The Value of a Golf Membership at Your Local Course

For years I believed that the value of a golf membership was based solely on the number of rounds you plan to play each year. I calculated the price per round value to determine if a membership was warranted. I explained this simple math problem to many would-be membership buyers and thought I was doing everyone a good service. Well, after talking to Jeff Rogerson, GM and Managing Director, at my home course of Osprey Links Golf Course, I realize that I have been offering poor advice and today I hope to correct that error.

A couple of day ago during our lengthy discussion, Jeff indicated that my view on purchasing a golf membership was very narrow in scope. He agreed that the value of cost per round is a consideration, but not the only reason to become a member of a golf course. If you want to read more about my cost averaging views see: Paying for Golf in 2017.

The other selling points that Jeff mentioned were things I never considered because they just happened and I took them for granted. This is what he had to say:

  • Sense of Community. Being part of a golf club offers a sense of community that green fee players do not feel. I walk on to the course and everyone knows my name. (I kind of feel like Norm from ‘Cheers’) I have pleasant conversations with the entire proshop staff and maintenance team. The sense of community is very strong at Osprey Links and I had forgotten that being a member offers a great atmosphere to play golf.
  • Play Anytime – As Much As I Want. This is an important feature that I do overlook. I can walk on anytime and play any amount of holes given the time I have to play. Sometimes that is a few holes and sometimes more than 18. I have friends who take advantage of this all the time and they agree with Jeff that this is huge perk. As a green-feer, this type of flexibility can be very costly, so a membership just makes sense.
  • Savings. Not just cost averaging per round, but being a member offers discounts in some tournaments. I do not have to pay as much because the price of entering the event includes green fees; so, we get a discount on the event price because we are members. Additionally, we are the first to hear of proshop deals and other golf events that would be fun to participate in; the overall savings depends on your involvement in other golf related events.
  • Greater Golfing Network. Most GM, Superintendents, and staff belong to a greater golfing community that we as members can tap into. I have played many courses (some I could not get on without their help) or at a discount because of the staff connections. Of course, this is a rarer opportunity, but the more members participate in their course, the more perks can arise.
  • Golf Leagues and Course Events. At Osprey Links I participate in Men’s Night, Senior’s Day, Net Match Play, and Stroke Match Play events. The first two are weekly and the last two run all year. Men’s Night and Senior’s Day are not ‘member only’, but generally that is members who participate. Having a membership offers the opportunity to easily play at a cheaper cost (no green fees). These alone are worth the price of membership if I participate all year.

You can see that cost averaging is not the only advantage to a membership at a golf course. If you are wondering if becoming a member is worth the cost, then I suggest you look at the whole picture to see the real value. I do not think you will not be disappointed.

Thanks again Jeff for the very informative chat. I look forward to having a few more in the near future.

I am a grateful golfer waiting for my 2019 golf season to start!

10 thoughts on “The Value of a Golf Membership at Your Local Course

  1. Jim,

    I had a membership at my local course throughout high school. Now that I’m a bit older, and a lot busier, a membership doesn’t make sense for me right now. However, the values you have can be correct, depending on the course that is. Unfortunately for me, the members at my course would only get together twice a year, and that just won’t cut it. Thanks for sharing!


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  2. The social part is huge. Before I got my first membership, I always played Twilight to save money, but I wasn’t meeting anyone so it was hard to find people to play with. I like that fact that I can go after work and not feel cheated if I don’t get nine in. Lets face it, I would never have $ 150 in my pocket every weekend to pay for golf. So having the advantage of paying for it during the winter months to be able to play the sport.

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  3. Jim, I’ve purchased a membership that’s predicated on pre-paid rounds. While I enjoy excellent conditions and a significant challenge at my course, I don’t have the sense of community that you speak of. I might get more of that if I were able to play regularly in the mornings during the week, but I’m still a desk jockey and relegated to weekend play. I imagine you place a very high value on that parameter and it’s great that you can enjoy it. As a result, I play the majority of my rounds AWAY from my course – LOL! The only benefit of that approach is variety.

    One other attribute that I value very highly is practice facilities. Of all the courses that I rotate on, I have yet to find the perfect mix of long and short game areas. There are several fully private clubs that have them but are way above my price point. Still searching 🙂



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    • Brian

      We are definitely in two different life conditions. I am still on sick leave and will retire shortly after that is completed. So, this year I will have the full experience of playing whenever I can and want. This does allow the course to get to know me and my friends quite well so our sense of community is very strong. I do rotate on a few courses, but generally it is in tournaments to maximize our playing value. As far as practice facilities, yeah that is a real challenge for me. only one course has anything remotely decent to meet all my needs. But that is a the way it goes and I have accepted it. I hope you can trade that desk in soon!

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve thought about it in the past, but there are just too many options here. Playing the same course often does have it’s advantages scoring wise, but I really want to try and play as many courses as I can and we have so many to choose from. This state is a golf mecca. We probably have more courses here than your entire country does. At least 300 within maybe 3 hours drive from my house. I can even play after dark at one across the bay. We used to have one on this side too but lost it to condos a few years back. Have you ever played under a full moon? I have many times summer and winter and I love it.

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