CARLSBAD – A new type of golf club is growing in popularity amid the sport’s renaissance due to the pandemic.
Known as “affiliated golf clubs,” they attract non-traditional golfers and non-country club individuals to meet at various (typically municipal) courses and develop themes to engage and recruit members for the sport. The main objective is to have fun and socialize without the country club feel.
Beachside Golf Club was founded by Carlsbad resident Kristin Finlay in 2020 when she was living in Los Angeles. Finlay’s mixed club, sanctioned by the Southern California Golf Association, has about 20 members from Los Angeles to San Diego.
Outside of golf, Finlay said another essential component of his club is philanthropy, which is why they organize fundraisers to benefit First Tee, a junior golf program for underserved youth.
“There are a lot of them coming up, and the SCGA is really supporting them,” Finlay said of the affiliated clubs. “These are people interested in golf. It is helping to grow the game of golf in various populations.”
Finlay said the pandemic has seen a significant increase in “affiliated clubs”, while the golf association has seen a 25% increase since 2020. According to reports, 6.2 million people played golf during the pandemic, as courses were one of the few facilities allowed to open. in the first months of the pandemic.
“It grew very organically with weekly outings that became quite regular,” said Christine Franz, a member of Beachside, a resident of Carlsbad. “We had over 60 people at our tournament in July. It’s about people who want to get together with their friends on the golf course and create a more comfortable space.”
Franz found the club on Instagram this year and has played in two events. She said the club is a fun way to learn the game, meet new people and do good for her community.
Franz said the mixed component was also an attraction, as she enjoys playing with both men and women.
Members pay US$100 per year, with US$50 going to the club and the rest to the SCGA membership. Membership allows players to be eligible for ratings and handicap, in addition to other perks.
“I like to play different courses,” Franz said. “I didn’t want to join a country club because you’re stuck with a club. They are all young professionals in their 30s, and Kristin is really big on philanthropy, and I liked that.”
Another difference is how some Beachside Golf Club members dress for a game, clothes not usually seen on country club courses. Colorful clothing is a way for players to express themselves without following a rigid standard of private clubs.
Finlay also said his tournaments are mostly held on municipal courses, where dress codes aren’t as strict.
“We’re focused on getting the nontraditional golfer,” she said.
Beachside Golf Club is hosting a mixer starting at 9am on October 1st at Arrowood Golf Course in Oceanside. For more information, visit facebook.com/beachsidegolfclub.