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You are forgetting another kind of private club. There is a club here where you pay a very reasonable annual fee (about $200) for the privilege of making teetimes. After that, you can pay for a full golf membership or you can just pay (reasonable) greens fees and pay for practice balls each time you use them.
The club is not pretentious at all, with nothing other than golf and a not-so-special restaurant (that is open to the public) and their clubhouse looks like a small converted house from the 50’s, but they have 27 holes of good golf.

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The private courses near where I live have increased dues costs along with significant money to be given upon admission. So the costs have not decreased and are increasing throughout Long Island New York. Not a place where someone who is not wealthy can afford a private club. A big change over the last twenty years.

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I have lived in a high tourist area for the past ten years. The course I play was redesigned a few years ago. It is now a very nice links style 12 hole course. I am retired so I get to play frequently. The course offers full memberships as well as 1, 2 or 3 month memberships. For the 3 months of (hopefully) good weather up north, I can play for $500. A steal! Also, with only 12 holes, I play almost every day...and walk!
12 holes. The way of the future with everyone struggling to find enough time to play. 2 & 1/2 hours is easy to 0lan for in anyone’s hectic schedule.

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I was invited to join a “Courseless” club 4 years ago and it was the best thing for comoraderie and teaching me how to play golf in “Real” competition . The Kirkwood Forest Country Club was started by a dozen ex-private club members and we maintain a roster of 35-40 members annually. It has satisfied my golf need and we all avoid the cost of club membership.

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$60K .. life time membership.. no cart fees or any other fees for life .. at TPC course ... can transfer to a kid once for $5000.

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Lincoln NE
4 public courses to choose from and I have a senior 5 day membership that comes with a cart. I play with a large group and we alternate courses.

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I have had a membership at a low end golf course until they closed. When covid 19 hit in Michigan you had to be a member in order to play. The course had a deal to join for a short time until the executive order was extended. That put us at the point where the yearly memberships were coming out and they applied what I paid for a limited time walking to a golf anytime with a cart once allowed by our governor. It was a pretty sweet deal Except for the fact that once your a member at a lower level you fight to get a tee time. That is the downside of any membership is the course will do all they can to drum more business at the expense of there members. Now with that said if I was retired then it most certainly would be worth it to me especially if they included access to their other courses.

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I'm a Champions Club member at Sandia Resort GC in Albuquerque, NM. Sandia is managed by OB Sports. I pay a nominal fee each year for membership which entitles me to discounted rounds each time I play plus accumulated points for each dollar spent per round. Those points can be used for free rounds throughout the year. But what can really save $ is when I travel out of state to play golf, which I used to do twice a year, many times to the Phoenix area. As a Champions Club member I also get a discount at any other OB Sports managed course I play, and there are many in the Phoenix area. That discount is significant, sometimes the same rate as the local members pay - HUGE considering how Phoenix area courses soak out of towners. I've been a Champions Club member for over 15 years and even though I no longer travel much for golf, I will continue as a member because I like how I am treated at Sandia plus I love the course.

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We belong to two clubs. One is a nine hole semi- private course just a short ride from home. My son plays there regularly when he has time. My wife and I plays several times a week. Our second club is a private course designed by Walter Travis. Both my wife and I use it at least three times a week. Total membership fees are less than $3000. I refuse to divulge the location I order to avoid a sudden surge in membership.

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Yeah, just prefer to pay as I go. Looked at CC memberships for several years but quite frankly, it sometimes feels like you play because you have to play in order to validate your membership. In the summer months, one can usually play enough to justify the set cost, but come winter? you lose money because there are just not enough good days to play and the courses are not in shape for quality play. I like trying new places and if all my golf money was tied up into one basket, even with a couple of courses available, I would not have any left over to try others.

Then the "hidden" costs such as meal requirements at the club each month. But the biggest is the assessments you get stuck with if something goes wrong or they want to expand.

I also hate the "young executive" model that many clubs have. Explain to me why someone 35 should be paying 1/3 the cost for the same benefits that I do since I am over 40?

May be fine for some, but I will pass.

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You’re bitter.

These costs aren’t “hidden”. Any club will be very clear if you just request the all in annual required costs. Very simple.

Also, young executive memberships are offered because the game isn’t growing. A 30 year older with 2-3 young kids cannot afford full rates most times. These memberships are offered to ic entivize people to join, then they remain full members.

Don’t be bitter. It’s not a good look

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Brett Reply 2 of 2
YE are offered as incentives, but not for the reason you think. Has nothing to do with helping out or any sort of empathy for younger people.
To the contrary, clubs believe young and stupid "kids" will spend like crazy at the club. Bring friends, the family, spend, spend spend. Problem is...they do not. Virtually YE program operates in the red. Why? Because of what you said...they actually do not have the spare cash. Most spend only what they have to and not a nickel more. So it makes no sense to offer a reduced membership to someone with limited income and expect them to not only spend the difference between YE and standard rate which would get the club into the black for that member, PLUS even more to feed the capital improvements budget.

Furthermore, the VAST majority of YE members do NOT maintain membership at the club once the YE terms have expired. In fact, exit interviews have shown many YEs only selected a club because of the YE rate and many then join other clubs once the reduced rate is not in play.

To be bitter about something, it has to affect you. YE rates do not affect me, but I still have an opinion about how useless they are and how they hurt full-paying members (who have to foot the bill for the difference). If you paid attention, I am not a club member, but because of work, I know a heck of a lot about them.

But thanks for your completely incorrect, judgmental assessment.

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So you’re saying they become members of another club? What if they never got the taste of private membership at the first club? They wouldn’t have joined the new one. Whether you like it or not, golf clubs would become a dying breed in the next 15 years without YE memberships, so they need these options.

