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Family Golf Membership vs Hopping Around?


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Gents,

 

Looking for some feedback 🙂  I live in SW Michigan so I have access to some of the best courses in the Mid-West as Michigan is an amazing golf state.  I often times go "Up North" a few times each year to play courses like Arcadia Bluffs, Forest Dunes, and Bay Harbor.  I also am close enough to courses like Whistling Straits and Sand Valley to be able to make quick trips when I get a minute.  I have always enjoyed playing some of the best courses in the country and I usually spend around $2000 a year on my golf hobby.

 

I think the time has come for a family membership and I can get one at a top 50 public track that is about 10 minutes from my home.  It includes all family members (I have 3 kids) and although my kids are young it will provide us an opportunity to play together this summer and introduce them to the game.  My wife plays but isnt a golf nut but I think by doing this she would play more.

 

Total cost is $2700 and includes the following

-Unlimited golf with cart included (carts have GPS so that is a plus)

-unlimited range 

-preferred tee times

 

This is a top 50 in the state so I really dont think I can go wrong and I really do enjoy the links style course.  My only concern is that I wont be able to hop around like I normally do but I will be able to spend more time with family.  Has anyone else made the leap to a family membership?  Any feedback would be great.  I dont think my family will use it a ton but it will at least provide them the opportunity to join me and I know I will be able to get my moneys worth regrardless.

 

Thoughts???

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I think it would be a great opportunity to introduce your kids to the game.  By being a member it'll be easier to play 9 holes at a time with them and see how they take to the game.  If they get the bug you might find yourself playing with them out there all the time.  

 

One of my good friends was a member at a club as a kid and would walk 9 holes with his dad everyday after school.   This was 20 years ago and he still talks fondly about those after school 9 hole rounds with his Dad. 

 

Although you'd already be north of your $2,000 a year budget on golf, it doesn't mean you can't go play a different course now and again if you wanted to. 

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That sounds like a semi-private membership, not fully private, am I correct? I'll respond as though it is a semi-private membership. I've had experience with both types. 

The upsides to the semi-private membership is the price is almost always better than private (obviously). If all you really care about is playing golf, and nothing else, it's the way to go. The downsides are that in the end, it's really just a pre-paid public course membership, and at least from my experience it was much more difficult to get the wife and family interested/engaged (I'll get to that more in a minute). 

 

I was a member at a semi-private for three seasons from 2016-2018. Pricing was similar to what you described. At times it felt like those "preferred tee times" weren't all that "preferred". They were bringing in outside tournaments a lot, and I understand it helps keep my cost down, but they started having the tournaments on weekend mornings at times. So us members were getting locked out of the course. Their answer was "well, just come back and make a tee time for 1:00 in the afternoon".

 

The other thing I will say is even though my wife could have come out and played with me, she rarely did because rounds were painfully slow. All the public play clogged the course up pretty regularly. It wasn't until we joined a private club that my wife got very interested in playing golf. Now she plays 70-80 rounds a season. Probably because it's easier for her to meet other members, have a regular group, and pace of play is much better. I only bring this up because it might be a factor in how interested your family is in the membership. 

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4 minutes ago, Roody said:

That sounds like a semi-private membership, not fully private, am I correct? I'll respond as though it is a semi-private membership. I've had experience with both types. 

The upsides to the semi-private membership is the price is almost always better than private (obviously). If all you really care about is playing golf, and nothing else, it's the way to go. The downsides are that in the end, it's really just a pre-paid public course membership, and at least from my experience it was much more difficult to get the wife and family interested/engaged (I'll get to that more in a minute). 

 

I was a member at a semi-private for three seasons from 2016-2018. Pricing was similar to what you described. At times it felt like those "preferred tee times" weren't all that "preferred". They were bringing in outside tournaments a lot, and I understand it helps keep my cost down, but they started having the tournaments on weekend mornings at times. So us members were getting locked out of the course. Their answer was "well, just come back and make a tee time for 1:00 in the afternoon".

