Requiem for a Country Club

214600.jpgThanks to reader Steven T. for catching Rich Lerner's memories of Berkleigh Country Club, which recently closed and auctioned off plenty of memories.

I thought this was particularly interesting since I've recently heard of a number of clubs having serious trouble attracting new members.

Berkleigh was 81 years old. People die at 81, not lush golf courses with rich history. At 81 they get curvier and prettier. So many clubs, though, struggle now, desperate for members and families. Who has time, what with kids and jobs and the Internet and TIVO and 300 channels? Who goes to dinner dances anymore? Dressing up these days means Lucky Brand jeans with a Banana Republic t-shirt.

My generation had kids later in life. And either because we really wanted to be better dads or were driven through societal pressure, we went to Little League baseball games and soccer matches on Saturday mornings, joining the fitness craze and the $70-a-month gyms instead of country clubs.
Today, I travel more than 20 weeks a year and because of my job get more than enough invites to quality clubs to keep me satisfied. Most guys I know play a couple of times a month, maybe at a high-end daily fee or as a guest at a nice club. Many of us know at least a few of the generous and fortunate who belong to great places, those with gilded reputations that put them beyond the reach of economic downturns.