Is joining a country club a character flaw?

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Cruise
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Cruise » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:10 am

scienceguy wrote:I am intrigued by the idea of joining our fancy local country club even though I don't play golf or tennis. I like the idea of having someplace really close that I can go and get dinner, go to the pool, hang out in sort of luxury, and bump into friends and socialize without having to pre-plan.
...
I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people. But I do like to hang out.


Joining a country club would not demonstrate a character flaw in you, but you may find character flaws in some of the members (just like anywhere else in life).

For more than a decade, I was a member of a golf-focused country club. I left when I was no longer able to golf regularly, and because the club was not located close enough to me that social functions were easily enjoyed. My wife and I made friends there, some who have continued despite us no longer being part of their daily routine at the club.

If you enjoy people (and vice-versa) and live close enough where you can hang out regularly, you are bound to meet like-minded folks who might become your friends. In any event, the staff will treat you like a king :)

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stemikger
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by stemikger » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:25 am

scienceguy wrote:I am intrigued by the idea of joining our fancy local country club even though I don't play golf or tennis. I like the idea of having someplace really close that I can go and get dinner, go to the pool, hang out in sort of luxury, and bump into friends and socialize without having to pre-plan. I think I will not because I think I don't quite have enough income to justify the stupidity of the expense, but if my income went up a $50-100K a year (which could happen), I think I would do it.

I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people. But I do like to hang out.

What is the matter with me?


I will not judge you, but I'm the total opposite, which also may be a character flaw on my end. I have one friend, well ex-friend that belongs to one and he took me there on a few occasions. It was pretty disgusting to me. I felt like I was watching a bunch of peacocks preening their feathers and looking to network for business reasons. No one there seemed genuine to me. I couldn't wait to leave.

It kind of reminds me of high school all over again.

I'd probably rather do anything else with my extra time then go there. Am I jealous no, I just find it sad how some people never go beyond status and grow as people. One of the reasons I'm so enamored with John Bogle and Warren Buffett is because with all their money and intellect, they could be the biggest Peacocks in the room, but their inner score card is more important to them.
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bottlecap
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:19 am

Not a character flaw, but hard to justify the expense unless you really use it a lot or it helps you business-wise.

If the they have a social membership, the price is right, and you think you will use it, then it's your prerogative. You sound pretty busy, though.

Make sure you like the martinis first.

JT

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Watty
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Watty » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:04 am

The people that I know that have been members of a country club seem to drink a lot more than I feel comfortable with.

When looking at them try to get a feel about how much of the social life is centered around alcohol since might vary a lot by club. It might not be common for people to get falling down drunk at them but if you are going out basically drinking for the evening or day several times a week that can easily lead to alcoholism.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by mouses » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:32 am

scienceguy wrote:
I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people.


In my experience, most rich people are neither nice or smart. If they are self-made financially, they know a lot about that business and little about anything else, nor to they care about how their business impacts the community around it. (Developers who build on environmentally sensitive areas, managers who pay wages so low employees qualify for food stamps, etc.)

You have to find New England old money, the kind of people who "have their clothes instead of buying them," if you want nice and smart along with rich.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:06 am

stemikger wrote: . . . . . . . .
It kind of reminds me of high school all over again. Good one. I would not want to go back. Cliques.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
One of the reasons I'm so enamored with John Bogle and Warren Buffett is because with all their money and intellect, they could be (amongst) the biggest Peacocks in the room, but their inner score card is more important to them.
Good point. thanks. :happy
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cantos
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by cantos » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:35 am

scienceguy wrote:
knpstr wrote:lonely?

Nope. Hugely busy with big boisterous young family and job.
In fact, probably too busy to use a country club very much....
I just like it when someone brings me a good vodka martini in comfortable leather chairs.


Read: Needs some "Me-time". 8-)

SleepKing
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by SleepKing » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:58 am

Let's attempt to analyze this with estimated costs I've looked at and assembled. Say, we are debating about joining a CC vs. installing your own pool for enjoyment and are otherwise on a financially responsible track and thus can afford either option. There are no nice, public, outdoor facilities within a reasonable drive from us. So decision is build own pool vs. join local CC. Which one seems more appropriate for a Boglehead?

