If you are considering joining a golf club in the coming years, you should ask about reciprocal privileges at other courses. We were reminded of this during our swing through the Jacksonville area last week when we visited a couple of communities developed and managed by the LandMar Group. We were impressed not only with the master plans in the communities of Osprey Cove in St. Mary’s, GA, and North Hampton, in Fernandina Beach, FL, but the golf courses were well conditioned and nice challenges (we were rained out of our round at Osprey Cove but have heard good things about the Mark McCumber design). North Hampton, an Arnold Palmer course, was a big surprise, given that we are not used to praising designs by the King, but this one was a delight for the eyes, as well as shot selection, with traps well placed but not too large and greens that were sloped but not the customary monsters we’ve come to expect from Arnie.
Golf-playing residents of each community are lucky and smart because their membership in one provides them with privileges at the other for the price of just a golf cart rental (about $25). The courses are a mere 25 minutes apart. What’s more, all courses in LandMar’s communities, as well as many clubs managed by the affiliated Crescent Communities, are available to members of any club in the LandMar group (and vice versa),. These include some well-regarded courses such as Ballantyne in Charlotte, NC, Oldfield in Okatie, SC, The Rim Golf Club in Payson, AZ, and Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA. In all, we count more than 20 clubs available to a Landmar (or Crescent Community) golf club member.
This is not unique. ClubCorp, another owner of not only golf clubs but also social clubs worldwide, provides similar perks for its members, including access to the courses at Pinehurst, which ClubCorp runs. And I know from personal experience that the Private Club Network, a division of Creative Golf Marketing, provides reciprocal privileges for members of its client clubs. CGM is working with my home course of Hop Meadow in Simsbury, CT, to increase the number of members; the Hop has joined the Private Club Network, which gives me and my fellow members the ability to play any of 180 courses nationwide for the price of a golf cart rental. I've tried it, and it works well.
Troon Golf, which owns many excellent daily fee as well as private clubs, offers discounted greens fees to most of its courses for members at one. You will pay more than the cost of a cart rental, but to many, access is most important.
As you plan to join your next club (or your first), consider that you could wind up “belonging” to scores of them.
North Hampton Golf Club is the best Arnold Palmer design we have played, and it is available for the price of a cart rental to any member of a LandMar Group golf club.