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To join or not to join?


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#1 James the Hogan Fan

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 01:08 PM

Iíve done my research, Iíve googled, Iíve emailed secretaries and membership chairs, and Iíve located a club in my area that fits my budget, has a decent course, and is very golf-focused with a large short game area and grass range. Do I go for it?

Itís going to be a decent financial hit, but they are having a special membership drive thatís knocking 20% off the initiation for the next few weeks.

But the drawbacks: the course has been snowed in since I got here. I havenít played it yet or even seen it, Iím just going by local word of mouth and reviews, Iím not sure about going site unseen, especially when this club is a lot cheaper than others in the area. The discount is going to wnd before the snow melts...

So my questions to you guys: have you ever had buyerís remorse on a membership? Ever gone into a club blind like I may be about to do? Is there anything I should do before commiting (1 year commitment)?

Also, since Iíve never been a member of anywhere before, are there any drawbacks I should consider regarding the whole enterprise? Reasons I wonít like club golf?

Thank you for your advice and any anecdotes would be greatly appreciated!

Golfing in Finland -------------------------------------------------Golfing in USA
Driver: Titleist 908 D2 (9.5) ------------------------------------- Callaway Big Bertha Alpha (2014, 9.5)
3 wood: Cleveland hi-Bore (15) -------------------------------- Adams Tightlies Tour 14.5
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Putter: Macgregor Autograph Jackie Pung -------------------Hogan Princess

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#2 Dancin

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 01:50 PM

I wouldn't put money down on a course I never played unless it's a very small amount. If you hate the course you'll despise going there, but still do it so you get your money's worth. If they're running a promo now, that implies they need people to join. So unless a lot of people are joining up, there's a chance they'll honor the promo in the future (although you might have to ask for it). You shouldn't have to pay rack rate initiation to join any club unless that club is doing well and a club that is doing well doesn't run initiation promotions.

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#3 kro88

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:29 PM

If you're simply paying annual dues for 1 year with no initiation fee, and can get out of it with no issues it could be worth a try.  Seems like a fair no strings attached deal.
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#4 DonatelloNobodie

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:56 PM

Some thoughts:

No rush to join until you've played the course and met some members.  Stop by and see what the place is like on a spring Saturday morning.  Don't let winter cabin fever influence you now.

Think hard about a membership that requires a big initiation fee.  That money is gone forever once you write the check.  A web search will find lots of lawsuits about "refundable" initiation fees not being honored.  Golf is in trouble and clubs get sold or go out of business a lot.  In either case your initiation money is gone.  A club can also get in financial difficulty and levy assessments or higher dues on members.  You have no recourse other than to resign and lose your initiation.  If you move away or get transferred, again the initiation money is lost.  If the course falls into poor condition or starts running a lot of outings, again, you're stuck.

If it's simply a season pass, as opposed to a private club membership, then the decision is simply a matter of calculating your cost per round.  Tee time discounters like GolfNow offer rounds for far less than the rack rate and make pay-as-you-go an option that's hard to beat.

Ask to see the club's financials to see if it breaks even and see the amount of debt that it has. Debt load kills clubs.  Refusal to share financials is a red flag.

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#5 mallrat

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 03:21 PM

Also ask about any planned upgrades. Assessments are a killer.


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#6 mattw387

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 03:45 PM

I'll echo what others have mentioned:  Continue to exercise patience and do more due diligence.  I wouldn't buy a car without test driving it myself - why join a club with a 'decent financial hit on the budget' without taking it for a test drive?

A few years ago, I was itching to join a local club that had an amazing deal (1/2 off membership + $50 off dues for the first 2 years).  After taking a step back, I realized by not joining in late October/November and reevaluating in March, I almost saved a good portion of my 1/2 off initiation fee by delaying the decision.  Worked out - joined a different club and am very happy today (although we would have been happy at the first club as well).

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#7 mn723

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 04:06 PM

I wouldn't join until you have a chance to play the course, preferably under ideal mid-summer conditions.  In my experience, 80% or more of my rounds are at my club, thus I need to like the course.  Also, would be a good idea to get a feel for the membership (young, old, active, men's league etc).

My guess is that this club will be running a 20% off or similar deal next year, seems to be the norm in colder climates.
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#8 tatertot

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 04:11 PM

Play it first ... I've had buyer's remorse. Not worth the risk.
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#9 James the Hogan Fan

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:31 AM

Thanks for the advice all!
So I called the place up and spoke to them about the situation, and apparently I had either misread their flyer or otherwise, but they said the discount would still be on the table until I had played the course and could see the place when it wasnít covered in snow, and they apologized for the confusion. I guess the thread is moot now, but I was really waffling on it and you guys helped settle me down, so thanks!

Edited by James the Hogan Fan, 09 February 2019 - 01:32 AM.

Golfing in Finland -------------------------------------------------Golfing in USA
Driver: Titleist 908 D2 (9.5) ------------------------------------- Callaway Big Bertha Alpha (2014, 9.5)
3 wood: Cleveland hi-Bore (15) -------------------------------- Adams Tightlies Tour 14.5
2hi: Callaway BB Diablo (18)
Irons 3-E Hogan Apex Edge Pro/Apex 4 +5/8" ---------------2-E Hogan Apex '99, Apex 4 +1"
Wedges: Titleist 5612 and Iron Nelson prototype 59° ------Macgregor VIP black 52 56, Stan Thompson stainless
Putter: Macgregor Autograph Jackie Pung -------------------Hogan Princess

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#10 Roadking2003

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:29 AM

View PostJames the Hogan Fan, on 08 February 2019 - 01:08 PM, said:

So my questions to you guys: have you ever had buyer's remorse on a membership?

No.  I've been a member at four clubs over the years.  No regrets.

Quote

Ever gone into a club blind like I may be about to do?

No.  But you have to weigh the alternatives.  Wait and see the course or save 20%.  And what other courses are available to you at a similar price?

Quote

Is there anything I should do before commiting (1 year commitment)?

Maybe they would give you a shorter "back out" provision.   Maybe let you back out after playing one round?


Quote

Also, since I've never been a member of anywhere before, are there any drawbacks I should consider regarding the whole enterprise? Reasons I won't like club golf?

Club golf is wonderful.  It's a great way to meet new friends who are in similar circumstances as you.


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