Pool Costs
Installation
Inground, concrete pour (37,000 gallons or about 22'x44') with accompanying patio: $50,000 one time cost
Necessary patio furniture, etc..: $1500 one time cost
Total upfront install and furnishing costs: $51,500

Recurring Pool maintenance and costs (wife and I want nothing to do with maintenance other than skimming top)
Maintenance (service providing @ $400 per month x 5 months operating): $2,000 per year
Pool open/closing costs ($300 per episode x 2): $600 per year
Extra insurance: $75 per year
Extra electric costs ($40 per months x 5months operating): $200 per year
Extra gas heating to 78F (per US Dept Energy for 1,000 sq. ft. pool in NY climate from May 1 -Sept 30): $1448 per year
Yearly maintenance budget (things breaking/upkeep/paint, etc..): $400
Yearly costs to maintain pool: $4723

Country Club Costs (local club membership packet used for data)
Family Initiation (one time cost): $5,000

Yearly "Dues" (includes pool, tennis, clubhouse, social events, etc: $4,536 (no assessments levied since 1991, so I did not estimate for this possibility)

Cart Fees (12 rounds @ $43/round): $516
Yearly locker fee: $140
Golf service charges (range, scorekeeping, etc.): $215
Extra lessons, programs, etc...: $300
Additional Golf associated costs: $1171 per year

Costs to bring guests for things: $250 per year

Club food and drink minimum: $800 per year
Extra yearly food budget I'd allow ourselves: $400 per year
'Club Service Charge' $492 per year
Yearly food and drink costs: $1692

Total yearly Estimate of CC Charges: $7649


I break it down like this:
One Time Pool install and furnishing cost: $51,500
One time CC Initiation: $5,000
One time costs are ($51,500-$5,000) $46,500 in favor of CC, but those need to get balanced against the higher recurring expenses.

Yearly Costs of Maintaining Pool: $4723
Yearly Costs of 'Public Golf' i would do anyways: $860
Yearly Costs for Pool and Golf: $5,583

Yearly Costs of CC Membership and all activities: $7,649

The extra yearly costs for CC would be ($7,649-5,583) $2,066 more

Is it right to think that by saving ($51,500-5,000) $46,500 by not building our own pool, we could use that money towards:
*$46,500 could pay for 6 year of total CC membership expenses
*$46,500 could pay for 22 years of the $2,066 extra costs we'd incur by joining CC vs. up-keeping our own pool and using public golf facilities

Which analysis is more appropriate?

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by SouthernCPA » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:05 am

We've got a pretty active social life and we're members of a tennis oriented country club because my wife is on two tennis leagues. The cost is reasonable for access to tennis courts, pool, private boat launch, clubhouse, etc. I hardly go up there, but she plays tennis there a lot with her girlfriends and they really enjoy it. If you're in a line of work that requires entertaining clients, it may be nice to have a place other than a restaurant or bar to bring them. My wife being involved in tennis leagues has been great for us getting to know other folks and ultimately new clients for my practice - although thats not primarily why we joined.

I've contemplated joining the local yacht club here so I can pull my boat up and have some drinks in the summer, but every time I go, it seems like a bunch of arrogant elderly folks that look down on non-sailors (I have a fishing boat). Not worth it, from what I can tell.

Down here in Mardi Gras country, the country clubs don't hold a candle to the royal courts of the mardi gras krewes as far as spending to impress goes. We go to a few mardi gras balls a year, but no way would I ever fork out the money to be on the court. It's outrageous.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by nova1968 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:30 am

I believe country clubs are more appropriate for retirees who have plenty of time on their hands or wealthy people who can pay the monthly membership fees and it does not matter if they use it or not. Social benefits are more likely to occur if you are engaged in some type of activity (Golf, Tennis) versus laying out by the pool or going out to dinner. My parents joined a country club when my dad retired and they certainly got some good use out it. My dad played golf 5 days a week. It was a good place to entertain, have a wedding reception, or go to brunch on a Sunday Morning. I also met some very prominent people in the community. The average age range appeared to be 60s and 70s.

tim1999
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by tim1999 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:43 am

SleepKing wrote:Let's attempt to analyze this with estimated costs I've looked at and assembled. Say, we are debating about joining a CC vs. installing your own pool for enjoyment and are otherwise on a financially responsible track and thus can afford either option. There are no nice, public, outdoor facilities within a reasonable drive from us. So decision is build own pool vs. join local CC. Which one seems more appropriate for a Boglehead?


I think in your comparioson you need to leave the golf out of it. Private golf over public golf will almost never justify itself on a cost basis unless you are doing something wild like playing 200+ rounds per year. Private golf is about the experience (good pace of play, no riff-raff, course not crowded, ability to easily find a group of players you are compatible with) and course conditions. You either want that and pay for it or you don't. I would think for your comparison you should be looking at a membership without golf privledges. And in your food comparison costs you should look at what you would spend at a typical public restaurant on the "build a pool" side. I don't think I've ever met a member of any club I've belonged to that didn't used to spend amount at public restaurants per year that was similar to the club's annual food minimum. Once you join the club you will likely find yourself going to public restaurants much less often. Clubs tend to not attract people who brown bag it for lunch and eat all of their dinners cooked at home everry day of the year.

