How To Settle In At A New Golf Club

When joining a new golf club, you want to get the most from your investment and enjoy it to the full. Here are some tips on how to settle in at a new golf club.

How To Settle In At A New Golf Club
Tips on how to settle in at a new golf club
(Image credit: Kenny Smith)

Choosing which golf club to be a member of is a big decision. Not only is it a significant financial outlay but it’s also a commitment to spend a significant amount of your leisure time at a particular facility. Before you join a new club, you need to conduct plenty of research and make a good few visits to insure that the course, the facilities and the atmosphere are all a good fit for you.

When you’re confident you have the club that suits your requirements, it’s time to take the plunge and hand over some cash – There might be a joining fee, or you might be asked to pay the first few months in advance. Either way, you’re invested – You will, then, expect to be welcomed with open arms as a new fee payer. Most clubs will go to every length possible to make new members feel comfortable and to encourage their integration into the rich tapestry of club life, but there are things you can do to expedite that process. Here are some tips on how to settle in at a new golf club.

Put Your Name Down

How To Settle In At A New Golf Club

Enter a club competition or two

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

There’s nothing better than getting fully involved in club life to make yourself known and meet people. Put your name down for the first available club medal. You might play with someone who becomes a lifelong friend. Also enter the club knockouts, maybe even put your name on the list for friendly team matches… You may not get picked at first, but you have to be on the list to be considered.

Talk To The Pro Shop

pro shop

The pro shop is a great hub at the golf club

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Nobody knows all the members better than the team in the pro shop. They see the whole spectrum and they can give you some great advice on who you might want to get to know and, perhaps more importantly, who you should probably avoid. The pro shop is a hub and to make friends in there is to have a route into the inner workings of the club. Make sure you spend a few quid too, on kit and the odd lesson – the boys and girls who work there are great allies to have.

Spot The Kindred Spirits


There will be people like you at the club, you just have to find them

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Use your intuition. When you’re around the club, you’ll see guys and girls who dress like you, have the same sort of equipment as you, play to a similar standard as you do – Try to get a game with them… Watch for their names in the club comps and put yours in beside them; introduce yourself on the putting green, have a chat at the bar… It’s just about making friends and most people like to do that.

Attend Social Functions

members bar

Go for a booze-up!

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

If there’s a summer dance or a club dinner coming up on the social calendar, go along to it. People are far more relaxed at an evening do, particularly after they’ve had a few drinks… Take a partner or a friend along and enjoy the evening. Who knows who you’ll meet?

Find who’s on the committee

Is The Golf Club Committee An Outdated Institution?

Who's in charge?

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It’s useful to know the club hierarchy – who is captain, who’s the greens convenor, the social secretary etc... If you know the people on the committee, you can gain a great insight into how things run and obtain the odd bit of inside info you might not otherwise get. You might not want to do it straight away, but putting yourself forward for the committee is a great way to show your willingness to be properly involved in club life.

Behave Yourself on and off the course

best golf clubhouse stories

Don't be this person

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If you earn a reputation as a good playing partner, you’ll quickly win friends at a club. Someone who takes bad golf on the chin and doesn’t gloat over good performances will always be popular. Petulant players are generally given a wide berth and those who are overly self-centred rub people up the wrong way too. Then, in the clubhouse, don’t be the one shouting on their mobile phone, or complaining loudly that the soup is cold. Be cool!

Play Good Golf

How To Settle In At A New Golf Club

Play well and you'll get noticed...

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

One way to quickly get noticed and included at a club is to play well. If your name starts appearing around the top of leaderboards in the weekly comps, then people will start asking around to find out more about you. If you’re a scratch player, then the elite teams will want to include you… If you’re clearly a steady golfer off your handicap, the more social teams, be it the handicap side or the senior side, will be keen to have you.

Join a Section

bunker shot

If you're a senior, play with the seniors...

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

If you’re a senior, play in the senior events. If you like playing away, join one of the teams that travels to other courses. If there’s a society within the club, see if you can go about becoming a part of it. You’ll find that these sections or, supposedly cliquey, groups are not actually that way and are generally keen to gain new members.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?