North Jersey affordable private club options?

 NYCTUFan ·  
NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34
Joined:  in Mid-Atlantic #1
Good afternoon everyone. I’m a newbie looking for some feedback from you all. I’ll start by saying I’m looking for Unicorn, an affordable private club option in Northern New Jersey for someone who doesn’t qualify for a junior membership. Suggestions and feedback are welcome, I’m looking for the following:
  • 40 miles or less, 45 minutes or less from Montclair.
  • 100% private, no semi private.
  • Under $5000 per year.
  • Course that’s a solid test of golf for a single digit handicap with a great practice facility.
  • No Initiation, bond, or food and beverage minimum.
  • Sub 4.5 hour rounds.
  • Allows walking with a push cart.
  • Good competitive group who like to play for a couple of bucks (nothing crazy, a $5 or $10 Nassau to keep things interesting).


I play primarily at Neshanic Valley so i'm looking for conditions at least on par with that.



I looked at the private course at Royce Brook, it’s over $6,000 and a solid hour ride.



Forsgate is close an hour drive as well, but if the cost was right I’d consider it.



I’ve looked at New Jersey National. It pretty much checks all the boxes with the exception of cost, it’s pushing $9000 annually.



I checked out Forest Hill Club last season but they were looking for a fairly sizable initiation fee.



From some other posts on here it looks like Glenwood Country Club is an option, but I know nothing about the club or layout. I know the hold the NJSGA Open qualifier there so I’m guessing it must be a decent layout?



I’m interested in hearing club suggestions as well as some feedback on Glenwood.



Thanks.
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  • wezmanwezman  17WRX Points: 0Handicap: 21.5Members Posts: 17
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    That's a big ask for under $5k. If you can push slightly above that, I think Basking Ridge has some alternative options that may work for him. Probably similar to NJ National. Definitely let me know if you come up with something.
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  • dsmildsmil  570WRX Points: 86Members Posts: 570
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    What don't you like about Neshanic? It's a great course with very nice practice facilities.
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  • NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34
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    dsmil wrote:


    What don't you like about Neshanic? It's a great course with very nice practice facilities.




    I love Neshanic, it’s an amazing golf course, the problem is it’s a solid hour drive and coming home on the weekends in the summer it’s longer than that. Also I’m looking for more of a private club feel. I want to be able to go by after work on a weekday, hit balls for an hour, then go play 4 or 5 holes. At Neshanic I’m paying for a full greens fee so I have a tough time just playing a handful of holes.
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  • NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34
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    wezman wrote:


    That's a big ask for under $5k. If you can push slightly above that, I think Basking Ridge has some alternative options that may work for him. Probably similar to NJ National. Definitely let me know if you come up with something.




    Under 5K is definitely a big ask, 2 kids in college will do that. I’m not looking for a fancy clubhouse or grill, just a place to change my shoes and have a cigar and a drink after the round. I’m looking for a bare bones golf club with a solid layout, not necessarily a fancy country club.



    I’ll keep you posted on my findings.
    Posted:
  • gmoneygmoney  381WRX Points: 73Members Posts: 381
    Joined:  #6


    Agree with being a big ask, probably too big.



    With Basking Ridge you won’t get a “great” practice facility, irons only..and always off matts, only about 12 stalls, and is in the middle of the course pretty much. And again not a grass range. If you play basking ridge in the afternoon you’ll be there about 5 hours. Local high schools play matches in season there and if your behind that, well, your done.

    NJ National has an “ok” range but is always “matts only” and is straight down hill. Course is ok, decent conditions but not an easy walk unless your in pretty good shape. Btw, they don’t cut the grass Tuesday’s.

    Glenwood is in good shape only about 5 days a year and the range is small but is grass, albeit not “Neshanic” grass. Lots of weeds actually. Clubhouse is more like an old Elks lodge..

    Forest hill is a quirky track, but the greens are really good. Range is irons only an on matts 90% of the year. Good bunch of guys but the games are a bit more than $5 if you know what I mean,...



    You may want to prioritize your wish list and rank what is most important and what’s not so much. If there’s a good range by you, maybe you can find a club which has little or no range but get some of the other things your looking for.