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dm200
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:48 am

Many such clubs have a history of severe bias, based on race, religion, ethnic background, sex (gender), etc. Some clubs have (often facing severe challenges) have been formed to serve those groups excluded from the more powerful member clubs. [One of those, in the Washington DC area, has been in the national news recently]. Some religious based clubs have been very strong (at least over a long history) in excluding women and/or those of certain races or ethnicities.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by tim1999 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:49 am

Watty wrote:The people that I know that have been members of a country club seem to drink a lot more than I feel comfortable with.

When looking at them try to get a feel about how much of the social life is centered around alcohol since might vary a lot by club. It might not be common for people to get falling down drunk at them but if you are going out basically drinking for the evening or day several times a week that can easily lead to alcoholism.


Every club is going to have a small minority of folks who spend all afternoon drinking beer after their round of golf. At most clubs you will find that the membership does not consist mostly of alcoholics. Some people like to have a glass or two of fine wine with their dinner; this does not make them alcoholics. If you don't want to hang out with the people that drink beer all afternoon after golf, nobody would force you to sit with them. I have been involved in numerous clubs and all have pretty serious rules and consequences for people who get "falling down drunk".

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by tim1999 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:58 am

dm200 wrote:Many such clubs have a history of severe bias, based on race, religion, ethnic background, sex (gender), etc. .


Beyond a small group of the most exclusive clubs in the country, this has largely gone away. There used to be several clubs in my area that you were either not allowed to join or were strongly persuaded against joining if you were not Jewish. Now they are open to everyone, although the makeup of the memeberships are still predominantly Jewish. And these clubs were only formed because in the early 1900s, Jewish folks were excluded from clubs by those of other religions. All this being said, these clubs are private, and if they are member-owned, they generally have the right to exclude you if you showed up to the interview wearing a shirt color they didn't like. Though once again, the vast majority of clubs are needing members post-2008 and they just want decent human beings whose checks don't bounce, whether they are white, black, pink, purple, athiests, catholics, whatever.

I would judge a club on the actions and policies of its current leadership, not what some dead biased members believed in the 1950s.

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dm200
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:04 pm

For better or worse (depending on your views), many private clubs are exempt from many laws and rules that apply to commercial establishments.

I am a nonsmoker and am thrilled that, depending on jurisdiction, almost all restaurants, hotels, motels have gone "smoke free". I recently attended a meeting with 3 or 4 others about a charitable/financial initiative that they are starting and I am offering some information/advice. This informal meeting was held in a club (religious based membership) bar/restaurant where several of them were members. The place was "smoke filled" - just like bars used to be, as well as some restaurants. The local and state smoking restrictions did not apply there and (apparently) their membership still wants no restrictions at all on smoking. Add that to the list of why I would not joint that organization. [I am eligible since my religious affiliation is the religious affiliation that this organization only serves]

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StormShadow
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by StormShadow » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:06 pm

scienceguy wrote:I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people.

SMH. I wouldn't join a country club just to keep up with the Joneses. I doubt most members of the club do so for that reason too.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by RoadHouseFan » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:07 pm

Would consider becoming a member of Augusta National Golf Club.

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dm200
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:11 pm

tim1999 wrote:
dm200 wrote:Many such clubs have a history of severe bias, based on race, religion, ethnic background, sex (gender), etc. .

Beyond a small group of the most exclusive clubs in the country, this has largely gone away. There used to be several clubs in my area that you were either not allowed to join or were strongly persuaded against joining if you were not Jewish. Now they are open to everyone, although the makeup of the memeberships are still predominantly Jewish. And these clubs were only formed because in the early 1900s, Jewish folks were excluded from clubs by those of other religions. All this being said, these clubs are private, and if they are member-owned, they generally have the right to exclude you if you showed up to the interview wearing a shirt color they didn't like. Though once again, the vast majority of clubs are needing members post-2008 and they just want decent human beings whose checks don't bounce, whether they are white, black, pink, purple, athiests, catholics, whatever.
I would judge a club on the actions and policies of its current leadership, not what some dead biased members believed in the 1950s.


Yes - this is good news indeed. For the most part, we should not base decisions on the past history where such practices/policies are now disavowed AND completely gone from the entities. Almost all of us, I believe, have affiliations that had practices that we are not proud of.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by surfstar » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:16 pm

stemikger wrote:
scienceguy wrote:I am intrigued by the idea of joining our fancy local country club even though I don't play golf or tennis. I like the idea of having someplace really close that I can go and get dinner, go to the pool, hang out in sort of luxury, and bump into friends and socialize without having to pre-plan. I think I will not because I think I don't quite have enough income to justify the stupidity of the expense, but if my income went up a $50-100K a year (which could happen), I think I would do it.