 

The other thing I will say is even though my wife could have come out and played with me, she rarely did because rounds were painfully slow. All the public play clogged the course up pretty regularly. It wasn't until we joined a private club that my wife got very interested in playing golf. Now she plays 70-80 rounds a season. Probably because it's easier for her to meet other members, have a regular group, and pace of play is much better. I only bring this up because it might be a factor in how interested your family is in the membership. 

 

Roody hit the nail on the head with the major cons to a public "membership". I knew 2 guys who had semi-private / public memberships before they joined our private club. Both said it was the worst decision they every made for the same reasons cited above. 

 

Excruciatingly slow public play, constant charity/corporate tournaments that closed the course for "members", packed tee sheet 7 days a week so there was no option for playing same day or sneaking in a quick 9 after work unless you made a tee time 2 weeks in advance, and so on... 

 

Only you know if it's something that will make sense for you, but keep in mind that even though they may call you a "member" it is NOT the same sort of experience you would get if you were an actual member at a private club.

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Yes, you are correct this is not a private club at all and its fully public.  There are two private options in my area and they run both run about $6000 a year with a initial fee of $4000 to join.

 

Both are great options but that is probably out of my budget right now as I am trying to put as much money into retirement so that someday I can join some of the better clubs in the United States.

 

My kids are ages 13, 10 and 2.  My two oldest want to play golf from time to time but dad doesnt always want to having to pay over $150 for the 3 of us.  The membership would allow us to go play some golf and I dont really have to worry about the money as it will be paid up front.  I golf enough that I will get my monies worth....my only concern is getting bored but I will say I do love this course and have a blast playing it.

 

As others mentioned I can confirm its packed but my wife and I are both teachers (on break now for covid reasons) so we have plenty of time in the summer to go when most people cannnot go.  I likely would avoid weekends and play most of my golf during the week when the course is dead because 5 hour rounds get old fast.

 

I do plan to join a fully private club someday and the thing I am most excited about is faster pace of play and meeting new people.  For now I might just have to bite the bullet and join this public track.  Its not bad at $2700 and I can play a ton of golf and the fact is only 10 minutes from my house is also HUGE in my opinion

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The semi-private is a great way to ramp up to an eventual private membership. And who knows, your mileage with it may vary from mine. 

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11 minutes ago, BG5 said:

Yes, you are correct this is not a private club at all and its fully public.  There are two private options in my area and they run both run about $6000 a year with a initial fee of $4000 to join.

 

Both are great options but that is probably out of my budget right now as I am trying to put as much money into retirement so that someday I can join some of the better clubs in the United States.

 

My kids are ages 13, 10 and 2.  My two oldest want to play golf from time to time but dad doesnt always want to having to pay over $150 for the 3 of us.  The membership would allow us to go play some golf and I dont really have to worry about the money as it will be paid up front.  I golf enough that I will get my monies worth....my only concern is getting bored but I will say I do love this course and have a blast playing it.

 

As others mentioned I can confirm its packed but my wife and I are both teachers (on break now for covid reasons) so we have plenty of time in the summer to go when most people cannnot go.  I likely would avoid weekends and play most of my golf during the week when the course is dead because 5 hour rounds get old fast.

 

I do plan to join a fully private club someday and the thing I am most excited about is faster pace of play and meeting new people.  For now I might just have to bite the bullet and join this public track.  Its not bad at $2700 and I can play a ton of golf and the fact is only 10 minutes from my house is also HUGE in my opinion

 

Sounds like you already had your mind made up. Roody and I pointed out the downsides and it seems as if you realize that you probably won't be able to enjoy your trips to Arcadia Bluffs, Forest Dunes, Bay Harbor, Whistling Straits, and Sand Valley anymore.

 

The last thing I'll say is that at the end of the day getting a public "membership" is basically no different than buying a $2700 gift card to the course. So if you think you will in fact save money or break even then maybe it's a good idea for you and the family.

 

Feel free to report back later on and let us know how your experience is/was!

