Private clubs in Greenwich

golf-saskatchewanSo what’s the word on local clubs – feeling the pinch or feeling robust? A completely unreliable, unverifiable poll says most are hurting. I’ve mentioned that the Riverside Yacht Club has adopted a two-year rule whereby unemployed members can drop out and look for work without permanently losing their membership and I hear that Greenwich Country Club now has the same provision. Stanwich Club’s $100,000 initiation fee that used to be payable upon admittance is now on a “pay us when you can” basis. Waiting lists of 7 years have been whittled to one and Tamarack, with it’s big spanking new clubhouse is considering bake sales and car washes to pay it off.

Some members see opportunity here. At Riverside, I hear that pressure is again building to tear down the old clubhouse and erect a new one, the hope being, I suspect, that a huge assessment will finally chase out the last remnants of the middle class and elevate membership to its proper orbit. Innis Arden also has a middle class component to its membership but I don’t golf so I don’t know if there is a similar snob element at work over there.

The good news to all this is if you wanted to move to town but didn’t want to wait ten years to play golf or sail, now’s your opportunity. Just like house prices, there’s an opening here.



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35 responses to “Private clubs in Greenwich

  1. OG

    Innis Arden already did the big assessment a few years back when they renovated the golf course. Trouble was, they wildly underestimated the cost, and then had to open the floodgates with new members to pay for the overruns. So there is little snob appeals there, in fact quite the opposite – its next to impossible to get a chair by the pool, and tee times are equally difficult to come by during peak times.

  2. anonymous

    Which sucker pays to join a communal club that will eagerly let ’em in? Even Bernie kept the illusion of scarcity going for a few yrs

  3. cos cobber

    and what big shot can’t swing the 100k initiation fee? seriously, that is weak. if you are club material and can’t pony up a 100 grand, then wtf. i bet half the landscapers in Cos Cob could do that.

    • christopherfountain

      And you think landscapers are allowed into these clubs, Cos Cobber? That’s as likely as them admitting someone from Cos Cob!

  4. Cobra

    As Groucho once said, “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.

  5. GCC Board Member

    The GCC hasn’t changed any of its rules. There has always been rules in place allowing members to drop out and then reapply for membership within 36 months.

  6. cos cobber

    so if i am lame ass who somehow lives in a $4m house but yet needs to finance the 100k initiation fee, i get in because i also happen to have the right friends, dress the right way and by title, have the right job? …a job that apparently is insufficient to afford my lifestyle.

    i really think its pathetic that a club would even consider anyone who couldn’t swing a 100k in one shot. i don’t mean to sound like a snob, i’m just saying that you’ve got real financial issues because you clearly are outliving your means.

    CF, i need to use your home address in the coming weeks. i have some application forms expected in the mail.

    • christopherfountain

      Sorry CC but for purposes of getting into Greenwich or Round Hill, Riverside may as well be Cos Cob.

  7. Riverwich

    How I would rank the private golf courses in town.
    1) Stanwich
    2) Round Hill
    3) Fairview
    4) Greenwich CC
    5) Tamarack
    6) Innis Arden
    7) Burning Tree
    8) Millbrook

    My bet is, a couple of these private clubs(bottom half of the list) cease to exist or become semi private within the next decade.

  8. Stanwich

    Have your ever hung out with the Riverside Yatch Club set? Their parties feature little or bad food, cheap white wine and a lot of frosted hair. If that counts as upper crust in Greenwich then we are really missing the mark. RYC is not that nice, food kind of blows and that monsterous woman who seats you for dinner is so unpleasant. Why would anyone pay for such crap? It is all the illusion of wealth and privilege that people find so alluring. Even though I am from Cos Cob (originally) I have been around long enough to have been to most places (still haven’t been to Fairview) and Stanwich is really nice, Burning Tree is decent, Milbrook is not worth the time, Greenwich CC is a dump (club house is awful, gross, run-down), Belle Haven is nice but small and has no air conditioning (try that one for a wedding reception in August), RYC is in a nice location but as I mentioned before just crappy service and club house sucks), Innis Arden has an active pool which is great for the kids but that’s about it, Tamarack is really a Westchester club — what else am I missing? The clubs is town might pretend to be exclusive, but they really aren’t that great.

    • christopherfountain

      Stanwich, I hate to tell you this, but you just aren’t being invited to the real RYC parties. Schlumps like you get the white-haired ladies bad food scene but for those who count, well …. Have you considered moving from Cos Cob? It just might get you past the velvet rope.

  9. cos cobber

    Oh, didn’t realize just how little respect 06878 commanded.

    I’ll use my office then, it has the right zip.

  10. anon

    I heard Tamarack took out a $13mm mortgage to build the new club house. That’s a lot of new initiation fees to pay that off…

  11. Anonymous

    All sounds like the application “process” to the private schools in town.

  12. BackCountryGal

    As a member in good standing of a couple Greenwich clubs, I am happy to see so many of the hedgie type resign. From my vantage point, they were only there because they were told it was the thing to do. They got in, but once in, hardly participated. I can’t tell you how many excuses I got from this ilk of member when it came time to volunteering and/or organizing. Help? Honey, don’t we have people for that? The clubs I belong to are rethinking what it takes to be a real member. Hint= it’s not about money. I’d rather sit next to a sucker who is eager to join than an a-hole who collects Membership Directories.