    Your looking for $20k of value at a fraction of the price. Admirable for sure but probably not realistic in the north jersey market.



    Another concern is if you find all your looking for, it’s probably going to be packed with guys just like yourself so that 4.5 hr round may become an issue...



    $5k in central / north jersey is really a tough one, especially if your not under 35 years old... best of luck on your search...

    Posted:
  • philsRHmanphilsRHman  1355WRX Points: 174Members Posts: 1,355
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    You’ve basically described Glenwood to a T. Strong challenging design, 7000 and penal from the tips. Never need a tee time. Range included. Clubhouse is very basic. Hot dogs, sandwiches. Bar has taken a step up the past couple years with more than just coors and Bud on tap. No pool, no tennis. Just golf. What you describe abotbthe afternoon is exactly right. Hit balls for 45 min and then play a 4-5 hole loop. It’s almost always empty weekend afternoons. Conditions depend on Mother Nature. At that price (under 5k) the maintenance budget isn’t huge. Comes and goes through the season. Gets real nice around the state open qualifier and our club championship. Let me know if you have more questions. I’ve played there for 20+ years going back to working the cart barn as a kid, now a member.
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  • Bonneville85308Bonneville85308  1799WRX Points: 217Members Posts: 1,799
    Joined:  edited Aug 29, 2018 #8
    No way what the OP wants exists in a private club within 45 minutes of Montclair other than Glenwood. If it did, there would be a 20 year long wait list. The $5,000 max dues for a non-junior, no initiation, and push carts allowed kills it.



    The only thing I can think of just outside of that range would be Oak Hill in Milford, but that is going to be well over an hour from Montclair. Little to no initiation, dues MIGHT be in the ballpark of $5k, push carts allowed, quick rounds/not a ton of play but several real dull holes and maintenance is nothing special in recent years. Even at the private clubs just over the border in PA you are going to be well over $5k/yr.
    Posted:
  • NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34
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    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback. Like i said, i knew i was looking for a Unicorn.



    I’m going to check out Glenwood but I’m getting the feeling there is a pretty good chance I will end up playing the 2019 season out of Neshanic Valley, which all things considered is not a bad thing.



    I think the game plan is get the kids through 2 more years of college then look to pay 15K – 40K bond and $1000 a month at one of the private clubs within 15 minutes of my house so I can take full advantage of the club lifestyle.



    I haven’t looked into the numbers yet because I know even a good deal will be out of my price range at this point, but can anyone shed some light on the bond, dues, initiation fee, etc for Montclair GC, Essex Fells CC, Upper Montclair GC, Essex County CC, Mountain Ridge, or Greenbrook?



    Thanks again for the insight.
    Posted:
  • ButterCutter2ButterCutter2 NYC 338WRX Points: 95Handicap: 4Members Posts: 338
    Joined:  #10
    NYCTUFan wrote:


    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback. Like i said, i knew i was looking for a Unicorn.



    I’m going to check out Glenwood but I’m getting the feeling there is a pretty good chance I will end up playing the 2019 season out of Neshanic Valley, which all things considered is not a bad thing.



    I think the game plan is get the kids through 2 more years of college then look to pay 15K – 40K bond and $1000 a month at one of the private clubs within 15 minutes of my house so I can take full advantage of the club lifestyle.



    I haven’t looked into the numbers yet because I know even a good deal will be out of my price range at this point, but can anyone shed some light on the bond, dues, initiation fee, etc for Montclair GC, Essex Fells CC, Upper Montclair GC, Essex County CC, Mountain Ridge, or Greenbrook?



    Thanks again for the insight.




    shoot me a PM for insight on those upper tier clubs you referenced above (essex, montclair etc)
    Posted:
  • NJgolfer11NJgolfer11  158WRX Points: 81Handicap: 8Members Posts: 158
    Joined:  #11
    NYCTUFan wrote:


    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback. Like i said, i knew i was looking for a Unicorn.



    I’m going to check out Glenwood but I’m getting the feeling there is a pretty good chance I will end up playing the 2019 season out of Neshanic Valley, which all things considered is not a bad thing.



