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Massive cost increase from last year to this year


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I am in Ohio. Has anyone near that area that is a member at private club been hit with a massive increase at their club for this coming year? Our club had to be the most profitable it has ever been last year....and a large increase after that. Course was so crowded last year that you had to get up at 6 am to book tee times two weeks out. Just curious if anyone else is seeing this at their club?

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Are you sure your club had a profit increase? Many clubs last year had significantly more rounds and significantly lower profits because of higher maintenance costs and much less clubhouse revenue due

Yes , this is also what i was thinking. Many courses had zero wedding revenue (which is pretty significant) and also almost no revenue from outside tournaments and etc which were mostly cancelled. 

I don't think I could ever join one of these corporate-owned Club Corp, Arcis, etc. clubs. The tee sheets at the ones in my area are just as packed as those at average public courses, even pre-COVID,

Your club dramatically jacked up dues without any explanation? That seems strange. I can't think of any club that would do that without a notice and explanation. You sure that isn't an assessment for something mentioned in prior club communications?

 

If a private club wants to take advantage of high demand they usually do that through raising the initiation, not dramatically increasing the dues. The only time I saw dues go up dramatically is when a club changes owners and that's communicated pretty clearly when it happens.

 

Is your course semi private? In that case, I wouldn't be surprised at all. You're basically a public course and lots of public courses are bumping up rates and annual memberships due to the increased demand.

Edited by Dancin
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4 hours ago, canonlbp430 said:

Are you sure your club had a profit increase? Many clubs last year had significantly more rounds and significantly lower profits because of higher maintenance costs and much less clubhouse revenue due to less food and beverage and no weddings and outside events. 

Hear hear! Best post on WRX...seriously. You’ve hit the nail right on the head, yes rounds were up significantly but because most private clubs rates are fixed an increase in round means less per round. 
 

well done!

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7 hours ago, brentm08 said:

I am in Ohio. Has anyone near that area that is a member at private club been hit with a massive increase at their club for this coming year? Our club had to be the most profitable it has ever been last year....and a large increase after that. Course was so crowded last year that you had to get up at 6 am to book tee times two weeks out. Just curious if anyone else is seeing this at their club?

See canon lp430 post above his the mail on the head!

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10 hours ago, Dancin said:

Your club dramatically jacked up dues without any explanation? That seems strange. I can't think of any club that would do that without a notice and explanation. You sure that isn't an assessment for something mentioned in prior club communications?

 

If a private club wants to take advantage of high demand they usually do that through raising the initiation, not dramatically increasing the dues. The only time I saw dues go up dramatically is when a club changes owners and that's communicated pretty clearly when it happens.

 

Is your course semi private? In that case, I wouldn't be surprised at all. You're basically a public course and lots of public courses are bumping up rates and annual memberships due to the increased demand.

The notice was 30 days on the increase. no assessment or any real repairs. Private course ,but owned by Clubcorp so we never are really communicated clearly to as to where the membership stands. Thank you for your thoughts. 

Edited by brentm08
might have posted something that I had no direct knowledge of...
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5 hours ago, ArtMBgolf said:

Maybe they lost a lot of $ on F&B and not much golf early in the year?  
Maybe they want to raise $ for renovations?   
Maybe they don't mind a few members dropping out, if too crowded?  
 
They should tell you why.   

I agree they didn't make what they did the year before on food and bev is my guess. You guys all have good perspective. 

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4 hours ago, mallrat said:

Any chance they are charging you for F& B minimums that weren’t hit duw to the pandemic?

fortunately don't have minimums...but I am guessing it is all part of the math why the increase. Thank you all for your perspective. I typically get carry out food so don't know how the food and bev did last year. I just hit the course and know how crowded it was last year and just know how busy it was,but that doesn't mean they made more money. We certainly had a ton of new members added throughout the year. I should have thought deeper into running a business...not my wheelhouse to be honest. Thanks for your perspective.

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Sounds like the club corp increases are nationwide due to too many members at clubs making it hard to get tee times. According to someone who was inquiring on joining, the two club corps in Colorado also dramatically increased their dues and specifically mentioned they had too many members and were trying to reduce the membership numbers. They also said they would be kicking out lower seniority members if not enough people quit after the increase. Not sure how that would work as I doubt the contract allows that without some form of reimbursement but it wouldn't surprise me if club corp had something in their contract allowing them to drop people at any time for any reason.

 

Club corp courses are not typical private clubs. Much of what they do is more along the lines of a semi private course.

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2 minutes ago, Dancin said:

Sounds like the club corp increases are nationwide due to too many members at clubs making it hard to get tee times. According to someone who was inquiring on joining, the two club corps in Colorado also dramatically increased their dues and specifically mentioned they had too many members and were trying to reduce the membership numbers. They also said they would be kicking out lower seniority members if not enough people quit after the increase. Not sure how that would work as I doubt the contract allows that without some form of reimbursement but it wouldn't surprise me if club corp had something in their contract allowing them to drop people at any time for any reason.

 

Club corp courses are not typical private clubs. Much of what they do is more along the lines of a semi private course.