I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people. But I do like to hang out.

What is the matter with me?


I will not judge you, but I'm the total opposite, which also may be a character flaw on my end. I have one friend, well ex-friend that belongs to one and he took me there on a few occasions. It was pretty disgusting to me. I felt like I was watching a bunch of peacocks preening their feathers and looking to network for business reasons. No one there seemed genuine to me. I couldn't wait to leave.

It kind of reminds me of high school all over again.


and when your kids grow up in a country club setting, it sets the stage for their life's expectations.
I'm reminded of all the cliche 80s movies

The Wizard wrote:What's the point of being rich if you can't live it up?


:oops:

Must be a rich person thing. Lets pay money to hang out with other people like us.

eww - the thought of it is repulsive to me. Guess its just not our "thing". To each their own. Enjoy.
(So I guess that answers the OP's question - Yes, I see it as a character flaw, or actually, in response to one)

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:20 pm

stemikger wrote:
scienceguy wrote:I am intrigued by the idea of joining our fancy local country club even though I don't play golf or tennis. I like the idea of having someplace really close that I can go and get dinner, go to the pool, hang out in sort of luxury, and bump into friends and socialize without having to pre-plan. I think I will not because I think I don't quite have enough income to justify the stupidity of the expense, but if my income went up a $50-100K a year (which could happen), I think I would do it.

I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people. But I do like to hang out.

What is the matter with me?


I will not judge you, but I'm the total opposite, which also may be a character flaw on my end. I have one friend, well ex-friend that belongs to one and he took me there on a few occasions. It was pretty disgusting to me. I felt like I was watching a bunch of peacocks preening their feathers and looking to network for business reasons. No one there seemed genuine to me. I couldn't wait to leave.

It kind of reminds me of high school all over again.

I'd probably rather do anything else with my extra time then go there. Am I jealous no, I just find it sad how some people never go beyond status and grow as people. One of the reasons I'm so enamored with John Bogle and Warren Buffett is because with all their money and intellect, they could be the biggest Peacocks in the room, but their inner score card is more important to them.


+1 - Totally with you here. The few folks I know who belong to these clubs do it as if to say "I've arrived". :oops:
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:22 pm

SleepKing wrote:
Recurring Pool maintenance and costs (wife and I want nothing to do with maintenance other than skimming top)
Maintenance (service providing @ $400 per month x 5 months operating): $2,000 per year
Pool open/closing costs ($300 per episode x 2): $600 per year
Extra insurance: $75 per year
Extra electric costs ($40 per months x 5months operating): $200 per year
Extra gas heating to 78F (per US Dept Energy for 1,000 sq. ft. pool in NY climate from May 1 -Sept 30): $1448 per year
Yearly maintenance budget (things breaking/upkeep/paint, etc..): $400
Yearly costs to maintain pool: $4723



:shock:

I've never spent more than $750 in a year on my pool, even including electric and insurance. Chemicals are $20 a month and I've had a $100-200 repair (usually degraded plastic parts) every year. I don't have to heat or close the pool though.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:34 pm

RoadHouseFan wrote:Would consider becoming a member of Augusta National Golf Club.


I cannot relate the whole story (without violating the rules here), but at the local county rec center I frequent almost every day, one of the regulars there was relating his experience of having been able to be at Augusta National on a recent trip. He must have known a member there to even get through the door. His experience (as he told the story) seemed to him and those of us hearing it - almost as though we were going back 60 or more years in time. Even if I had the position and money, I would find the situation "uncomfortable".

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Ervin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:41 pm

I don't own a pool, but I have never seen such high pool maintenance numbers. I think the OP is wrong.

I would rather invest in my own house than waste thousands/year on a CC membership, or anything recurring. Especially since it has a high chance of going unused, like gym memberships etc.

To be honest, nobody needs a pool in NY climate; it's a waste. Find something else to do. Build a tennis court.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by DetroitRick » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:50 pm

Not a flaw, just a social choice. If it meets your needs, and the money is reasonable for you, there is nothing wrong with it.

I'm no expert on this, but I've noticed one group of associates over the years for whom joining a local club was a HUGE plus. These were mid-level execs in smaller communities. It gave them access to new friends across a wider swath of geography then they otherwise had time to cultivate, and it gave them an entertaining venue that was convenient and nicer than some local alternatives.

