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golf club membership

I want to join a club – not get a new job

The application interview is still one of the most curious, and utterly pointless, remnants of the golf club membership process
 

The advert offered 18 months for the price of 12. It was wrapped up in marketing speak – ‘a unique opportunity’ – but we know the truth. The club’s shelling cash and if they don’t want the members to experience some extreme austerity they’re going to have to bring in some new blood.

They say nothing in life is free and, yet, here it is – six months extra and the knowledge I’m helping in some small way to relieve their ever-widening budgetary crisis.

I’d always fancied the course and this traditionally haughty members’ club had ditched the joining fee that made it a haven for the sort of people that spent their days shorting the pound.

But, of course, there is a price to pay and it was going to cost me my self-respect.

In this everything now culture, the golf club membership process at some establishments still smacks of masonic handshakes and curiously emblemed ties.

For every one that sticks a chip ‘n’ pin device in front of you the moment you go through the doors, there are still the members’ clubs that put your details up on the wall for all to see and stick their two penneth in.

[skylab_video id=”145720″]Angry Club Golfer: How to join a golf club[/skylab_video]

If you’re lucky enough to clear that hurdle it’s still not over. The bailiffs are outside eyeing up the fixtures and fittings but, no, you still have to go through the interview.

I’m sorry? I thought was trying to join a golf club not get a new job.

So there I am, sitting in front of a ‘panel’, being quizzed on club history and why I haven’t been sending them application requests since the moment I left the womb.

‘Why did you leave your previous club?’ is de rigueur for the questioner who thinks they are Paxman rather than the leader of what’s supposed to be a rubber-stamping exercise.

It’s barked out in the kind of accusatory tone that makes it sound like you were involved in some skulduggery, and not just because you’d played your old course 10,000 times and fancied a change.

Here’s the nub of it. The interview is not just about whether you can be trusted to take to the course without using your pitching wedge as a JCB, it’s about whether you’re the type of person they want at their club.

Their place, their rules – I see that often enough in the comments section of this website whenever someone suggests anything that might puncture the idyll of a precious oasis.

But we’re supposed to be breaking down barriers in these days of no-time, no-money – not turning Trump and building a new wall. Name me another leisure activity that does so much to actively keep people out?

If getting into the club down the road is as painless as filling in a form and handing over a debit card, guess where I’ll be going?

Do yourselves a favour and ditch the interview. If I wanted to wear an ill-fitting suit and get interrogated for an hour, I’d get out a CV not a 9-iron.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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