Why Golf Club Memberships Make Sense
Comedian Groucho Marx once said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a
member.” It’s hard to say whether that decades-old quote said more about Groucho’s personality or the exclusivity of clubs, but either way, it doesn’t really apply today.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, joining a country club should no longer raise the concerns it has in the past. In fact, with lower initiations and dues, there are many reasons that golf club memberships make sense – which is why we are busting some popular country club myths.
Country Club Myths
Some of the common misconceptions about country clubs are :
- Members are stuffy and standoffish, and it’s hard to make friends.
- You have to be a low-handicap golfer to belong to a high-end golf club like Hazeltine National (where the pros compete).
- The cost of membership is hard to justify.
Many of these perceptions are not as valid as they have been thought to be, and Ruth Glaser, Hazeltine’s Senior Director of Sales and Marketing, offers clarity on some of those country club myths.
“Different clubs have different personalities,” she says in response to the claim that country club members can be off-putting. “Some are more formal, while others, like Hazeltine, are the opposite of stuffy. At Hazeltine, with its rich history and traditions, it’s about love of the game of golf.
“We have an open tee-sheet, which means if you see a tee time available, you are welcome to jump in. You don’t have to know the other golfers and you don’t have to book your own foursome. It’s a great way to meet other members, or to mix up your usual game."
That is not unlike signing up for a round at public golf courses, where you can roll the dice and often end up with a great pairing. At a golf club, if a foursome goes well, chances are very good you might play together again sometime. According to Glaser, friendships are indeed forged on private club fairways. In fact, that is something the club works to promote.
“With the championship pedigree of Hazeltine, people may be intimidated,” she says. “But what we hear over and over again from new members is just how welcoming and down to earth the membership of Hazeltine is. New members are encouraged to play in member-member events—we’ll help you find a partner if needed. We also have a number of leagues, mixers, and other golf and social events that provide a lot of opportunity to meet other members. We see new friendships strike up all the time, as well as decades-long friendships continue to deepen.”
All Abilities Welcome
One concern golfers have is the high level of play at country clubs. For a novice golfer interested in joining a club, there is a huge intimidation factor, particularly at a storied championship track such as Hazeltine. Home to U.S. Opens, PGA Championships and the 2016 Ryder Cup, Hazeltine is a tough test for the pros, let alone the members. So it’s easy to surmise that many at Hazeltine can go low. But that shouldn’t be a reason not to join.
“There’s a commitment at Hazeltine to help each individual golfer grow in the game of golf, whether you’re new to the game or are working to break 70,” Glaser says. “It’s about enjoying the game and the people you’re golfing with, so for some people that means becoming more competitive and lowering your handicap. But for other people, it’s about managing the game well enough to enjoy an outing with your family or group of friends. Hazeltine offers a wide variety of golf lessons, clinics, leagues, and other golf programs to fit the wide array of golf abilities of our membership.”
Of course there is always the financial impediment to joining a country club. It may feel hard to justify an initiation fee, monthly dues, restaurant/golf club usage requirements, etc. when you can simply pay green fees at a public course.
But playing public golf every week is not all it’s cracked up to be either when you are trying to find an available tee-time at your favorite course in a time that fits your schedule in golf-crazed Minnesota. If you look past the dollar-to-dollar comparison, there are plenty of ways to feel good about making the commitment to joining a country club.
The reason many golfers join golf clubs is because they love the game and have an interest to be close to it. Golf club memberships can provide people an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, conduct business networking and create lifelong friendships. Many passionate golfers also want their children to play the game and a golf club provides their family access to excellent facilities and instruction. It's really difficult to put a price tag on relationships and the development of a lifelong skill.
“There are so many ways to justify the cost of a golf membership, if it’s something you enjoy,” Glaser says. “So many of the benefits of membership are truly priceless.”
So, you can be like Groucho Marx, and manufacture a reason to stay away from a great golf club – or you can understand that you might be missing a chance at some of the best golf, greatest times, and most interesting relationships in your life – and become a part of the Hazeltine family.
Hazeltine National Golf Club is a private golf club located in Chaska, Minn., about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The club opened in 1962 with a mission to build and maintain a golf course suitable for the conduct of national championships. Hazeltine is one of only two courses in the United States to have hosted the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, and Ryder Cup. Hazeltine’s meeting and event space, golf shop and specified services in the learning center are open to the public. More information about becoming a member at Hazeltine is available at www.hazeltinenational.com.
Topics: Golf Tips