Joining a private club (walking is for poors)

A couple universal facts about club membership:

  1. It’s a lifestyle decision. Most people will never play enough golf for the economics to be in their favor
  2. Whatever the advertsied monthly fee is, multiply it by 1.5x
  3. The membership is arguably as (or more) important than the course itself
  4. Once you join a private club, it is very difficult to go back to public
  5. If you can afford it, it is definitely worth it

Yeah, it may not actually be for me. Cost will always be a factor. The nearest public course is in great shape, usually a great pace of play, and is $2000 to join or $50/rd. The private one is $12000 initiation, then $5000/yr (approx). I’m in a (granted, high paying) union job and any sales/business benefits that may arise from being a private club person really aren’t applicable to me. Not sure how common that is anyway, doing business, but I feel like it is or at least people seem to see an intangible benefit from club connections. I have a seniority number.

As for social, we already have friends we don’t see. Last thing I need is another group of people to let down because I’m too busy to get to the events. I feel like I’d be kind of abandoning my public golf friends were I to go private, too. There is very little chance any of them would join, though it’s never come up. None of the other circles we run in (mostly kids sports) overlap with this either.

Lastly, my wife. Her mom was a golf ‘widow’ and golf club shit (different city, different club) ended up being at least partly the seed that resulted in ending her marriage. There’s baggage, and if I’m totally honest, I know she’s not on board but would accept it if I pressed hard enough. A pool would really, really help but alas, no pool.

Conclusion, as much as it pains me to admit, is this doesn’t make sense.


100%. I’d probably just stop playing.


Maturity? You’re on the wrong message board.


I’ve been a member at a private club since 2005. I actually had just started playing golf a few years earlier so realistically I think I had probably played 40 rounds or so of golf on a public course before joining. My wife, a good player in her own right, was really the golfer of the family and I had just started taking up the game before we started dating.

So we ended up building a house in a golf course community and joined for the following spring. The first piece of advice I got (ironically from Soly’s dad who was a member there already) was that if you are trying to justify it with a per round cost you probably shouldn’t join. It is definitely a luxury.

With that said I could echo a lot of what is already above. The biggest benefit to me was just finding a huge group of people who you can play with on a regular basis. Our Wednesday night league nights are almost always full (72 players) and I feel like I know pretty much all of them.

The events are also great, quite frankly sometimes I feel like I’m on tour with so many events and club games to be able to participate in.

The ability to practice whenever you want and a good pace of play is also a plus. If I play a round in much over 4 hours on a Saturday morning it is an exception…and that is when we have completely full tee sheets.

Another benefit is the networking you get to do with the golf pros as they come and go and with that you get access to a lot of other great private clubs.

I don’t think I would ever not want to be a member of a private club. I’ll play a regular public course a few times a year and at this point I could never go back. That is not a shot at anyone who plays public but more of a reflection that I never really experienced golf that way and I’m a creature of habit.


I echo most things said previously on here. I am in a bit of a different situation being a teacher. My fiancee and I joined a country club 18 months ago and love it. Like some said earlier, I think the biggest plus is being able to get out for as many holes as you can get in before the sun goes down. The end of the school year, I cant get to the first tee around 3:30 and sometimes get in a full round.

During the summer I work part-time in the morning then usually play 9 or 18 holes in the afternoon. Normally summer weekdays the tee sheet is wide open from noon-3:30ish.

Pace of play is definitely a huge positive. Even on a slow day, a four hour round is the most time it will take. Going and playing with friends at public courses irks me now because I always know it’ll be 5 hours.

Our club has a ton of events, so I get a lot of “tournament” type reps as well which prepare you for times when you do step out for a sanctioned tourney.

It is definitely a lifestyle choice though. Many of our friends know that weekends for us will be spent at the golf course. Luckily my fiance is as in love with the game as I am so I rarely have “ask” to play on weekends.


My favorite reason for being a member of a club (mine is semi-private) is club tournaments and the associated MGA (men’s golf association) tournaments. As a public golfer, you’re wandering around trying to find a place to play and a group to play with. As a club member, I have a regular Saturday group of 12-30 players on any given day, and regular tournaments every month or so.


This is my situation too.

The club I belong to is semi-private (it’s basically a public course with “members” but nothing like F&B minimums). The main benefits to me are the monthly men’s club tournaments and just knowing a bunch of guys to golf with. I rarely book as part of a group but most weekend mornings I end up playing with people I’ve played with before. And there’s a feeling of belonging (familiar faces and knowing people’s stories) without any of the private club stuffiness (jeans are perfectly acceptable golf attire there).

My job doesn’t currently afford me the opportunity to do men’s night but I’m looking forward to making that a regular feature at some point in the future.


I went with BraeBurn. I live in the Heights so there weren’t a ton of options super close by. They also had a pretty attractive junior membership deal going on and the course was in fantastic shape when I went visit it. It’s also not very pretentious/stuffy, which is what I was looking for.