Ultimately, this is a social endeavor. The key for you will be simple - do you like many of your fellow members, do you like the amenities, is it a convenient and enjoyable venue for you, and does it offer you something not easily obtainable elsewhere? Ignore the stereotypes here - just mind the details. Enjoy. :sharebeer

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Abe » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:28 pm

Where I live there is a country club near by. I had a friend who was a member and occasionally I was invited, but it just wasn't my thing. Seemed like a bunch of folks trying to impress each other. My friend was flying high for a long time, expensive cars, vacations, country club membership. I didn't know how he did it until I found out he didn't pay anyone. It finally caught up with him and he lost everything and had to move into a mobile home which he didn't even own. One day someone broke into his mobile home and cleaned him out. He came to me literally crying and told me he didn't even have the money to fix the door to his mobile home that the thieves destroyed. I let him have the money to fix his door. I felt sorry for him, but at the same time, I knew that all his problems could have been avoided. He had this malady called instant gratification. I guess it's okay to join a country club if you can afford it as long as you don't get into the keeping up with the Joneses trap.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by mouses » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:30 pm

dm200 wrote:
RoadHouseFan wrote:Would consider becoming a member of Augusta National Golf Club.


I cannot relate the whole story (without violating the rules here), but at the local county rec center I frequent almost every day, one of the regulars there was relating his experience of having been able to be at Augusta National on a recent trip. He must have known a member there to even get through the door. His experience (as he told the story) seemed to him and those of us hearing it - almost as though we were going back 60 or more years in time. Even if I had the position and money, I would find the situation "uncomfortable".


They've allowed women members starting about five years ago, after fighting to the last ditch against it. They used to only allow caddies who were Black. Not a place I would go willingly.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by SouthernCPA » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:18 pm

surfstar wrote:and when your kids grow up in a country club setting, it sets the stage for their life's expectations.
I'm reminded of all the cliche 80s movies



I've actually found that many of the kids I knew who grew up in social settings like this end up having very strong networks later in life that provide great value in their careers. I'm not saying there are not some snotty kids, but that's more likely due to them having snotty parents.

surfstar wrote: :oops:

Must be a rich person thing. Lets pay money to hang out with other people like us.

eww - the thought of it is repulsive to me. Guess its just not our "thing". To each their own. Enjoy.
(So I guess that answers the OP's question - Yes, I see it as a character flaw, or actually, in response to one)



We're not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we're members of a tennis focused CC. My wife is on two leagues and its been a great way for her to get to know others outside of our work/church/volunteer activities. We've gotten to know many other young professionals at our CC and most of this was based around playing tennis at the club. I don't see a downside to meeting folks we wouldn't have otherwise met and expanding our network while playing a sport that we enjoy. :confused

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by kjvmartin » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:31 pm

scienceguy wrote:I am intrigued by the idea of joining our fancy local country club even though I don't play golf or tennis. I like the idea of having someplace really close that I can go and get dinner, go to the pool, hang out in sort of luxury, and bump into friends and socialize without having to pre-plan. I think I will not because I think I don't quite have enough income to justify the stupidity of the expense, but if my income went up a $50-100K a year (which could happen), I think I would do it.

I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people. But I do like to hang out.

What is the matter with me?


Our church has regular dinners, fellowships, lunches, and events. We rarely (if ever) have to pre-plan any kind of socialization, it keeps us quite busy! They even have golf, tennis, and softball leagues etc. Alas, there is no pool. Just a thought

:happy

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by leonard » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:36 pm

scienceguy wrote:I am intrigued by the idea of joining our fancy local country club even though I don't play golf or tennis. I like the idea of having someplace really close that I can go and get dinner, go to the pool, hang out in sort of luxury, and bump into friends and socialize without having to pre-plan. I think I will not because I think I don't quite have enough income to justify the stupidity of the expense, but if my income went up a $50-100K a year (which could happen), I think I would do it.

I think this is a character flaw, especially since I have no particular affinity for rich people, just nice smart people. But I do like to hang out.

What is the matter with me?


Latte at your local starbucks/coffee shop is a lot cheaper.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

blu9535
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by blu9535 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:02 pm

Who actually owns all these country clubs? Is it usually one of the local members?

Would be interesting to see an income statement for one of these places. Seems like the owners would make a good profit from all of these 100k initiation fees and huge monthly fees being described in this thread.

Let's say a small club has 300 members paying $300 per month each. That's $1,080,000 in annual dues, plus who knows how much additional revenue from initiation fees if there are any, event fees, food and beverage sales, golf fees, whatever else. That's a whole lot of money for what I assume is a fairly small payroll. I'm sure the golf courses take a lot of money to maintain, but even so, I can't quite tell where all the money is going.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:09 pm

flyingbison wrote:“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”


I solved this paradox by joining a dozen clubs and having them to compete for my attention.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by tim1999 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:30 pm

blu9535 wrote:Who actually owns all these country clubs? Is it usually one of the local members?

