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Wollaston Golf Club Membership Cost

wollaston golf club membership cost
wollaston golf club membership cost

One exclusive club on Cape Cod eliminated its $85,000 initiation fee in an effort to increase its membership.

Pembroke Country Club, a popular public venue that offered year-round golf when the fairways are snowless, was foreclosed and could not even find a buyer during the auction.

Private clubs, such as Country Club of Halifax, Wollaston Golf Club in Milton and Spring Valley Country Club in Sharon, have waived fees in an effort to increase dwindling memberships.

At the Southern New England Golf Show in February at the Rhode Island Convention Center, several private clubs took booths soliciting members for discounted initiation fees.

Other clubs, such as Thorny Lea in Brockton and Norfolk Golf Club in Westwood, have lost several members who either resigned or took leaves of absence.

Black Rock, the new private club in Hingham, has a waiting list to exit. Those who choose not to continue their memberships must wait for Black Rock to admit new members and only then will they get their initiation fee returned.

Clubs are pleading with remaining members “to be salesmen.” They are asking members to lure friends and neighbors to join. Some are even offering a financial bonus if they lure in new members.

“There is no question, the economic recession is affecting golf like it is affecting everything else,” said Joe Sprague, the executive director of the Massachusetts Golf Association, which represents more than 300 golf clubs in the Bay State.

“I think the ultra exclusive clubs (the Country Club in Brookline, Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton) are insulated from these economic hard times, but most of the private clubs need to be creative to find ways to survive in these difficult times.”

Not just private clubs are in trouble.

“Everybody’s hurting,” said Joe Pustizzi, who operates the year-round Fore Seasons Practice Facility in Hingham. “As far as golf is concerned, this isn’t a recession. It’s a depression. We’re all just trying to get through it.”

Richard A. Haskell, the former executive director of the Massachusetts Golf Association, monitors the game closely in New England and has seen it through several economic downturns.

“There are no more waiting lists at private golf clubs. You can walk right up and join just about every club,” Haskell said.

“Golf peaked in 1987,” Pustizzi, who opened Fore Seasons in December 1998, said. “And for the last five years golf has continually lost players. We really don’t have the money to advertise, so I’m trying new things, guerrilla marketing, to improve our situation.”

Pustizzi has given free swing analysis or introductory free time on the golf simulator to bring in new customers. But the game is too hard and too expensive, especially in these times he said.

There are glimmers of hope. Some clubs are doing better, being more creative and resourceful than others.

A group, headed by Derek Holt, signed a purchased and sales agreement for Pembroke Country Club from Norwood Cooperative Bank for more than $4 million.

Holt, a former caddie master at The Country Club in Brookline and a scratch golfer, hopes to infuse vitality into the old club.

He hired former Milton-Hoosic Club professional Scott Trethewey to operate the golf facilities.

Two venues that are holding their own going into the new season are South Shore Country Club in Hingham and Granite Links in Quincy.

“Last year we increased our dues by 20 percent and lost about 100 members,” Jay McGrail, the interim directorof operations forSouth Shore Country Club, said. “But we really didn’t lose them. They looked at the numbers on how much they played and how much it cost them per round and they realized it would be cheaper for them to pay green fees each time they played.”

As a result, the number of green fees last year was at an all-time high and the club had more revenue than before.

This winter McGrail said he is fielding numerous calls from golfers who are giving up their private club membership and are looking for a place to play.

“I get at least three or four calls a day from golfers who play at private clubs, like Black Rock and Plymouth, who are looking to join. I must have mailed out 100 applications. But that really hasn’t translated into a lot of memberships,” he said.

One reason, McGrail said, is the snow-covered fairways and sub-freezing temperatures.

“When it’s this cold and with so much snow, you think golf season is far away,” McGrail said. “We’ll see in the spring.”

The fee for an annual permit to play golf at South Shore, which is open to the public, is $2,578 for a non-Hingham resident and $1,946 for a Hingham resident. The annual dues for a member at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton is $3,766 per year, plus a $45 a month capital assessment.

Granite Links, the upscale daily fee course at the junction of the Southeast Expressway, Route 128 and Route 3, which also offers membership with a one-time initiation fee of $27,500 and annual dues of $4,950, has been an industry-bucking and economy-defying success.

“It’s not all doom and gloom if you understand the situation,” said Stan Abrams, who is heading the golf operation at Granite Links.

· Coming off a strong 2007, Granite Links signed on 58 new members in 2008.

· The restaurant business, according to Abrams, “was through the roof.”

· Functions business was up 25 percent over 2007.

·

· Play in September was up more than 12 percent of September 2007.

As for the start of 2009, Granite Links has already signed up four new Young Adult Members and two new Corporate Members.

And, Granite Links just last month created a promotion that discounted the normal initiation fees for any twosome joining the club during February.

“But we extend the definition to more than just a traditional husband and wife and also allow a couple of golf buddies to come in together and take advantage,” said Diane Brickley, who is in charge of memberships at Granite Links.

She said within minutes of sending out the e-blast to announce the offer, “Our reply box was inundated with inquiries from interested golfers seeking membership. Total volume of inquiries being 72 percent higher than the same period in February 2008,” reported Brickley.

Pustizzi’s indoor facility has benefited from the snowy winter.

“That’s the funny thing,” he said. “Just about everything is down. But the use of our golf simulators is up. There are still people who want to play golf.”

Golf simulators are computerized devices where golfers can, through high tech, play some of the greatest golf courses in the world.