Q: Any other hidden fees to expect?
Members shudder at the word, but "assessments" generate crucial funds. These additional costs typically cover major projects such as a course renovation, but they also might be used for emergencies. At many clubs, capital expenditures above a certain amount, typically $1 million to $2 million, require membership approval. Let's say the board wants to spend $1 million to remodel the locker rooms. It might have open meetings to discuss a proposal that each member pay an extra $100 or $200 above the dues for 24 months. Or it might send invoices for $5,000 and expect full payment in 60 days.
Q: Are club costs the same for everyone?
No. Each club has membership categories with slightly different fees depending on enrollment, access to facilities and revenue needs. Learning the membership limit in each category, and present totals, is one gauge of financial health. Most active golfers are regular or full members with unrestricted use of all facilities. These members pay the highest fees. Nearly every club supplements its membership with house or social members who have limited access to the course but might have full access to the pool, restaurant, card rooms and, perhaps, fitness center. A nonresident might pay less because they use the course less than a local member.
Q: I recently graduated from college and don't have a lot of extra cash. Is there anything for me?
Many clubs offer deals for juniors into their 30s, meaning you can get a much better price than anyone else on initiation and monthly costs. It's a way of attracting prospects who might become lifelong members. Juniors graduate to full status upon paying the difference in initiation or entrance fees.
Q: Any other money concerns?
One word: debt. Nearly every club has some, whether it's a line of credit tapped for emergencies or a loan for big renovations. In most cases anything six figures or below is considered routine, but a debt of more than $1 million should get your attention. It might be worth looking into how the debt was accumulated, how much is retired annually and when it will be paid off. Even if the club has a plan to handle debt, interest charges bloat a budget. As a member you become responsible for it, and liable for lump payments if the board decides to wipe out the balance.
Q: So joining a club these days can be as easy as writing a check?
In some cases -- especially at the more desperate clubs -- if you can pay a few months' worth of dues upfront, there's a good chance you can get in right away. But even if you can become a member immediately, take a little time to fully evaluate a club and make sure you're ready for a long-term commitment.
Q: So how do I start the process?
If you know a member, there isn't a better place to start. If you don't know anyone at a particular club, then ask friends, co-workers, business contacts and others whether they know anyone who's a member. If you can't find a member, don't be afraid to call the club and ask to speak with the general manager or head professional.
Q: Is there a difference between a golf club and a country club?
Often there's little difference, but if a member tells you his club is a "golf club," he probably means the club focuses on golf above all else. If a place calls itself a country club, it probably indicates a more rounded environment, where your spouse and children can enjoy swimming pools, tennis courts and much more than golf. Some clubs cater to families, but others view spouses or significant others, and sometimes even kids, as guests. The best type of club for you -- pure golf club or country club -- depends on how you expect to use it.
Q: There's a club about 15 minutes from my house, but I really prefer the course at a club almost 40 minutes from home. How far is too far?
Distance from home should definitely factor in your club selection. Convenience is huge, according to almost every club member we spoke with. If there's a big-name club 40 minutes away, you might happily make that drive once or twice a week. Then again, if your family is going to use the pool and tennis courts and you want to play or practice three or four times a week, 30 minutes might become too far. Here's a test: Drive to the club, then drive home as if you'd forgotten something. Then turn around and drive back to the club. This will give you a good idea whether it's too far.
Q: I've just received my first invitation to play golf and visit a club I'm considering joining. What should I expect?
Here's where knowing a member and learning about the club as a guest is ideal. Nothing beats playing the course, eating a meal and touring the facility without anyone else knowing you might be interested in joining. If you're there as a guest of the manager or golf professional, your host will probably remind you of a salesperson, full of positive information about their club. Factor that in, and don't hesitate to ask questions.
Q: How many times should I play the course before joining the club?
A surprising number of prospects don't determine whether they like the course until late in the process. Make it a point to play a few rounds, ideally at different times of the year, to see how the condition of the course changes. A course that seems spectacular and fun to play the first time might look a lot different by your third or fourth round.
Q: Do private clubs require tee times, or do most of them allow members to show up and play whenever they want?
Some of the busier clubs require tee times almost every day, especially on weekends, but we're aware of many golf clubs whose courses are often empty, even during peak playing times, including weekends. Many members told us one of the best perks at private clubs is the ability to play golf whenever you want, and often on whichever holes you want. Some clubs let you walk to the first tee unannounced or even jump to an unoccupied hole and begin play there. Maybe you want to hit balls and play five or six holes after work. Mini-rounds can make the cost of a private-club membership worthwhile for golfers who love the game but can spare only an hour or two early or late in the day. Ask about the club's policy.
