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The seasonal debate: Daily fee or join a club?

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Spring always brings a newfound hope for golfers, from new clubs to warmer weather, it’s prep time for the season.

This also means it’s decision time – join a club or pay as you play at daily-fee courses.

Daily-fee advantages

  • With daily-fee you can pick up and play where ever and whenever without feeling like you’re not getting your value by not “playing at the club”.
  • In many cases, it’s less cost intrusive to play with friends that aren’t members of the same club or course meaning you still get to play with your regular group.
  • Even though private courses are well known for being in great shape, with daily-fee you can always pick the courses that are in the best shape.
  • Thanks to more online booking, finding deals at great golf courses is easier than ever – although getting coveted early times might be a bit more difficult.

Private club advantages

  • With private clubs, you generally always have great access to tee times with many clubs completely working on a first come first serve in-person basis.
  • Based on the generally larger grounds budget, maintenance is a top priority at most clubs meaning you don’t have to call ahead to find out what kind of condition the course is in.
  • With a club environment, there are always various competitions taking place. From weekly events and game times to culminating championships, you can feed your competitive side.

With the options available where will you be choosing this year?

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Nobody

    Mar 24, 2021 at 4:34 am

    The biggest problem with getting a membership is you play the same course every time. How is that not mentioned?

    • tom

      Mar 24, 2021 at 6:09 am

      With a private club you have many reciprocal private clubs you can play… also a call from the head pro gets you on other private clubs when your club has a tournament etc..

  2. Dennis

    Mar 24, 2021 at 12:55 am

    Here in Germany a club with one 18-hole-course costs you around 1.200 Euros per year. Often you could get playing rights on partner clubs for a little extra fee. I got 4 courses all in 50-Minutes Driving Distance for 1.400 Euros per year. During Covid most clubs don’t allow non members to play. So if you want to play more than say 16 time a year its a no brainer.

    • rob

      Mar 25, 2021 at 3:53 am

      Dennis, but in US you won’t find a private course for that amount of money…also the entry fees are more, much more…

  3. Divot Diggler

    Mar 23, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    If you place a premium on your time the club is the route to go.

  4. A. Commoner

    Mar 23, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    The overwhelming factor, for me at least, is a want for governance by, for, and of members.

  5. Mike

    Mar 23, 2021 at 8:34 am

    The biggest benefit to a private course is PACE OF PLAY! Public courses in my area are so busy that it is almost impossible to play a round under 4:30, with many rounds ending in the 5+ range. Since joining a private club almost 2 years ago, it is extremely rare for a round to go over 3:30 and I have never played a round over 4.

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