Makes sense to me, local courses around me are all increasing fees.  Only problem is they are assuming the influx of golfers will continue this year and the record rounds seen last season will continue.  Will be an interesting season to see if the trends continue, or if people go back to other pre covid activities.

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I'm a ClubCorp member and our dues were raised March 1, 2021.  For my particular level of membership I went from paying $285 monthly dues to $325 monthly and an increase of .50 cents cart fee to $18.50.  If we drive our own cart we still have to pay a $15.50 trail fee, which most of our members have their own carts because we live in a golf cart community.   

 

We had 4 courses in our membership in our town, they are converting one of them to a "premium course" which is going to be $600 monthly dues and a $2500 initiation fee.  I'm not going to pay that.

 

I will be losing access to the premium course and gaining two other ClubCorp courses in the town next to us for a total of 5 courses.  ClubCorp knows they have us by the balls because we don't have any public courses near us because our ClubCorp courses are truly private, no GolfNow certificates or any of that stuff.

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My dues just went up 7%.  However dues never changed last year (so first increase since 2019) as we were closed completely for two months and partially for a long period after. A couple services still aren't back to 100%.  I did get a list of the improvements coming in 2021 so I have no complaints. 

 

I saw an article somewhere about private clubs and their finances.  It said that the monthly dues cover about 80% of normal expenses, and food/beverage, weddings, outings cover the rest.  My club had zero outings, weddings, or other outside events last year.  We did make up some of this by offering carry out meals which was nicely supported by the membership.   

Edited by cristphoto
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Increasing Dues in the manner the OP states is odd.  It sounds as if it's done based on a captured membership, and greed.  That isn't how most private clubs operate.  Private clubs, whether Equity, benevolent Dictator or Corporate owned, have detailed club charters that define such topics.

 

@Dancin Though Club Corp offers that benefit to all private club members, it's NOT as easy as you make it sound.  There are limits to its use and the traveling members club pro must call in advance to take advantage of the benefit.  The local club pro can say can't do cause his club members get tee times first over visitors. 

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On 3/1/2021 at 8:52 PM, canonlbp430 said:

Are you sure your club had a profit increase? Many clubs last year had significantly more rounds and significantly lower profits because of higher maintenance costs and much less clubhouse revenue due to less food and beverage and no weddings and outside events. 

 

Yes , this is also what i was thinking. Many courses had zero wedding revenue (which is pretty significant) and also almost no revenue from outside tournaments and etc which were mostly cancelled. 

 

In some areas depending on restaurant laws, their food service had to be shut down (in Quebec, our restaurants could only open for ~3 months)

 

We did not get rate increases, but in mid 2020 we were hit with a "hey we need money ASAP or Rocco over here will break your thumbs" assessment. From what i was told we couldn't pay some bills that were due, so everyone had to kick in a couple of G notes. I was like "hey i'm good for it bro", and the club was like "right, right, let me introduce you to professor fists, and chancellor knuckles, they'd like you to pay them right now"

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10 minutes ago, bluehose said:

Interesting.... a club I was looking at is now charging an initiation fee in 2021 but decreased their dues slightly.  Still trying to figure that one out.

 

It makes sense if they are trying to take advantage of the golf boom. Best to get that money up front in case a lot of people go back to their pre-pandemic non-golfing habits and drop their membership after only a few months.

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3 hours ago, Pepperturbo said:

Increasing Dues in the manner the OP states is odd.  It sounds as if it's done based on a captured membership, and greed.  That isn't how most private clubs operate.  Private clubs, whether Equity, benevolent Dictator or Corporate owned, have detailed club charters that define such topics.

 

@Dancin Though Club Corp offers that benefit to all private club members, it's NOT as easy as you make it sound.  There are limits to its use and the traveling members club pro must call in advance to take advantage of the benefit.  The local club pro can say can't do cause his club members get tee times first over visitors. 

 

It's obvious they're cracking down due to all the increases they are pushing through to try and fix what they themselves created ($50 a month traveling membership for people who didn't even belong to a club corp course giving access to all club corp courses was the biggest joke a few years ago), but I'd still say they're a private club in name only. The majority of what Club Corp does with its courses has more in common with a semi private course than a private. It does sound like they are trying to alleviate that with the better courses in their portfolio by moving them into a higher tier and reducing membership, but I would never join a club corp course given what they've done in the past.

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3 hours ago, Pepperturbo said:

Increasing Dues in the manner the OP states is odd.  It sounds as if it's done based on a captured membership, and greed.  That isn't how most private clubs operate.  Private clubs, whether Equity, benevolent Dictator or Corporate owned, have detailed club charters that define such topics.

 

@Dancin Though Club Corp offers that benefit to all private club members, it's NOT as easy as you make it sound.  There are limits to its use and the traveling members club pro must call in advance to take advantage of the benefit.  The local club pro can say can't do cause his club members get tee times first over visitors. 

 

Maybe I am ignorant but then what is the point of joinng Club Corp.  I ask as I looked at this year. It was not a fit for me as in my research some the questions I had never got answered, there was soooo many variables of unknown it seemed.   Seems like this thread is backing up my thoughts.