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@BG5  First, I'm super jealous you're in this predicament, one that you have such an affordable option in a great course, and 2 that your playable summer evenings go to nearly 10:00. If I were you I'd do this in a heartbeat, with the caveat that the course does have flexibility and openings for you to come out on the regular. A lot of courses have been swamped the past 2 years and if they are as well then it's going to be a constant struggle. But if you can sneak out anytime you want, or if you can take the kids out after dinner a couple times a week it's an awesome option.

 

Keep in mind some of the other options mentioned like Arcadia and Sand Valley were super booked up last year, and I heard somewhat into this coming season as well. Assuming this course isn't overbooked as well, it might just be the right time to divert from travel trips and get more rounds in closer to home. Just my .02.

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semi-private or not, that’s a great value and Im sure you will enjoy it. I’ve had this version of membership at TPC Scottsdale and the tee time situation is what forced me into a full private club. If it had been in your cost range I would still have that membership too.

 

I ended up getting a jr membership to fully private club in 2019 and there is no comparison, but obviously prices are different. I pay around $7500 all in (carts included). It’s worth it to me. We found an awesome home right off the first tee box and we have a full practice area that’s basically in my back yard. We have our first kid on the way this year so hoping for many years of memories. 

 

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2 hours ago, BG5 said:

Yes, you are correct this is not a private club at all and its fully public.  There are two private options in my area and they run both run about $6000 a year with a initial fee of $4000 to join.

 

As others mentioned I can confirm its packed but my wife and I are both teachers (on break now for covid reasons) so we have plenty of time in the summer to go when most people cannnot go.  I likely would avoid weekends and play most of my golf during the week when the course is dead because 5 hour rounds get old fast.

 

Previous posters pointed out the disadvantages of public membership options and I certainly agree. However every situation is unique, and the fact that you and your wife are both teachers with the summers off, provides you with the flexibility to offset some of these disadvantages. I think it would be a fun family option for you with little downside for the coming year. Just budget a few more dollars to play some other courses when your friends come calling. Good luck with your decision. 

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Seems like a great deal, especially in the summers when you can play Tuesday morning.

 

Given some of the other courses you have mentioned that you like to play and travel to, it seems like the $2700 wont sting the bank account too much.  

 

PS:  I think the $2,000/year golf hobby is what you tell your wife... 😄

 

 

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Give it a shot. Doesn’t sound like you have to commit for more than one year. If it doesn’t work out then lesson learned and don’t sign on again for another year. 
 

With your summer schedule it sounds like you and your family could really spend some quality time together after dinner on the course. Michigan summers easily allow for 9 holes late. 
 

Thanks for all you teachers do.

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17 minutes ago, david.c.w said:

Seems like a great deal, especially in the summers when you can play Tuesday morning.

 

Given some of the other courses you have mentioned that you like to play and travel to, it seems like the $2700 wont sting the bank account too much.  

 

PS:  I think the $2,000/year golf hobby is what you tell your wife... 😄

 

 

 

 

🙂  Now thats funny.......the crazy thing about Michigan golf is how cheap it is.  I play Arcadia multiple times early in the season for under $100 which is a steal in my opinion.  If I remember right we played it for $75 last year on a 70 degree day early in the season

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2 minutes ago, BG5 said:

 

 

🙂  Now thats funny.......the crazy thing about Michigan golf is how cheap it is.  I play Arcadia multiple times early in the season for under $100 which is a steal in my opinion.  If I remember right we played it for $75 last year on a 70 degree day early in the season

 

Yea it is crazy inexpensive.  I did the Kingsley, Arcadia, Arcadia South trip this summer.  Have also done the Treetops, Forest Dunes trip.  Michigan golf is amazing.

 

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This is a no-brainer...especially with your kids playing.

 

You mentioned that they were 'young'...but at 13 and 10...they can easily handle 18 holes (especially in a cart).  For what it's worth...13 and 10 year old's are playing really good golf in my area.

 

Think of this as an investment into your kids time (and lives).  To put things into perspective, I see families with similar aged kids as yours that minimally interact with each other (video games...parents working...etc).  Every time you take one of your kids to the course it's uninterrupted Family time.  Now, try to put a price on that...and I'll bet it's much more than $2,700.

