Golf Club Membership: Take advantage of all the extras.

Are you the type of person who is a 'joiner' of clubs but who doesn't get full benefit from your annual membership?

With expensive joining fees at some golf clubs it is important to get the best value.

So here's a few tips for you to consider:

1. Investigate which clubs have temporarily suspended their joining fee. It may be beneficial for you to travel a few extra miles to a club that doesn't have an expensive joining fee. You may use a little extra fuel but you won't be paying several hundred pounds just to join.

Alternatively, you may have a golf club near your place of work which may be just as convenient during the week.

2.Join at the beginning of the year so that you receive 12 full months benefit. The dark nights in the middle of winter might stop you playing but the weekend will be available throughout the year.

3. You may not have time for a full round of 18 holes so play 6 or 9 or 12 holes or however many holes you need to play to walk off the course easily.  Even a few holes will be a good way of relaxing and distracting you from a hectic lifestyle.

4.You can get real value from playing in Medals, Stablefords and Prize Days, especially if you win a prize. So make sure you enter your name on the competition list in good time. Entering also helps you to commit and honour your game with a partner. If you don't enter it is easy to become lazy and waste your fees.

5.There are Mixed Competitions and Fun Days, including Charity Fund Raising Golf Events. These have less pressure on you to retain your handicap but are fun and there are likely to be prizes and trophies for you to win.

6.Throughout the year, but especially in the summer months, there may be organized Away Days. These are packages that usually include one or possibly two rounds of golf, breakfast and a meal after the games. They are good value and it's a great way of getting to know a lot of members quickly.

7.There are also 2 for 1 offers that you can take up at other clubs. This enables you and a partner to have two rounds of golf for the price of one. You will find local clubs will give you plenty of choice if you don't want to travel too far but they are available in all regions.

8.Your club may also offer a book of vouchers wherby you can bring along a visitor to play on a voucher at a reduced cost. You get to play your home course and your friend can play for a good price.

9.Your Professional may give good discounts on clothing and footwear. Also be observant at the end of the season when huge discounts may be offered.

10.The golf professional should be your friend. He can provide you with the much-needed lesson for a few pounds. If you have half-an-hour to spare then time on the practice field with or without the golf pro is again getting value from your annual membership.

The prizes you may win in competitions may be vouchers to spend in the Pro Shop so you win all round!

11.Membership of a golf club offers much more than golfing opportunities. There will be many social events, including Out-Going and In-Coming Captains' Events, Discos, Christmas and New Year  formal and informal occasions and quiz nights when your memory is more important than your golf handicap! These are good ways to become an integrated member of the club.

12. Bar discounts will save money on your glass of wine or pint of beer and  the pleasant surroundings on the balcony, looking out down the fairway are very comfortable and peaceful. Supporting the hospitality is also a way of giving added value to your membership. It always pays to be pleasant to the people around you.

13.The restaurant is also worth a visit. It is likely to provide good quality and varied meals at a reasonable price. It is also an excellent meeting place for friends and players alike.

14. Often golf clubs also provide the opportunity to play Bridge, especially in Winter when the weather may be unsuitable for golf. So your Bridge skills may improve and you get to find another group of friends. Bridge is also a great aid for improving the memory which will be useful when keeping your golf score!

You may not want to follow all these tips but if you follow just some of them you will benefit from your membership and feel that you are much more than just a 'joiner'!

Remember, being a member of a golf club and having an official handicap allows you much more freedom to play other courses and competitions at other clubs, both in your home country and abroad.

Happy golfing!

Pebble Beach, USA

Pebble Beach, USA
Credit: Terrie Plowman

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