Housing developments built around a country club typically offer a long list of amenities, from golf and tennis to dining and social activities. But are the perks worth the price? And don’t forget to ask whether membership is voluntary or mandatory.
Benefits of country club life. Most people associate country clubs with golf, having as many as four courses, with homes backing up to fairways. Other benefits might include tennis courts, swimming pools, a dining facility and snack bar for the tennis courts and golf course. An intangible benefit is networking. Country club membership often brings together people whose careers may benefit from the connections made with others in the club. Many business deals begin on the golf course or over dinner at the club. Clubs are also social focal points for 55-plus residents.
Membership levels. Multiple membership levels are offered, each priced differently. “Family Membership” typically grants all members of a family full access to amenities. Clubs also usually offer “Individual,” “Corporate,” and “Out of State” memberships. Some clubs name their levels “Golf,” “Tennis,” and “Social,” reflecting access to amenities.
Cost. Membership costs have dropped in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis but it’s still a costly lifestyle. Members typically pay a one-time membership fee, then annual dues, meal costs and ancillary fees. The initial entry fees vary greatly and may range from $10,000 up to $100,000. Some clubs offer the chance to pay this in installments. Annual dues are also wide ranging, but usually several thousand dollars. Required minimums spent on dining services are common.
Mandatory memberships? Prospective homebuyers should always ask whether membership in a club is mandatory. Some housing developments built around country clubs have made membership mandatory as a way of boosting revenue to struggling clubs. Bloomberg reports that as many as 150 country clubs per year are closing.
Rules and regulations. Whether membership is required or not, expect homeowners associations to have strict rules on upkeep of your home and restrictions on changes you can make that are visible from the golf course and clubhouse.