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What is a Members Only Club?

Members only clubs restrict access to certain people who belong to the group.
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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
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A members only club is a place where people usually go to relax and unwind. People can go to their members only club to use the facilities provided, which usually include a gym, a restaurant, a bar and sometimes sleeping accommodations. The one thing that most members only clubs have in common is a set of requirements that must be fulfilled before one can become a member.

To become a member of one of these clubs, a person usually has to be recommended by someone who is already a member. Guidelines for recommendations are different from club to club. Some clubs are notoriously elitist and can be joined by invitation only.

Once a person has been permitted to join, a membership fee must be paid monthly or yearly. Some of these fees may seem exorbitant. It can cost many thousands of US dollars per year to remain a member of a members only club. There have been reports of people taking out bank loans and going into debt in order to remain a member of these clubs.

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So why would anyone want to pay these fees when the same facilities are available at a fraction of the cost in local gyms or clubs? Many people see members only clubs not only as a place to unwind and relax. Many of these clubs are designed for networking purposes. There are deals going on behind the doors of many members only clubs, and many people receive first hand job offers simply by being a member.

Although the members only club can be considered elitist, once one is a member, there is no class system inside. Because everyone must fulfill the same set of requirements to gain entry, everyone is considered to be of the same status. This fact in itself can be seen as elitist, however.

Most members only clubs are notoriously private. Some clubs in London do not allow mobile phones or cameras inside. These are places where celebrities, film stars, rock musicians and royalty can let their hair down without fear of a photograph appearing in the next morning's newspaper.

Apart from the job offers and networking, many clubs also allow the family members of club members to use the facilities for no extra cost. Many club members claim that their club will allow them to use the facilities even if they have no money for a period of time until they can pay.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to members only clubs. Some people see the clubs as laughably elitist and dated, while others become debt-laden to remain a part of them. Many people favor the Groucho Marx take on the clubs: he once said that he wouldn't be a member of any club that would have him as a member.

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Buster29
Post 2

I've had good and bad experiences with members only clubs. There's a private country club in my city where most of the movers and shakers have memberships. One of my clients recommended me a few years ago, and I have to say it's a really nice facility. I don't golf much, but the clubhouse has a gym, an indoor pool and a private dining room. It's nice to be able to spend time with fellow professionals and just get away from the office for a while.

There was another time, however, when I thought about joining another members only club and I couldn't even get through the door without an official member escorting me. Until I agreed to become a member, I could only be in certain rooms. The atmosphere was not very inviting at all. I couldn't see myself having much fun without a little more diversity around me.

Phaedrus
Post 1

We have a few members only clubs in our town, but most of them aren't elitist or discriminatory at all. It's a dodge to get around the local liquor laws, actually. It's currently illegal for a licensed bar to serve alcohol on Sundays, but these laws don't apply to private clubs. People who want to spend time in the club's bar can pay a $5 membership fee at the door and become part of a "members only" establishment.

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