One of the appeals of private country clubs is their exclusivity. Membership openings are typically capped-off at a certain threshold, meaning once a specific number of memberships is sold, a new member can only join after an existing member decides to leave the country club, thus opening up a membership slot. This often results in waiting lists, which further reinforces the desirability and panache of the country club.

Importance of Country Club Screening

Reasons For Country Club Background Check

Steep initial membership fees – sometimes in excess of $100,000 – coupled with mandated minimum food and beverage purchases, all add to the Club’s distinctiveness. These financial encumbrances along with the numerical limitation of memberships mean that an affluent consumer becomes the target market for the country club. However, not all affluent individuals are law-abiding citizens. Terrorists and criminals also have an abundance of wealth.

The penalty for any business, including country clubs, doing business with a SDN (Specially Designated National) is severe. There is up to a $ 1 million CMP (Civil Monetary Penalty) and ten years in federal prison, per occurrence. Clearly, performing membership screening to ensure that no SDN’s are being granted membership at your country club is at least a financial imperative to mitigate risk against these onerous fines. Plus, Club management and ownership will probably prefer not to be spending time in a federal penitentiary.

“Best-Practices” Background Checks

Membership screening also protects the club’s brand by uncovering individuals with dangerous and undesirable criminal histories. Viral social media can significantly damage a club’s reputation. By performing “best-practices” background checks, country clubs are in a position to defend themselves, whether in social media, in front of a television news camera, or in a court of law.

Existing members will welcome that thorough background checks are being performed on new member candidates. New members will also welcome it, knowing that the club takes their safety seriously. Further, the average cost of a “best-practices” background check can be passed through to the member applicants, as part of an Application Fee, Background Check Fee, or simply incorporate it into the Initial Membership Fee. This allows the country club to protect its brand, members and employees at no cost to the club.


Implementing country club membership background checks attract better-qualified candidates, protects the club and its brand, and can pay for itself. It becomes another selling point to the benefits of your country club, as it is clear that member safety is important to club management, just as safety is expected from members. Gaining members that meet the high standards of your club through vetting with “best-practices” background checks will only help improve your bottom line.

Posted by: Rudy Troisi, L.P.I., President and CEO, Reliable Background Screening
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