  13. anonymous

    Do any of the hedgie billionaires (not their worker bees) in town belong to any of these clubs?

    Lots of big hedgies don’t play well with others; recall that many of the biggest hedgies left “clubs” like GS or other IBs or a big HF early in their careers in a huff over being underpaid and started their own shop…

  14. Stanwich

    I hate to disappoint you CF but I am in 06830, a good part of it too.

    But, I will be making a move to 06878 very soon….watch out for the reported contract, should be coming in the next few days if the seller’s attorney can get his act together. Maybe you can take me to the club as a welcoming gift (hopefully they won’t serve boxed wine again).

    • christopherfountain

      Oh we’ve long since passed the box wine craze, Stan, and gone retro: Boone’s Farm Apple Wine! It’s just in honor of Woodstock’s 40th, then we’ll go back to moonshine.

  15. Cobra

    “Greenwich CC is a dump (club house is awful, gross, run-down)”

    The GCC clubhouse’s Georgian predecessor, totally destroyed in the 1960 Labor Day weekend fire, was the primary motivator for the founding of the Stanwich Club (” In 1960, one of the most spectacular and devastating fires in Greenwich history claimed the clubhouse of the Greenwich Country Club. While that club considered rebuilding at its existing site, a group of its members looked into the possibility of moving the club to a new location farther out from the city.”)

    My father, who felt the plans for the new GCC clubhouse were quite tacky, even by 1960 standards, resigned from the board of governers and eventually, upon learning of planned relaxation in membership application criteria (accepting residents of Cos Cob, for example), dropped our membership entirely.

    I recall visiting the new clubhouse for it’s gala reopening event and being less than impressed by the architecture and Vegas-like interior decor. While we missed taking tennis lessons from Joe Sobek and eating greasy burgers by the pool, hanging out at RYC, sailing with my friends, was great fun.

  16. sessions

    I think the Obama administration should look into bailing out some of these country clubs, its not their fault the economy turned like it did

  17. hem22

    I find it interesting how many comments any mention of private schools or country clubs illicit on this blog.

  18. RYC Member

    Say what you will about the food at RYC (it ain’t good), but otherwise it’s a great club. The best views and protected dockage/ moorings in the area, a really fun membership, great parties and an awesome kids’ program. Also, in my opinion the best pool, given its waterfront location – and never crowded. RYC is not at all pretentious in my opinion – no reason or desire to be, for most members there.

  19. Shoeless

    I hear that the bank is very eager to get some money back from Tamarack to pay for the 55,000 sq ft club house, but so far have received squat. Problem is, I don’t think the bank has any desire to inherit a golf club through some sort of legal action.

    Here’s my plan: once the bank writes the loan off as a loss, I’m going to step right up and join Tamarack. No assessment, no worries.

  20. Chimney

    So what does Belle Haven Club do in this economy- you guessed it- they raised the dues! Sort of like the real estate market in town.

    I agree with CF about RYC- I don’t know what Stanwich is smoking, but I think it’s the best club in town- nice people and staff, great setting, and everything but golf. ( I’m a long-time Greenwich resident, but not a RYC member.)

  21. cos cobber

    CF, isn’t your hair frosted?

  22. Anonymous

    I love RYC too (not a member) but the pool no way compares to the pool at the Belle Haven Club which is right next to the beach. BHC has better views of the water- RYC has much bigger boats.

    • christopherfountain

      RYC has larger boats, Anon, because it has a harbor. Belle Haven does not – it’s the Rocky Point of the jet set. Personally, I love Rocky, Belle Haven, not so much.

  23. Anonymous

    I LOVE Rocky too!!!

  24. ogrcc

    no love for old greenwich yacht club?

    it is the least pretentious of all yacht clubs and rightly so

  25. Red

    I disagree with some of Stanwich’s rankings/opinions of various Clubs in town, but they do have different personalities and no one is forcing you to join any one club in particular.

    But, once you are into a Club, you are part of that large (sometimes dysfunctional) family. As Backcountrygal notes, it’s not about how much money you have — only outsiders think that’s what a Club is about.

  26. Anonymous

    Nothing like Stamford yatch club for a bit of diversity though. You got your Darien Preppies, your new canaan wholesomites, your wilton and Redding red necks and a few Greenwich families thrown in for good measure. Cos cobber’s welcome too i hear.

    Oh, and a delinquency list that’s threatening to go to a second page any day.

  27. Towny

    Betcha 4/5 of RYC membership are non boat owning…….Same goes for Belle Haven. Indian Harbor relaxed those rules in the late 70’s and have regretted it ever since. Riverside has a great sailing program, however IHYC is far superior.

    Noticed how no one mentioned my beloved Field Club. Its the best kept secret from the pretentious set. I guess no one plays sqaush anymore except gays like me, and we’re not producing any youn’uns.


  28. Blind Brook

    RHC, once considered the creme de la creme, has filled its membership ranks with Hedgies and the boastful sons of old time members like Alan Breed, son of the arrogant ex first selectman Rebecca, whose own family belonged to Belle Haven and the Field Club but couldn’t cut Round Hill. With the likes of the McCloys and the Noels, the prestige has sunk below one time new Art Ivey real estate project Burning Tree. Go to dinner on Sunday night and shoot off a canon (not President Marty). No one would be hurt.

  29. digler

    What on earth is a wholesomite?