Have you ever considered joining your local country club? Looking for a bit more information on the pros and cons of becoming a member? Worried about whether you’ll be able to afford the fees? The AtTheTee.com team has gathered a host of useful information and is here to help you make this important decision. We have considered every angle: money, amenities, tee times, dining options, member services, etc., and are confident that our findings will be the perfect resource for anyone unsure about whether they should join a country club.
Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota puts it best: “joining a golf club is a commitment and one that you want to feel good about. Remember, just because the golf club is private doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for you. Take the time to do your research, and make sure you and your family will be able to enjoy the experience to its fullest.”
Things to Consider
Hazeltine reminds any potential country club member to ask themselves if they will “be happy playing this golf course every day.” Additionally, ask yourself if you will “be proud to take friends, family members, and business associates” to this course. Finally, consider whether the course is well-maintained, and finally, is the course a place where you would want to bring your spouse and children to play. They also caution that it is “a good idea to check the practice facilities. Some private golf clubs have limited practice facilities where you can’t use a driver or hit balls more than 200 yards.”
Hazeltine also recommends that “if you want a good read on the ‘vibe’ of a golf club, talk to the staff. The way they speak to members and guests is a fairly good indication of the overall vibe of the members…making sure your personality matches that of the club may be one of the most important decisions, and it often begins with the tone of the staff.”
The Dining Experience
Believe it or not, Hazeltine points out, “country club food is not as good as people may think.” As such, potential members should be sure to “have a meal at the club and begin with the menu–is it boring, uninteresting, and predictable? Then, sample some food and ask yourself if you’d be happy to pay the same price for the same meal at your favorite restaurant. You should be able to answer that question with a resounding YES!”
Another one of Hazeltine’s elements to consider is whether the club is family friendly. “Not all of us need our golf club to be family friendly (read: kid friendly), but that alone is a wonderful filter. If you’ve reached a point in your life at which kids are better seen than heard, then you know that you will probably not be happy playing behind a foursome of kids, or parents with their children. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to introduce your children to golf, or help them grow their love of the game of golf, you’ll want to be sure the golf club you join welcomes them.”
Hazeltine’s fifth and final feature to consider when selecting a country club is the club’s members. They recommend that “if you’re unfamiliar with the golf club, find out [which players] are members and whether you seem to have similar interests and lifestyles. You can do this by playing a round with a member, or when you enjoy a meal in the dining room. Most golf clubs have a feel or vibe that you can sense when you’re around members.” To learn more, click on this link.
Pros and (Potential) Cons
According to James Roland of GolfLink, “the main reason for joining a golf club, aside from the social advantages, is because it makes sense financially. If you play a lot of golf, or plan to soon, figure out how much you would spend on green fees during the year as compared to an annual membership, which would eliminate your greens fees.” Mr. Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication and has also worked as a newspaper reporter.
Participate in Tournaments and Activities
Being a member of a country club also provides you with the opportunity to participate in “tournaments and other events throughout the year, offering you a chance to compete in a friendly atmosphere.” Mr. Roland points out that these activities give you the opportunity to meet more people while also “develop[ing] friendships and acquir[ing] new playing partners.” Additionally, “some golf clubs are part of a network of clubs that allow members to enjoy the same advantages at more than one course.”
GetIntoGolf.org echoes Mr. Roland, explaining that “joining a golf club will make it easier to meet new people to play with. You will find plenty of fellow members you feel comfortable with and who play at a time and level that suits your lifestyle and experience. Many clubs have thriving sections of men, ladies, seniors, and juniors who organize and run competitions, teams, and social golf.” Additionally, “if you are new to the area or wanting to make a fresh start, perhaps because you’ve lost a loved one, you’ll find your golf club welcoming and full of potential new friendships.”
Mr. Roland also emphasizes that “many golf clubs have swimming, tennis, weight room, spa, and other amenities available to members…golf lessons, club repair, dining and refreshments, and other services at a particular club are typically offered at a discount to members.” Also, “members tend to get the best tee times at clubs that allow the public to play.”
Work on Your Handicap
“Joining a golf club allows you to establish a golf handicap and track it,” explains Mr. Roland. “This comes in handy during tournament play and when finding partners at your skill level.” GetIntoGolf.org agrees that “the handicap system in golf allows players of any age, experience, or skill to play together and enjoy a competitive game.”
James Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication and has also worked as a newspaper reporter. To learn more, visit this link.
GetIntoGolf.org is dedicated to inspiring adults to take up golf and play more often. Learn more here.