February 7, 2003
Two of the Cape Region’s oldest and well-respected country clubs are looking for new members.
And they are not shy about devising several ways to entice area golfers into signing up.
Sussex Pines Country Club in Georgetown and Shawnee Country Club in Milford are both seeking to replace several dozen members who either moved from the area, went on to that big country club in the sky, or otherwise decided to end their relationship with the clubs.
Attrition among members is a normal feature of country clubs, of course. Other than unique venues such as Augusta National, very few country clubs experience extremely stable memberships, with only a few changing hands each year. In fact, for most of Delaware’s country clubs it’s not at all unusual to see between 50 and 100 membership changes in a given year.
On the other hand, the recent economic downturn in the state economy has likely increased the attrition rate at Shawnee and Sussex Pines.
In one sense that’s a bit surprising, because both clubs are remarkably good bargains compared to country clubs nearly anywhere else on the Delmarva Peninsula. Both present good challenges to golfers, while also providing swimming and other recreational opportunities for the non-golfers in the family.
In addition, both clubs have very pleasant dining facilities, with each doing a brisk business in Cape Region wedding receptions and other functions.
Sussex Pines plays a bit tougher than Shawnee, but only a little bit. The Georgetown course features more wooded areas as part of the playing hazards, while the wind presents a fairly constant but invisible test of golfing skill at Shawnee’s course.
In the last few years, both courses also completed several renovation projects on their layouts, with new bunkering, cart paths, and drainage work, as well as improvements to their driving ranges. Both clubs are continuing similar projects this winter.
Even with these upgrades, both Shawnee and Sussex Pines remain very reasonably priced.
For a Full Family Shareholder membership at Sussex Pines, the required stock purchase is $1,000. Until March 3, 2003, the $4,000 initiation fee can be paid either upfront or in four annual installments due in September of each year. The dues at this level are set at $1595 for 2003, and the monthly food and beverage minimum is $50.
There are five other classes of memberships available at Sussex Pines, with lower initiation fees, lower dues, and an installment payment option for those memberships requiring stock purchases.
Shawnee’s equivalent Full Family Membership will likely go to just under $1,500 for annual dues, after the required cost of living adjustment is adopted by the Board of Directors at their meeting this week. Members approved a change in the by-laws last year permitting these payments to be stretched out over six months from April through September.
The stock purchase requirement of $1,000 is also payable under an installment plan, and the food and beverage minimum is currently $40 per month. For the last couple years, Shawnee’s initiation fee has been waived, and it’s likely to continue in that status for a while longer.
The Milford club also has five other membership categories, including a combination Individual Full/Family Social class that gives full privileges to one member, with full access to all facilities other than golf to the rest of the family. It’s become the most popular membership category since its adoption last year.
For tours of Sussex Pines and more information, call Club Manager Joe Boswell at 302-856-6283.
For more information about Shawnee Country Club, including some new membership options for returning former members, call Office Manager Gina Timmons at 302-422-9745.