If you are considering joining a golf club in the coming years, you should ask about reciprocal privileges at other courses.  We were reminded of this during our swing through the Jacksonville area last week when we visited a couple of communities developed and managed by the LandMar Group.  We were impressed not only with the master plans in the communities of Osprey Cove in St. Mary’s, GA, and North Hampton, in Fernandina Beach, FL, but the golf courses were well conditioned and nice challenges (we were rained out of our round at Osprey Cove but have heard good things about the Mark McCumber design).  North Hampton, an Arnold Palmer course, was a big surprise, given that we are not used to praising designs by the King, but this one was a delight for the eyes, as well as shot selection, with traps well placed but not too large and greens that were sloped but not the customary monsters we’ve come to expect from Arnie.
    Golf-playing residents of each community are lucky and smart because their membership in one provides them with privileges at the other for the price of just a golf cart rental (about $25).  The courses are a mere 25 minutes apart.  What’s more, all courses in LandMar’s communities, as well as many clubs managed by the affiliated Crescent Communities, are available to members of any club in the LandMar group (and vice versa),.  These include some well-regarded courses such as Ballantyne in Charlotte, NC, Oldfield in Okatie, SC, The Rim Golf Club in Payson, AZ, and Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA.  In all, we count more than 20 clubs available to a Landmar (or Crescent Community) golf club member.
    This is not unique.  ClubCorp, another owner of not only golf clubs but also social clubs worldwide, provides similar perks for its members, including access to the courses at Pinehurst, which ClubCorp runs.  And I know from personal experience that the Private Club Network, a division of Creative Golf Marketing, provides reciprocal privileges for members of its client clubs. CGM is working with my home course of Hop Meadow in Simsbury, CT, to increase the number of members; the Hop has joined the Private Club Network, which gives me and my fellow members the ability to play any of 180 courses nationwide for the price of a golf cart rental.  I've tried it, and it works well.
    Troon Golf, which owns many excellent daily fee as well as private clubs, offers discounted greens fees to most of its courses for members at one.  You will pay more than the cost of a cart rental, but to many, access is most important.
    As you plan to join your next club (or your first), consider that you could wind up “belonging” to scores of them.

North Hampton Golf Club is the best Arnold Palmer design we have played, and it is available for the price of a cart rental to any member of a LandMar Group golf club.
    The state of Georgia is blessed with good genes, geographically speaking.  Between 1950 and 2005, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, only one storm of consequence has struck the Georgia coast, hurricane David in 1979, which made landfall just about at the Georgia and South Carolina borders.  The Category 2 hurricane, with winds at their highest around 100 mph, caused power outages, flooding and two casualties.
    In those same five and a half decades, the Atlantic coast of Florida bore the brunt of 13 hurricanes, including the catastrophic Andrew in 1992, a Category 5 (winds above 155 mph), and Donna in 1960, a Category 4 (winds 131 to 155 mph).  South Carolina took eight direct hits in the same time, including the Category 4 Hazel (1954) and Hugo (1989), and North Carolina a dozen, but only Hazel as high as Category 4.
    As we know from recent memory with Katrina, the Gulf Coast, from Texas to the panhandle of Florida, is at high risk of damaging hurricanes.  Before Katrina, there was Camille in 1969, another Category 5 whopper.  As you look at the NOOA’s map of hurricane strikes, there is a consistent stream of circles (strikes) from the area of South Padre Island, TX to Panama City, FL, then sporadic activity down to the Naples/Fort Myers area.  From there it is a pretty constant line of strikes up and around the tip of Florida (and through the Keys) until you get to the Vero Beach area, where the aforementioned David first made landfall in 1979.  From there up the coast to the northernmost point in Georgia, we count only Hurricane Dora in 1964, which landed just south of Jacksonville.  It was the only hurricane recorded in St. Johns County since such things began to be noted in 1851. 
    By the numbers since 1955, you are more at risk of a hurricane if you live on Long Island, New York than if you live from Jacksonville to where the borders of Georgia and South Carolina meet.  For those who are hurricane obsessed, the areas of Jacksonville and Savannah are historically a safe bet.
    The hurricane map is available at the NOAA’s website [click here].