    I think the game plan is get the kids through 2 more years of college then look to pay 15K – 40K bond and $1000 a month at one of the private clubs within 15 minutes of my house so I can take full advantage of the club lifestyle.



    I haven’t looked into the numbers yet because I know even a good deal will be out of my price range at this point, but can anyone shed some light on the bond, dues, initiation fee, etc for Montclair GC, Essex Fells CC, Upper Montclair GC, Essex County CC, Mountain Ridge, or Greenbrook?



    Thanks again for the insight.




    Essex County may work but your dues will be over $1,000 a month when you factor in carts/caddies, food/beverage, etc.



    NJ National is a great deal if you are looking for a place where you can walk and carry your own bag and all.



    Green Brook is an excellent golf course but they are rather pricey as well.



    Mountain Ridge I believe is predominately a Jewish club, so if you are not Jewish, it may be very hard for you, Plus there initiation and dues are very high.



    Check out Metuchen Golf & Country Club. Very nice course and reasonable dues. There is no true range though but the course is great, nice clubhouse and the members are awesome.



    Black Oak in Morris County is supposed to be great. They just opened a new clubhouse and it is strictly golf. I would look there too.



    Good luck with your search!
    Posted:
  • NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34
    Joined:  #12
    NJgolfer11 wrote:

    NYCTUFan wrote:


    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback. Like i said, i knew i was looking for a Unicorn.



    I’m going to check out Glenwood but I’m getting the feeling there is a pretty good chance I will end up playing the 2019 season out of Neshanic Valley, which all things considered is not a bad thing.



    I think the game plan is get the kids through 2 more years of college then look to pay 15K – 40K bond and $1000 a month at one of the private clubs within 15 minutes of my house so I can take full advantage of the club lifestyle.



    I haven’t looked into the numbers yet because I know even a good deal will be out of my price range at this point, but can anyone shed some light on the bond, dues, initiation fee, etc for Montclair GC, Essex Fells CC, Upper Montclair GC, Essex County CC, Mountain Ridge, or Greenbrook?



    Thanks again for the insight.




    Essex County may work but your dues will be over $1,000 a month when you factor in carts/caddies, food/beverage, etc.



    NJ National is a great deal if you are looking for a place where you can walk and carry your own bag and all.



    Green Brook is an excellent golf course but they are rather pricey as well.



    Mountain Ridge I believe is predominately a Jewish club, so if you are not Jewish, it may be very hard for you, Plus there initiation and dues are very high.



    Check out Metuchen Golf & Country Club. Very nice course and reasonable dues. There is no true range though but the course is great, nice clubhouse and the members are awesome.



    Black Oak in Morris County is supposed to be great. They just opened a new clubhouse and it is strictly golf. I would look there too.



    Good luck with your search!




    Thanks, I’m definitely going to check out Black Oak and Metuchen.
    Posted:
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  • Jersey golferJersey golfer  469WRX Points: 88Handicap: 14.9Members Posts: 469
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    You could also try Shackamaxon in Scotch Plains. I believe its annual is 6K.
    Posted:
  • LPSISCOLPSISCO  371WRX Points: 95Members Posts: 371
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    NYCTUFan wrote:

    NJgolfer11 wrote:

    NYCTUFan wrote:


    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback. Like i said, i knew i was looking for a Unicorn.



    I’m going to check out Glenwood but I’m getting the feeling there is a pretty good chance I will end up playing the 2019 season out of Neshanic Valley, which all things considered is not a bad thing.



    I think the game plan is get the kids through 2 more years of college then look to pay 15K – 40K bond and $1000 a month at one of the private clubs within 15 minutes of my house so I can take full advantage of the club lifestyle.



    I haven’t looked into the numbers yet because I know even a good deal will be out of my price range at this point, but can anyone shed some light on the bond, dues, initiation fee, etc for Montclair GC, Essex Fells CC, Upper Montclair GC, Essex County CC, Mountain Ridge, or Greenbrook?



    Thanks again for the insight.




    Essex County may work but your dues will be over $1,000 a month when you factor in carts/caddies, food/beverage, etc.



    NJ National is a great deal if you are looking for a place where you can walk and carry your own bag and all.



