Whether looking for a vacation home or a primary residence in Florida,choosing the right golf community and golf club is much like the game itself. Simple in the concept; complex in the execution.
So we have some idea of the Geographic and Demographics that work for us. Now what?Well the Type of Membership can be a huge influence. Another key factor is whether they are Mandatory or Optional.
Consists of Equity, Non Equity, Annual, Seasonal and Summer. Knowing the difference can go a long way in helping you make a decision.
Equity usually consists of a combination of a non refundable initiation fee, an equity fee and annual dues.The equity is generally is refundable at 80% or 90% of the current amount being charged by the Club. When contemplating a membership purchase always ask how and how long it takes to sell the membership. Like any investment you should know your exit strategy as well. The good news is that typically you will receive the appreciation in the value of the membership when you sell. The bad news is you can be liable for any shortfall in costs and receive an assessment to cover the difference. If the club becomes insolvent you can lose your equity altogether.
Non Equity requires a refundable initiation fee and annual dues. You have no additional financial exposure as costs are covered by the entity owning/operating the club. These memberships are usually found within Resort Communities offering on site lodging. When you decide to sell the membership you are put on the List subject to a certain number of new memberships selling and then an existing membership selling. I don't want to say it can take a long time to sell, but some clients have been advised to leave the membership in their will!
You will be subject to annual dues and outside play in the form of resort guests and corporate outings. Tee times January through March may be problematic as a result.
Annual is just that, with dues paid annually and may have a food and beverage minimum. Private club feel and amenities. Restricted outside play so tee times are not a problem.
Many new Country Club Developments offer annual memberships to outsiders until they sell enough homes and memberships within the development. Annual dues increase each year until the club reaches its private membership goal and makes the rate outrageous or eliminates annual memberships. Great way to start you Florida golfing evaluation.
Seasonal allows you to purchase and pay for only the time you are here. About as rare as an honest politician.It can be for a specific window such as January through March. Some clubs or memberships allow you to purchase a set number of rounds which have no specific begin and end date, except expiring at the end of the calendar year. Again most if not all of the rounds are played from January through March/April.
Summer memberships run May 1st through October 30 and are offered by many of the top private clubs. A very inexpensive way to sample the local courses prior to committing. Try to get information and and feedback from previous members regarding ease of making tee times and course availability as regular members may be given preference. Remember not all memberships are equal.
And finally there are unrelated memberships with golf benefits. A good example is an annual membership at the Palm Beach Yacht Club which also has reciprocity with top local courses for cart fee's only, again May 1st through October 31st
So once you have some idea of where in Florida you might want to be and what type(s) of membership might work, it might be a good idea to know which Clubs/Communities offer which. For that we will see you on the flip side.
Until Then: Swing Hard in Case You Hit IT and Keep It in the Short Stuff!