 

Interestingly Club Corp pushed hard, I mean hard the "national" aspect since there is only two courses here. I do like to travel so it looking appealing, yet you state its not that easy?  So it is a ponzi scheme to some extent?  

 

Edit: should of said two locally but more in the state. One of the courses was public for a long time and played it all the time. They revised the course to pack in more homes.  Still "okay" track but not CC and as noted tee times are hard to come by I hear.

Edited by CDM

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2 minutes ago, CDM said:

 

Maybe I am ignorant but then what is the point of joing Club Corp.  I ask as I looked at this year. It was not a fit for me as in my research some the questions I had never got answered, there was soooo many variables of unknown it seemed.   Seems like this thread is backing up my thoughts.

 

Interestingly Club Corp pushed hard, I mean hard the "national" aspect since there is only two courses here. I do like to travel so it looking appealing, yet you state its not that easy?  So it is a ponzi scheme to some extent?  

 

Edit: should say two locally more in the state.

Clubs owned or managed by Club Corp, are similar to American Golf.  Membership staff push what they see as attractive points to potential new members.  Being able to play golf at other facilities is an attractive point.  But you're buying a membership at a given course.  It's NOT a universal membership at all their clubs.  Mind you, I am not speaking for those clubs just trying to explain to you what I know, having been on two BOD and a membership Director at equity clubs not tied to the aforementioned.  Typically, most BOD members at various clubs intermingle with other BOD members to share how boards manage various issues, that's how we learn.  Answer is NO.

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5 minutes ago, Pepperturbo said:

Clubs owned or managed by Club Corp, are similar to American Golf.  Membership staff push what they see as attractive points to potential new members.  Being able to play golf at other facilities is an attractive point.  But you're buying a membership at a given course.  It's NOT a universal membership at all their clubs.  Mind you, I am not speaking for those clubs just trying to explain to you what I know, having been on two BOD and a membership Director at equity clubs not tied to the aforementioned.  Typically, most BOD members at various clubs intermingle with other BOD members to share how boards manage various issues, that's how we learn.  Answer is NO.

There are some private independent courses that happen to offer the club corp program to their members and agree to host other club corp members as part of the program and in that case yes they probably aren't hosting tons of people, but that is completely different from Club Corp owned and run courses where you are at the mercy of whatever Club Corp wants. Yes it sounds like they are cracking down now, but they still advertise heavily that if you pay the extra for the national program you can get on any of their associated courses. Club corp owned courses are not private courses unless you consider tens of thousands of members a private course. This is directly from the club corp web site:

When you travel…

While there’s no place like home, sometimes you just need to get away! You’ll enjoy free* golf, free* dining and more when you travel. When reaching your destination, isn’t it great to know that your warm welcome is as personal and professional as you always enjoy at your Home Club? All that’s left for you to do is relax in the luxury of having your own personal concierge, ClubLine, take care of your every need.

What is Signature Gold Unlimited?

"
ClubCorp Signature Gold membership upgrade

 

"

With Signature Gold Unlimited, enjoy complimentary* golf and dining privileges when traveling to hundreds of owned, operated and alliance clubs around the country. You can also access special offerings at more than 1,000 hotels, resorts and entertainment venues.

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I don't think I could ever join one of these corporate-owned Club Corp, Arcis, etc. clubs. The tee sheets at the ones in my area are just as packed as those at average public courses, even pre-COVID, and the conditions aren't that much better. There is no transparency in how things are run or how decisions are made. Everything is about packing in more new members and squeezing out more profit.  I just don't see the point in it. I would either join a member-owned club or none at all. Even when I was at a struggling member-owned club, they had limitations on number of golf members and what categories could play when, to avoid overcrowding and keep it enjoyable for everyone. One corporate owned club in my area has over 500 full golf members for an 18 hole course plus a bunch of restricted/twilight-only members, a co-worker of mine quit because he had better luck getting an early morning tee time at the local muni.

Edited by Bonneville85308
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I am a member at a Club Corp facility and will be the stranger here and defend them.  Club Corp purchased our club about 10 years ago and I see an overall improvement. Members are asked to participate in Club Corp meetings and offer feedback. Nothing is hidden. We still have a member board of directors but decisions now need final approval from Club Corp. We win some and lose some, but all decisions are logical from a business standpoint.  Club Corp knows their members and attempts to service accordingly. Last year we had a tornado rip through our course and damages were well over $1 million.  Repairs and cleanup were completed within two weeks. And done during COVID! No assessment! 

 

I'm in a large metropolitan area and there are several other Club Corp courses in the area (one hour drive est). We can only have two plays per month per membership. So I can play two rounds or once including my wife.  You must go through a Club Corp Concierge person for scheduling. This doesn't clog up anyone's tee sheet. Its a great option to have when we aerate or go on vacation.  The Club Corp network has many fine courses to visit - some played by PGA, LPGA, and Senior tours.  Ex: Firestone, Mission Hills, PGA National, Tucson National, Quail Hollow, TPC Michigan, TPC Piper Glen, Pinehurst 9.  

 

What I've seen is Club Corp doesn't purchase a struggling property, do a quick fix and then sell it off. They stand by their properties for the long run. 

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