Among the benefits of being a PGA of America Golf Professional are the open relationships you develop with the club members where you’re employed. My membership was more than comfortable in sharing their opinions and views on typical club life, which I gladly accepted. Over the years, I have had many conversations with members about the dynamics of being a Residential golf member versus a Non-Residential golf member. It’s truly a mixed bag of thoughts, opinions and overall preferences. But at the end of the day, the choice will come down to you as the individual (or couple) and what best suits your lifestyle.

Below, you will learn a few of the pros and cons on this topic that I have discovered over the years. Perhaps these little nuggets will help in your decision whether to live inside or outside the gates of a golf club community.

Non-Resident Golf Memberships

The Pros for Non-Residential Golf Memberships

Cheaper Memberships

Often the HOAs can be higher when you live on a golf course, which makes your end-of-the-day price that much greater. Dues structures vary, so it’s always important to check with the membership director at a club to see the complete breakdown of membership pricing upfront. That way, you likely won’t be wondering later on about the decision you made.

Convenience Factors

Living outside the gate of a club could mean there are other important factors that might not work as well if you are living inside the club. For instance, if you find a club that offers exactly what you are looking for but is 20 miles from the airport or the beach or shopping, then maybe a home in between these amenities is the right one for you.

The Cons For Non-Resident Golf Memberships

Clubs offering Non-Resident Memberships

In Florida, especially in Southwest, Florida, Non-Resident memberships may be difficult to find. When the economy was in trouble in 2009-2010, many clubs were opening their gates to those who lived outside their community. But, as the economy has continued to strengthen, most of those clubs are beginning to limit the amount of non-resident memberships they allow. That’s primarily because the clubs are filling up their memberships!

A Sense of Togetherness

Having worked at many clubs, I have heard about this “sense of togetherness,” but I cannot personally comment on it. I will say, though, that being outside the club could make you feel a little “left out.” For example, the three other people in your typical foursome who live inside the community may get together more often than with those living outside the gate. They’re neighbors, so you can understand that. So it’s something you should consider.

Residential Golf Memberships

Pros For Residential Golf Memberships

Housing Prices

Living at a golf club that is financially stable can actually protect your assets and home value. As we saw in 2009-2010, the home prices around the country took a BIG drop. However, what we saw in Florida was that the homes within a financially stable club, didn’t take as big of a hit on their home prices as those outside of the gate.

Driving Home from the club

What I heard from one of my members along the way is that after you leave a function at the clubhouse, your home is right around the corner. This also can help after you have a few too many at the Member-Member Welcome Back Party, because, more than likely, your neighbor is at the party and is being a responsible, designated driver.

This probably should go in the “Cons” list

Sorry, but you will have to find another excuse as to why you were late to your 7:30 a.m. tee time. So, get ready when you ask the golf shop to squeeze you in somewhere on the course, because “the traffic was so bad on my way to the club” simply doesn’t work anymore.

Personal Golf Carts

When you are a residential member, there are some clubs that give you the option to use their golf carts and some that allow you to bring your own cart. This can make it cheaper for the membership by getting charged a “trail fee” for bringing your own cart instead of getting charged every time you go out.

Might be another that should go on the “Cons List”

You can keep all of your things and golf bag on the golf cart at all time. That’s a real positive. This could also be looked at as a “con” because you won’t be able to use the “I forgot my sunscreen at home” to your spouse when she (or he) notices you have a nice half moon sunburn on the back of your head from your club-logoed ball cap.

Only Need Once Vehicle

Having a personal golf cart also helps keep those miles off your car … heck, you can probably get away with only having one car. If you or your spouse are always playing golf, you won’t be taking up the car for four hours on the course and another two hours at the 19th hole!

Cons For Residential Golf Memberships

Membership Sold With Your Home

Now this may sound like a bonus, and depending on who is interested in your home, it very well may be. But, there are some golf clubs that attach the membership to the home (typically in a bundled golf community). So if the person (or couple) looking to purchase your home doesn’t have a Golf Certified Real Estate Agent who has gone through proper training from PGA Professionals about golf communities, they might be sending prospects to your home who might be in the price range, but who may not have read the find print that they have to spend another $50,000 on the membership.

So what should YOU do?

Sorry, we can’t answer that. Every situation is unique! But what we can offer is to give you options (and opinions) to consider before you chose you club.