 

 

 

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As others have mentioned just because u are a member at one course it doesn't mean u can't play others.. I have a membership along with my 13 year old daughter the course is close and it's a easy walk... 

I know she only comes out to hang out with the old man.. I enjoy these days as they will be gone soon enough.. hopefully it's something that we can always do together as she gets older..

I still play 20 rounds or so a season at other  courses with the crew 

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31 minutes ago, ND2005 said:

Semi-private membership should strictly be a math discussion. 

 

It is just pre-paying for a public course greens fees/buckets of balls. 

 

Will  2700/(number of rounds + number of range sessions) be economically acceptable? If yes, do it, if no, don't. 

 

 

 

While I generally agree with this there are several caveats:

 

  • Some semi private clubs reserve weekends and holidays for members only. This can be a HUGE benefit especially if you work Monday to Friday.
  • Some semi private clubs only let non members play on certain less desirable days or times of the week. Again a big benefit.
  • Many semi private clubs allow members earlier access to tee times. This could allow a member to book their favorite Friday afternoon round before any non members get a chance. 
  • Many semi private clubs have leagues that are only open to members. This allows you to enjoy some friendly competition on a weekly scheduled tee time.
  • Playing at your "home" course provides more opportunities to make like minded friends
  • The psychology of playing 9 holes or just a few holes simply because you can without any additional cost. If you knew you had to pay $50-$100 for a round (times 3 or 4) you probably would not go.
  • The incentive to simply get out and play and spend time with the family and friends. It's paid for so you go. Never underestimate the simplicity.
  • I am sure there are other reasons for some golfers but I think this covers most.
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You guys make a lot of great points so I appreciate the feedback.  I have been lucky enough to play a lot of the best courses in the country so after thinking about it I feel like I dont need to hop around like I usually do.  I def will miss my day trips to Sand Valley, Whistling Straits, Arcadia Bluffs, Forest Dunes etc but with my kids starting to get older I need to focus more about the family.

 

$2700 all in on a top 35 public course in Michigan is to good of a deal to pass up.  As others have mentioned it will allow myself and my family to play more than we normally do and even if we want to go out and play 5 holes we can quit if we get bored and dont have to worry about how much it costs.  It kind of reminds me of an all inclusive resort in mexico where I literally have paid all my money up front and can now just enjoy the golf season.

 

The past few years I have played around 40-50 rounds a year but I think with this membership I by myself will hit 100 rounds.  My kids and wife will probably go out 20 times (maybe more) but that alone is 160 rounds of golf.  The prices starting in May are $52 for 18 and $69 for weekends so when you do the math is will end up being a great deal.  I also like the fact that the range and practice facility are included.  The range is large wih alot of targets and they have a seperate chipping and putting area so it really is a nice setup.

 

They just upgraded the carts with GPS and I must say the cart seats they had last year were the nicest and most comfortable I have ever seen.  They only other carts i saw that were as good were at Bay Harbor and that says alot.

 

So I think I am gonna take the leap and go with the family membership.  I usually dont play my first round of golf until may but I am sure I will be playing in March and april now and I know my game will get really good this year.

 

I also plan to buy my 10 year old son and 13 year old daughter some new cheap clubs and have them play and start to learn how to play the game.  It really will be a great way for us to get away from our phones and enjoy life and the beatuiful course which has no homes on it.  Its probably one of the prettier courses in the area.

 

Ill post back with how it goes and I plan to keep track of how much money it would of cost me.  It really is not about the money but I am used to playing top knotch courses and I want to ensure if I give that up myself along with my kids are getting the value of a membership that we need to to make this commitment.  I also realize its harder to get out with my buddies now that we are all growing up so in reality its not like I am missing out on that much golf and most love the course I will be joining and will play there with me a handful of times this summer.

 

Lastly being only 10 minutes from my house is a no brainder as well and with summers off I will be playing a lot of golf.  Hopefully my back holds up 🙂

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