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Bay Area Country Clubs

 vikingerik2002 ·  
vikingerik2002vikingerik2002 Members  3WRX Points: 12Posts: 3 Starters
Joined:  in Courses, Memberships and Travel #1

I’m looking around at all the Bay Area country clubs and it’s hard to find info on costs and whether or not I can just join or have to be invited. I’m a young (27) professional looking to join a club mostly for golf but also for my fiancée (and kids someday) to be able to use the facilities as well.

Does anyone have info or recommendations on the most accessible clubs in the Bay Area?

My research has shown there are a few that are completely out of reach (SFGC, Olympic, Peninsula) and some that look welcoming online but don’t offer info on the initiation fee/pricing. Any recs/info would be appreciated!

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  • DandyDonDandyDon Members  229WRX Points: 78Handicap: 13.2Posts: 229 Fairways
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    Silver Creek Country club is at 25k initiation with 1100 a month monthly dues (their initiation last year was only 12.5k)...Not sure what San Jose CC is, but they are usually better priced (but the course is uninteresting to me)....

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  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan Members  1292WRX Points: 907Handicap: 12Posts: 1,292 Platinum Tees
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    I cannot speak to Castlewood CC's cost or joining process recently. Years ago it was a 50k+ initiation and a couple thousand a month, then the initiation fell as low as 10k.

    However, having known many members and played a number of guest rounds there, it is a fantastic facility. 2 courses, 2 ranges, pool, tennis. And my member friends were ALWAYS at the club, as a family at the time that had 13/10/7 year old kids.

    Again, that was then and I don't know about now, but from a strictly golf side the courses are in good shape and enjoyable. Location is fantastic.

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  • milmaticmilmatic Members  78WRX Points: 41Posts: 78 Fairways
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    I too have been curious about joining but don't want to fork over a down payment on a house. I met someone on the course the other day who said some clubs sell equity stakes in their clubs in order to become a member. As a member if you ever decide to leave you can sell your stake/membership to another person. Not sure where these private sales take place or where they are advertised but I'm sure there has to be a site somewhere out there. Can anyone confirm if this is true and that is how a lot of clubs operate?

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  • aloha b.aloha b. Members  680WRX Points: 183Posts: 680 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Jul 18, 2020 3:37am #5

    I recently got two emails from NCGA regarding memberships at San Jose Country Club and Silver Creek Country Club obviously both in San Jose. It didn't say anything about the initiation fees or the monthly dues or F&B for San Jose Country Club. Silver Creek Country Club had no initiation fee for NCGA members but it didn't list the monthly dues or F&B. I know that they have a young executive program for ages under 40 and the normal initiation fee is $12,500 with $736 monthly dues and quarterly F & B minimum of $240. Their Premier Golf membership is initiation fee of $25,000, monthly $1,100 and F & B $240. I played Silver Creek a few times and I think that it's a really nice well kept course. You can check out the different membership programs under membership

    https://www.scvcc.com/Default.aspx?p=dynamicmodule&pageid=115&ssid=100166&vnf=1

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  • carreracarrera Northern CaliforniaMembers  2669WRX Points: 209Posts: 2,669 Titanium Tees
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  • carreracarrera Northern CaliforniaMembers  2669WRX Points: 209Posts: 2,669 Titanium Tees
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    Many clubs are member owned. The way it typically works is that some portion of your down payment, say 25%, is "equity" in the club. When you quit the club, you might get that equity back. But...

    Things can change...economy related. Your equity can be reduced or eliminated.

    Other clubs have a transfer fee associated with a membership, and a floating price. Say the club's transfer fee is $20k. You become a member for $40k. A few years later, you decide to quit the club, and get on the sell list. You can name your sell price (some clubs allow that), and hope to get something more than the transfer fee amount (you keep what you get above that). But while you are on the exit or sell list, you are still paying dues. So you might just decide to sell your membership for $20k (i.e. nothing for yourself) just to get out of paying dues.

    A country club membership is a horrible financial investment, so only make it if you don't need the money and won't sweat the dues.

    But for sure use the "equity" argument in discussions with your wife! It helps.

    Last, many clubs don't have old-style equity memberships any more. Olympic only has a token amount for golf members, Meadow Club no longer has equity memberships, and several other clubs just have non-equity initiation fees. You have to find out the specific details of the club you are interested in.

