A golf club is your ticket to finding a fun social outlet that allows you to play competitively and fairly with legitimate handicap indexes provided by associated regional golf associations like the SCGA. There are over 1200 public SoCal clubs with all different playing styles and endless benefits included (in fact you can read about 10 of them here). But what factors should you really consider before you decide what club to join? Here are 8 questions to ask to help you find the perfect club that’s right for you:
1. When do they play?
Do you only have free time on weekends, or can you sneak away during the week to get a few rounds in without your boss finding out? This could also go factor in the time of day. You might be one of those serious golfers who likes to play at the crack of dawn while others may just be happy to play any time of day for the social aspect. Figuring out your preference is critical to ensuring that you can actually go to events that a club offers to reduce any sort of FOMO.
2. How competitive are they?
A great thing about clubs is that there are plenty of competitive opportunities with some pretty cool prizes. Even if you’re a little intimated by competitions, you’ll be able to get a handicap index that will allow you to compete with anyone fairly. Some battle against other clubs while others have casual friendly outings. Whether you’re in it for the money or just want to play socially, there is a club that will fulfill any level of competitive desire.
3. What kind of events do they have?
Clubs are an excellent motivator in getting you to play more golf. However, you need to find out if the club outings are right for your game. Do they only play individual stroke tournaments or are there team games? Are competitions net or gross? Are they competing against other clubs or hosting beginner’s workshops? If they just hang out at the 19th hole all day, that might not be something you want to do all the time (or maybe you do, we don’t judge).
4. Will you joining drastically change the club’s average age?
For most golfers, playing with golfers that share other interests and lifestyles generally makes the round more enjoyable. On the other hand, maybe you want to branch out and meet some older or younger golfers to broaden your social circle. Whichever category you fall into, joining a golf club means becoming a part of a new community, so make sure it’s one you want to be a part of.
5. What’s their social clout?
Joining an exclusive private club isn’t the only way to make connections any more, although if you have the opportunity it certainly doesn’t hurt. Everyone knows that the golf course is a popular place to establish important business and personal relationship, and there are hundreds of public clubs in SoCal where you can do exactly that. Whether you’re need a group to help introduce you to the game and help you feel more comfortable on the course or looking to expand your network with golfers in your industry, joining a golf club is one of the easiest ways to meeting new people.
Speaking of getting social: don’t forget about the digital space. If you want to get to know more about a club before joining, make sure to do a little stalking on their Instagram to see what they’re all about. Make sure to take a peek at how many followers you have; you may just be on your way to becoming internet famous (if you’re into that sort of thing).
6. How far are you willing to drive?
Need a change of scenery and want to travel or are you tired of driving for your commute and want to stay local? The choice is yours. Some clubs limit themselves to a select number of facilities in the area while some travel all across Southern California. You can take this opportunity to cross courses off your golf bucket list or learn to master your local courses by playing them more often.
7. Are you too broke to play with them?
While some clubs do offer cash prizes during events, if you have to rely on a 1st place cash prize to help make up for your membership dues, then you should probably consider finding a different club. Luckily, there are plenty of clubs that you can join for a lower cost (like Westside Golf Collective above), so you don’t have to break the bank to join. However, if broke isn’t a part of your vocabulary, you might want to look for a private or more exclusive club that comes with a higher cost.
8. How often do I have to play?
Finally, a question with the same answer regardless of which club you join: as much as you want! Whether you want to find a weekly game, play in one tournament a month, or can only make out a few times a year, rest assured you’ll find fellow club members waiting to join you.
Every club has their own style and there is a club that fits any type of golfer out there. To make it even easier, we created the SCGA Club Finder to help you sort through filters like distance, price, skill-level, and more. If none of those clubs appeal to you, then you can even pioneer and start your own. There are so many great opportunities out there, so get out and find your golf community!