Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
GOLF club membership is falling in the United Kingdom, with a number of courses closing and others looking at alternative means of attracting new members and additional income. We find it hard to understand because there are so many advantages to joining a golf club.
You don't think so? Check out our 20 reasons for becoming a golf club member. We believe it is a no-brainer.
1. If you play golf once every two weeks, you will almost certainly find that becoming a club member is cheaper. Think about it - if you play 26 rounds of golf each year and pay, say, £35 per round, that equates to £910. Most golf clubs no longer charge an entry fee, so you will only have to fork out an annual subscription - most golf clubs in Britain charge less than £910 per year. And if you play once a week, the savings you will make will be enormous.
2. Most golf clubs will offer you the opportunity to pay your annual subscription monthly.
3. If you don't want to play golf at weekends, you will normally find that your local golf club will offer you a five-day membership, which will be much cheaper than the full seven-day rate.
4. If you are a club member you have the choice between playing social golf with your friends or taking part in competitions - monthly medals, weekly stablefords, club championships, team matches.
5. If you join a club, put in three cards and play at least three monthly medals per year, you will have a valid handicap that will allow you to play anywhere in the world.
6. You will meet like-minded people.
7. You will make new friends.
8. If your partner plays, they can join with you, so you will not have to justify being out of the house for five hours.
9. There will be a club professional who will happily give you lessons, allowing you to improve your game.
10. Food and drink tends to be cheaper than, say, your local pub.
11. The barman/barmaid will quickly get to know you and will start pouring your drink when you walk into the clubhouse.
12. Many golf clubs have lockers in which you can leave your clubs - so you don't have to lug them back and forth in the car.
13. If you want to invite a friend to play at your course, he or she will get a preferential visitors' rate.
14. If you join a course with lots of trees and thick rough lining the fairways, you will almost certainly learn to hit the ball straighter. You will also find lots of golf balls.
15. If you join a difficult golf course you will have no trouble playing to your handicap when you play elsewhere.
16. If you have ideas for improving the course and/or club you will be welcomed onto the committee with open arms.
17. If you play regularly, you will get to know people and will always find somebody to play with if you turn up on your own.
18. If you are a club member you will find that you are more likely to be welcomed with open arms at other clubs.
19. If you are a parent, you will be able to arrange cheap junior membership for your children.
20. There will almost certainly be a practice ground, which means you can hit golf balls there rather than traipsing off to a driving range, where you must pay to use balls that more closely resemble lumps of stone than proper golf balls.