Jul 11, 2023

T-Time Podcast // Ep. 55: My Country Club Experience and What to Look for When Joining a Club

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Being a member of the right club goes beyond the game—it involves community, convenience, and cost. With Tori's experience as a member of three country clubs, she will walk you through the key factors to consider, including the club's location, initial fees, monthly costs, and sneaky food and beverage minimums. She will explain how to ensure the chosen golf course keeps you challenged and engaged, and discuss dress codes, guest rules, and joining golf communities like the Women's Golf Association.

Additionally, Tori will cover what to look for in a golf club, such as practice facilities, lesson options, member pricing, and kid restrictions. Finally, she will share insights as a parent, including considerations when joining a country club with kids, including age-appropriate activities, dining restrictions, and daycare costs.

Seven Factors to Consider When Joining a Golf Club:

1.   Location:

When joining a golf country club, prioritize a conveniently located club close to home, within a 15-minute drive, factoring in traffic. Easy access allows frequent visits and convenient practice sessions to enhance your golf game. Make location a top consideration for a worthwhile investment.

2.   Cost:

When considering the cost of joining a golf or country club, here are some key factors to inquire about:

  1. Initiation Fee: Ask about the upfront initiation fee and determine if it fits within your budget.
  2. Monthly Cost: Inquire about the recurring monthly fees associated with membership.
  3. Membership Types: Understand the membership options available, including full, associate, junior, and sports memberships, and their respective costs.
  4. Food and Beverage Minimums: Look for minimum spending requirements on food and beverages, as these may add to your expenses.
  5. Assessment Process: Find out if the club imposes assessments for significant updates or projects and how they are divided among members.
  6. Additional Fees: Ask about potential extra costs, including golf bag storage, range balls, cart fees, pushcart fees, and locker rentals.
  7. Personal Equipment Usage: Investigate whether you can use your golf cart or push cart and if there are associated fees.
  8. Guest Fees: Understand the different rates for guests, including weekend, weekday, and holiday fees, as well as special rates for family guests.

 3. The Golf Course:

When considering a golf course, there are several factors to remember. Here is a simplified list of questions and considerations:

  1. Golf: Will I enjoy playing this golf course frequently without getting bored? Can I play it multiple times a week and still find it enjoyable?
  2. Dress Code: What is the dress code like? How strict is it? Is it more about the dress code or overall conduct and atmosphere?
  3. Leagues: Are organized golf leagues available, such as ladies, men's, or nine-hole leagues?
  4. Tee Times: How easy is it to make tee-time reservations? Is there an online system, or do I need to call in? Can I secure tee times as frequently as I'd like?
  5. Guests/Family Members: Are there any restrictions or limitations on having guests or family members play on the course?
  6. Frequency: Are there any limitations on the number of rounds I can play based on the membership type?
  7. Closures: How often does the course shut down for tournaments, special events, or routine maintenance? What are the off-season hours?
  8. Tournaments: Are there events or tournaments I can participate in, and are they limited to certain membership types?
  9. Pace on the Course: What is the average pace of play on the course? Is it a walkable course if that's important to me?
  10. Pro shop: Is there member pricing in the pro shop?
  11. Kids: Are there any restrictions on kids or teenagers playing on the golf course?

4. Practice Facilities:

When evaluating practice facilities, consider a range of amenities and a pleasant environment. Look for chipping and putting areas with sufficient space. Assess facility size to avoid overcrowding. Inquire about indoor practice options, like simulators and TrackMan. Ask about lesson choices, including women's, junior, and beginner clinics. Check for programs like OP 36 and PGA Junior League. Consider the importance of regular lessons and available golf professionals. These factors help you choose a suitable practice facility.

5. General Atmosphere:

When evaluating the general atmosphere of a club, consider the age demographics and dress code for non-golf events. Find out about the dress code in the clubhouse, including hat-wearing rules. Inquire about the acceptability of jeans and ripped jeans in the clubhouse. Assess the condition of the locker rooms and whether general updates are planned. Determine if the club is family-friendly and offers special events for various groups. Check for restrictions on areas such as kids' facilities and guest access. Confirm if all membership levels have access to the fitness area and spa, and inquire about special pricing for the spa. These factors will help you gauge the overall ambiance and amenities of the club.

6. Tennis and Pickleball:

If you're interested in tennis and pickleball, it's important to consider the availability and amenities related to these sports. Find out if the club has dedicated courts for each and if any conversions have been made to accommodate the growing popularity of pickleball. Look into the presence of leagues, events, and lessons for both sports, particularly if you're a beginner. Understand how guests can be brought in and inquire about the court reservation process. 

7. The Juniors & the Kids:

When considering kids and juniors, inquire about amenities such as junior golf, tennis, and swim teams. Ask about kids' camps and onsite daycare. Check for age restrictions in locker rooms and dining areas. Do your research about monitoring services and limits on charges for kids' accounts. Considering these factors will ensure a positive experience for your children at the club.


In conclusion, joining a country club offers a valuable and convenient experience for dining, playing, practicing, and socializing. Despite the significant investment, it provides a consistent and cost-effective option compared to rising green fees. Carefully consider initiation fees and membership options when making a decision.

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