New member/newish golfer with a question!

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By Smokey W

  • 18 Replies
  1. Smokey W

    Smokey W
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Hi TT,

    I wanted to introduce myself and ask a few questions of the group. I have recently made a re-re-commitment to the game of golf. I played a bit when I was a teenager with my buddies or my dad, but never seriously. Once college arrived, I couldn’t afford to play the game any longer so I gave my brother my lightly used Wal-Mart Dunlops and wrote the game off for 15 years or so. Fast forward to 2015... I am a father of 4 and my two oldest end up joining The First Tee with their cousin. We buy some clubs for them (png Moxie) and I decide to spend some money on a sudo-fitted set of clubs (half-set of Titleists) and some lessons for myself. Both the lessons (6 of them) and the clubs (7 of them) made an amazing difference in my enjoyment of the game and within 8-weeks I was playing better than I ever had (still very much a beginner though). For the rest of the summer, I enjoyed playing the local executive and par three courses with my boys. Unfortunately a variety of work/life/home factors kept me from touching the clubs again... until now.

    Fast forward to 3 weeks ago... my wife and I have decided that we need to just bite the bullet and make golf the official family hobby since all four of our kids are involved in The First Tee at this point and the two boys are playing in local Junior PGA tournaments this summer. My wife has started taking lessons and I have dusted off my barely used clubs in an attempt to make a second go of establishing this crazy, costly (will explain shortly), and somewhat complicated game as a household commitment.

    I say all of that not to bore you, but to give you some background for my current dilemma. We are a family of six, my kids are between ages 6-13, my wife has now played 2 rounds of golf total, and I am basically a beginner myself. We have A LOT of golf to play from this point forward if we want to get any good at this game but with the standard local green fees ranging from $35-65 per player x 6 people x range balls... the next few years are going to require a fairly hefty financial investment. So at this point... I am beginning to think that joining a private golf/country club may actually be the CHEAPER way to go. There are a couple of clubs in the area with fairly reasonable initiation fees and monthly dues (as golf clubs go anyway) and offer a lot of other amenities we could utilize as well. My question is... is this a wise/appropriate step for a family so young/inexperienced/new?

    Such a step is financially possible for us at this point in life (I wouldn’t necessarily say comfortable), but I don’t know if it would help or hurt us at this stage. I believe I have thoroughly researched all of the pros and the cons of joining a club... but unfortunately little of the advice relates directly to the brand-spanking new golfer (or the junior golfer). Will club members accept such novices? Will we hurt our game by not playing a variety of courses in the area and just sticking to one? Is the culture of a country club/golf club a good learning environment for the sport or more of a social environment for those who have mastered it (and life) a bit more?

    I could go on... but this post is long enough! I am somewhat of a brand loyalist in all areas of my life, so that is why I joined this forum. I will explain how/why I ended up choosing Titleist as my personal preferred gear of choice at a later date, but for now just know that I am very glad I have. Looking forward to learning more from this group and any feedback on my dilemma is appreciated!

    See you on the course!

  2. Blake T

    Blake T
    Richton, MS

    Smokey in your dilemma I would suggest that joining the private club would be the best way to go. I've never been apart of a private club personally but have had the opportunity to play at many private clubs I have found that most of the time everyone is very nice and accommodating no matter the age or skill level you are. In the area of if playing one course would hurt you I do not agree with that statement I've always heard that good golf always travels as long as you stay true to your game and know your strengths and weaknesses that you can play any course up to your own standards. Lastly, the environments of country clubs I've been around are always more geared towards helping golfers out to get better but also provide a nice social setting where people with the same love for the great game of golf can get together and enjoy each others company. I wish you and your family all of the best luck and hope this post has helped.
  3. Smokey,

    Welcome to the T/T family. You will get a lot of valuable information about the game from the people at T/T. As to your question about a private club. First, let me say that I do not belong to a private club, so what I'm writing is mostly from word of mouth. Based on your comments I assume that the finances are do-able. I would caution that before you sign anything that you understand the costs of giving up your membership. I've heard stories about people leaving a club and having to pay large fees to do so. As for the advantages, I would think that they would out weigh the negatives. Most clubs that I've heard about or was at (I caddied at a private club many years ago) have a wide variety of age and ability levels, so your inexperience should not be a factor. Many clubs have arrangements with other clubs in your area or other states that would allow you to play these clubs at a reduced cost or no cost so you could use these while on vacations or just to get a bit of a variety. I'm also pretty sure that the club has a men's group and ladies group for you and your wife to join once you're comfortable enough with your game. This should introduce you to a whole bunch of new friends. Finally, golfers as a group are usually pretty friendly and understanding so I'm sure that they will make you feel welcome. Just follow normal golf etiquette and the whatever traditions the club has and you should be in good shape. Good luck to you and your family. Fairways and greens.

