(Note: If you work at a country club in Charlotte or have first-party data that’s in conflict with our data below, please let us know – we’ll verify and update).
Country clubs in Charlotte have an indisputable upper tier, based on price and exclusivity: Quail Hollow, Charlotte Country Club, Myers Park Country Club and Carmel Country Club.
After that upper tier, clubs become more comparable and more niche — some are built for golfers and some are built for families.
Pricing data and country club scoops (in quotes below) are based on an anonymous survey that we sent to our daily newsletter readership. The survey and interviews were used for rankings.
I give price ranges below because we received a range of answers when we crowdsourced the pricing data (for example, some clubs have raised fees, thus members report different prices).
(Note: Membership initiation fees are one-time fees and while most of these clubs also offer social memberships — the ability to use club with limited access to golf — we received very little data on social membership fees.)
“Very prestigious, exclusive, only about 300 members”
“Quail Hollow also very difficult to get into unless you know Johnny Harris. This club caters more towards men and golf – not geared towards families as much as some of the others.”
- Full Membership Initiation Fee: $75,000 – $80,000
- Full Membership Dues: $500-800/month (with $300/quarter minimum)
“Charlotte County Club is the oldest most respected club in Charlotte. Very difficult to get in to.”
- Full MembershipInitiation Fee: $70,000 – $85,000
- Full Membership Dues: $600-$700/month
- Social Membership Initiation Fee: $50,000 – $55,000
- Social Membership Dues: $400 – $500/month
“Currently we are on a 2-2.5 yr waiting list to join.”
- Full Membership Initiation Fee: $70,000 – $80,000
- Full Membership Dues: $500-$700/month
“Carmel is known for its kid-friendly activities, fun adult parties, and two golf courses. It is definitely not an uptight place for social and recreation.”
“Probably the most diverse of the 4 big clubs here.”
“Carmel is the best all around for the value. Carmel has done over $30,000,000 in renovations over the last 10 years without a single financial assessment to the members, making our facilities second to none.”
“Rumor has it they’re 3 new members away from moving to 80K $670/ month for full membership.”
- Full Membership Initiation Fee: $22,500
- Full Membership Dues: $562/month (food and beverage minimum of $50/month)
“Providence CC was purchased by McConnell Golf in February. John McConnell owns 12 of the best courses in the Southeast, and should do wonders for the club. The already-strong golf course will be remodeled next year, and the club has narrowed it down to the design groups of Davis Love III and Tom Doak. The pro shop and fitness center are being redone, and there will be other capital improvements as well.”
- Full Membership Initiation Fee: $23,000 – $35,000 *We’ve heard that this number may be off.
- Full Membership Dues: $500-750/month
- Full Membership Initiation Fee: $25,000
- Full Membership Dues: $300 – $400/month
“Carolina Golf Club has the best group of golfers to play with, and that would be supported by most private club members in Charlotte. Many graduate from Carolina and go to other clubs, but keep memberships at Carolina, or lament the lack of good groups to play with at their new club.”
Update (8/22): I received this email from a member who copy/pasted the latest email from the club:
“Effective September 7th, the non-refundable joining fees for the Social category of membership will be increased to $25,000. With a month remaining before the effective date, there is a window of opportunity for anyone who you may know who has considered making Longview their Club home. Scheduled for January 1, 2017, the non-refundable Golf Membership joining fee will be increased to $65,000. Many of our Members have inquired about upgrading their Social Membership status to a full Golf Membership. If this is something you have been contemplating, you may want to consider this option before the fee increase becomes effective on January 1, 2017.”
- Full Membership Initiation Fee: $8,000 (starting 9/1/16)
- Full Membership Dues: $440/month
- Young Professional Membership Initiation Fee: $8,000 (starting 9/1/16) with only $1,500 down.
- Young Professional Dues: $340/month (until age 35)
“Cedarwood great club if your #1 reason to join is golf. They have fun family and social activities w/ surprisingly good food but the club is for golf first. Traditional, well-manicured (and walkable) golf course that is affordable and in easy to get to location.”
Honorable mentions: Firethorne Country Club, TPC Piper Glen, Pine Island Country Club, Raintree Country Club, Northstone Country Club, River Run Country Club, Pine Lake Country Club & Trump National Charlotte.
Other valuable country club comments from Agenda newsletter subscribers
“Quail- all business; Charlotte- old money Charlotte; Myers Park- best food; Carmel- big everything; Carolina- great golf but no willingness to invest in the clubhouse side of things.”
“Top 4 are Charlotte/Quail/Myers Park and Carmel. Really just depends on what you’re looking for in a club. We live walking distance from Myers Park CC but chose Carmel because of the facilities/friends/and family friendly atmosphere.”
“For the young professionals in Charlotte that are from up north – joining a country club in Charlotte is way more affordable than you probably think.”
“Members are getting younger and younger.”
“There are a surprising amount of new, young families who are members.”
“If you are a golfer and live in near uptown (and can fork over the $$ for the initiation fee) it will be hard to beat Carolina Golf Club.”
“River Run is a tough course that is meticulously manicured and extremely challenging. The greens roll fast and true. It was a Web.com tour site for past three years. ~$7,500 initiation fee and ~$450 monthly dues for full membership and ~$3,000 initiation fee and ~$300 monthly dues for a young professional. Free scheduled access to $1M Davidson College inside practice facility and technology. Dedicated short game practice area (three Par 3 holes).”
“Piper Glen is all about the golf… the pool is okay for the family but 95% of money and effort is only put towards the golf. In my opinion of course. Because Piper did the huge membership drive two years ago once they were bought by Club Corp the under 40 families is through the roof. It certainly helped their membership and the remodel of the main building improved the facility drastically.”
“Myers Park has a good social scene but too crowded and not a great golf course. Quail has too few members and a lame social scene. Charlotte is a happy medium and a great family club.”
“Outside of the clubs that have initiation fees north of $20K and waiting lists, there are some really, really good deals being offered by management/membership committees that are “unpublished deals.” Lots of dues-only opportunities with a 1 year commitment out there for clubs. The wait list is the best barometer of club health but it can be a hard number to pin down.”
“I think that someone hears country club – and assume that you are a snob, or that the scene at these clubs is really stuffy. I have been to those places, but I don’t believe that is the scene in Charlotte, most people are there for the recreation for themselves and family. Obviously not 100% the case, but that is the vibe that I think is more reality. I also believe that as CLT has become more diverse that has become more of the scene on the country club front; 30 years ago if you weren’t born here you couldn’t get it in the established clubs unless you were extremely connected, not the case anymore.”
“No cargo shorts allowed.”