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Would you join a "Just Golf " course.


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1. Would you join a course that is just golf? No pool, tennis, fine dining, gym . It may have a snack bar. Golf course is great and dues are moderate say $2000 a year.

2. Would you join a course that allows you only to play golf at certain times say after 1 . No real club house privledges. Course is outstanding and national ranked. Dues in the $3000 + range.

3.Could you sell this to your wife?







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"Golf" only is the "the" only way in my opinion. I would love to see more clubs do away with the big clubhouses and other unnecessary amenities. You can keep dues so much lower when you aren't financing a $3 million clubhouse. You can devote a greater portion of the dues to the actual golf course and probably make some gains in shedding the whole "elitist" stereotype and maybe bring some more people into the game with greater affordability.


Unfortunately, it seems like these types of clubs are an endangered species. There are about a dozen private clubs within 30 minutes from me and not a single one abides by this model.


There are a lot of assumptions about relative value built into this comment.


In our case, fewer than 20% of the members play golf (defined as more than one round per year). If you stripped away all of the other expenses and paid for just golf course maintenance, but asked that 20% to cover the whole cost, dues would be the same (but the club would be much smaller).


So if you’re in that 20%, one way to look at it is that you pay for a top-notch golf only club...and all the other amenities are available at no additional cost.

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1. Would you join a course that is just golf? No pool, tennis, fine dining, gym . It may have a snack bar. Golf course is great and dues are moderate say $2000 a year.

2. Would you join a course that allows you only to play golf at certain times say after 1 . No real club house privledges. Course is outstanding and national ranked. Dues in the $3000 + range.

3.Could you sell this to your wife?


That's called a "semi-private" that is a public course with 6 hour rounds.

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This place already exists. Black Sheep Golf Club about 45 minutes West of Chicago. MEN ONLY, nothing but the golf course, small pro shop, locker room and bar. NO grill, just some sandwiches and a bar. 27 holes and an ideal man's hangout.




This would appeal to me greatly.


I live in a small market and we have two semi-private fully public courses you can pay for privileges annually and they are about $2500 per year and one private club. The club assessed the membership for a huge clubhouse during the heydays and it is under utilized and in my opinion hurts the balance sheet these days. At one point they did charge a handsome initiation fee but those days are long gone. I signed on for a one year intro membership that gave me all access other than voting and my wife never went there once without me. So, it was pretty clear that any and all use was for me alone. I never even saw the swimming pool other than from the window of the club house.


I think it's curious, considering our minimum wage is pretty high here, how good of a course you could have with a skeleton crew. It seems that if everyone is going to make a livable wage that goods and services are going to be really expensive and employees really have to pull their weight. I don't know how many guys are willing to jump off the mower and come in and clean the toilets in the locker room, but that's the kind of efficiency I think is necessary. 4 or 5 employees busting as$ and a couple hundred members at least.

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Yep golf is all that matters to me as far as joining a club. I’m very fortunate to be at an awesome club with all the bells and whistles...I’ve used amenities 2-3 times the whole year but golf nearly daily in the summer.


That being said I’m so zoned on playing that there is no time left to waste hanging out or doing other stuff at the club. All golf all the time is the way to go ;)

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probably already mentioned, but RTJ Platinum membership is basically #1 with several courses around the state included. $1800 btw

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1) Yes but not ideal. A range is great to really work on your game, i think it’s a vital part of a membership.


2) Yes if that time allows you to get close to what you paid out for the rounds you can get in, plus the range :-)


3) YEP.

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1. Would you join a course that is just golf? No pool, tennis, fine dining, gym . It may have a snack bar. Golf course is great and dues are moderate say $2000 a year.


This describes the semi-private membership (annual) for several courses in St. Clair Co., IL, near St. Louis.


Where I play, two semi-p options are available: The Couples Selective (full play during week, after 11 AM weekends and holidays) costs $2,750 a year flat rate. Couples Premium (no restrictions) is $4,800. Range balls and carts included with both.


And, you can get reciprocal discount greens fees at other clubs in the management network.


The "no fine dining" phrase needs clarification. These courses have a snack bar with brats and burgers, and some pre-wrapped turkey or ham sandwiches, and a bar. That said, these venues make a lot of their annual revenues from hosting both tournaments and social events like wedding receptions and banquets. The head chef can put out a nice meal spread, or work with caterers to set one up. But, no white table cloth under your burger at the turn.