    Mark F
  4. 19hole

    Reading, MA

    I would join the club. Once you are a member, the daily grind of pulling out the credit card to pay for green fees goes away. You kids, as well as your wife and yourself, will get more involved with other golfers and you will enjoy the social aspects of club membership. It is also pretty nice to go to your club and if you only play 4-5 holes you don't feel that you have spent money for golf you didn't play.
  5. Keith M

    Keith M
    Acworth, GA

    Join a club, it's worth it. I wanted to for years, but it didn't make financial sense at the time. With one kid serious about golf, two if you count myself, and another that is mildly interested, greens fees at our local course quickly added up to be equivalent to monthly dues + minimums at the club we joined about 6 months ago.

    I couldn't be happier with the choice. Having the money sunk into the dues, it almost forces you to play golf because of the sunk cost. So, I'm playing a lot more, on a course with fabulous conditions and access to great teachers, and the pace of play isn't 5 hours on a weekend.

    One of the things I appreciate the most is the attention to detail at a private club. I'm not the most outgoing guy, within just a few weeks of joining, most of the staff knew my name, greets me every time, and is overall incredibly helpful. I went to the same public course about 5 minutes from my house for nearly 10 years. ONE person knew who I was and it was the head pro that I paid for lessons.
  6. Dwayne N

    Dwayne N
    Island, KY

    Join the club the benefits for you and your family will be worth it plus you can play as much as you want. AT my club many days I will only play 12-13 holes if needing to make an appointment or I may play 25 holes went once last week and only had time for 6 holes but I played that day.
  7. Welcome to TT! I am new to the forum and there are a lot of great people and some great info. I belong to a local private club and would recommend it for you as well. 19hole makes a great point, once you have spent the money on the membership, you will want to use the membership and get out to play. One of the best parts is being able to go out and play 4-5 holes. I will even get out very early and just chip/putt at certain greens until the grounds crew comes to mow.
  8. Scott D

    Scott D

    Welcome Smokey to T/T. I belong to a private club. It was the smartest decision I ever made with respect to my golf. The staff knows your name and greets you and it is a very relaxing atmosphere. I will suggest that you get involved with the leagues, competitions and social events. You will never have a hard time getting a game. Playing with the family is extremely easy at our club we always see parents and their children out enjoying the game together.

    With respect to the financial aspect a friend of mine use to play at a semi private club and do green fee play as well because their club hosted a number of outside tournaments. He said to me the other day that he figured it was cheaper to play at the private club. He saves money on the practice facility and he doesn't have a problem getting on when he wants to play.
  9. Smokey W

