Cost of Golf Club Membership

Cost of Golf Club Membership

In this article I want to look at the pro’s and con’s about the cost of golf club membership, some golfers feel that having an annual fee compared to casual golfers forking out weekly on green fees is the way to go – what suits your game!

With the US Masters now out of the way and the warmer weather arriving there is no better time to dig out the golf clubs, wipe off the cobwebs, give them a spruce up and head for the nearest fairway to get this seasons golf quest underway – but before you do that lets look at some of the benefits of being a member of a golf club:

I have listed below some areas I believe that are some good points about golf membership, which one or choices suits your game?

1. Play when you want

I think is a major point because the more you play the cheaper golf becomes, even if you don’t want to play a full round you can go out and have a few holes, zig zag the course, jump to different tees and play the course how you want to all because you are a member and can do that, but never jump onto holes without firstly checking you will not be inconveniencing other members already on the course. This point really forces home ‘do you fancy a few holes after work’ – you can do because your green fees are paid. 

Cost of Golf Club Membership - putting greenNot only you can play when you want, you also have the options of playing regular club competitions and these are normally spread out throughout the week and not just on weekends.

2. Finally getting a real golf handicap

Over the years, I have been playing golf you meet so many golfers who have this idea that they are shooting in the ‘90’ range so they are an 18 handicap, so far from the truth because they are a casual/social golfer and only ever play off the visitors tees at golf courses. When you have an official handicap all handicaps are worked out off of the ‘BACK’ markers, dependent on the golf courses the colour of the BACK markers varies but they are mainly WHITE in colour, so playing off the BACK tees it generally means you will be playing off the WHITE tees.

Some courses also call the white tees the member’s tees, but for official handicap purposes the white tees are the competition tees. So you are now playing off of the competition tees and you can now submit your first three cards for handicap calculation, and finally get an official handicap.

Cost of Golf Club Membership - Golfer in fairway

Also, when you have an official handicap it also means you can go and play much better quality courses who insist on you showing a handicap certificate before you play, so no more having to play local public or municipal courses, you can go visit top quality tournament venues!

3. Exercise

I have included this because a lot of people have gym memberships and because of the word gym its classed as real exercise, well the majority of the time when you play a round of golf you might as well say that you are going to walk over 3 miles per round, carrying or pulling a 25 kilo golf bag at the same time, believe me, you are not only getting exercise, you are getting fresh air, variations of scenery and plenty of times you will be problem-solving out on the golf course – every shot is different and each one of them takes a lot of thought, so plenty of usage for your brain too!

4. Make new lifelong friends

Being a member of a golf club also gives you access to all of the members which you have the opportunity of meeting on a regular basis. Most golf clubs have competitions throughout the week and they might be called ‘Roll-Ups’ or something similar, it basically means you can turn up at a certain time, dependent on how many people turn up then the draw is made on the spot, there and then. So this way is a great way of meeting new friends and future golfing buddies!

So with a golf membership you are so far getting cheaper golf, regular exercise, a real handicap and meeting new friends – sounds like a good deal to me but I haven’t finished yet because there are more benefits to being a member of a golf club.

5. Not expensive

The reason I have called it not expensive is dependent on some major factors, firstly what type of golf club are you looking for and is it 5 days or 7-day memberships, because adding in a few different variables can all of a sudden skyrocket the cost of your annual golf fees.

Firstly is there a joining fee? If there is then this might be a one-off upfront fee when you initially join, but this depends on the type of golf course you are joining? Historically the reason there are joining fees at some golf courses is because some of them have always charged the joining fee and if they stopped charging this joining fee they might have a rebellion on their hands by established long term members, so always ask or check this before deciding on a golf course to join.

Saying that, a lot of golf courses are feeling the pinch and because of things changing in the economic climate they do not charge a joining fee to attract new members, so look into that little detail before you decide to join a golf club, it normally means the higher the calibre or quality of the golf course is a major deciding factor whether a joining fee is administered.

Take out the joining fee and that is when you annual golf fees can seem very inexpensive and save you a lot of money over 12 months, doing a bit of homework on this factor and you will be on your way to becoming an established member of an established golf course.

6. Being able to have access to the golf course professional

When your average golfer goes into a pro shop or golf retailer they feel a bit intimidated by the thought of asking a professional golfer questions, sometimes the thought of asking basic normal questions is something the average golfer doesn’t like to do.

But once you have joined your local golf course on a membership you will then have the opportunity to become friends with your golf course pro and on first name terms, this then breaks down those barriers of what questions you feel comfortable in asking.

He or she will then be accessible for questions on equipment, tips and possibly lessons, so look at this as a real benefit of being a golf club member – your local pro can become your best friend and trust me I have been down this path so I can vouch for this and it is a good thing!

7. Playing a round of golf doesn’t have to turn into an all-day affair

Being a member as I mentioned earlier allows you access to the course 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, so playing a couple of holes, 9 holes or even 18 holes when you want to becomes a real added benefit.

With the warmer months approaching and the days getting longer, the opportunity to play after work, before work or whatever time suits becomes a possibility because of paying your annual fees.
You will also find that your rounds of golf may start getting quicker and not being out on a golf course when all the ‘weekend’ hackers are out in force, you will find that playing golf competitions are quicker, and because your fellow members also have an official handicap you know that they can get around a course pretty steadily and know the etiquette and rules of golf.

