i agree. i grew up a cc kid. mainly just did swim/tennis at a private club in Atl. started playing golf as a teenager and wore out that starter and tee sheet all through college. ill never forget my (parents) club number.
my grandfather belonged to 5 clubs. 1 in NC, 1 in FL and 3 in GA. I dont know why, it was a big part of his lifestyle and upbringing. he loved golf/hunting and enjoyed it everywhere he lived. all of his clubs were private. i dont mind public / muni golf - on the weekdays. but i joined a club and my family and i love it. we use everything but the resturaunt (its cc food). we love the golf (27 holes, teaching pro, active club tournaments), swim and my 13 yr old just picked up tennis. we pay over $1200 mo. in the summer (because we eat and drink so much) its expensive. but so are a lot of things. like travel baseball. and owning a lake house and a boat, trailer, truck, etc., or competetive cheer - people spend their money on weird stuff (myself included).
i do wish we had better access to better golf here in the US. if you dont know a member who is willing to play w/ or call you in as un-accompanied; its really hard to play the best courses here. shame. but that’s one of the perks to belonging to a club, sometimes. the pro at my club got us on the tee sheet at MPCC last summer with one phone call. we played the shore and the dunes course, we paid full freight but it was worth every penny. but he cant get me on everywhere, just some choice spots.
people in the UK think we are in bananaland, and rightly so. we are such fools to pay so much to play a game that is on dirt/grass. culture here with private clubs, status, the finer things, exclusivity - it’s everywhere and not going away. The US is just obscene about it, and I think @Soly went to some real swanky spots in Asia this past year. i think they may take it to a whole new level.