you play enough, just have to work out the math on that one.  When we bring guests, we can either put them on our account or the guest can just pay theirs at the proshop before the round.  The grill will take payment directly also if you don't want to run up a big monthly bill.  Overall we found it's a great way to meet people and make new friends.  We participate in quite a bit of the social events at the club also.

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I'll add one more question to ask.  You probably don't want to be playing by yourself all the time, so you should try to find out how new members are assimilated into the membership as a whole.  At my home club, we have a few groups (not foursomes, but larger bunches) that set up regular tee times most weekends, and a few on weekdays as well.  My primary group has at least 30 people on the mailing list, and they take 4 tee times each Saturday and Sunday.  Most of the groups are very welcoming to new members, and playing with 12 or 16 guys regularly is a great way to get to know people.  

You may also want to understand the "gambling culture" of any of these groups.  My main group is pretty small potatoes, its nearly impossible to lose $20 in a day, and my best day I didn't win $30, I don't think.  some groups don't gamble at all.   Other clubs do have some higher-money games, to the point that I wouldn't enjoy them, or couldn't afford to play in them.  

Last thing, how easy is it to get tee times in your normally desired time slot?  I know of clubs near me that run a lottery each week for morning tee times, the demand is that high.  They run off of 1 and 10, with a crossover time, so the entire morning gets completely booked.  At my own club, the regular groups tend to fill the tee sheet in the early morning, but after about 9:30 things open up, so its not too bad.

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I think the big thing with country clubs regarding cost is ownership structure and assessments. Last thing you want is to think your joining a club for $5k/year and find out it's closer to $10k/year. The other major thing is membership characteristics. Is the club old/stuffy, young/vibrant, fun, competitive, pretentious, etc.? If league play is your thing you might ask what that is like. You might ask how many golfing members they have. Under 200 golfers and the course should be fairly open, 200 - 350 and weekends are more challenging, over 350 and all bets are off regarding tee times. The absolute best thing to do is talk to a few current members but that isn't always easy to do.

I really like private clubs but the club should hopefully fit what you want both socially and for the budget. No initiation fees is a big bonus as you aren't monetarily tied down but leaving isn't an easy choice as rejoining is sometimes a tall and expensive task.

Just make sure whatever you do, you aren't stretching your budget too thin. Feeling tied down from golf membership dues would make your experience far less enjoyable. Regarding budget, also keep in mind the amount of golf you will be playing outside of the club. Green fees at other courses can really make the annual golf bill add up. 

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update for you guys who were nice enough to point me in the right direction:

1. the course was gorgeous. it was hard to remember you were in the middle of queens, NY while you were out there. it was tree lined, well kept, and had a bunch of challenging dog legs and elevated tees and greens. also, the course was completely empty at 2:30 on a beautiful saturday afternoon.  we had the place to ourselves  

2. it’s carts only because a large portion of the membership is older and the course is pretty hilly with some long stretches between the last green and next tee. given the option a lot of the older members elect to walk, which the head pro said slowed things down to an unbearable pace on the weekends, so they took the option away and make it carts only  

3. it’s $4300 for the year. if i join now, i get the rest of this year and all of next year for that price. bag storage is $370. i’m unsure if i’d use that service. for your $4300 you get unlimited golf (they don’t hold outside events), plus access to the pool, gym, movie theater, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a discount at the pro shop. there are no minimums as far as dining or anything else.  there’s a nice dining room/bar and outdoor patio next to the course, but no obligation to spend a certain amount with them  

4.  since it’s a condo complex with a golf course, assessments are shouldered by residents and not charged to golf members. 

5. guests are $42 for 9 holes and $78 for 18 holes. that’s a little steep but it’s still about $20 cheaper than a round at the local public course on the weekend. 

6.  one downside is there’s no driving range. there’s a great short game practice area wirh places to chip and a few large bunkers around a large putting green, but the only place to really warm your swing up is in two nets. 

7. it’s 20 minutes closer to my house than the course i currently play. getting out on my current course runs about $100 per round on average, so the break even point is between 40 and 50 rounds of golf.  if i play that many, then it’s worth it  

i’m gonna call tomorrow and have my last few questions answered. first: if i join id like to know if that gets my wife and son access to the pool. if so, that value just skyrocketed. second: can i pay my cart fees annually? the cart fees don’t bother me one bit, but if i can make a lump sum payment i’d rather do that. third: tournament schedule and how that works for members. i’d like to play some competitive golf

i appreciate all the input you guys gave me. i went in with much better questions than i would have without your help. 

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Titleist logo | Logo gallery, Golf birthday party, Logo designU500 2i | Fujikura Ventus HB Black 10TX
Titleist logo | Logo gallery, Golf birthday party, Logo design T100 4-PW | Dynamic Gold X7
Vokey Design Vector Logo | Free Download - (.SVG   .PNG) format - VTLogo.com SM6 52* SM8 56* SM8 60* | Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
SIK Golf Partners with GolfPlus to Host Entry Level Professional Events!  DW | BGT Stability Tour

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Sounds like you got lots of great info.

If the golf club has a separate set of financial statements, ask for those. Watch for a lot of debt and whether they are running at a profit or loss. Although if the condo association is responsible to keep the club viable that may not be an issue. But be careful here if it looks like there is consistent support required. If the golf club is a separate legal entity there can be a limit to the condo association's interest in a constant flow of funds to the golf course. Happened to my parent's condo+course development in Florida.

One note on the "break even point" of $/game. I get a lot of value in being part of a club. Having a familiar group of guys that you can set up games with, or jump into a tee time with, or hang out for a beer afterwards is great. Any you're more likely to meet new golf buddies who you enjoy playing with in a club environment. Do you know any members there to start with?

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Driver:    PING  G400 LST 8.5* - Fubuki ZT

Wood:   PING  410 LST - Evenflow stiff

Hybrid:   PING  G 17* - PING Alta

Irons:    :callaway-small: Apex CF16 - Project X S - 4-P (2* flat)

Wedges:     :cleveland-small:  RTX-3 50* MG, 56* LG, 60* LG

Putter:  TM Spider X HYDROBLAST (33", 3* upright)

 

 

 

 

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