Why do people join Golf Clubs?
There is no shortage of opportunities to play golf on a variety of courses, so why do people join a club and tie themselves down to just one?
The answer to that is that joining a Golf Club doesn't tie you to playing on only one course.
In fact, it makes easier and cheaper to play on other courses. But more of that later.
Here are some of the reasons that people give for being members of golf clubs
- Flexibility - Provided the tee isn't booked for a competition or match, I can go along any time for a few holes. There's no green fee to pay so I can walk off if the weather turns bad.
- Free practice - I don't need to go to a driving range to practice. I can practice iron shots, putting, pitching and bunker play at no cost at all.
- You can get a handicap. All you need do is submit three cards, signed by a player with a handicap, and you will be given a handicap. Many prestigious golf courses willl not allow you to play unless you have a handicap cerificate, so this is your passport to the wider world of golf.
- Competitive golf - Once you have a handicap you can enter competitions. This adds a different dimension to the game. Now you can begin to understand the tensions and pressures that the Pros feel. Most clubs run a range of different competitions throughout the year - Men's, Ladies, Mixed, Juniors and Seniors
- Matches - Many clubs run Knock-out tournaments for members throughout the summer. Many have inter-club matches. These open up the opportunity to play on different courses, and to meet members of your own club and of others.
- Social life - Even if your partner doesn't play golf, you can both enjoy the social life. The range of social activities can vary as widely as the members want it to. Dances with live entertainment, barbecues, quiz nights, and special dinners are just some examples. There are also snooker competitions and whist drives.
So how does joining a club make it easier and cheaper to play on other courses?
We have already seen that some courses won't let you play unless you have a handicap certificate and that once you are a member of a club, acquiring one is straighforward.
We have also seen that playing in inter-club matches is a good way to play different courses. Usually the only cost is the food and drink after the match.
But there are a couple of other ways that you can play other courses at little cost.
- Opens - many clubs hold Open Competitions for Men, Ladies and Seniors. These Competitions are open to members of other Clubs. The cost of entry is much less than normal green fees - and you stand a chance of winning prizes. Anyone who is a member of a Golf Club and who has a valid handicap certificate can apply to enter an Open
- Exchange Days - Many clubs make arrangements with another club so that they play one of the weekly competitions on each other's course. There is no additional cost for this
There are many Golf Clubs in the area. What's so special about Cheadle?
Different people look for different things in Golf Clubs. Some things that are important to one golfer will be irrelevant to another - and vice versa. Here are some of the reasons that people like Cheadle.
- Low Handicappers like it because it hones their skills. There are no par-5s at Cheadle. But the par-4s are testing. The trees mean that long-hitters neeed to be accurate to stay out of trouble.
- High Handicappers like it because you don't have to be a big hitter to play competitively there.
- Seniors like it because it's relatively flat and isn't physically demanding
- Ladies like it because it's compact and safe. You're never more than 300 yards from the Club House car park.
- It's a mature and pretty course. In summer and autumn the trees are a delight. (That is, until your ball hits one. Then they're not quite so delightful!)
- Ladies have full voting rights and are fully integrated into the Club, and are well represented on the Management Committee
- Everyone likes it because it's small and friendly. A 9-hole course cannot sustain the same number of members as an 18-hole course and Cheadle restricts the number of members accordingly. This means that most members know each other. The active social scene at Cheadle means that new members can integrate quickly.
- The restricted membership means that, if you are so inclined, there are opportunities to get involved in running the Club - and perhaps become Captain!