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If Jeff Maggert could remove one thing from this picture, would it be his kids or beautiful and prestigious Augusta National?
If Jeff Maggert could remove one thing from this picture, would it be his kids or beautiful and prestigious Augusta National? (Getty Images/Stephen Munday)

Is having children worth sacrificing my dream of a country club membership?

Brandon TuckerBy Brandon Tucker,
Managing Editor

I suppose it's only natural to start thinking about family when you're a single man nearing the age of 30.

It's my duty as a warm-blooded mammal and all, and I'm not against it by any means. But I've been crunching the numbers, calculating just how much money having a kid or two would cost me, and the figures are pretty mind-boggling. I'm starting to wonder if my plan to join one of my area's best private golf clubs would be able to happen should I add a dependent or two on my salary.

You see, I completely understand that fathering children is a beautiful thing, something we as humans are instinctively drawn to by Mother Nature.

But on the other hand, I've been slumming it out on cheap, municipal and low-grade public golf courses my entire life. At one point, aren't I entitled as a lifelong golfer to finally enjoy the fruits of my suffering on a well conditioned, thoughtfully designed private golf course from one of the game's premier course architects such as Jack Nicklaus or Tom Fazio?

Maybe that sounds superficial compared to the first time I see my child take its first steps, speak its first words and play its first piano recital. I'm sure they will all be experiences I cherish and take warmly to my grave.

Then again, if I never threaten playing golf to a scratch level, which I currently blame on poorly conditioned public driving ranges that lack in realistic short game areas that let me drill all my shots, I'll never be able to live with myself before reaching said grave.

Look, I know golf is a family game, and I'll bet getting the chance to spend four hours with my child on the golf course would be precious time indeed. Some of my best childhood memories come from rounds of golf played with family.

But on the other hand, I've got this gut feeling my offspring will be girls, and they'll surely be far too prissy to ever become genuinely interested in golf. My golf budget will be forked over into her addictions to text messaging and Forever 21.

I think it would be wonderful to be a coach, teacher and mentor to my children as my parents were to me. It must be a real trip seeing your children have tendencies and habits that mirror you and the mother. And is there anything more rewarding than seeing your kid accept their high school diploma as their first step into adulthood?

Having said that, college tuition is increasing by 10 percent a year. Considering golf memberships have actually gone down in cost in the last decade, wouldn't it be smarter to invest in membership to a well-regarded private club over money-grubbing universities who are only out to upgrade what will earn them higher, yet arbitrary, national rankings?

I assume at one point my parents will start nagging me for grandchildren, and I think they'd make wonderful, loving grandparents. While my wife and I would surely have to be hard-nosed with some aspects of our child's upbringing, they would bring warmth, wisdom and undying love to them.

Then again, am I supposed to spend all my vacation time shuttling kids to all my relative's houses when I could be taking advantage of my club's reciprocal play opportunities in Monterey?

It's a tough read. I think for the time being, I'll buy a turtle.

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Really

    Brian wrote on: Mar 20, 2014

    This is actually the first time I have visited this site and this was the first article I read. I'm nowhere near being a scratch golfer, but I must say I was awed by you dilemma. Seriously, if this is a true question to ponder then you are already heading in the wrong direction. This is coming from a person who has a beautiful wife, three awesome kids (all still very young), and a membership to one of the area's best clubs. Oh, and achieved this before turning 35. Good luck trying to figure things out.


  • Same Dilemma

    FatGuyGolf wrote on: Jan 26, 2014

    While this was obviously written from a naive, single-guy's perspective, I had the same dream and faced the same choices.
    First, it's impossible to measure the experience of having kids in dollars and cents. Once you hear you first child cry at birth, it'll click. There's no measure for the good times... or the bad. My son is 6, and just taking him to the range paints a smile on my face all day. I don't know if he'll take to the game like I did, but I'll support him in whatever he loves to do.
    One of my early stated life goals was to join a country club before age 35. I could never afford it as I was building my career through my 20's. By 34 I had a live-in girlfriend who brought along a daughter, and within a few years we were married with another son. The bills kept coming, and before I hit 40 I realized my country club dream was officially dead. Those are the sacrifices you make for your family and your kids.
    Maybe someday, once the kids are all through college and I retire, I'll join some rinky-dink 9-holer. Or become the starter at a nice public course. That's probably the best most of us schmos can hope for.


  • My son is my coach

    Barny wrote on: Nov 6, 2012

    Dude, I am 39. My son is 12. His swing is a thing of wonder. Mine is not so much. He teaches me and I know he is a better golfer than I am now and always. That makes me happy. My wife likes that I am always golfing with my son. Its perfect. Kids are good for your golf, yes thats right, it surprised me as well.


  • to have kids or country club membership

    Steve wrote on: Apr 19, 2010

    Either choice, having kids or immersing yourself in golf, will break your heart in the end, so flip a coin. The result will be as good as any pondering and a lot quicker!


  • You lost me at Prissy!

    Sara B wrote on: Apr 6, 2010

    I always enjoy reading your stuff, but you may have crossed a line with this one! ;-) I understand that taking on the commitment of a family is a BIG DEAL, but that's no excuse for dissing your unborn daughters and assuming they will be prissy. Whether you have boys or girls is no guarantee of any love or aptitude for golf. Hopefully, you will be able to share the game with them in a way that will make them want to play more.
    As far a belonging to a Fazio or Nicklaus course. They're too hard. You won't ever get your handicap down to single digits playing a course designed by one of those two guys!
    Thanks for the laugh and good luck with the decision.


  • He'll end up being an old fart...

    Dan Mihai wrote on: Feb 4, 2010

    I hope he'll join that precious club and stay single all his life. Nobody will be at his funeral...


  • GOLF

    Corey wrote on: Jan 10, 2010

    Dude, you are an idiot


  • country club of kids

    Patrick wrote on: Dec 30, 2009

    Go for the private club, no doubt it will cost less, stay with you longer and never let you down. Kids are great but a country club would be better. College alone is going to cost you at least 100K each and that is at a state school not including grad school.


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