Joining a Country Club

Outside of the handful of times I played in Korea, I’ve always been a public (usually municipal) course guy. I also thought I would be that way for my entire life as the only experience I’d ever had with private clubs was working at one (and that was not fun). That said, tomorrow I’m most likely going to be joining a country club. The place isn’t Bushwood by any stretch of the imagination, seems to be a more laid back place, interesting 6000 yard layout with tennis courts and a nice pool. Relatively inexpensive too (at least by Los Angeles standards), especially getting in as a “junior member” which I’m still young enough to qualify for.
I’m joining because I want to be able to play golf when I want to play golf, quick nines early morning before work and occasionally over a long lunch. I’ll also give the men’s club tournament scene a try. Add in an easy place to get the fam out to on the weekend to have a swim and it starts to make a lot of sense.
So anyone else who took the leap into private club life have stories to share? Or if you’re a dedicated muni lifer, what’s keeping you that way?


I grew up on munis but took the plunge. It’s been great and easily affordable until kid #2 came and added to the daycare bill. Now it’s a bit of a stretch but worth it.

  • I can play a round (when I’m allowed) without worry about finding a tee time
  • rounds are generally around 3.5 hours
  • 85% of the people I’d play golf with are members anyway So if I wasn’t a member I’d play a lot less
  • pool and food options for the family
  • as mentioned above, most of our friends are members so great social options (in normal years)

Wish I could do morning pre work rounds, but even though I’m not playing as much as I’d like it’s way more than I would if we hadn’t joined.


I’ve belonged to a country club for 30 years. It is a major part of my social life and it was the best investment I’ve ever made. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I’ve enjoyed mine.


I joined a club this year, having made do with a handful of rounds at public courses each year. I did debate whether the cost was worth it (around £110/$142 a month). The answer has been a resounding yes. It helps that it’s close by, so I can nip out to hit a bucket or practice my putting in the week (and get 9 holes in after work in the summer months).

But it’s been a real life-enhancer beyond the golf itself - I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people/playing partners, and playing in competitions again. And it’s been a vital release valve in a year that’s otherwise had me sitting at home more than any other.

Join up and enjoy!


I’m going to be paying just a bit more than that :sweat_smile:. Los Angeles cost of living, so everything has a premium. That said, I’m hoping to discover a lot of the same benefits as you, both on the course and outside of it. Thanks for sharing!


We just joined a club up here. They had a deal where if you join in October you don’t pay dues until April. We had been talking about it for two years. I have reached my limit with public golf and how long it takes and how inaccessible it can be if you’re not planning way ahead.

It’s spendy. Like really spendy. But it gives me all the golf I want when I want it. It gives my wife and son pool access (next summer). World class gym - we had an awesome home gym, but have now been able to sell our equipment and use the space for storage, which has opened up another space for me to put in the simulator bay of my dreams (HOPEFULLY). Two great restaurants at the club. Tournaments. Youth programs. Social community we’ve been missing since having our son.

The cost is great, but the benefit is greater.

I’m starting a new job in a couple weeks where I’ll be 100% at home and making my own hours, so weather permitting I’ll have a lot more time even this Fall to get some rounds in.


I belong to a 9 hole, semi-private club. It’s a short course with seven par 4s and two par 3s, so not something you’d ever say “wow, I want to play there.” We allow limited public play, but it’s mostly members only. I joined for much the same reason you laid out. I wanted to be able to play quickly, play at a moments notice, and find a regular group to play with. I haven’t regretted it, and I’ve been a member for 10 years.


Others have touched on it, but it’s a club as much as it is a golf course.

It’s nice to have easy access to a golf course that should be well maintained and less crowded… it’s nice to be at a place where everyone has some ownership of the course and wants it to stay in good condition.

As others has said, it also costs a lot.

The value will be more in the side benefits of the club, the community, the pool, the other amenities.

Ours is great because it’s up the street. We can walk home on a nice night.

Hard to calculate roi on that sort of thing.


