Is A Golf Membership Worth It? (Pros and Cons)


Many golfers debate whether a golf membership is worth it every winter and into early spring. 

They dream about playing golf as frequently as possible and having access to a premium golf course as part of their membership.

There are definitely pros and cons of a golf membership and there are different levels of golf memberships. From the experiences of many golfers, many understand the typical municipal golf course up to the elite country club where everything is perfect. 

There are also many in between levels that we will break down.

At the end of the day, a golfer typically wants to golf as often as possible within his or her budget of both time and money. 

We all enjoy being out on the golf course and the challenge that comes with playing our best while enjoy the time with family and friends.  Great exercise is available for those that walk and enjoying the great outdoors. 

A golf course is the ultimate setting in the eyes of many people.

Check out the 4th level. Premium courses and conditions make the experience amazing!

Is A Golf Membership Worth It?

Different golfers join golf clubs for different reasons.  These include unlimited golf, a well manicured golf course, the social aspects or the business opportunities.  If one of these categories is very important to you and your local club can help you reach it, then yes it is worth it.

What Are The Different Levels of Memberships?

We break a golf membership down into 4 different categories.

Level 1: Municipal Golf Course Membership

This is typically the cheapest level.  This level is great for the golfer that just wants to plan a ton of golf each season and wants to have their price per round of golf decrease with every round. 

We have seen some municipal courses charge as cheap as 600-800 dollars for the season.  There will typically be a golf cart charge per 9 and 18 holes.  

If you are someone that wants to get out and play and doesn’t value a premium conditioned course and can tolerate the course being crowded on some weekends and popular playing times, then this might be a great option for you. 

Generally, there is a group of golfers at every course that enjoys playing the side skins game and different fun games to keep the competition fun, but light at the same time.

Some of the negatives include some of the other golfers that play at municipal courses might not understand or care about golf etiquette and can be disrespectful at times. 

If they don’t know the game well, they might not even know better to let faster groups play through or the proper attire to wear to a golf course.  If these little things bother you, stay away from this level of a golf memberships.

Looking to take a lesson? Check out our post on what makes a good lesson!

At this first level the greens may be average and the overall conditions could be below average. However, the opportunity to play daily is there!

Level 2: Public Golf Course Membership

At this level, you can often get a lot of golf in for your money as well.  The benefit is that the course might often be in better shape and might be a more premium layout.  In many parts of the United States, you see former country clubs that are now open to the public. 

This often brings a quality layout designed by a quality architect, but at one point the golf course turned public.  You might find some left over members from the the times when it was a private course.


You can expect to pay 2,000-4,000 for unlimited play throughout the season with access to the premium tee times open to members further in advance then to the general public. 

For example, members may be able to make a tee time up to 2 weeks out, while the general public might only have a 1 week window prior to the day to make a tee time.

Overall, the golfer can play quality golf at a quality place for a little bit more money.  The community type of feel and the groups of golfers that play fun golf is still there and a golfer can find their niche with some of the current members through different events and opportunities to connect.

Looking to take your game to the next level? Check out this post!

Level 3: Private Golf Club Membership

This next level is where it can start to get more expensive and golf can expect to pay somewhere between 300-500 dollars per month with little to no initiation fee. 

The benefit to this level is the course is rarely crowded, you can have access to a premium conditioned course with an excellent layout, and the golf community and social opportunities are of high quality. 

Oftentimes, these types of places will frequently have a swimming pool, restaurant, fitness area and other amenities to offer members and their families.

This becomes somewhat of a social status and an ability to connect with others that are seeking the same connections.

For the person who wants the premium golf on a premium course without the course being packed with the general public, the extra money is worth it.  On occasion you will find a course that may have 36-54 holes to offer their membership. 

The additional courses keep the golfer from getting “tired” of playing the same course time and time again.

Other amenities such as a quality driving range, short game area and other practice opportunities can help a golf improve their game through their membership. There is also a golf pro can one can work with on lessons to improve their game and have a better swing.

Check out our top 15 reasons to play golf!

At the level 3 and 4, you can get some spectacular courses!

Level 4: Premium Private Golf Club Membership

Most cities have several to 10 premium private golf clubs where those with the more elite money can join and take advantage of the many amenities frequently offered. 

The social status, social connections and business opportunities are real opportunities and make the investment worth it for some people.  These elite courses may have a lot of history and potentially have hosted US Opens or other big PGA Tour events in the past. 

Members love the opportunity to talk to their guest about these events and how they get to play the course frequently.

I have had the opportunity to play these levels of course on many occasions and it is always a special experience.  The members will often go out their way to make the guest feel comfortable and to enjoy the wonderful golf course and the amazing amenities available for the day.

A golfer can expect to spend between 500-2000 dollars a month with an initiation fee that could range in the thousands of dollars.  Many clubs will often have a requirement on the amount of money spent each month in and around the club.  

The amount of play is very limited, so the course is often in wonderful shape and you don’t have to worry about slow play or congested golf courses.  The setting is usually amazing and one where it feels like you are in paradise. 

Every detail of every part of the experience has been thought of and the experience is impressive!

Time for next golf clubs? Are they worth it?

Summary Chart

Level #Level NamePotential Cost
Level 1Municipal Golf Membership$600-$800
Level 2Public Golf Membership$2,000-$4,000
Level 3Private Golf Membership$300-$500/Month
Level 4Premimum Privrate Golf Membership$500-$2,000/Month

The Pros of A Golf Membership?

Many golfers enjoy the overall experience of being a member at a place.  Depending on your budget, the experience can be exactly what you are looking for.  The ability to play a premium golf course on a regular basis without a great deal of congestion on a perfectly manicured course is difficult to beat! 

The connections with other members, the opportunities to compete in a club championship and the socialization and business opportunities make the investment worth it for some!

Many of the premium golf clubs will have a reciprocating membership throughout the area and sometimes even throughout the country.  If you are someone that travels frequently for business or pleasure, the ability to play at a club in another town may also be enticing!

For many golfers, the ability to have tee times at specific times on a Saturday or Sunday morning because of their busy schedules throughout the week are another attractive benefit for some. 

Overall, many golfers want to feel part of a community at a country club and enjoy the feeling of being at the club in a place where every detail has been given attention!

Practice area and other ammenities can be a major advantage!

The Cons of A Golf Membership

If you are someone that has a limited budget, but still wants to play a variety of golf courses then a golf membership might not be for you. Many golfers enjoy playing a different course each time they play and may not have the budget to pay for a membership and also play a variety of golf courses

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  

I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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