    Smokey W
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Thanks everyone! Your info and recommendations are super helpful!
  10. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    $500 a week x 24 weeks would be $12,000 a year. Most private clubs don't book every 8 minutes, you don't get many players with the Wal-Mart Dunlops playing to 130 and spending 15 minutes a hole searching for the sliced tee shot ball every other hole. If you want to be able to have easy access and spend family time together on course, there are private clubs that will make it a better experience. I did belong to a club, but it was on the other side of town which made making the men's league a challenge. I only played about 20 rounds a year plus a dozen league 9's so it was an extravagance to continue. But I could play 3-1/2 hour rounds almost all weekend. Just do the homework on how capital expenditures are funded and owner responsibility for injury/law suites. The annual fee is one thing, but another if the club house burns and everyone gets a 5 figure assessment to rebuild.
  11. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    I am a private club member ( After many years of public course golfing ) and being that you can financially swing it, I would strongly suggest it especially since your whole family golf's. First, check out the various clubs in your area and see which one best fits your needs. Most clubs have a well rounded schedule for men, ladies and couples and a junior program and plenty of time for family golf. Most clubs have good Instructional programs with private and/or group lessons. Most have Tennis and a pool if you want a little diversion from golf and some nice social events. Ask questions when you check out the various clubs. Is there a Food and Beverage minimum, are carts included and if they are not, is there a trail fee. My dues can be paid monthly and my initiation was spread out over 3 years, which is another question to ask. Don't worry about skill level as we have people in our group as high as a 34 index. You will find a group that you feel comfortable with and your wife will also. Last but not least, see if you can play a round at the club you choose. You are going to make a big commitment, you should like the layout.
  12. I’ve recently just joined my local country club and couldn’t be happier. For the last couple years my buddies and I have played a large variety of local clubs using services such as GolfNow which has been great, but I love being able to swing by my club after work and just help myself to the range or jump on and play a couple holes before my wife starts wondering where I went ;). Not having to worry about going out and playing on a Saturday and getting stuck behind a bachelor party is also a bonus.
  13. I’ve recently just joined my local country club and couldn’t be happier. For the last couple years my buddies and I have played a large variety of local clubs using services such as GolfNow which has been great, but I love being able to swing by my club after work and just help myself to the range or jump on and play a couple holes before my wife starts wondering where I went ;). Not having to worry about going out and playing on a Saturday and getting stuck behind a bachelor party is also a bonus.
  14. Another option is to check out some local public courses in your area that offer memberships, or as a couple in my area call it, "season passes". Many offer packages for the entire family. These tend to be a bit more budget friendly than a private club. Yes, you may find a day when the course gets a bit crowded, and there may not be as many amenities. The important thing is find somewhere that you and your family can enjoy this great game together.
  15. Gabriel G

    Gabriel G
    Cedar Park, TX

    I thought I was the only guy in that situation! :) If I am gone too long the wife wonders when I am coming home. My dream is to join a Country Club and just hang out there. Practice on the beautiful range and use the great putting greens they have at the Club.
  16. Smokey W

    Smokey W
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Thanks again for the advice and words of experience! We joined a club yesterday after visiting it last weekend and I was able to get answers to all of the questions you guys brought up. I feel I was able to make a much more informed decision because of this thread and am looking forward to the many benefits a club provides! You guys are awesome!
  17. Doug E

    Doug E
    Urbana, MD

    I am a member at a semi-private club. I play between 150-200 days a years. I also practice a lot on the range, practice facilities, and out on the course, where I get the most benefit. I will hit shots out there that can not easily be replicated on the range. Having the whole course as a practice area at times when few others are out there is priceless. Trust me. Though most of the formal rounds I play are at my club, I play 25-30 rounds elsewhere each year. The money I save from being a member, more than covers the cost a few travel rounds.

    Most clubs in my area, both semi-private and private offer some sort of family membership. It sounds like you have already looked into the costs and that is not a (major) issue, so I wouldn't hesitate to sign up the family. The benefits of being able to practice, play, socialize, have your own locker, etc. far outweigh the alternative in my opinion.
  18. John B

    John B
    Kenmore, NY

    A lot of great points have been covered by my fellow TT colleagues. I am 56 and joined my country club 5 seasons ago after 39 years of public golf. First, it took me that long to be able to afford to join. We had a family pass to two town courses and we all played all the time ($900 per season!) So you may want to look into that option first as someone suggested. No they won't be groomed as nice as a private place, but golf is golf and the people who love golf at a town course love it as much as those at the private courses.

    The other key point is location... I can't stress this enough - if you are going to join a place make sure it is as close as possible to your home. You will use it more for a quick 9 or a few holes, before and after work, practice or dropping the kids off to play and picking them up. We were 8 minutes from those two Town courses and everyone spent a lot of time there.

    I have three grown sons and all still play and two played HS and college golf. So yes it is a great family adventure whether you end up private or public. So either way you are not making a mistake.
  19. Smokey W

    Smokey W
    Colorado Springs, CO

    Wanted to follow up on this thread since we joined our club a few weeks ago. BEST decision we could of made for our family (in terms of golf that is)! I have already played more golf in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years, and the flexibility to play a few holes after work, cut a round short by a few holes when needed, or to play a few with the wife and kids and finish the rest myself while they head to the pool has been AMAZING. If anyone is like I was and on the fence... just do it. I always thought a club was more valuable for those who are retired or who had more time to golf than I... but I am quickly learning that the opposite is true. A club is a huge time and stress saver for a busy family like ours. Golf can be a major part of our life now without taking up the majority of our time. Thanks again for the encouragement!

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