TA Connections

The Cost of a Country Club Membership: Is it worth it?

Play GolfCountry club memberships can be very nice perks of a job, especially if quality downtime is needed. Upper level management and key executives are often rewarded with memberships not only so that their families can enjoy some time out playing their sport of choice such as golf, tennis or squash, but also so that the employees can entertain business liaisons in a luxury setting. There is no doubt that even the smallest of clubs with few amenities can run in the thousands of dollars per employee. But what if you had to foot the bill yourself? What if you were trying to weigh the costs of a membership against the revenue you may bring into your business? Would the cost of a country club membership be worth it to you? To determine yes or no, TA Connections has outlined the pros and cons of a country club membership.

Advantages of Purchasing a Country Club Membership

    Perception is everything in business. Sometimes, it is as important as talent in closing a deal. To look the part, for example, you want people to know that you are earning substantial cash. One way to do that is through a country club membership. Everyone knows that the costs of memberships are expensive, so if you can afford to be a member, then your services are most likely in demand. It then goes without saying to potential clients that they need your services, otherwise someone else might come first and they will miss out on the opportunity of working with you.
  • If you work out of your home, regardless of how small or large your enterprise, the country club may provide you a professional setting in which to conduct business. Instead of having clients over to your home where your children and pets play, you can entertain them for lunch or drinks at the club. Plus, you will not have to spend time preparing the food and cleaning up afterwards. Likewise, if you do have an office, you might not want potential clients to see the mess or how small it is.
  • Another reason the country club is perfect for business meetings is that you can save on liability insurance. If clients do not come to your home or office, then you don't have to worry about any accidents that may occur. For startups, this could be a real advantage, as the country club membership is much more appealing than paying for insurance.
  • Having a country club membership may work out to be cheaper than paying green fees or other sports related costs. If you know that your family is going to use the features of a country club membership or that you will regularly play golf or tennis with associates, then a yearly membership makes sense instead of paying as you play.
  • With a country club membership, you also have access to professionals who can help you spruce up your game whether it be on the golf course or on one of the racket courts.
  • If you use your membership to its fullest extent, you are bound to network. Maybe not in the strictest sense of the word, but you will naturally meet others who have the same interests, and eventually you will find business associates. Even if you never thought of openly soliciting business deals or new clients, they may come your way simply because you are both members at the same club.
  • The club might offer Young Executive Programs whereby the fees are greatly reduced to persons under the age of forty. It might be worthwhile to take advantage of the savings to build a business.

Disadvantages of Purchasing a Country Club Membership

    If you feel that your membership is too costly or that you do not use it enough to warrant the monthly fees, you might decide to leave the club. The only problem is though, that many clubs in the US now have rules regarding members who wish to leave. For several clubs, there is a ratio of new recruits to exiting members. So to leave, you need to wait until someone else joins. Believe it or not, some clubs have waiting lists for members to leave. You really should read and understand the fine print when signing up to a country club membership.
  • There are many ancillary fees attached to a club membership. It is not enough to send in your monthly payments, because many upper scale country clubs have food minimums, too. Additionally, you may have to pay for equipment storage, cart rentals, and even your share of improvements to the club. These costs can quickly add up, making it difficult for you to maintain the membership on your limited budget.
  • The country club may not be as professional or as quiet as you would have liked. Before purchasing a membership, thoroughly examine the bylaws of the club. If the club brings in extra revenue by allowing the public to use services at various times of the day or year, you may find this to be a negative for your business. Also, if the club allows outsiders to hold functions at the club, will those events interfere with your schedule to do business? Your business meeting may not have the prestige attached to it that you expected.
  • Clubs can and do go out of business. Keep an eye on regular maintenance to determine whether the club is keeping up with the demands of the members.
  • Some clubs require a sponsor. For very exclusive clubs, the membership is not driven by who shows up with their money, but instead by who recommends them. You might not be able to join the club of your choice because you know no-one who can sponsor you for admission.

Country club memberships are costly, and as a business, you must write plenty of deals to break even. Plus, while you are at the club enjoying your membership, who is minding the store? In the early days of your business venture, you may not have the time to mingle at the club, and do all the work required of a new entrepreneur. The decision to join a club is quite personal because it does involve a considerable commitment of time and money. The key for you is to decide whether the cost of a country club membership is worth it versus the money you might bring into your business.