What comes after the golf license? I asked in the previous article in this series and already gave the first of the possible answers: Full membership in a golf club. This text will now provide information about a second possibility.
But first, let's take a step back: The golf exam has just been taken. Many clubs, where this training can be done, offer the examinees special conditions for a regular full membership.
In this way, they can get to know club and golfer life in the first period - often in the first year, for example - without straining their wallets too much.
And for many new golfers, these offers are not only very tempting, but also financially reasonable. Because just in the first time the golf cutlery is of course often strained excessively.
And there it can count itself then fast, if not for each place round a Greenfee must be paid, because the full membership contains full play right.
And with the topic of green fees, we are immediately at the second possibility to play golf, to be able to use courses without having a "free" course nearby: The counter model to the full membership is meant, the remote membership.
For this membership model, there are complete Internet sites that help to find the right club. The only important thing is that the club must be at least 80 kilometers away from your home.
The advantage over full membership is financial. You only have to pay about 200 euros. In return, the club takes over the handicap management and you become an official member of the German Golf Association - just like a full member - including a club card.
Often one receives on its - then relatively far away - home club also full play right, often this is never used, straight with the today's Spritkosten. Instead, after presenting the club card, you pay the green fee at a nearby club.
Who calculates now a little, which realizes fast: Depending upon play frequency and Greenfee costs this model can go also fast completely well into the money, with regular play over the year it could become even more expensive than the full membership in the proximity.
The advantage: Even with full membership, a green fee is charged at other courses, which can sometimes be discounted at nearby clubs.
So if you don't always want to play on the same course, but are looking for variety, especially at the beginning of your playing career, you are often better off financially as a long-distance member.
The disadvantage: Although quite a few clubs in Germany offer this option of long-distance membership in order to bring additional money into the club's coffers without much effort, long-distance members pay a higher green fee on quite a few courses in Germany than full members of other clubs.
And the German Golf Association clearly supports this extra payment. This is because full members receive a golden "R" hologram on their club card, which is denied to remote members. Clubs can therefore tell at a glance who is a full member and who is a remote member.
The background to this approach is the fact that, of course, it costs no small amount of money to maintain a golf course. Long-distance members, in the view of the German Golf Association, shirk from supporting a club with their annual dues and thus promoting course maintenance.
The fact that these long-distance members, on the other hand, are also happy to pay a corresponding green fee for good courses and thus support more courses - per person, however, of course not with a sum comparable to the fee for a full membership - is often overlooked.
Strictly speaking, people who love golf variety are thus penalized. In addition, the obvious two-tier society also promotes the elitist thought that still prevails in some minds. People try to keep a certain clientele away from the course by charging high fees.
My very personal attitude to this may certainly be debatable, but I recommend everyone, whether long-distance or full member, to avoid clubs as guest players that promote this elitist idea through different green fees.
I don't usually get money from these clubs, I'd rather play elsewhere. And this is not because I care about the 10 or 20 euros that are taken more by long-distance members for no reason.
It's more about the fact that this elite idea is generally damaging golf in Germany. And these clubs of snootiness will probably only notice this when the income from guest players is clearly missing from your balance sheet at the end of the year.
This is - as emphasized - only my opinion. It is not a recommendation for action, but perhaps an approach to think about. This thought also applies to the third golf model.
Because there remains another way to play golf without committing to a fixed club and course. That is membership in the VcG, the association of club-free golfers. Here one has no home club with place, but only a club, which issues a membership card, which is recognized again by many German places for the play. The VcG also takes care of the handicap management, i.e. the administration in the background.
The advantage over long-distance membership lies in tournaments that the VcG organizes nationwide. The costs for the membership are comparable with the long-distance membership.
As a disadvantage, one must see that VcG members are even more unpopular than long-distance members, since the latter are at least still under the umbrella of the German Golf Association (DGV). The VcG is independent of this. However, this leads to the fact that there are more courses that charge VcG members an increased green fee, and on some courses VcGers have no playing rights at all.
So that's back to the keyword elite formation. Incidentally, there is another point that is becoming more and more widespread: When it comes to full membership, more and more clubs are attaching importance to first getting to know the aspirant personally before membership is made possible.
The application is therefore made more difficult here, with a clear hurdle. At this point I can understand everyone who prefers to keep it with Groucho Marx. He is reported to have said, "I don't want to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
Ultimately, every new golfer must decide for himself what type of membership he wants to enter into, what advantages or disadvantages he can or wants to accept. The infrastructure of one's own place of residence can help quite simply.
Before signing up for a club membership, you should therefore check which clubs and courses are available near your home and which costs or restrictions are associated with them, depending on the membership.
Assistance is provided by club pages on the Internet, which always show green fee or membership prices, and in most cases also special rules for long-distance members or VcGers.
Previous article in the series: All Beginnings 11: Club Membership - Part 1
Next article in the series: All Beginnings 13: Golfing is like driving a car