7 things you need to consider when joining a golf club or country club
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If you are ready to join a golf club or country club, you need to consider a few crucial factors. Take the following into account, which should make it easier to determine which club is right for you.
The closer you live to the club, the more you will use it. Ideally, you should be looking for a golf club that is less than a 15- or 20-minute drive from your home. Do you need to go through any really busy areas? Are you likely to get caught in traffic coming home or returning from it?
Every golf club has its own payment structure, including the most common costs like the initiation fee and your monthly dues. These are the two most important costs to determine, as it will likely preclude you from joining some golf clubs based on the price alone. Remember that most golf clubs have membership options, so you can pick a lesser membership to begin with.
Researching costs also means learning about things like add-on fees. This includes features capital dues, storing your golf bag, using range balls, cart fees, locker rentals and food and beverage minimums. On top of that, you will usually need to go through a membership application: does this cost extra? What about guests? What are the fees for guest entry?
Are you the right fit?
Another factor to consider is the facility’s age and demographics. Is it a family-friendly place, or is it aimed more at seniors and professionals? Is it a good place to come as a solo player only, or is it suitable for couples?
Look into the facilities offered outside of the golf, too. For example, are there gyms or fitness facilities like pools and saunas? Are there limits to using these facilities? What about restaurants and food?
The golf course
Most important, is the golf course itself. Ask yourself this: can you see yourself playing this course regularly without getting bored? Is it easy to get a tee time for the frequency that you would like to play?
You should also look into whether or not the course has a league system — is there a male and/or female league? What about a 9-hole league? Is it easy for all family members to get involved on the golf course?
On top of that, you should look into course rules. For example, are you limited to how many rounds you can play per member? Does it shut down regularly for maintenance or care? How often is it closed for tournament play and events? Are there off-season hours? What is the process of making a tee time?
Look into the skill level, too, and the average pace of play. Are there restrictions on when members can play (i.e. only primary members can play on a Saturday)? What about limits on the age for youth play? Are there guest limits?
Facilities are crucial, too. Take the time to review the range — do you like it? Is it involved and/or modern enough for you? Is there a chipping and/or putting area to work on this side of your game?
Some golf clubs are infamous for having more members than their facilities can handle. Make sure there is enough room to play without needless pressure or rushing. Also, check out if they provide indoor practice facilities and/or whether they have lessons for varying skill levels. This might help you to use the facilities to improve your game as much as anything.
Tennis & pickleball
Today, many golf clubs also have tennis/pickleball facilities that you can use. If this is the case, find out how many courts are dedicated to tennis and how many to pickleball. Is it purely for recreation? Or are there leagues you can join up and play in?
What about lessons? Can you also improve your tennis/pickleball skills at this club? Do you need any reservations? If so, what is the process?
Children and youth
One of the perks of joining a golf club is the many family and junior activities they provide. Check out if there is a daycare. If there is, what kind of time limits do they have for drop off? Are there holiday and summer camps? Do they provide golf and/or tennis junior clinics?
Do they provide you with kids’ camps? This is important for youngsters looking to learn the game. At the same time, what are the restrictions for juniors to use the golf course and tennis courts on their own?
Keep the above considerations in mind and you should be able to pick out a golf club that will work best for you and your family. Happy hunting!
Tori Totlis is the founder of Compete Confidence Golf and host of the T-Time with Tori Totlis Podcast. She covers everything from golf fitness, instruction, lifestyle and more. You can follow her on Instagram here.