Private-equity country clubs find that the full service fancy restaurant can be a financial drain. A few years ago, a Wall Street Journal story reported that the average mainline country club loses $150K a year on food service.


In fact, golf and country club rough accounting allocates all costs into golf - course maintenance and operations - or lunch - everything else.


A couple of semi-private clubs have pools, but these are for the residents of the housing development rather than the drop-in golfers.

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I just don't like the idea of being tied to just one course. In my area (Sacramento/Rocklin/Roseville), we have 8-10 excellent public courses within 30 minutes, so just committing to just 1 is not worth it to me. Average round cost is $40-50, somewhat higher on weekend mornings, but even then, GolfNow deals can be found pretty easily. Most have restaurants/bars, and if not, we have plenty of choices off-site and near courses.


The only thing that would entice me is unlimited range balls and a great short game area. I like to practice, but $10/bucket gets expensive when you're really working on a swing change.

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  • 2 weeks later...

1) Yes

2) No

3) N/A




The current club I'm at has fine dining, lounge, fancy locker room and banquet hall, etc... but I really only use the practice facility and golf course. Only eat in the lounge a few times a year now, and would be just as happy eating elsewhere.


Currently the after 1pm wouldn't work for me, as I have a newish baby at home and the best time for me to golf is early in the morning while she's still sleeping. This metric is very YMMV though.


RE: wife, she doesn't care as long as it doesn't impact her quality of life. I recently requested a membership packet from another club down the road from my current one that will cost about $65k to join (not equity, just initiation)... that was the only time she thought it was a bit much, but since I can't justify it either, it's a non issue.


$65,000 initiation fee and NON- equity?? I have to ask, where do they get away with this?


Decades ago, La Costa (San Diego area) wanted $100k initiation. It was difficult not to even flinch at that!

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#1 here. A member at a small, short (6450 from the tips maybe) former private/semi-private course in Michigan so only 6-7 month season. SO-so range, and a decent sized short game area with a green, bunker and mowed fairway areas around it. The pro shop takes up about about 1/3 of a single wide, the clubhouse is I believe original from when the course was built 90 some years ago and the upstairs is a banquet hall and the downstairs a bar. New ownership group bought the course in the fall of 2017 (so 2018 was their first season) and remodeled the bar/restaurant and actually over pretty good food although the prices a little on the high side. Beer prices for members are pretty good, I think they had 6 packs to go of PBR for like 12.50 or 13 bucks last year. Bells pints were 3 each. The cost for me for the season was 1400 (1300 for membership, 100 for range) which was unlimited golf with cart and unlimited range. Were supposed to make tee times, but weekend evenings i would just show up around 5 and take a cart and hop around if i had to. Usually a pretty fast pace of play. Our weekend group usually play 18 in 3-320 for foursomes. If the course isn't very busy behind us, we sometimes play in larger groups and have played as a 6 some but still finished in around 4 hours. It is a short season, but i usually still get 100 or more rounds in. My Dad and I play late monday mornings and can get 27 holes in in less than 3 hours easy. For me, I have been playing there since i first started playing golf, my family was members when it was semi-private back when i was in high school and started to play the game. Now, my house is 1.25 miles from my place of work, and I pass the course on the way, so living/working less than a mile from the course makes it easy to swing in and get a couple of holes in, or go practice putting, or test out those clubs i have been tinkering on in my workshop to see how they perform on the range. Not many tournaments or events (do have a member guest that i can't play in due to work that i hear is pretty nice, club championship had maybe 24 guys last year out of around 120 memberships), but we do have an inter-club Ryder Cup style event that has been going on for 15+ years and that's always a blast. It works for me an i definitely get my money's worth out of the place.

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A coworker is an executive member at a golf only club and its like $150 a month with no spend requirements. Gets unlimited range time and can play whenever he wants as its a 200ish member club. Good course but not exclusive/high end by any means. Considering I paid $80 for a round last week due to winter pricing (damn you snowbirds), that sounds like a deal to me.

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Golf only: Yes

Wife doesn't care, although she might want to play.

Nice course with a low key bar and grill type set up: definitely!

