You’ve come a long way to leave so much to chance.
If you’re fortunate enough to shop around in Florida for a club to join, then a heady congratulations to you! You’ve worked hard and deserve to find a club that perfectly matches your lifestyle. Question is, how? Finding the right golf or country club that matches your taste in golf, social activities, accessibility—it isn’t easy and people often get overwhelmed and make a rash, sometimes costly, decision they soon regret. Golf Life Navigators (GLN) knows this problem well (it’s why the company was formed) and specializes in helping people find clubs that match their particular lifestyles. We reached out to Jason Becker, company founder and president (who’s also a PGA golf professional) and asked him what he thinks are five common mistakes people face when choosing the right club—and how to avoid them.
1. Doing the wrong kind of research.
“We see this one a lot at GLN. It’s not that our clients are uninformed—they usually know the basics about a variety of clubs in the area before they seek our services. But what they know is generally superficial—the type of information they have is commonplace on websites and brochures. Instead, what you should do is read between the lines. For instance, when visiting a club it’s good to pay attention to your surroundings. You can tell a lot about a club’s financial wherewithal by looking at how well the entry gate and outdoor areas are landscaped and maintained. If they look nice and water is flowing in the fountains—that’s a likely sign the company’s financial health is in good shape.”
2. Not talking to members.
“It’s easy to ask membership directors and club staff questions—it’s even easier for them to respond with answers they already prepared. Prospective members are better off asking members they have a chance to play golf with, see in the locker rooms or in the dining areas. It’s perfectly acceptable to politely ask them if they’re happy with their membership, what do they like, dislike, etc. In our experiences, most members at various clubs have no problem (often no restraints either) telling us how they feel.”
3. Judging the golf course first, social life second.
“It’s easy to be swayed by the gorgeous golf courses we have throughout the state, many designed by renowned architects and/or are ranked among the best courses in the country. And while a great track to play is important, the social aspects ought never been overlooked. After all, what good is a great course if you aren’t having any fun before you play, during your round and after you’re finished? We recommend seeking as much information on social activities, events and the membership culture. Ask if you can attend or visit some events, too.”
4. Not checking the rules and policies.
“Don’t be afraid to ask what kind of policies and rules a club has. For instance, does the club participate in reciprocal play with other clubs in the area? What are the guest fees and rules? Is there a cap on how many rounds you can play in a month? Is the pool open on weekends? Some clubs have rules members only come to realize after then joined the club. There are never too many questions to ask pertaining to a membership contract—it’s alarming for us to see how few people ask these types of questions prior to joining a club.”
5. Ignoring the local community.
“Not every prospective club member is going to live nearby or in an associated community. Some are seasonal residents, others seek homes off-property. That said, it’s still important to pay attention to what’s going on in the local community. For example, if there are several homes for sale in the development, that could be a good sign or an indication that things aren’t going well in the area. You’ll only know for sure if you inquire within.”
Curious to learn more? Golf Life Navigators offers its hassle-free golf club matchmaking services free of charge for anyone relocating to/or from within the Sunshine State. Visit golflifenavigators.com or call (888) 282-4099 to schedule a free consultation.