    Green Brook is an excellent golf course but they are rather pricey as well.



    Mountain Ridge I believe is predominately a Jewish club, so if you are not Jewish, it may be very hard for you, Plus there initiation and dues are very high.



    Check out Metuchen Golf & Country Club. Very nice course and reasonable dues. There is no true range though but the course is great, nice clubhouse and the members are awesome.



    Black Oak in Morris County is supposed to be great. They just opened a new clubhouse and it is strictly golf. I would look there too.



    Good luck with your search!




    Thanks, I’m definitely going to check out Black Oak and Metuchen.




    I like Black Oak a lot, but you really can't walk. It's got to be at least half a mile from the first hole to the second.
    Posted:
  • ButterCutter2ButterCutter2 NYC 338WRX Points: 95Handicap: 4Members Posts: 338
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    Do they even permit walking at black oak? I played there once a few years ago through boxgroove and saw no caddies / walkers / push carts. Agreed it’s not a very walkable course
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  • cpeckcpeck North new jersey 598WRX Points: 284Handicap: leftyMembers Posts: 598
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    i see someone mentioned privates right over the pa line, which pa line sussex county80,15,206) or warren(78) if you know some post them up.





    OP not sure how far newton nj is from you, probably 35 miles give or take newton country club is nice and full of walkers.
    Posted:
  • gmoneygmoney  381WRX Points: 73Members Posts: 381
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    bnr204 wrote:


    Do they even permit walking at black oak? I played there once a few years ago through boxgroove and saw no caddies / walkers / push carts. Agreed it’s not a very walkable course




    No caddies at Black Oak. Not walk-able by most humans and I'm not sure they allow it anyway, has lost 8/18 greens this year and recently fired the superintendent...



    Most mid tier and up clubs do not allow push carts and only allow walking after certain peak hours..Look before you jump...image/wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />
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  • Bonneville85308Bonneville85308  1799WRX Points: 217Members Posts: 1,799
    Joined:  edited Sep 5, 2018 #18
    cpeck wrote:


    i see someone mentioned privates right over the pa line, which pa line sussex county80,15,206) or warren(78) if you know some post them up.






    The closest privates along the Warren/78 corridor just into PA are Northampton CC in Easton and the Steel Club (formerly Silver Creek CC) in Hellertown. They are probably 15 minutes or less from the tollbooths on the border. Both are easy to walk courses usually in great condition. But non-junior dues and fees at either will be well in excess of the $5k that OP is looking for. Steel Club is under new ownership that is trying to modernize the facilities, has a pretty laid back ambiance, and they are eager for new members. No restrictions on push carts or walking at Steel Club though I believe carts are included in the dues. I think Northampton allows walking pretty much anytime but you have to pay a "trail fee" during prime time.



    My understanding up on the Sussex/80 into PA corridor, there aren't many private courses left up there if at all. I think most like Great Bear, Pocono Farms, CC of Poconos, etc. went semi-private or full public a few years ago.
    Posted:
  • mkunes01mkunes01 Hoboken 139WRX Points: 46Handicap: 2.2Members Posts: 139
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    Give Stanton Ridge a look as well. Might be on the far side but near budget and a real hidden gem. Glenwood is trash IMO. I know they have a state open qualifier, but the course layout is genuinely just not fun. Nothing interesting about the course just a lot of really tight fairways and a couple blind shots that make it difficult unless you know the place.



    Another course to consider would be Panther Valley
    Posted:
  • NYCTUFanNYCTUFan  34WRX Points: 19Members Posts: 34
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    mkunes01 wrote:


    Give Stanton Ridge a look as well. Might be on the far side but near budget and a real hidden gem. Glenwood is trash IMO. I know they have a state open qualifier, but the course layout is genuinely just not fun. Nothing interesting about the course just a lot of really tight fairways and a couple blind shots that make it difficult unless you know the place.



    Another course to consider would be Panther Valley




    Thanks for the feedback, I’ve played Stanton Ridge, it’s a great course. The problem is it’s over 50 miles from me and an hour with no traffic, so it’s another one that I’m afraid I’m just not going to play enough. Panther Valley is a little closer but still a pretty good ride.



