8 things to watch for

Members playing golf at Jurong Country Club on Dec 19, 2016.
Members playing golf at Jurong Country Club on Dec 19, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

If you are keen to get a club membership, do your homework first and understand the market. The Sunday Times highlights what to look out for.

1. AFFORDABILITY

As with any big-item purchase, pick a club that is within your means. Besides the membership price, factor in the monthly financial commitment needed to maintain the membership. This includes subscription fees, caddy or buggy fees, and food and beverage levies.

Tee-Up's Fion Phua warns against taking out a loan to buy a golf membership.

2. TRANSFER FEE

Find out what the club's transfer fee is, as it will affect the membership's resale value. Assuming the membership is $20,000 and the transfer fee is $10,000, taking into account GST of $700, you would have to sell the membership for $30,700 to break even.

High transfer fees may deter buyers because they lower the returns, which would affect the investment value of the membership.

Ms Lee Lee Langdale of Singolf Services says the transfer fee at Warren is $10,000, and $20,000 at both Seletar Country Club and Orchid Country Club.

And don't forget the broking agent's fees, which range from $500 to a percentage of the membership fee depending on the club, she adds.

3. TOP-UP FEES

Ms Phua notes that golf clubs may require members to fork out a top-up fee when their leases get extended so as to do renovations.

For instance, Orchid Country Club members had to cough up a $2,000 top-fee when the lease was extended for seven years to 2030 from 2023.

The top-up fee was a hefty $31,000 per member at Sentosa.

4. CLUB'S LEASE

To get the best bang for your buck, Ms Lee's advice is to check out the club's lease tenure. "The longer the club's lease, the more attractive is the golf club. For example, the lease of Seletar Country Club expires in 2040."

5. LOCATION

A club near your workplace or home allows you to get more mileage out of your membership.

It also makes it easy to drop in for a meal, a swim or a workout at the gym. Your spouse and children could also use the club facilities more often.

6. FACILITIES

Decide what you or your family like doing most and pick a club that best suits everyone. For instance, if you are a serious golfer, pick a club that offers golfing instead of just social amenities.

If you plan to visit a club with your family, choose one that offers facilities for everyone, such as a childcare centre, an Olympic-size pool or jackpot and mahjong rooms for your parents.

7. NUMBER OF MEMBERS

A club with too many members may mean insufficient facilities or longer queueing times for amenities. Ms Lee notes that at smaller clubs with just one 18-hole course, members often face difficulty, especially on weekends, to book a game.

8. MANAGEMENT

Check if the place is a members' club or a proprietary one. A members' club allows voting rights and a say in determining club policies. If it is a proprietary club, find out if the management has a good track record in order to gauge the standard of service you can expect.

An important criterion, of course, would be whether the golf courses are well managed and are in good condition, adds Ms Lee.

Lorna Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 08, 2017, with the headline '8 things to watch for'. Print Edition | Subscribe