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Wow, your reading comprehension is limited.

They do not join to "get a taste". They want to join Club A for whatever reason but cannot afford it, so they join Club B at a reduced rate. Once Club B revokes the YE membership, they bolt to Club A that they wanted all along (or another). People do not join a YE club because it is the club they want, they join because it has the YE rate. Again, exit interviews quoted in articles state this is the typical reason someone joins as a YE. So now the club has taken it on the chin, subsidizing a YE member who then takes his money elsewhere instead of repaying the YE club by maintaining membership there. The model does not work.

And yes, clubs are a dying breed but what you do not understand, is that YE memberships are killing them. Clubs LOSE money on YE memberships that has to be recouped via other means, either by allowing general public play or charging full-rate members enough to cover the loss. Not to get political, but there is a political term for this type of arrangement. It does not work.

You are looking at it from the YE perspective, but then bemoan why clubs are a dying breed.

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You’re funny. They would never join club A if they didn’t get a taste of club B at the YE rate. Our generation doesn’t care about clubs. Offering a YE rate gives us a taste and convinces us to see the benefits. It doesn’t matter what club we join after, it matters that we are joining a club. Cut out YE memberships and those people won’t join any club in the future.

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Brett Reply 1 of 2.
I intentionally put "hidden" in quotes to indicate these costs are above and beyond the basic golf play. I never implied a CC was dishonest, it is a term used to indicate a cost of something that is not always considered. These are NOT annual costs, these are requirements that must be met as a member. There is a distinct difference. There are hundreds of articles you can find on the web about hidden costs of a CC membership, many that actually state, HIDDEN right in the article title.

As for the YE memberships, the comment was rhetorical, but since you have replied, let us dig in to the fallacy. They have been offered for eons. They have nothing to do with growing the game. In fact, ClubCorp does not even consider themselves a golf company but a "membership company". If they could make a profit with corn hole, they would.

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“ These are NOT annual costs, these are requirements that must be met as a member. There is a distinct difference.”

This is hilarious. Please describe how if I have minimums of $100 a month, it’s not a minimum annual cost of $1200. You’re going to spend that money every month, ever year, and the clubs are very transparent about the fact that you have to spend the money. Even using quotes around the word hidden is still extremely false. How can you call something hidden when it’s very clear when you ask about membership costs?

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Now you are intentionally being dense.

Transparency has nothing to do with this. Get that out of your head. Not calling clubs dishonest.

A club says you pay $20k to join and monthly dues are $750. That is the benchmark figure. Like buying a car that has monthly payments of $750. Now, you have to add in all of the other requirements of "owning the car". Gas, oil, maintenance, etc. which at the club is the other dining, bag storage, range fees, etc. That is the definition of a hidden cost. I did not make it up, that is a common term for ongoing obligations that are not part of the market cost. Maybe you should look up the term instead of trying to be so literal for the sake of argument.

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Very bad example. Car maintenance is “hidden like because there’s zero transparency in how much it will cost. Food mins are very transparent to the dollar, unless you want to spend more.

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yep, you just want to argue. Have fun.

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I don’t want to argue. I just want you to explain why you are commenting lies. If you compare a hidden cost of auto repairs, with clearly define food minimums, that’s not a legitimate comparison.

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For some it is not about the money, it's about the fellowship.

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Hmmm, thought it was about playing golf.

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You can Play golf anywhere. You don’t join a club purely for golf. You join for everything that comes with being a member - community, fellowship, etc

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You going to go through and argue with all of my posts now? You need a life.

You do what you want at a golf course, I will do what I want at a golf course, which is golf. Not play tennis, swim, eat, dance, party, whatever. I go to a golf course to golf. Nothing else. I have other venues to do whatever else in my life suits my desires. And for the monthly fee at a CC, I could play up to 16 rounds at thousands of other courses...and not have to purchase food.

You sure have a burr in your shorts. Get over it.

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I’m not arguing with any of your posts. I’m simply commenting my opinion. How angry at the world do you have to be to consider anytime someone disagrees with you to be an argument?

And the conversation wasn’t about golf courses. It was about country clubs. At least based on your initial comment about looking at CCs. Golf is only one piece of that.

Stop being bitter.

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You are doing nothing BUT arguing with me. Do you frequently call someone a liar whenever you are not in disagreement with them? Do you question their comments? No. You are arguing, but given your lack of reading comprehension, your lack of understanding what an argument is, is not surprising.

The article is in...wait for it....A GOLF MAGAZINE talking about CC options. It is all about golf. Nice attempt at diversion.

I stated my opinion and you took exception to it. YOU are the one who is bitter because my opinion of CCs does not fit your little narrative. Makes one wonder if you do not work at a CC and are compelled to defend the industry.

Does it make you feel somehow (erroneously) morally forthright to call someone bitter? In your edification about what things mean, look up "passive aggressive". I am not bitter in the slightest but your continual arguing is taxing. Move on with your life.

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You are allowed to disagree without arguing. People do it all the time. Just because my opinion differs doesn’t automatically mean we are arguing

My lack of reading comprehension? That’s hilarious. I replied black and white what you typed black and white.

Just because it’s in a golf magazine does not mean a CC is limited to golf. I’m sorry you’re so closed minded to believe that.

I’m not bitter. I simply provided that your views are not co sister with the younger generations which means they are outdated. You seem to wish that country clubs wouldn’t allow younger people for some reason. Seems like bitterness about you not having that opportunity. I do not work in the industry, I simply have seen dozen of friends get introduced to the life through a YE and they continued to be members after seeing the value and crossing the age threshold.

Again, not arguing so I’m not sure why it’s so “taxing” on you.