Investing

Are Golf Club Memberships Good Investments?

Becoming a member of a golf club offers access to some great golf courses and the air of prestige. But should you also view it as an investment?

In the past, the high value of a golf club memberships in Singapore lead individuals to consider them as an investment in addition to a status symbol and way to access great golf courses. However, membership prices have been trending downward in the last decade. Due, at least in part, to the fact that several clubs were unable to renew their land leases. For some, this decrease in membership prices might raise the question: are golf club memberships still worth considering as an investment?

Average Price of Golf Membership 2007-2019

Costs and Benefits of a Golf Club Membership

Despite the relative decrease among many golf membership prices in recent years, prices at several clubs still exceed S$100,000. The current average sale price of all golf club memberships in Singapore is approximately S$67,423. Prices tend to vary based on the size of the course as well as the expiration date of the club's land lease.

Average Price of Golf Club Membership in Singapore 2019

Even if you are optimistic and believe that you will be able to resell your membership for its full purchase price, you will have to consider the ongoing cost of monthly subscription fees. We estimate that the average subscription fee is approximately S$139 for a family membership, materially less than the average cost of 18-holes on a weekend is about S$215.

Average Greens Fees Singapore

Average Greens Fees Singapore

While this may make a golf club membership look like a good deal, most memberships come with a transfer fee, which is payable by the original member and reduces the incentive to resell the membership. This fee varies significantly, but averages about S$18,666. Therefore, at most golf courses, only the most dedicated golfers will pay less as a member. However, casual golfers that are interested in the benefits of a country club membership may want to consider courses that charge less expensive transfer fees. For example, a handful of golf clubs charge transfer fees of just a few thousand dollars, which can be viewed as much less significant to those planning to hold the membership for an extended period of time as this cost can be spread out over several years.

Average Golf Club Transfer Fee Singapore

Golf Memberships: Still a Good Investment?

Ultimately, it is very difficult to accurately project how golf club membership prices will change over time. Unlike buying and selling stocks, which values' can be assessed by analysing the financial performance of public companies, the market for golf club memberships is much less transparent and difficult to predict. For these reasons, seeking a return on a golf membership itself is a speculative venture.

Alternative Ways to Save Money on Golfing

If you do sign up for a golf club membership, it is possible to save on your monthly subscription fee by using a credit card that offers rewards for recurring monthly bills. These benefits include airline miles and cashback rebates. For those that don't have enough room in their budget to justify becoming a member of a country club, it is worth noting that several credit cards offer golfing privileges to cardholders. Notably, the Maybank World MasterCard provides up to 2 green fees per month at 120 fairways in 25 different countries to cardholders that spend at least S$1,000 each monthly.

William Hofmann

William is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion Singapore, focusing on banking and SMEs. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc.

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