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For millions of golf-loving Americans, joining a golf club is a pivotal life decision – the fulfillment of an ambition to take their game, their career, and their lifestyle to the next level.
It is also a major financial decision, one that is often rationalized by calculating the monetary benefits realized through enhanced business relationships and having a place the whole family can enjoy. By the way, there are no green fees.
Of course, that is because you will have paid a considerable initiation fee on top of monthly membership dues for the privilege of swinging your clubs as often as you’d like. However, most people don’t have ten, twenty, or fifty thousand dollars lying around for an initiation fee.
Golf Club Membership Financing Options
You could wait several years to save the money you need, but then you would be missing out on the returns of membership – the business relationships, the professional training to improve your game, the freedom to golf on a championship-caliber course whenever you want.
You could instead finance your club membership just as thousands of avid golfers do. Here are some of your options to do so:
Personal Loans for Golf Memberships
Personal loans are the most common form of financing for gold memberships. There are many lenders offering unsecured loans anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000.
The loan term can be as long as seven years or as short as one year, allowing you to fit the payment to your budget.
Because the loans are unsecured, lenders rely exclusively on your credit, employment status, and income for qualification. The better your credit, the better the rate you will receive.
To find a lender that works for you, you can check out our Best Personal Loans Guide or check out some of the lenders below:
Personal Loans for Golf Memberships
- Rates are typically between 8.41% and 35.99% APR1
- Funds can be received in as fast as one business day
- A minimum credit score of 600 in most states
Financing Through the Club
Not all golf clubs offer membership financing, but the ones that do typically partner with a local bank or a marketplace lender.
The best reason to consider financing through a golf club is if it has a special arrangement with the lender, such as a 0% interest or low interest rate promotion.
These are typically unsecured personal loans, so you will need to qualify based on your credit and employment history as well as your income. However, unless there is a special offer, you might be better off shopping for a personal loan on your own.
Golf Club Membership is a Big Investment
If you have studied the cost of a golf club membership, you know it’s not cheap. Initiation costs, typically a one-time fee, start at around $2,000 and can run as high as $100,000. After that, you have to afford the annual dues of $3,000 to $10,000, which are usually collected on a monthly basis.
Both the initiation fee and the monthly dues can vary depending on the type of membership (i.e. family, individual, social, corporate, etc). You will also be required to meet the monthly food and beverage minimum, which ranges from $50 to $200 a month. Your monthly dues may or may not cover the cost of ancillary amenities such as golf carts, a locker rental, or club storage.
How much you end up paying for a golf club membership depends on a number of factors, including the type of membership, location, the number of public and private courses in the area, and the quality of the club’s course.
Depending on where you live, you might find clubs costing less than $7,500 to join; but, if you want to join the premium club you might end up paying $25,000 or more to join.
What Can You Afford?
To get an idea of what a typical golf membership loan might cost you, consider the following scenario:
The golf club you want to join requires a $25,000 initiation fee of which you have saved $5,000. You have excellent credit that qualifies you for a $20,000, 60-month loan with an APR of 7.29%. You opt to pay the loan through autopay, which lowers your APR to 6.79%. Your monthly payment would be $394.
If, however, your credit score is less than great, your APR could jump to 13%, increasing your monthly payment to $450. That may not be much of a difference, but you still need to account for monthly dues as well as food and beverage fees, which can add another $300 to $500 to you golf club budget.
If your ambition is to get to the next level – for your golf game or your career – a golf membership can be a great investment. When you consider that you might be paying $600 to $1,000 a month between financing and club expenses, you might want to make sure you make the most of your membership in order to maximize your return.
Didn’t know you can use a personal loan for a golf membership, check out what else personal loans can be used for.
1The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.97% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $12,646 including a $626 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application.
Author: Jeff Gitlen, CEPF®