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Needing help deciding on a membership


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Posted (edited)

Hello all, joining my first golf membership and needing help deciding on which is better for the money. Price is definitely important but I do want a good experience and given I havnt been a part of one, I wanted the groups thoughts.

 

Option 1: 

Semi-Private: 14 minute drive from home

Active MGA and Mens Groups

Clubhouse Grade: B-
Food: B

Not as many social events

No Pool

No Pickleball/Tennis

$199 month

$20 cart fee

$90 F&B minimum per quarter

Course Grade: B

$2500 Initiation

 

Option 2: Just went private May 1st

Fully-Private: 30 minute drive from home

Active MGA and Mens Groups

Clubhouse Grade: B+ maybe A

Food: A+

Lots of social events for my wife, and myself

No Pool

No Pickleball/Tennis

$349 month

$22 cart fee

$50 F&B minimum per month

Course Grade: A

$2400 Initiation

 

Would love to know yalls opinion based on the above! Would be very helpful in deciding. Im struggling!

 

Edited by kippjr23
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Posted (edited)

Why are you even asking? That's not even a contest. Semi private is a public course. There really is little difference. You could find a public course with a really good men's league and have the exact same thing. You won't be able to play in 3 hours or less and you probably won't be able to hop on and play just a few holes whenever you want. 30 minutes from home is a little bit of a stretch for the private. Ideally you want 20 minutes at most, but the cost differential is small enough and everything else is better so I'd say it is more than worth it especially if you want your wife to be involved.

 

Be aware that if the newly private course is as good as you describe, those dues will be going up. You probably should ask what the member cap is. I suspect it is pretty high which could make it not as great a deal if you are struggling to get tee times

Edited by Dancin
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8 minutes ago, Dancin said:

Why are you even asking? That's not even a contest. Semi private is a public course. There really is little difference. You could find a public course with a really good men's league and have the exact same thing. You won't be able to play in 3 hours or less and you probably won't be able to hop on and play just a few holes whenever you want. 30 minutes from home is a little bit of a stretch for the private. Ideally you want 20 minutes at most, but the cost differential is small enough and everything else is better so I'd say it is more than worth it especially if you want your wife to be involved.

 

Be aware that if the newly private course is as good as you describe, those dues will be going up. You probably should ask what the member cap is. I suspect it is pretty high which could make it not as great a deal if you are struggling to get tee times

Thanks for the feedback. I am new to this.

 

The fully private course was Semi Private until May 1st. Only a few weeks ago.

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Just my opinion, but I would NEVER "join" a semi-private golf course. You aren't a "member", you're simply pre-paying for your rounds and possibly earlier access to tee times. 

 

Also, since this seems to be your first time considering joining a club I'll offer a piece of friendly advice. If you have to crunch numbers to make it work you shouldn't be looking at joining. It will never make sense financially (you won't come out in the black). Dues will go up, assessments will come along, and you'll undoubtedly spend more money that you think (carts/caddies, food/drink, tournament entry fees, and etc.). A private club membership is a luxury item, and it should only be paid for with 100% expendable income. 

 

I've been a member at several clubs over the years, and at everyone I'll see new members come along and join (usually younger people/families) only to have to drop their membership once that first dues increase or assessment hits. Just because you don't use the tennis courts or don't care about reshaping the bunkers doesn't mean you can get out of paying that $3k, $4k, or $5k assessment.

 

 

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So many varied responses which is to be expected.  When these questions come up, I always respond with the same asnwer - what are the 1-2 most important aspects for you to make the decision.  Is it proximity / travel time to, time per round, golf course quality, practice facilities, clubhouse, food, social?

 

Having been a member at 3 clubs now, for me, with where I am in my life with family, time is the single most important aspect.  Proximity - being able to head to the club, hit balls, and be back within an hour.  Being able to get sub 3 hour rounds in during the week and PM weekends. 

 

Know what is a must, and what is a nice to have and that should ensure you make a decision you will be happy with.    

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7 hours ago, cubuffs said:

So many varied responses which is to be expected.  When these questions come up, I always respond with the same asnwer - what are the 1-2 most important aspects for you to make the decision.  Is it proximity / travel time to, time per round, golf course quality, practice facilities, clubhouse, food, social?

 

Having been a member at 3 clubs now, for me, with where I am in my life with family, time is the single most important aspect.  Proximity - being able to head to the club, hit balls, and be back within an hour.  Being able to get sub 3 hour rounds in during the week and PM weekends. 

 

Know what is a must, and what is a nice to have and that should ensure you make a decision you will be happy with.    

Thank you for this. Very helpful as it is our first time.

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12 hours ago, Abh159 said:

Just my opinion, but I would NEVER "join" a semi-private golf course. You aren't a "member", you're simply pre-paying for your rounds and possibly earlier access to tee times. 