    I’ve come to the realization that what I’m looking for is pretty much nonexistent, at least at the level I’m looking for. Its ok, Neshanic Valley will be a fine home for the next 18 months until I send the kids final college tuition payment. At that time I’ll take a look at the clubs closer to my home and make a choice, Essex Fells CC, Montclair GC, Forest Hill and Essex County CC.
    Posted:
  • NJgolfer11NJgolfer11  158WRX Points: 81Handicap: 8Members Posts: 158
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    NYCTUFan wrote:

    mkunes01 wrote:


    Give Stanton Ridge a look as well. Might be on the far side but near budget and a real hidden gem. Glenwood is trash IMO. I know they have a state open qualifier, but the course layout is genuinely just not fun. Nothing interesting about the course just a lot of really tight fairways and a couple blind shots that make it difficult unless you know the place.



    Another course to consider would be Panther Valley




    Thanks for the feedback, I’ve played Stanton Ridge, it’s a great course. The problem is it’s over 50 miles from me and an hour with no traffic, so it’s another one that I’m afraid I’m just not going to play enough. Panther Valley is a little closer but still a pretty good ride.



    I’ve come to the realization that what I’m looking for is pretty much nonexistent, at least at the level I’m looking for. Its ok, Neshanic Valley will be a fine home for the next 18 months until I send the kids final college tuition payment. At that time I’ll take a look at the clubs closer to my home and make a choice, Essex Fells CC, Montclair GC, Forest Hill and Essex County CC.




    I just played Essex Fells in a NJ Member Golf Day. Not a long course, but if you are not accurate or can't putt, it is a struggle. The clubhouse is very old.



    Montclair GC purchased Rock Spring a few years ago so you get 54 holes. Rock Spring is an excellent course and I found more enjoyable than Essex Fells.



    Good luck in your search!
    Posted:
  • Wander BreadWander Bread  81WRX Points: 35Handicap: 4.2Members Posts: 81
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    UMCC is 3 solid 9's and a really good group of guys. I have played there quite a bit with a couple of members. Clubhouse is undergoing a full renovation and will be done by the time you are looking. They are going to have a really nice 2nd floor outdoor bar overlooking the 9th hole and the pond where they have the island green competition during outings. Definitely something to look into if it is within your price range.
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  • gmoneygmoney  381WRX Points: 73Members Posts: 381
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    UMCC has a $12,500 initiation plus $10,500 annual dues.



    Also locker fee, $1000 food minimum per year, and about $275 in miscellaneous service fees...



    Pretty sure that blows the OP budget..
    Posted:
  • Wander BreadWander Bread  81WRX Points: 35Handicap: 4.2Members Posts: 81
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    gmoney wrote:


    UMCC has a $12,500 initiation plus $10,500 annual dues.



    Also locker fee, $1000 food minimum per year, and about $275 in miscellaneous service fees...



    Pretty sure that blows the OP budget..




    Gotcha. I only know junior members and it isn't even close to that amount. Sorry
    Posted:
  • ButterCutter2ButterCutter2 NYC 338WRX Points: 95Handicap: 4Members Posts: 338
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    the rumblings above on UMCC are inaccurate at least for initiation, according to my sources. my sources include someone very close to me who's above 50 and looked into membership there w/in last 12 months. regardless it blows away the OP's budget, but it's also quite common for junior members to pay less in monthly's and pay down the initation over years interest free. also worth noting that the club financials change often year to year, so what gmoney & wander bread are debating may have been spot on as of last year or what not.
    Posted:
  • Wander BreadWander Bread  81WRX Points: 35Handicap: 4.2Members Posts: 81
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    bnr204 wrote:


    the rumblings above on UMCC are inaccurate at least for initiation, according to my sources. my sources include someone very close to me who's above 50 and looked into membership there w/in last 12 months. regardless it blows away the OP's budget, but it's also quite common for junior members to pay less in monthly's and pay down the initation over years interest free. also worth noting that the club financials change often year to year, so what gmoney & wander bread are debating may have been spot on as of last year or what not.