@craigers makes some good points… very hard to calculate ROI…at the end of the day this is an EXPENSE… you are spending money on a hobby/amenities

That being said, I think it is a great way to spend some of your discretionary budget. You will get as much out of the club as you put into it is my experience

Here’s what mattered to me:

  • proximity to my house
  • golf course in good shape
  • practice tee, short game area, putting green
  • member owned
  • pool and tennis for the wife
  • initiation fee and flexibility on timing of payments

Major bonuses that aren’t really in my control:

  • two of my wife’s friends and husband just joined
  • club house is new and membership is trending younger due to the demographics in our neighborhood
  • I locked in an initiation fee that is probably going to be 30-50% cheaper than it will be in a year after club house is complete
  • total number of golf members is capped in the governing docs
  • found out two senior guys at my company are members, have already been invited out

Is it my favorite course in town? No. But it gives me all of the flexibility you described in being able to practice / play nine holes. The added benefit is that my wife used to view my golf spend as a cash bonfire (it is) but now since she’s getting some benefit, I get a lot less sh*t for it. It will always be more expensive to be at a club on a per round basis, but like others mentioned you get a lot of extra perks. Hope you like your spot !

Side note: I’ve got multiple buddies in the service industry (shift work, usually at night) and it makes 0 sense for them to join a club right now. They play 2 to 3 times per week, middle of the day, weekday, paying discount rates on golf now. They are going to get 2x as much golf as me this year for 1/2 the cost, and they always have good pace of play!


This is something I will likely consider once my 3 month old gets a bit older…
Having a pool and something for he and my wife to do would be nice.


My wife and I joined a club almost 30 years ago, while the course was being built. For us, its a great thing. One of the biggest things it did was to allow my wife to start playing golf in a pretty calm un-rushed setting, as afternoon golf even on weekends was very lightly attended. Cut to now, she loves to play as much as I do. We spend every weekend there, we have dozens of friends there. We both enjoy the competitions, which run once or twice a month through the season. In our case, with two players, its really a GOOD return for investment, say 150 rounds a year for around $5000 in dues. In the metropolitan DC area, that’s really good.
What do I like there? Course condition is good, sometimes great. Pace of play is pretty good to great. Friends, lots of friends, I’m literally NEVER playing with 3 strangers, although my big group of buddies welcomes new members pretty frequently. Tee times are pretty readily available. Club tournaments are great, I love to compete. Interclub leagues are available, for both men and women. We have a decent pool and four nice tennis courts that we never use, but are popular. I don’t pay for range balls, I can go practice as much as I like at no extra charge.
What are detractions. I do play most of my golf at one course, but its a good interesting course. I also get to Pinehurst regularly, to Palm Springs every year, and take other golf trips moderately often (usually with other members), so I get my “different course” itch scratched.
What would I advice people to check out before joining? Finances of the club, including any history of member assessments. Availability of tee times, I know courses that run a lottery every weekend because demand is so high. Ability to find people to play with, I’ve heard of some clubs where its a bunch of cliques, so new members have a hard time finding a game.
For me, being a member of a club has been great, on many different levels.


My wife is JUST starting to pick up the game, so I do think it would be a great place for her as well.


I’d love to have quicker rounds and quality practice areas … especially for short game … buuuut in my area - north shore of Long Island - it’s really REALLY expensive … and I can’t really justify it…

Plus I heard that one club I was considering doesn’t allow walkers - that’s a no-go for me.

Maybe sometime in the future if we move out of this area…


Yeah, the joy of living in Kentucky is it’s expensive but not terrible… I get to play one of the best courses in the area and pay less than 10k a year… which is still expensive!


Thanks for the input everybody. We’re officially members of La Cañada Flintridge Country Club. First official round will be tomorrow morning. I’m fairly positive I’m going to lose a ton of balls before I figure this track out, but I’ll certainly learn to hit it a lot straighter!


Here’s a photo from the 10th tee:


Woah that’s some big elevation change! Congrats!

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Yep, pushing my cart around there is definitely going to count as leg day.


Wow. Very beautiful setting!


I’m fortunate to live in an area with numerous good to great courses at reasonable prices (max $79 on weekends), no more than 20-30 minutes from my house. These are daily fee, open-to-the public, privately-owned courses, not city/county municipal courses. I can afford to join a private club, but I enjoy the variety of courses, and would hate to be “trapped” into only playing just one. Until recently, getting tee times a few days in advance wasn’t a problem, and I suspect we’ll go back to normal in 2021 as the COVID golf boom subsides.

The private club nearest to me is golf only, and the other second closest has a pool, tennis, etc., but is a bit too far for me to use it regularly (I know myself). I love the idea of the camaraderie and friendship that can develop at a place where everyone knows you, but for me, the golf supersedes hanging out in the clubhouse afterwards. I have a good group of friends I golf with already.