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My situation may be a little different but i’ll let ya know my experiences as i just finished my first year as a member. I’m 27 so i receive the intermediate rate which is about 1k less than the normal rate. I joined because I wanted that freedom to play a quick nine after work, hit the range whenever i wanted, grab a bite and beer after work. All things that are a little difficult trying to do with the twilight rounds most public courses offer (every course backed up, locked into a whole round etc.) Immediately I felt like i was out of my element because I’ve never been a part of a country club. I quickly got into a morning group on the weekends with a very diverse group of gentlemen and they welcomed me in right away. Always a good game and even better banter on a beautiful course. I found myself going to the range on lunch breaks playing as many holes as I can get in without calling ahead and playing whenever the weather permitted (In the remote north). Overall it has been an outstanding year and cant wait for the spring season. Good luck!


Just some thoughts

I have joined clubs a few times due to moving around a lot and financial position changing from young kid to retired now. I have seen the process from a small 9 holer to prestigious club.

First figure out exactly what you want. I have heard far too many guys say they joined a club and then want to change stuff at the club. Changing attitudes, rules, traditions takes time and so it’s better to find a place that offers the type of golf you want rather than join one just because it’s close to your house. Like if you want a place the family can use, like pools and dining along with golf, join a country club. If you like traditions join an old one etc… Sometimes it’s better to travel a little more to be at the RIGHT club.

Most clubs are happy to talk to you before putting in an application, some will say you need a sponsor to inform you etc… My point is even that gives you an idea of what type of club it is. Augusta is not giving an application form to someone who has a ton of money and rings up asking to be a member. No Sir you will be invited if we think you are who we want to join us. Also why join a men’s or women’s only club if you don’t like their ethos. Asking other golfers about clubs is important. I know clubs where gamblers gamble big time and others that don’t allow it. Why join a club big into tournaments and weekly games if your just looking to play for relaxation. What I am getting at is clubs are often very different and expect you to join them not them just catering for you.

I have found all clubs have great and idiot members. I found befriending the staff early usually pays big dividend. If you get to know the pro, assistants, starter, they will often introduce you to people who they think you will get in with. Bar staff, bag boys are not your servants, they are your equal and can help you enjoy life more than you think. You are not impressed by you as they have seen many like you before. However kindness and respect with all the staff will pay you back way more than having a couple of playing partners. Many clubs have established groups within them eg gamblers, gamers, traditionalists, time fillers, etc, which sometimes takes a while to get into the one that suits you. Be patient you will find your spot.

Easiest way I look at it is it’s, like choosing a school. Look at costs and what the place is offering before applying. First day sucks. If you arrive and don’t know anyone, your first friends might not be your best friends years later. You will not like some of the other kids but you will love your friends. For me even though I love muni and public golf it was like starting school almost every day. The rounds were slower, harder to get the tee times I wanted and too busy for me to spend as much time as I want too.

Supporting golf in anyway is good for you and good for the game. Being at the wrong place and later giving the game up is not good for anyone.


Possibly reviving this thread but I have a question for a first time private club joiner.

Background: I am 30 years old and obviously golf is my thing, since I’m here. I make enough money to be comfortable for my age. Low 6 figures to help in the conversation.

A club 2 miles from my house is offering a promotion for new members during COVID, $2500 initiation and then $375 a month including a SO to join now.

This is the only Arnold Palmer design in Utah and to be able to practice and play so close to home is alluring to me. My friends are telling me it’s dumb, but I am hoping people on the internet will tell me it’s not dumb.

Thanks for telling me it’s a good decision for someone literally obsessed with golf.


Pretty easy decision with that scenario, IMO. I say go for it.

The initiation and monthly are peanuts for someone at your income and it’s just two miles from your house. If it turns out it’s not for you even after a year you really wouldn’t have wasted your money.


If you love golf and are going to actually use it I say go for it. It’s never justified from a cost perspective, unless you’re gonna walk and play enough to get your costs per round down. The club is generally about so much more than the golf, meeting people and expanding your network is super easy if you’re willing to have the shop just throw you into random groups. Not sure if you’re a family gui but any good club will also have a lot of programming to make it more of a family type atmosphere.

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Not a family gui but very into playing with random people. Actually what I am looking for, getting to meet people that are nuts about golf is what I want. Fully understand it’s not a cost thing. The muni in my town is awesome and I know everyone there but getting to be part of club is what I’m looking for.

I’m sold on this. I guess I’m just seeing if literally anyone would tell me this is a bad idea.

Your initiation is a lot higher than mine was but the monthly dues are close to the same. I held out for 5 years and was plenty happy at the muni in town because the course is maintained well and it was just over $1k per year for unlimited golf and range. We finally jumped in and joined the club in February and have zero regrets. Along the lines with something you said, the pro has been great to get to know and sets up random games frequently so that we can get to know other members. Looking back, we should’ve joined several years ago, we just kept finding excuses not to

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Why are your friends saying it’s dumb? I mean it’ll be more per year than the munis but you get more.

If the muni in town had a $1000 a year offering I would jump right on it but unfortunately they do not. I pay next to nothing to play but they don’t have a range and it’s ridiculous to play on the weekends. 5-6 hour rounds are the norm.

I’m really excited about enjoying a round and living that club life.

Is it rude to say I make more money than my friends, but also that there is unbelievable public golf in Utah. “Don’t at me with the TBC thread”


$375 a month to avoid this? Why haven’t you joined yet?