The Coast News Group
Rancho Santa Fe

RSF Association hears ideas to boost golf club membership

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club needs new blood and it is proposing a few changes to the membership categories to provide an infusion. 

Officials from the golf club brought their ideas to the Association meeting on Jan. 3, including a new category of a Junior Executive Member that would allow a resident to pay installments of the $50,000 enrollment fee until the age of 48.

“It is a way for them to join the club sooner than later,” Al Castro, general manager of the club, said.

The idea behind this new category is to give a break to the younger homeowner, who maybe still has children at home, who moved here because of the excellent schools or has other financial responsibilities that would keep him or her from joining he club.

“Association voting members who have not yet reached the age of 48 may apply as a Junior Executive member. The enrollment fee will be divided equally over the years remaining until age 48 but will not be greater than 10 years,” Castro said.

He said for instance, if a member is 35 at the time of the application, they will pay one-tenth of the current enrollment fee in installments.

A member who is 45 at the time of the application will pay one-third of the current enrollment fee.

“They will be charged the same dues, assessments and other charges as a regular member and will enjoy the same privileges as a regular member,” he said. “A Junior Executive member in good standing at the time they reach the age of 48 will automatically a regular member.”

Association Director Eamon Callahan called the proposal “discriminatory.”

“What about the guy who has been working all the time and now has the time to play golf? How come they are discriminated against?” Callahan asked. “I don’t know why 48 is a magic number.”

Golf clubs everywhere are suffering the same issue of losing members faster than new members can be signed up. In addition, the competition between golf clubs to attract members is keen.

“I understand the challenges you are going through,” Larry Spitcaufsky, Association director. told the golf club officials. “The only place to go to get new members is from the membership.”

Steve Dunn, chairman of the golf club’s membership committee, said attracting new members has been difficult.

“We are running as hard as we can to keep up,” he said.

The optimum number of members at the club is around 700. Over the past few years, the club has lost about 200 members, Dunn said.

Association Director Craig McAllister said offering golf club membership at a reduced rate is a terrific marketing tool. Perhaps people sitting at home in a snow storm in Connecticut would see that as a catalyst to make the move to Rancho Santa Fe.

Also proposed to the Association at the meeting was reducing the number of years from 10 to five for a Former Resident Associate Member category. It was also proposed that the ceiling of 20 members be stricken and a new maximum number of members in this category adjusted as needed.

The Association board decided to table the proposal until it could be discussed further, perhaps at the upcoming annual retreat during which directors discuss plans for the future.


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