By Guest Contributor Dakota Murphey
You’ve always wanted to play golf, so you bought some clubs, booked a few private lessons with a golf pro and played a few rounds with a friend. Now, you’re thinking it’s time to join a golf club – but how do you decide if this is the right decision and, if so, which club is right for you?
If you like to mix and socialise, personally and professionally, with people in your area, then joining a private golf club could be the perfect place. Some people only join golf clubs for business reasons, where they can network and entertain their clients. And because a private golf club has restricted access, it provides exclusivity and a host of facilities to its members.
If your chosen club has a limited membership, good course access, a golf simulator, and available tee times, and the pace of play is not usually slow, this can be a big benefit. Some clubs don’t even take tee times—instead, they operate on a first come, first serve basis, which is great if you’d rather not have to work around other golfers’ tee-off booking times.
Travel distance may be an issue unless you enjoy driving your car as much as driving golf balls. However, for those who prefer to keep their driving on the golf course, it’s a good idea to weigh up the distance you’ll have travel to enjoy a day on the course.
If you have a young family, you’ll probably find your son or daughter will want take up the game. Private clubs usually provide excellent tuition for youngsters and have junior golf programmes in place.
Most clubs allow you to bring guests to play golf and to enjoy the facilities, but it’s a good idea to check how many you can bring at one time and how often. The last thing you want is to have to tell arriving guests that they can’t play.
And speaking of checking… be aware that all golf clubs have club rules. These can range from where in the clubhouse you can keep your golf hat on, to where you can use your mobile phone and how you should dress. Ask about the rules as it’s good to know these before you join.
Finally, before you make the decision of joining a private golf club, you’ll need to look at the financial side. There are clubs at all price points, and they all have different fee structures, but here are a few of the most common types of fees you will come across.
This is an initial, once-off fee you pay to become a member. It can vary over time based on the club’s membership numbers, cashflow and operating income. While your joining fee might be £3,000 today, just a few years down the road a new member may only have to pay £1,000. Some clubs offer financing schemes to help pay off the fee over time. They may also offer various discounts based on your age, whether you’re a local resident or not, and if any of your family members join at the same time.
Monthly Membership Fees
In addition to the joining fee, you’ll also be required to pay a monthly membership fee. This varies from one club to another so check that these fees fit in with your budget.
Some clubs add a hole-in-one insurance to your monthly fees. It’s not a big amount and can be quite useful in case you do hole out in one: If you get lucky, everyone in the club gets a free drink on you, but if hole-in-one insurance is in place, the bill is taken care of by the club.
Green Fees, Caddies And Carts
Many clubs require you to pay green fees, or a part thereof, and to pay for a caddie for each round you play. If you choose not to use a caddie, you’ll normally have to pay for a cart instead.
There will normally be an annual fee for your locker and key. If you take part in any competitive tournaments, you’ll also be required to pay a tournament fee. Finally, allow for tips or gratuities for caddies, waiters and waitresses, outside service staff and golf lessons.
Dakota Murphey; BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, freelance writer and Photoshop dab hand. When she's not running around after her two kids, you’ll find her relaxing in a nearby coffee shop, watching the world pass her by. If you enjoyed this article, see what else she's been up to on Twitter - @Dakota_Murphey.
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