3K a year? Better be a nice course with a good grass range and short game area. And some reciprocal play arrangements.

My concern is being kinda stuck with one course that I felt obligated to play, even if it's a good track. I've done it before and honestly ended up playing other courses more often than anticipated.

I like a little variety.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just left my full-amenities country club for a different club that is mostly about golf but not the #1 as described by the OP. I’m suffering a little buyer’s remorse, though, because the new club is waaaay more expensive than the old club.


Old club was about $3k-$4k a year, access to 36 holes, pool, tennis, clubhouse, grill, small locker room, a little gym shack, etc. I still believe it is the best value for many miles around. I was a member there for 10 years. But, the course is just good...not great. It’s a little short but very tight. Greens are always in great shape but fairways and rough leave a lot to be desired. I rarely had problems getting on the course basically when I wanted, but they hosted a lot of tournaments and the courses got a solid level of play such that I would always run into a slow foursome, etc. The course was too spread out to be walkable. And the food was just ok, and they were very slow, so my family almost never used it. Even though it was a country club, I used it as “just golf”.


The new club I’ve joined has one very well maintained, manicured, challenging 18 hole course. It has an “elegant yet understated” clubhouse. It is in a beautiful setting somewhat in the boonies. Nice locker rooms and shower. Has a men’s grill and a fine dining area with a small pro shop. Has an indoor track man and simulator etc. The food is as good as you’ll find anywhere. Has a lodge that can be rented (though I don’t foresee a situation in which I will ever use it).


But what drew me to it the most was the atmosphere. There are no tee times. Just play when you want. It is full of very successful people who are focused on their golf, and I’ve never had a problem with pace of play. Was behind a 6-some the other day and were done in 3.5 hours. The course is very walkable. The members are very friendly and they know they have a very good thing going and they treat it as such. They have a caddie program if you wish. And the staff is there to please you. If you need something, just ask. They will deliver for you.


To me, it is mostly “just golf”. My wife wasn’t thrilled about it at first but I reminded her that we are members of a swim and racquet club that has the pools, etc and she plays tennis basically every day. She’s ok with it now. The new club ain’t cheap. $8-10k a year dues. I did some math and figured that even if I play a lot, every round is going to cost me 3 figures. If I played a public course for $100+ I’d be ticked but I would expect some really nice services. So it’s funny that I’m willing to join a place that is “elegant yet understated” for more than that per round.


It’s a luxury...no other way to put it. But it is nice and we will see if it is worth it.

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It's a luxury...no other way to put it. But it is nice and we will see if it is worth it.


Agreed. There's no way you can join a fully-private club that has a lot of amenities, and then try to justify the cost-per-round. Unless you play 150 or more rounds a year, the average round cost will probably not be in your favor. You have to weigh the entire package. Locker room, club storage, service from the staff, social events, etc.

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It's a luxury...no other way to put it. But it is nice and we will see if it is worth it.


Agreed. There's no way you can join a fully-private club that has a lot of amenities, and then try to justify the cost-per-round. Unless you play 150 or more rounds a year, the average round cost will probably not be in your favor. You have to weigh the entire package. Locker room, club storage, service from the staff, social events, etc.


Yep, I just realized that my old, cheaper club still cost me over $100 per round and I never thought twice about the cost of it. This new club is likely to cost me twice or more than that...I’m hoping it is worth it and that I rarely think twice about it either!


Although it isn’t “just golf” by the definition of it, the reason I joined was for the ease and premium experience of the golf. I suspect I’m going to have to work hard to use some of the other amenities just to make me feel like I’m getting more out of it than some really expensive golf.

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My previous club had no pool and no tennis, but a clubhouse and lockers and showers. It was a "golf club," not a "country club."


I left there because I wanted my wife to be able to play tennis, use the pool, etc. along with her 15 year old. And the club is 20 minutes closer to home.


The two types of clubs above are quite different, even though they don't perfectly match up with the OP's scenario....

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Yes to all. Especially the first.


Heck yeah! #1 is the best, then the members are actual golfers and it’s usually less hoity toity. I join a golf club for the golf.


As for selling it to the wife, does she have a hobby or fitness club or exercise class she loves. Commit to spending on that if you get the membership, win win

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