Q: What other rules might surprise me?
We hear a lot of complaints from golfers about mandatory carts at daily-fee courses, but it happens at private clubs, too. Some require golfers to use (and pay for) a caddie or a cart during peak playing times. Depending on when you play most of your golf, your opportunities to walk and carry your bag might be limited by such policies. It's worth asking about these rules so you aren't surprised later.
Q: Any restrictions on when my kids can play? And what about guests?
Again, policies vary from club to club, but it's common that juniors' access to the golf course includes restrictions. Guests are usually a welcome source of revenue for clubs -- no, your buddies don't play for free -- but there might be limits to how many, how often and what times they're permitted.
Q: How hard is it to become a member of one of the top clubs in the country?
It depends on the club. Some attract very good players. Win the U.S. Mid-Amateur, and you've increased your chances dramatically. Other top clubs reward civic leadership or golf contributions. The key is to know members, and have them know you.
DID YOU KNOW? FUNNY SILLY FACTS
Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.
Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.
Over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialised nations has increased 10 cm (about 4 inches). In the 19th century, American men were the tallest in the world, averaging 1,71m (5'6"). Today, the average height for American men is 1,75m (5'7"), compared to 1,77 (5'8") for Swedes, and 1,78 (5'8.5") for the Dutch. The tallest nation in the world is the Watusis of Burundi.
A person can live without food for about a month, but only about a week without water.
If the amount of water in your body is reduced by just 1%, you'll feel thirsty.
If it's reduced by 10%, you'll die.
Outside the USA, Ireland is the largest software producing country in the world.
Every year about 98% of atoms in your body are replaced.
Hot water is heavier than cold.
Funny one liners:
99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home.
Don't drink and drive. You might hit a bump and spill your drink.
For Sale: Parachute. Only used once, never opened, small stain.
IRS: We've got what it takes to take what you've got.
Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.
To Wink or Not to Wink?
There is no need anymore for hiring a dating coach or an expensive matchmaker! Adult dating is no longer difficult, thanks to the internet. Unusual, yet entertaining online dating auction website www.mybunnydate.com offers its members the ability to bid and pay for their first dates with other users (usually young attractive females) . Money is exchanged during the date. It's basically like an auction except you are trying to get a date instead of a random item. This site provides a completely different view to look at the dating niche. It is more like a bidding game where members bid to go on their first date by paying a specific amount.
Men and women can sign up on the site for free and input their photo, profile and what they want to do on a first date. But don't judge the website by its cover! You will be amazed and inspired as you take a deeper look into the countless numbers of people who have found love. There are so many different things men choose to do with their money. They buy thousand-dollar shoes and expensive watches because they can and now they can have a date which could lead to a new relationship.
Most of the females on www.mybunnydate.com are college students and they can either accept the bid / reject or counter offer. The site insists the money is to illustrate interest and not hope for intimacy. "Bid for First Dates" website offers its members to show interest by winking. So To Wink or Not to Wink? How do you respond to a wink? What does it mean? The site makes it very easy to find a perfect match and it all starts with Winking. After a wink is accepted it is usually followed by the offer ( $100, $200, $300 on average). After users decide on the price of the date and confirm the first date begins .
My Bunny Date online dating auction will make a donation to you favorite charity on behalf of Generous Member (males). Once an offer is accepted, the site will unlock the messaging capability to let the two users plan out their date. All set ! www.mybunnydate.com will help you find someone better and faster than the other available sites, so try it out! The company boasts that its attractive ladies and generous bidders are from all races, ethnicities and backgrounds. The site is making headlines, most of them wary. So would you pay for a first date?
10 Smart Ways to Spend $1,000
Say $1,000 unexpectedly landed in your lap. How would you spend it?
Perhaps you’d hit the casino. Take your friends to the swankiest restaurant in town. Or splurge on those designer shoes you’ve been eyeing. But if the money’s here today and gone tomorrow, you might take home those hot, new shoes with a side of buyer’s remorse.
1. Meet your employer’s retirement match. If you have a retirement account that offers a company match, the smartest way to use some or all of your $1,000 is to meet that match – assuming you’re not already doing so.
Upping your contribution might mean saying goodbye to $1,000 of your take-home pay now, but just think about how you can roll in that grand – plus the free money it earns you – in retirement.
