View Full Version : Golf Membership Pricing

04-19-2010, 01:33 PM
Without naming names, does anyone know how a golf course sets a seasonal membership rate?

The reason that I ask is I am looking into a membership and have quite a few courses in the area to choose from. The rates very wildly for public courses. From 1200 for 18 hole course with a cart, full range; 1200 for a par 3, full range; 1100 for a 3 pack of 18 hole course with cart, no range; or 550 18 hole with cart and full range.

All the courses but one I have played, but it just seems to make no sense what so ever as to how rates are set.

I will probably go with the last one as it is 10 mins from the house.

There are some really nice publics on that list.

04-19-2010, 01:44 PM
There is no magical formula. Most public or semi-public courses really cater to the greens fee people. The memberships usually have to be paid early in the spring, and that is what gets the course going until the greens fees start to kick in. At some courses, the cart fees are a means of making money for the pro, and at others it is still the course owners.
Paying an annual cart fee at some courses is paying for the whole cart, and others only half a cart.(someone else can share with you)
I belong at Farmington CC, nice 9 hole course, and their cart fee is for a whole cart. My wife is going to need to use a cart this year (we normally both walk), and it is cheaper to pay as we go, as we may only play 9 holes some days and 18 on others. We did, however, pay our $600 per person membership, plus another $30 or so for GHIN handicaps.

Private courses set their rates to cover their budget, pure and simple, and are usually set by the board of directors.

04-19-2010, 03:47 PM
Many local clubs operate on a breakeven plus some approach. There's a lot of money that goes into the maintenance, chemicals, utilities, staffing, etc.. In addition, there is insurance, legal, all of that.

But it all depends on the mission of the course, and how true they are to it. Last year's weather put a terrible strain on courses that depend on greens fees. The more members a course will sign up, generally the membership costs are higher. This goes all the way from public to private clubs. If a course limits memberships, it will usually reduce rounds played, but increase your cost for that pleasure. Courses that have other facilities also price accordingly. Some clubs give the Pro the shop earnings, or a percentage.

It's a pretty difficult job to properly manage a course. Member's get the added benefits of leagues and tournaments. I look first to course quality, second to facilities. I was a member at a great 9/18 hole course that is now around 600 flat. Not much for facilities, but always perfect conditions. Another great 18 holer near me is somewhere north of $5,000 now. They have great facilities, fantastic practice areas, and I believe membership is limited to 300 or less. It is also semi-private, meaning you don't have a great chance of getting a tee time if not a member.