Also, know that the players in front of you and behind you are also in the same competition so they know when you are being delayed, so you feel that you are not under pressure because all of the fields are in the same boat.

However, this might be different if you are at the back end of the field ,because all golf courses want to earn extra revenue so they start pushing out pay and play golfers after the competition field has departed off on their round – so sometimes the tail enders getting the public once in a while golfers behind them – however this might not always be the case with certain golf clubs so just be aware when putting your name down for a competition and also what day of the week it is, generally pay and play golfers get out on the weekend.

8. The golf club roll of honour!

Lastly, the best bit about being a member of a golf course is all about the annual golf events or tournaments held at the course, during the year there will be club championships, team events, mixed events, senior events, the list is endless and all of them give you the opportunity of putting your name on the honours board for years to come!

One of the first things I look at when I visit new golf courses is the honours boards, it sort of gives you an indication of the type of players and standard of players the golf club attracts – maybe one day your name will be up there for everyone to admire and aspire to when they also look at the honours board.

Plus it’s a great talking point with your new found golfing friends when you do get your name up in lights! Plus there is always the opportunity of joining the ‘Hole in One’ Club at your new golf club, it doesn’t matter of what standard of golfer you are there is always the chance of all of us getting an ‘Ace’ at your home club because you really get used to playing the short holes regularly, but be warned if you do get a hole in one at your home club you may have to buy all the members on the golf course, or at the time of the hole in one, a celebration drink for your fete!

And I said golf was cheap! A round of drinks for a few hundred members can get very expensive so be warned either pay off your playing partners or take a hit in the wallet! Some golf course memberships actually cover a nominal 75 Pounds or Dollars in your annual fee so well worth looking into just in case? Or alternatively, some golfers buy golf insurance for this just in case!

I hope that you have enjoyed this article on the cost of golf club membership compared to playing ad-hoc on a casual basis and as always if you have any comments or feedback please do not hesitate to leave me a message or comment below, I will be glad to respond to any of your questions.

In the meantime keep hitting those fairways and keep hitting the golf ball straight!



8 Responses

  1. Bogeys to Birdies says:

    Hi Jeff, thanks for your in depth response about the cost of golf club membership, there are some great benefits of being a member as I have pointed out and so you have too? Yes I have been to St Andrews the home of golf and I have been fortunate enough to play it as well, never go caught in the 17th road hole bunker either. You must keep in touch. Regards, Michael

  2. JeffWA says:

    Hi Michael,
    You made some excellent points in really proving that it is much more beneficial to become a member of a club versus the opposite where you just chose to pay as you go along. In fact wouldn’t the greens’ fees at many member clubs be cheaper as opposed to you just walking in from the street to pay a round and whatever the club decided to charge you?
    I noted several very interesting points which you brought up which only gave further credence in your opinion that becoming a club member has advantages as opposed to not being a member:
    1). The fact that you would have first dibs to access on that course at a specific time. If you want a 1 pm tee time and you’re a member as opposed to some non-member wanting the same time, I do believe that the member would be selected first.
    2). It would be cost savings over time as you could play as much as you want to – really earning your club member fees as opposed to walking in off of the street a handful of times where you’re not a member – again if you could even get the tee time of your choice.
    3). If you are serious about improving your game you would have access to the club pro, perhaps even the possibility of arranging to have lessons. I don’t think this would happen again if you walked off the street and that club pro doesn’t know you at all!
    Excellent article, Michael. As your site seems to originate over in the UK, have you ever been to St. Andrews up in Scotland- the original home of golf? I was there, but only as part of a bus tour in 1995. We were allowed to walk the course, just as long as we did not interfere with play. That road hole #17 does have a nasty bunker near the green.

  3. Bogeys to Birdies says:

    Hi Tony, thanks for your feedback on the Cost of Golf Club Membership article, the exercise is certainly one area that most non golfers don’t appreciate, golf is a sport and with plenty of exercise. Keep in touch. Regards, Michael

  4. Tony says:

    Hi Michael,
    great summary of the comparisons between membership and casual fees. While I have never been a member I have played a bit of golf here and there but never enough to really warrant even thinking about a membership, but the fact that my average walk around the course is probably closer to 5,000m, a couple of river crossings and an intimate relationship with any trees down the right hand side of the fairway I am sure a membership at some stage could have helped reduce some of that stress…

  5. Bogeys to Birdies says:

    Hi There,Thanks for your comments on the cost of golf club membership, you should not leave until you are older because you can prepare your body for the golf swing now, that way you will be able to play and enjoy this great game of golf in your later years.



  6. Bogeys to Birdies says:

    Hi Benjamin,

    Thanks for your comments on the Cost of Golf Club Membership article, there are many benefits of being a member and I can tell by your comments about your wife that you are anticipating getting involved later in life. When you do take up the game of golf be sure to check out my website. Regards, Michael

  7. Benjamin says:

    Seems like the price is a lot lower than I would expect. Especially for a years pass to go golfing any time I want. We have a few golf courses in our neighborhood that we should check out once my wife is no longer pregnant. She could teach me a lot about golfing, because she played for years.

  8. lifebeginswithyourhealth says:

    very nice article on golf and the benefits of golf socially and for your health as well, I do agree golf is a very beneficial hobby for most anyone despite their age, even old timers can still golf I see them on the local golf course many days every week.

    I never attempted to golf myself, but as I become older it does become more tempting to give it a try.

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