Most country/golf clubs are either member-owned (referred to as "equity" clubs, even though not all membership types may get you equity), or are owned by a corporate entity (considered "non-equity" clubs). Typically at a member-owned club, a board of directors consisting of elected members makes the decisions. Any shortfall in income vs. expenses will typically be borne by the membership in form of an "assessment" or extra charge on your bill that you are notified of in advance. In a non-equity club, the members are usually not subject to assessments from the ownership, but the owners will me making all the decisions, with member input usually limited to an "advisory board" type of setup.

blu9535 wrote:Would be interesting to see an income statement for one of these places. Seems like the owners would make a good profit from all of these 100k initiation fees and huge monthly fees being described in this thread.


Many member-owned clubs are tax exempt and you can find their Form 990 tax returns on the internet. In the current environment, not many clubs are seeing huge profits outside of the most elite ones. Big investor companies like ClubCorp can realize economies of scale on labor and purchasing and have a better chance at profit. The number of clubs getting 100k+ initiation fees in the USA these days I'm guessing is under 50. Many clubs have cut these fees down in recent years to grow membership. The 2008 market bloodbath and aftermath crushed membership levels at low and mid-tier clubs.
blu9535 wrote:Let's say a small club has 300 members paying $300 per month each. That's $1,080,000 in annual dues, plus who knows how much additional revenue from initiation fees if there are any, event fees, food and beverage sales, golf fees, whatever else. That's a whole lot of money for what I assume is a fairly small payroll. I'm sure the golf courses take a lot of money to maintain, but even so, I can't quite tell where all the money is going.


Golf course maintenance is very expensive if the course is to be in excellent condition at all times. Chemicals and pesticides are expensive. Depending on the course and area, it's probably at least $700k/yr. to maintain a private 18 hole golf course. Much more in HCOL areas. You are going to be paying a general manager and a course superindendent at least $75k/yr, each, in a HCOL area these folks are paid $150k/yr. plus, sometimes well over $200k. You need a golf pro and a head chef. You have to maintain the grounds other than the course, maintain the pool and clubhouse. The club down the road from here pays $100k in annual property taxes. Insurance cost. Employee benefits. God forbid there is a mortgage on the property, which there usually is. Member dining at most clubs loses money, but can be offset by doing banquets/private parties which usually make money. You need more members or higher fees, or unless this club is in the middle of nowhere and labor is dirt cheap, it's going bust.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by bluebolt » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:01 pm

Growing up, there were a few country clubs near me - one was for old-money wasps, one for the newly-rich white non-Jews and one that was Jewish. I found it so off-putting that they all would only accept members like themselves that I don't think I could ever see myself joining one. In adulthood, I volunteer a lot, and find that I would much rather spend time with people who prioritize giving back over schmoozing with other rich people.

To each his own.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:18 pm

Well this all very interesting.

My family belonged to what was really a yacht club when I was growing up, my husband's family belonged to a typical country club. Neither of our fathers paid for their memberships, their companies did, which was more common back then. I wouldn't personally pay for a membership for our family but I loved running around "the club" when I was a kid, I learned to play tennis and squash, became a lifeguard, and eventually got married out on the back lawn. My husband's family used their country club as middle school daycare and dropped him off on summer mornings and picked him up after work.

I do have to say I'm surprised by some of the nasty things people have to say about people who join country clubs.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by surfstar » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:27 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:Well this all very interesting.

My family belonged to what was really a yacht club when I was growing up, my husband's family belonged to a typical country club. Neither of our fathers paid for their memberships, their companies did, which was more common back then. I wouldn't personally pay for a membership for our family but I loved running around "the club" when I was a kid, I learned to play tennis and squash, became a lifeguard, and eventually got married out on the back lawn. My husband's family used their country club as middle school daycare and dropped him off on summer mornings and picked him up after work.

I do have to say I'm surprised by some of the nasty things people have to say about people who join country clubs.


Nothing against you or your family, personally, but you just described the 1% lifestyle. The average American cannot relate.
An average Boglehead, could afford to relate, but some still choose not to do so.
Again, I assume that you and your family are nice, friendly people, I have no reason to not; but the Country Club Lifestyle is not something familiar to most people.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Isabelle77 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:41 pm

surfstar wrote:
Isabelle77 wrote:Well this all very interesting.

