I would like to see a place that allows you to pay a monthly price - not a country club price - for access to a premium range, putting and short game areas. I don't want to be locked in at one course, but you can get good places to practice unless you are a member. Fact is, I am very busy and normally only have time to practice (1-2 hours), and when I do I want to be at a really good place to get the most out of my time. I would pay up to $150 a month just to be a member practice facility that had country club quality practice facilities.
So recently I have been considering joining one of the many country clubs in my area after playing a round with a few members at a local club. I had always assumed that country clubs cost somewhere in the realms of $20k+ just to get initiated and $600 a month after, but was surprised to hear that the members at the local club said they offer Jr. memberships with initiation costs as low as $1k and monthly dues under $300. Simply doing the math on how much I spend on golf a month, I usually average around $320, and more if I decide to play some of the really nice courses in the area. After a little bit of research and contact with one of the nice local clubs I found a very nice club with a maximum of 380 members with $1200 initiation fee and $280 a month for Jr members. At the age of 24 I quality for the Jr membership for another 11 years and it is within my price range.
This all sounds great to me, but I would like to know form other possible Jr members or equity members of country clubs, is it worth it to play at the same course (albeit a nice, non crowded course) over and over again? Is it worth it if you can only play full rounds during the weekl, or are weekend warriors such as myself going to find these kind of clubs to be a good value and worth the investment? My knowledge of country club life is non-existent as I have never known anyone who was a member of one, so any insight would be helpful.
I've found the access to networking to be worth it on top of the golf aspects. Some buddies show up and play but mostly keep to themselves and some of us join in on the social aspect. It always pays to have good friends and meet new people.
I finally joined a private club here in Louisville about a month and a half ago and couldn't be happier. I do believe that playing different courses is a great way to not fall in a lull but by no means does joining a club prevent you from playing other places. It's actually been the opposite for me, my club allows me reciprocal access to nearly all the private clubs in Louisville. More so, my club is a great track that extends out to 7200 from the tips so I can hit the full gamete of shots which I wanted.
It certainly wasn't a "cost saving" move though - once you tack in food and beverage minimums, carts (my wife and I only ride on Sunday mornings, walk the rest) and all the misc fees that you'll incur during the year, it will add up. However, being able to walk into a place and hit balls and play whenever I want, be greeted by name, and feel like a place is "home" is well worth it in my mind.
I'm thinking about joining a club. I'm getting tired of driving a long way for a 5 hour round. It would be nice to be able to just walk on whenever I want. The range is also included and it's only a 20 minute drive away. The course is well groomed and really challenging and interesting.
The one thing stopping me is that I golf every 2 weeks with a group of 25 guys that I know. I've been doing this for 5 years now, and I don't know anyone at the club. I used to like playing by myself, but the past few years I've started to prefer playing with a group. So I'm not sure how I feel about that part.