Survey: This is the most golfers are willing to pay to join private clubs

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How much are golfers willing to pay to join a private club? We conducted a massive survey to get the inside scoop.

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How much are golfers willing to spend to join a private club? Answers for this question vary from person to person, but we wanted to try and figure it out.

GOLF recently enlisted a company that surveyed 2,817 random golfers in October and November of 2020. The goal? To understand golfers’ spending habits. We asked 23 spending-related questions on things like apparel, equipment, greens fees, golf travel and more. Now, the results are in (which you’ll see in full on on Wednesday). But for now, let’s discuss the finances of joining a private club.

Our mass survey included 23 questions about spending habits, but to answer the question of how much golfers are willing to spend to join a club, two specific questions are of interest.

First, we asked public-course golfers only if they could feasibly afford to join a private club. On that question, two-thirds of public golfers (66.7%) answered yes, with the other third indicating they could not afford to join a private club.

When joining a private club, one of the biggest barriers to entry is the initiation fee (not to mention monthly dues). While these fees vary from course to course, the number can get quite high for some of the swankier clubs. To gauge how much initiation fees factor into the decision, we asked golfers what the most they could comfortably afford to spend on an initiation fee would be.

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When answering the question on initiation fees, a vast majority — 80.4% of respondents — answered that the absolute most they could comfortably spend on initiation is $5,000. And as the initiation fees increased, there was an inverse relationship with the number of people willing to pay.

Just under 12% of respondents answered they would pay up to $15,000, while only 4.2% would pay up to $25,000. For the highest bracket (more than $25,000), only 3.4% answered in the affirmative.

Looking for more spending habits on equipment, instruction, travel and more? Make sure to check out the full survey results come Wednesday.

Ready to overhaul your game? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at