Golf is an intrinsically wonderful game, isn’t it? If it were otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. But why join a golf association? And what are the benefits of joining one? We will look at just a few of the advantages of joining a golf association (or club).
1. Being part of something fundamentally pleasurable and having somewhere to call ‘golfing home’
We humans are fundamentally social, and we also thrive on experiencing a sense of belonging. Whether it’s to meet new people, make new friends, find golfing pals or to attend snazzy social events, golf clubs are a great way to get to do all the above and more.
The perception of golf clubs back in the day was that they were the domain of the well-heeled elite. Fortunately, this is an outdated and stereotypical label. The great game is open to everyone. The typical modern golf club will offer a warm welcome to new members, and the clubhouse (or “The 19th”) is a great venue for meeting new friends, socialising together and organising and attending events which are great fun.
2. Access to the course
Our climate is pretty variable to say the least, so you want to take the opportunity to play when the weather is favourable. If you’re a club member you have the luxury of playing whenever you like and, with judicious choice of tee-off times, as often as you like.
Apart from this, there are many other reasons to be a cheerful club member. You can take classes to improve your game - there’s always a club professional who will readily give you lessons on just the aspects where you want to raise your game.
Golf is a fundamentally competitive game, whether against opponents or yourself. In the latter case, getting your handicap down, as an objective measure of your ability, has to be a priority if you’re serious about your progress.
After all, once you’ve got a lower handicap and built your confidence, you can play competitive golf against opponents, either on an informal basis or in the formal club championships.
3. Coaching for Juniors
The number of golf club members is on the rise across the world, but there’s a golfing association benefit which doesn’t get much attention. Any sport needs to nurture the development of its future generations and the large majority of clubs realise this, hence their efforts to provide a clearly-defined coaching and development structure for children.
The club professional takes an active role in this area, teaching the fundamentals of the game as well as inculcating junior members in the etiquette of the game. Another obvious benefit of joining a golfing association in this respect is that the game and all the pleasures that surround it becomes more family-oriented and makes it an attractive option not only for a round of golf, but a social gathering place.
4. Play in Matches against other clubs
We’ve seen so far how golf club membership benefits will naturally improve your game, so you will then have the chance to represent the Club in competitive matches against other Clubs, either locally or nationally, whatever your age or gender. Don’t worry if your handicap isn’t very low - matches are also organised using handicap rankings precisely so all and sundry have the opportunity for their own day of glory.
5. The practice ground
The large majority of clubs have a practice ground, so you can hit golf balls there to your heart’s content instead of having to traipse off to a soulless driving range next to a motorway, where you pay rather a lot to smash misshapen balls around. One of the benefits of joining a golf association is that groundsmen invariably take tremendous pride in the state and upkeep of the course and practice areas. Who knows, you may even come across the club professional and get an impromptu 5-minute session on optimising your swing!
6. A much cheaper option than paying per round
This is a rather prosaic reason at first glance, but joining a golf association makes sense financially if you’re going to be a regular. One club has even calculated the cost benefits. If you play a round every other week, and pay, for example, £70, you’ll be forking out £1,820 a year. Most golf clubs charge an annual membership fee and in 2018, that fee was, on average, £901 per year. Those figures speak for themselves. If you play once a week, you’re getting tremendous value for money; 52 rounds with a membership will cost you £17.30 each, about a third of the price of a Premiership football match.
7. A Great Clubhouse Environment
The clubhouse can be a great place for eating, drinking and making merry with your friends and acquaintances. Prices for members are usually very reasonable and clubs always plough back membership fees into making it an all-round better and more enjoyable place to enjoy your time.