2. Open an individual retirement account or 401(k). If your employer doesn’t offer the aforementioned company match, starting a Roth IRA or 401(k) is a judicious use of the $1,000. John Laitner, director of the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, says many people plan for retirement too late in their career, and they lose the benefit of time. “Money put into a retirement account early in adulthood … can expand with compound interest year after year,” he says.
While traditional and Roth 401(k)s and IRAs will all jump-start retirement savings, McBride recommends a Roth IRA because “whatever growth you see in that investment going forward is yours to keep.” Unlike with a traditional IRA, you won’t pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it in retirement. You also don’t have to take minimum required distributions once you reach age 70 1/2 like you would with a traditional IRA.
3. Pay off credit card debt. If you come across $1,000, one of the best ways to spend it is to pay off debt, specifically credit card debt.
4. Bulk up your emergency savings fund. Your car transmission could conk out. A family member could fall ill. You could lose your job tomorrow.
Too many people don’t plan for life’s unpleasant surprises, says Mint.com spokeswoman Holly Perez, a U.S. News My Money blogger. If you don’t have an emergency fund, or it could use some padding, now’s your chance. “Put aside three to six months of living expenses to prepare for the unexpected,” Perez advises.
5. Pay off student loans. There’s a reason student loan debt comes after credit card debt on this list: Many student loans allow deferment or forbearance if you run into financial trouble and can’t make payments – options other creditors do not offer.
Student loan interest rates are also lower than credit card rates. And as McBride explains, you get a greater return by paying off higher interest debt. “Paying off a credit card balance at 18 percent interest is like earning a risk-free return of 18 percent on your money,” he says.
But if you razed your consumer debt, spending the $1,000 to pay for your degree would be a wise move. “When paying down student loan debt, apply the prepayment to the loan with the highest interest rate,” recommends Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of edvisors.com, a resource on higher education costs. “This will save you the most money over the life of the loan.”
6. Invest in the market. Once you’re saving for retirement, have a cushy emergency fund and paid off debt, it’s safe to take that grand and invest it. But don’t use the money to buy stocks, Schwab-Pomerantz warns. “Investing in individual stocks is not prudent for a new investor because you’re basically putting your eggs all in one basket,” she says.
So what should you invest in? Schwab-Pomerantz’s suggestion: mutual funds.
7. Take an educational course. Are you lacking skills you could apply in your job? Perhaps it would be helpful to know computer coding or Spanish so you could communicate with more clients. An educational course might be what you need to impress your boss and get that raise you’ve been pining for.
But you should weigh the amount of that potential salary boost before rushing to register for Español 101. “If spending the $1,000 on that course increases your income by over $1,000, then it’s clearly worthwhile,” Kantrowitz says. He throws out another factor to consider: “Will it make you more marketable so you can get a job that pays better?”
8. Attend a professional conference. Here’s another example where a $1,000 investment could pay big dividends on your career. Miriam Salpeter, founder of the career consulting firm Keppie Careers and a U.S. News Careers blogger, recommends attending a professional conference. “This could easily eat up the entire $1,000 between paying for a conference and covering travel needs,” she says. “However, it can really be worth meeting people in your field from other parts of the country and learning from thought leaders in your industry.” Besides catching up on industry trends, you might meet people looking to fill positions that pay more than your current job.
9. Make home improvements. You might be putting off repairs because you can live with that leaky faucet or the crack in the ceiling doesn’t look that bad. But spending $1,000 on cheap fixes now could prevent you from shelling out thousands of dollars later.
For example, if you detect moisture on the ceiling (you might see a gray or yellow stain) or walls feel wet, you might have an interior leak, says home improvement expert Eric Stromer, co-host of the “Home Wizards” radio show. “Anytime you sense water leaking in the interior of the house – whether it be in a bathroom or under a kitchen sink – it’s just a time bomb waiting to happen,” Stromer says. The $1,000 will cover a drywall replacement and leak repair, but it won’t cover what you’ll pay in the aftermath of a flood. Stromer adds it’s also a smart idea to hire a plumber to inspect your house and catch any disasters in the making.
10. Take a vacation. Farnoosh Torabi, author of “When She Makes More,” says go ahead, splurge on a trip. “A vacation is money well spent, as the memories you make can last a lifetime,” she says.
Ultimately, if you’re being smart with this money by distributing it between retirement, savings and debt, no one will berate you for a tiny indulgence.
“If somebody came to $1,000 and that’s the kind of money they haven’t seen in a long time, I would say take a small portion and do something fun,” Schwab-Pomerantz says. “It’s unrealistic for us to not have a little bit of fun in our lives."