My family belonged to what was really a yacht club when I was growing up, my husband's family belonged to a typical country club. Neither of our fathers paid for their memberships, their companies did, which was more common back then. I wouldn't personally pay for a membership for our family but I loved running around "the club" when I was a kid, I learned to play tennis and squash, became a lifeguard, and eventually got married out on the back lawn. My husband's family used their country club as middle school daycare and dropped him off on summer mornings and picked him up after work.

I do have to say I'm surprised by some of the nasty things people have to say about people who join country clubs.


Nothing against you or your family, personally, but you just described the 1% lifestyle. The average American cannot relate.
An average Boglehead, could afford to relate, but some still choose not to do so.
Again, I assume that you and your family are nice, friendly people, I have no reason to not; but the Country Club Lifestyle is not something familiar to most people.


Absolutely and my parents are the very definition of self-made bogleheads, my husband and I are still working on it :) I doubt my family would have joined any club had it not been paid for by my dad's company. At the same time there is a feeling on this thread that people who belong to country clubs sit around smoking pipes, drinking bourbon, and being racist a-holes. That just has never been my experience. There are plenty of threads on this site about buying outrageously priced cars and watches neither of which make you a jerk, but pay the same amount of money to eat where you golf every week and it somehow does?

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Gill » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:55 pm

I've belonged to a number of country clubs and city clubs over the years, and never seen such negativity about them as there has been in these posts. My current country club, a very desirable Florida club, is on a major membership drive to add 100 golf members over the next five years. This thread makes me less than optimistic about realizing that goal.
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Cruise » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:04 pm

Isabelle77 wrote:I do have to say I'm surprised by some of the nasty things people have to say about people who join country clubs.


I'm a relatively new member of these fora, and am not surprised by the nastiness. While the majority here seem quite helpful and informed, there is a small, but unfortunate minority who express an undercurrent of class warfare against the wealthy and spending money on exclusive goods.

Just ignore and live your life as you please.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by SouthernCPA » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:05 pm

blu9535 wrote:Who actually owns all these country clubs? Is it usually one of the local members?

Would be interesting to see an income statement for one of these places. Seems like the owners would make a good profit from all of these 100k initiation fees and huge monthly fees being described in this thread.

Let's say a small club has 300 members paying $300 per month each. That's $1,080,000 in annual dues, plus who knows how much additional revenue from initiation fees if there are any, event fees, food and beverage sales, golf fees, whatever else. That's a whole lot of money for what I assume is a fairly small payroll. I'm sure the golf courses take a lot of money to maintain, but even so, I can't quite tell where all the money is going.


I've done the 990s for a few in my area. I can tell you, they are NOT cash cows. The membership numbers are drying up, while the fixed expenses are staying the same or growing - especially when a Golf Course is owned by the club.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Gill » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:21 pm

blu9535 wrote:Who actually owns all these country clubs? Is it usually one of the local members?

Would be interesting to see an income statement for one of these places. Seems like the owners would make a good profit from all of these 100k initiation fees and huge monthly fees being described in this thread.

Let's say a small club has 300 members paying $300 per month each. That's $1,080,000 in annual dues, plus who knows how much additional revenue from initiation fees if there are any, event fees, food and beverage sales, golf fees, whatever else. That's a whole lot of money for what I assume is a fairly small payroll. I'm sure the golf courses take a lot of money to maintain, but even so, I can't quite tell where all the money is going.

Most of the better clubs are owned by the equity members. Believe me, there's no profit in most clubs and they are all struggling. In my area it takes about a million a year just to maintain the golf course.
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:39 pm

I personally will join a country club right after I buy a timeshare.

(don't think it is a character flaw; different people have different priorities and desires and who am I to judge their character based on this?)

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Atilla » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:57 pm

One great advantage of joining anything private is it keeps out the riff raff. And you get to know a regular group of people outside work and your normal social circle.
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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:38 pm

Atilla wrote:One great advantage of joining anything private is it keeps out the riff raff. And you get to know a regular group of people outside work and your normal social circle.


Riff and Raff also want social mobility.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by MI_bogle » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:39 pm

Cruise wrote:
Isabelle77 wrote:I do have to say I'm surprised by some of the nasty things people have to say about people who join country clubs.


I'm a relatively new member of these fora, and am not surprised by the nastiness. While the majority here seem quite helpful and informed, there is a small, but unfortunate minority who express an undercurrent of class warfare against the wealthy and spending money on exclusive goods.

Just ignore and live your life as you please.


Why are you surprised that nasty things are being said about clubs that are by definition exclusive, and have a long history of being sexist and racist? Sure, some of this is changing, but it should be no surprise that the majority of people might have a poor connotation about country clubs

To the OP, your character is YOURS. If you enjoy the benefits of a particular club, go for it. Make sure it aligns with your values and that it's worth it. It sounds from your posts that you dont think you have the time or income for it... but if you want someone to bring you a drink whilst seated in a comfy chairs, you don't have to join a country club

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:07 pm

Our social member dues were $60/month, and towards the end of our membership the minimum spend was $0. Never paid initiation fees either time.