    Playing member guest there tomorrow so can try and find out some additional details about price but most likely well out of OP range as others stated
    Posted:
  • TMfan54TMfan54 NJ 2248WRX Points: 134Handicap: +1.2Members Posts: 2,248
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    I am most likely joining MGC next year but looked at UMCC and have a good friend that is a member. The regular rate is less but from what I remember but not that significantly less.



    For me, the junior pricing at MGC is significantly less and almost a no brainer.
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  • gmoneygmoney  381WRX Points: 73Members Posts: 381
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    I have the UMCC membership information in my hands given to me 3 weeks ago by the membership director...maybe they have been update since then..



    the numbers are correct. These are dues only, not including initiation or monthly and yearly dues.Also they have a pretty elaborate interview process outlined in this package.



    Junior dues are as follows and are by age of member..



    18-28 yrs old, $4100

    29-32 $5212

    33-34 $7297

    38-39 $8340

    40+ $10425



    For the record and noteworthy when thinking about joining a higher end private club.

    Theses fees are billed yearly:



    Club storage and range use $205

    Mens locker fee $125

    Mens prize fund $75

    Mens hole in one $15



    The following are billed monthly:



    Club service charge $40

    Capitol reserve $30

    Master Plan $160

    Mens locker renovation $16 per mth thru Oct 2018

    Same number for the ladies..







    Junior initiation fees are:



    18-28 $3000

    29-32 $5000

    33-34 $8000

    35-39 $10,000

    40+ $12,500



    Great deal if your under 30 with no kids....



    Private golf ain't cheap....
    Posted:
  • Wander BreadWander Bread  81WRX Points: 35Handicap: 4.2Members Posts: 81
    Joined:  #29
    TMfan54 wrote:


    I am most likely joining MGC next year but looked at UMCC and have a good friend that is a member. The regular rate is less but from what I remember but not that significantly less.



    For me, the junior pricing at MGC is significantly less and almost a no brainer.




    They have 6 different 9's at this point. Definitely interested in checking this out as well.
    Posted:
  • moadhiamoadhia  292WRX Points: 75Handicap: 12Members Posts: 292
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    TMfan54 wrote:
    I am most likely joining MGC next year but looked at UMCC and have a good friend that is a member. The regular rate is less but from what I remember but not that significantly less.



    For me, the junior pricing at MGC is significantly less and almost a no brainer.




    What is MGC ? Interested in affordable junior/intermediate options in similar area.
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  • gmoneygmoney  381WRX Points: 73Members Posts: 381
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    MGC is Montclair Golf club. They have Four 9's. Add in the acquisition of Rock Spring Golf club which they acquired maybe last year and you have another 18.



    "Preview" Junior rates range from $5500 plus fees the 1st year for under 27 years old to $9500 to age 37. That's for the 1st year based on a 2 year deal that escalates in year 2. Year 2 runs between $6k for 21 and $11,5 for up to 37 years old.Year 3 the number moves from a low of $9k to 37 year old at $14k. per year.....



    And then another escalation to move from "preview" member to regular member.





    Also have to be sponsored by two "A" class members and meet board approval...



    I have most NJ clubs rates and membership info at my desk. None are cheap...obviously you get what you pay for. The clubs mentioned in this thread are mid tier and not on the high end at all and from experience mid tier will run you $15k on up per year. Now that includes a year of all inclusive golf, carts, caddies, food, booze?, guest fees etc. that's just a ball park but it's realistic so as you consider a club be sure to look at the entire cost of a year of golf and activities, not just the amount to put your first tee in the ground. Many people struggle with $1500-$3000 a month charges for all the extras after the initial check is written. And then the wife asks "WTH"?

    I don't want to come across as a downer but I'm just letting you guys know what it really costs to belong to a private club..



    Any questions, I'm here to help and guide...Also as you move north in NJ, the number moves higher than central or southern Jersey.
    Posted:
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Rich Text Editor. To edit a paragraph's style, hit tab to get to the paragraph menu. From there you will be able to pick one style. Nothing defaults to paragraph. An inline formatting menu will show up when you select text. Hit tab to get into that menu. Some elements, such as rich link embeds, images, loading indicators, and error messages may get inserted into the editor. You may navigate to these using the arrow keys inside of the editor and delete them with the delete or backspace key.