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  • vikingerik2002vikingerik2002 Members  3WRX Points: 12Posts: 3 Starters
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    Appreciate everyone’s responses!! @carrera I live in Foster City, but have lived in Fremont and Pleasanton as well. Going to buy a home soon and one of the deciding factors for me is whether there’s a CC nearby I can join, especially if there’s a “young professional” tier of membership that doesn’t cost tens of thousands up front.

    Thank you for all the info! Hoping to learn as much as I can from club members on what they would/wouldn’t do if they were in my position/at my age.

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  • goaliedad30goaliedad30 Members  109WRX Points: 125Handicap: 4Posts: 109 Fairways
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    I'm a member at Silver Creek. We definitely have young executive memberships with lower up-front costs. Our son lives in Foster City, so I can tell you with no traffic, it's about 35 minutes from there to the club.

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  • carreracarrera Northern CaliforniaMembers  2669WRX Points: 209Posts: 2,669 Titanium Tees
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    Near me, Contra Costa CC is a fun club with a good course and practice facilities, and lots of young members. That is the Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill/Concord area. I am a fan of the East Bay area for the weather and more reasonable real estate (versus SF and the Peninsula/SV) if it works for your job.

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  • toddmanleytoddmanley Members  104WRX Points: 48Posts: 104 Fairways
    Joined:  #11

    There definitely can be some good deals for the "young" executive pricing if you check around. I kinda kick myself for not doing this but then again I do have peace of mind that I'm not sweating over fees and dues. Another club worth looking at is La Rinconada (great range w/ Prov1's and a sweet short game area plus they just did a nice remodel).

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  • 5forA45forA4 Members  6WRX Points: 22Posts: 6 Bunkers
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    The Bay Club has great options for courses (StoneTree and Boulder Ridge in Bay Area.. Fairbanks Ranch in San Diego) as well as gyms, tennis clubs, pools, etc all for the price of one membership. Have friends that are members and apparently it comes with day care, summer camp, troon prive plus more. DM me if you want contact info for someone there. Supposed to be cheap now too and have young professional memberships

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  • milmaticmilmatic Members  78WRX Points: 41Posts: 78 Fairways
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    Hey man. I'm interested. shoot me a line. Thanks!

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  • vikingerik2002vikingerik2002 Members  3WRX Points: 12Posts: 3 Starters
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    same! Would love some more info on that

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  • Schley Schley Love ya don't tell ya enough! Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaMembers  1522WRX Points: 308Handicap: 12.3Posts: 1,522 Platinum Tees
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    Carerra is correct in that this refundable initiation fee is a thing of the past. Most clubs have non refundable initiation fee, although smaller than in years past in many cases. Arizona and palm springs have quite a few hybrid refundable and non refundable options at big clubs. Refundable is higher obviously.

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  • Carson33Carson33 Members  538WRX Points: 134Handicap: +2Posts: 538 Golden Tee
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    I used to live in the area and worked at Ruby Hills GC in Pleasanton. Just curious, is it still nice and doing ok? The course was the best Jack Nicklaus design I had played at the time (1996).

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  • 5forA45forA4 Members  6WRX Points: 22Posts: 6 Bunkers
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  • carreracarrera Northern CaliforniaMembers  2669WRX Points: 209Posts: 2,669 Titanium Tees
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    As of a few years ago (last time I played there), it is still doing fine. The area around it has certainly been built up since 1996 due to its access to Silicon Valley.

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  • duke2001jduke2001j Consultant Palo Alto, CAMembers  156WRX Points: 87Handicap: +0.2Posts: 156 Fairways
    Joined:  #20

    I would definitely take a look at San Jose Country Club. I'm in the process of doing a membership there since I live in the area and was mostly looking for a place to practice (short game area is great). I can't play as often as I'd like (and since I have friends at other clubs and I play in tournaments regularly) so I can only commit to playing 1-2x a month. So I'm likely doing the program that lets me play 2x a month with super low initiation & monthlies. SJCC has a really good Young Executive program too, where the initiation fee is only like $4k, and monthly dues are less than $500 under 30 yo. Pretty sweet deal IMO. Personally, I love the course - it's an old school classic design that's easily walkable, greens and tees are close to each other, and not a lot of wasted space (aka "junk") where you can lose balls. That's my biggest pet peeve, personally - courses with too much OB/hazards that aren't walkable. Most of the modern designs seem to skew towards that - no thanks.

    Happy to share more information since I spent a lot of time digging for information on Bay Area Clubs. For me the most important part (outside of cost) was finding a course that fit my personality, and SJCC fits the bill.

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