What Is a Country Club in Golf?

Waikoloa Kings Course in Hawaii
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A "country club" is a social and recreational facility that sells memberships and offers its members access to its facilities. Those facilities typically include a golf course, perhaps tennis and swim facilities, and dining. A country club usually offers social activities for its members.

A country club can be very private, very expensive and very exclusive, capping membership at a small number (say, 250). Or a country club can follow a semi-private model for its golf business, giving its members preferential tee times but also allowing non-members to play the golf course.

For non-members, access to a golf course that is part of a private, exclusive country club is usually only possible if you know a member. Most country clubs, no matter how private, do allow non-members to play their golf course if they are guests of a member.

Another method for non-members to play a private, country club golf course is through what is known as reciprocals or a reciprocal program. That essentially means that if you belong to a different country club, you can ask your head golf professional to try to arrange for you to play at another private course.