Is A Golf Membership Worth It? [Let’s help you decide!]

If you’re wondering about getting into the world of golfing – you’re probably a little weary about how much you need to invest and thinking to yourself “is a golf membership worth it?”. Without even counting the investment you need to do in the gear itself, what other expenses are there?


Is a golf membership really worth it?

If you see the yearly membership fee as a roadblock, try looking at it differently. You will get access to the course, practice areas, clubhouse facilities and a community of like minded people. There’ll be tournaments, social events and much more. Depending on the fee it can definitely be worth it!





What is The cost of a typical Golf Club membership?

So, you’re probably wondering what are the typical amounts that you need to pick up from your deep pockets in order to become a member? 😉

First of all you need to know what different kinds of Golf Clubs there are around your neighbourhood. If it’s Country Clubs or private Golf Clubs only the fees will automatically rise.

But if you’re lucky and there are municipal courses available you will be in for a pleasant surprise. At least if you thought that all Golf Club memberships were dirt expensive.

Let’s take the example of the fine Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Club in San Diego California. It costs $300 as a first year initiation fee and after that $100 per year. That’s bearable isn’t it? It comes with some restrictions though. You need to be a local and have a local address. 

But if you’re a golfer on a budget it can definitely be worth it to check out if there’s any municipal courses nearby. Check out the article linked in the bottom of this post for inspiration.


Looking into more exotic solutions such as a membership at Augusta National is not easily paid by the average golfer. It’s not something they advertise on their webpage. But it is estimated to around $40,000 in initiation fee and a few thousand dollars per year. 

Which is actually pretty low compared to what other high profile Clubs charge.


There you have some examples of Golf Club membership costs. It can vary between those numbers and the sky seems to be the limit. It all comes down to the prestige around the site and what amenities and facilities are available. 


Additional fees to take into account

Looking into golf membership costs it is wise to note that there are many other fees that could increase the costs. 

  • Tournaments usually have a signup fee to help pay for trophies, fore caddies and so on. 
  • There are additional fees if you don’t haul your bag in the trunk and require a bag storage slot.
  • If you’re frequently opting for a cart to take you around the course be prepared to add this to your budget too since it can increase costs significantly.
  • Driving Range balls are sometimes included in the membership, but not always. 
  • Give some thought to how you’re going to use your membership to make sure that you’ve calculated with all the expenses. 

If you’re never on the range, don’t bother thinking about it – but if you strike 500 balls per week onto that field it will add up.


What does a Golf membership include?

Every membership is different and there are usually more membership types to choose from depending on what you prefer. 

More on that later – in this section we’ll focus on a “standard” membership if there’s ever anything standard in the world of golf.


First of all you will get a members number and the right to play at the course. That’s an important thing, since most golfers sign up at a Golf Club to actually play on the course. 

Secondly and just as important you will be registered for a handicap. If you’re not familiar with the term I suggest you read some more about the golf handicap. 

Anticipating that you know what I’m writing about you get the importance. Shortly you will be able to measure yourself against other golfers of different skill levels and compete against them. You will also have the possibility to get your handicap regulated if you play well (and also not so well). 

Third, you will get access to whatever facilities there are on your home course along with the social aspects, a club restaurant, changing rooms and so on. 


The frame will be set so that you can focus on your game and get whatever out of it you may be looking for. Whether it’ll be beating your buddies or having a joyful conversation with your retirement home buddy over a game. 


What is the difference between a Country Club and a Golf Club?

The difference between the two doesn’t have anything to do with golf. Country Clubs and Golf Clubs both have golf courses, but Country Clubs have a lot of surrounding facilities like spas, restaurants, shops, and often a lot of housing possibilities. 

There’s probably also one or many tennis courts on the country club premises, and maybe swimming pools and gyms. 

So country clubs are more like a place for the whole family, where you’d most likely interact in many different kinds of events during a stay. 


What is the alternative to a Golf Membership?

What is a flexible golf membership?

Some golfers with two main clubs tend to favor one over the other. It can be expensive to pay for a full membership in both clubs. Thus it can be hard to justify the membership fee compared to the number of played rounds. 

At some point golf clubs saw decreasing member numbers between players who had two home clubs. At that point some of the clubs decided to offer a flexible membership.

This way golfers with a dedicated home club could attain a flexible membership at another club at a discounted price. Oftentimes a third of the original members’ fee.

But that would mean that these golfers would have to pay a small green fee every time they’d go for a round, or maybe play a certain amount of rounds at no cost, but then the green fee would be added after those rounds were played. 


How does a country membership work?

This type of membership is often referred to as a long distance membership. As the name suggests you’re living a long ways away from the club in question and already have a club you call home. 

With a country membership you can get a discount to the members fee, but the requirement is that you’re registered to live far away.


Other types of golf club memberships

There are discounted memberships for junior players, students and seniors. And also for those who usually play during the week where the demand for tee times is low, and don’t play in the weekend where everyone else wants to play.

This way the club can earn some extra fees on players who may not become members. And the golfers can save a little for using the course when it’s in low demand. It’s a win for both!


Can I get a handicap without a Golf Club membership?

The short answer is “no”. 

You will have to be registered at a club as they do the administration and regulation of your handicap when you play rounds. Of course you can get your handicap regulated at other clubs that’s not your home club. But here you would have paid a green fee, and you’re only able to pay a green fee with an active club membership at some approved club. So it all works in conjunction.


There is a loop hole though, and that’s at a place called GolfShake. We haven’t tried it out ourselves here at GolfersHacks, but it’s supposedly a free way to get a registered and recognized handicap. 

You just have to have 25 rounds recorded and then you’ll be able to play at any golf course with a printable .pdf to show for it.

Be sure to check the eligibility in your country before relying too much on it though.



Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash