Golf clubs that have a full roster of members sometimes will offer a waiting list for those wishing to join. Usually, country clubs do not require you to pay membership dues while you are on the waiting list. However, you may incur other fees while you are on the list.
Membership dues are one of the biggest costs of membership at a golf club. According to "New York" magazine, members at Donald Trump's Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., pay $25,000 a year in dues. Golf clubs not as exclusive as Trump's may charge only a few hundred dollars a month in dues. Golf clubs realize that few people are willing to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a month in membership dues while on a waiting list. Prospective member typically do not incur monthly membership fees until they officially join the club.
The Country Club of New Canaan, Conn., once had a seven-year waiting list -- but that was in 1988, according to "The New York Times." Some clubs still have waiting lists, but recent economic pressures and competition from other leisure activities make a seven-year wait likely at only the most prestigious clubs.
Some clubs may charge a fee to hold a spot on the waiting list. At the time of publication, Quinnatisset Country Club, in Thompson, Conn., is charging $120 a year for a spot on its waiting list. The fee allows prospective members to play two 18-hole rounds of golf a year at the club while awaiting full membership. Other clubs, such as Concord Country Club, in Concord, N.H., charge a flat fee for joining the waiting list. Concord Country Club's fee, at the time of publication, is $250.
Contact several golf clubs before paying a fee to join a waiting list. Some clubs may have immediate openings or special promotions that reduce the cost of joining. For example, in 2012 Trump waived the $150,000 initiation fee at Trump International Golf Club as part of a membership drive. Initiation fees are payable once you move off the waiting list. They range from about $1,000 to more than $100,000, according to The Golf Membership Spot website.