So you’re getting ready to retire and will have some extra time on your hands, or maybe you’re new to the area and are looking to join a community, meet some new people, and spend your days playing golf or tennis in the famous Southern California sunshine. Either way, you’re probably wondering, how much does a country club membership cost? And what additional fees and expenses should I be aware of before I join?
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the costs of country club membership in Southern California and answer some frequently asked questions about fees and other expenses related to membership.
Country Club Membership Cost: What to Expect in Southern California
Country Club membership cost will vary from club to club, but also within each club depending on the type of membership you are interested in. Golf memberships are the most expensive kind of memberships, because they include all the benefits of a social (i.e. non-golf) membership plus access to the course or courses, driving range, putting green, and more. Social memberships generally include tennis, pickleball, and other fitness amenities, access to pools and facilities as well as social events, dining, and clubs.
The second most common difference in country club membership cost is whether or not you are looking to become a homeowner at the club. Residents often enjoy lower initiation fees (a one-time cost to sign up) and membership dues (annual cost to be a member) than non-residents, so if you are looking for real estate as well as club membership, it may benefit you to ask about the differences between residential and non-residential membership costs. It’s important to note that residents will also be subject to HOA fees, which are often billed monthly and subject to change annually.
What’s the average cost of membership? Because Southern California offers a range of different kinds of country clubs – depending on location, amenities, and perks – the cost can vary from no initiation fees and membership dues of less than $1000 per month to initiation fees that top $200K and membership dues topping $4,000 per month. It might be more helpful to consider country club membership costs in tiers of good, better, and best with ‘good’ clubs having initiation fees of less than $10K, ‘better’ clubs falling in the $10K-$50K range and the ‘best’ clubs being anything over $50K to join. Clearly what’s best for you will be a unique combination of location, amenities, and what you can comfortably afford!
Thanks to smaller cities, an abundance of space, and gorgeous mountain and desert views, there is no shortage of country club options in greater Palm Springs. Bigger cities like San Diego and Los Angeles also offer a range of options for memberships, but because of the nature of congestion and urban geography, location and proximity to where you live usually become the paramount concern, so options may feel more limited.
Beyond Dues – Additional Country Club Membership Costs
Whether you choose a golf or social club membership, if you decide to become a homeowner within the club you will be subject to (usually) monthly HOA dues. These funds go toward the maintenance and security of the property and may include certain utilities. These rates vary from club to club and are often subject to change annually.
Other common fees related to country club membership amenities include golf cart (aka trail) fees, golf, tennis, or pickleball lessons, spa treatments, personal training, clinics, and tournament fees. Most amenities-related fees apply only if you choose to opt into a particular activity — although golfers will most certainly want to know how the club handles trail fees.
As you are tallying up your expected country club membership cost, don’t forget to inquire about capital assessment fees and debt assessment fees. These two fees can feel like hidden or unexpected costs. Capital assessment fees are billed to fund new amenities or make capital improvements to the club. Debt assessments, on the other hand, go toward paying off past projects - like a clubhouse renovation.
Are Country Club Dues Deductible?
There is a common misconception about country club membership costs being tax deductible because they are not-for-profit organizations. However, country clubs, unlike churches or charitable organizations, are considered 501c7. That is, they aren’t for profit, but they also aren’t charitable organizations (which are 503c3), therefore country club dues, fees, and costs are not deductible.
Final Thoughts on Country Club Membership Costs
Of course, country club membership costs can vary based on location, property, and amenities, but a thorough overview of typical expenses, perks, and other nuances can help you determine if joining a club is the right decision. Southern California’s mild climate and abundant sunshine make country club memberships all the more appealing. They can add value to the club experience simply because more nice days mean more opportunities to be out on the course or courts.
At The Springs in Rancho Mirage, we offer residential and non-residential club memberships for both golfers and non-golfers. With the Santa Rosa Mountains as our backdrop, our members enjoy world-class golf, tennis, pickleball, and fitness activities, top-notch dining, and engaging social activities. To learn more about what makes membership at The Springs unique, check out our Membership Guide or book a Discovery Call with our Membership Director today.