 

Also, since this seems to be your first time considering joining a club I'll offer a piece of friendly advice. If you have to crunch numbers to make it work you shouldn't be looking at joining. It will never make sense financially (you won't come out in the black). Dues will go up, assessments will come along, and you'll undoubtedly spend more money that you think (carts/caddies, food/drink, tournament entry fees, and etc.). A private club membership is a luxury item, and it should only be paid for with 100% expendable income. 

 

I've been a member at several clubs over the years, and at everyone I'll see new members come along and join (usually younger people/families) only to have to drop their membership once that first dues increase or assessment hits. Just because you don't use the tennis courts or don't care about reshaping the bunkers doesn't mean you can get out of paying that $3k, $4k, or $5k assessment.

 

 

Thanks for this. You are spot on, while we are prepared for assessments and raises in dues etc, I think our biggest gut check might be when we try for kids in 2-3 years.

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8 hours ago, TexasTurf said:

You live in an entirely different reality than most of us. Appreciate what you have, start a family, and go have fun, and don't feel bad about whatever decision you make. You can always change it later, it's not life or death, just fringe pleasures.

I understand, I live 1 hour north of Atlanta. While this is a fully private club its not some first rate place, definitely nice though.

 

Thanks.

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On 5/23/2024 at 8:05 PM, Dancin said:

Why are you even asking? That's not even a contest. Semi private is a public course. There really is little difference. You could find a public course with a really good men's league and have the exact same thing. You won't be able to play in 3 hours or less and you probably won't be able to hop on and play just a few holes whenever you want. 30 minutes from home is a little bit of a stretch for the private. Ideally you want 20 minutes at most, but the cost differential is small enough and everything else is better so I'd say it is more than worth it especially if you want your wife to be involved.

 

Be aware that if the newly private course is as good as you describe, those dues will be going up. You probably should ask what the member cap is. I suspect it is pretty high which could make it not as great a deal if you are struggling to get tee times

Normally would agree but 15 vs 30 min commute is a pretty big difference. Would call it a toss up between the two given the commutes. Would depend if the semi private is run well or like most semi privates with a ton of events, too busy , etc 

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Option 2 for sure.  30 mins isn't great, but the other parts of the membership make up for it.  And many people who live in cities spend 30 minutes even driving much shorter distances.

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As someone who was previously a member at a semi-private (from 2015-2018), and is a current member at a fully private (2018-present), here are my two cents:

  • As mentioned above, semi-private is just a season pass, pre-paying for rounds. My experience with the semi-private is yes, it will be cheaper, but you don't really get too much more special consideration than the public does on things. It got annoying when they started booking outside tournaments on weekends, essentially locking the members out of the tee sheet at times. Not saying your place would do that, but $$ usually rules their decision-making process for these sorts of things.
  • Even though I participated in a bunch of the "member" events at the semi-private, I still never really felt like I was getting to know too many of the members. At least not in comparison to my experience at the private club I am at now. 
  • My drive to the semi-private was about 20 minutes each way. My drive to the current private club is about 3-5 mins, depending on how many of the 3 red lights I hit on the way. You might think 20 minutes is no big deal, but it does feel like it adds up after a while. That's 40 minutes extra per time visited. After doing the 3-5 minute drive the past 5-6 years, I can't go back to the 20 minute one. 
  • Don't underestimate the social aspect of a membership offering. Both my wife and I almost always stick around after golf for drinks/lunch. We have met so many great and fun people through our club. We often do Friday night dinners there. We usually hit our annual food minimum by July, LOL. 
  • Before we joined the private club my wife played maybe 3-5 times a season. She's averaged about 75 rounds the last 4-5 seasons. The way she's going this season I bet she gets to 100. She has a group of regular gals she plays with, I have a couple different groups of guys I bounce between (one group are the more hard core gamblers, the other is more keep the betting simple and cheaper). 

If I were you I'd go with the fully private option. 

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1 minute ago, klebs01 said:


Wow, that’s a long time. 🤣 I agree with your point. I’ve never worried about a minimum as it gets consumed quickly. 


It was funny as I had a friend a couple years back that ended up joining my club, and before he joined he was asking me a lot of questions. And he kept asking about the food minimum amounts, and was getting all stressed about it like he wasn't going to be able to make that number. I said "dude, stop obsessing over the food minimum number. It's a lot easier to spend than you are thinking it is. You stop in for a few drinks/lunches, bring your wife out for a couple dinners, it's practically done already"

Now that he's on year two he did say to me "I have no idea why I was freaking about the food minimums, you were right on that" 😆

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4 hours ago, klebs01 said:


Wow, that’s a long time. 🤣 I agree with your point. I’ve never worried about a minimum as it gets consumed quickly. 

 

Our season started May 1. I am already done my minimum. 🤪

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