The past two summers you could get a summer social membership for $35/month, no minimum spend. One of my daughters has been a member for a couple of summers under that fee. Hmmm, maybe it's time for mom and dad to run up her tab for a change! :D

The country club itself is having severe financial problems, the membership is very old, or very young. If you increase liquor 25 cents a drink, the older members are POed. The younger members are basically enjoying the pool and the drink and grill offerings around the pool. Very few golf.

The club recently hired a management company. The facilities are drab, lots of delayed maintenance that will bite the club sooner or later. I haven't seen any improvements yet.

Up the road a few miles there are a couple of much nicer clubs, new and shiny, and perhaps more important, chock full of middle-aged members, in their prime earning years.

Lots of planned communities offer tennis courts, pools, gyms, clubhouses for rental, etc. Only thing missing is golf course and food/drink service. I'm sure the amenities offered in these communities contribute to the decline of some of the older country clubs.

So, it isn't likely that most country clubs are rolling in the dough.

Country clubs are not necessarily bastions for one class to avoid another class, any longer. The declines in some memberships have seen that distinction fade away, if that was the desire of those joining. Some pubic courses have better facilities, and just as cold beer at the turn.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by Billionaire » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:30 pm

This has been a interesting thread. It got me thinking, that I prefer to hang around musicians (any level) than almost any other type of person. Then I starting thinking "is being a musician a character flaw?". Why is it that I sit alone in a room memorizing chord progressions and song lyrics for the sole purpose of impressing somebody at a performance or house party.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by clip651 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:34 pm

Billionaire wrote:This has been a interesting thread. It got me thinking, that I prefer to hang around musicians (any level) than almost any other type of person. Then I starting thinking "is being a musician a character flaw?". Why is it that I sit alone in a room memorizing chord progressions and song lyrics for the sole purpose of impressing somebody at a performance or house party.


I hope you are kidding! Hopefully you are enjoying something about the music (the learning, the playing, the song itself). And hopefully some of your listeners are enjoying it too.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:17 pm

It could be a great way to network. I like the idea of a social membership. Some clubs have the best chef in town, nice pool, tennis courts, and nice bar. I can see the appeal.

I see no flaws on trying it out.

On the golf side, I've seen some members and even staff act like they "own" the club and treat other members poorly. I'm not a fan of the golf side.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by randomguy » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:42 pm

MI_bogle wrote:
Cruise wrote:
Isabelle77 wrote:I do have to say I'm surprised by some of the nasty things people have to say about people who join country clubs.


I'm a relatively new member of these fora, and am not surprised by the nastiness. While the majority here seem quite helpful and informed, there is a small, but unfortunate minority who express an undercurrent of class warfare against the wealthy and spending money on exclusive goods.

Just ignore and live your life as you please.


Why are you surprised that nasty things are being said about clubs that are by definition exclusive, and have a long history of being sexist and racist? Sure, some of this is changing, but it should be no surprise that the majority of people might have a poor connotation about country clubs

To the OP, your character is YOURS. If you enjoy the benefits of a particular club, go for it. Make sure it aligns with your values and that it's worth it. It sounds from your posts that you dont think you have the time or income for it... but if you want someone to bring you a drink whilst seated in a comfy chairs, you don't have to join a country club


That is like saying you have a poor opinion of the catholic, mormon, most protestant and pretty much every religion because of their long history of racism and sexism:) There are very,very things in life where you will have a good view of them if you look at the worst behavior of a small subset ove the last 100 years.

Very, very few country clubs are exclusive. Your image of the country club being some 100 year old club where the rich gather applies to a very small subset of clubs (i.e. the ones they show in the movies). Most of the private clubs aren't remotely exclusive (they will take anyone who write them a check.) and they have zero history of racism or sexism as they were built in the 80s+ around retirement/residential developments.

personally I can't imagine joining a place just to hear other peoples stories of woe on the golf course.

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Re: Is joining a country club a character flaw?

Post by mouses » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:16 am

Cruise wrote:I'm a relatively new member of these fora, and am not surprised by the nastiness. While the majority here seem quite helpful and informed, there is a small, but unfortunate minority who express an undercurrent of class warfare against the wealthy and spending money on exclusive goods.


Atilla wrote:One great advantage of joining anything private is it keeps out the riff raff


And there you have it, an explanation in the second quote for the first quote. As one of the riff raff, I form my opinion of the 1% by the way they have treated me.

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