Joining a private club can be a great thing. The course is usually in much better shape, the clubhouse and locker rooms are available at all times and then there is the socialization that you enjoy with fellow members.

If you are looking for a private, member-owned golf home community, I would like to suggest that you put Piper’s Landing Yacht & Country Club in Palm City atop your list. When consider the initial contribution, the refundable contribution, monthly dues and fees, this club comes out as one of the least expensive private clubs, and best values, on the Treasure Coast.

No one enjoys a club where you are constantly fighting for tee times, or court time, or to get a table in the dining room. With only 302 residences and no outside memberships available, the course, tennis courts, and clubhouse are never over-crowded. That’s not to say that no one is there, it’s just that there is the right amount of elbow room for each member.

The newly renovated clubhouse isn’t huge and ostentatious. At 29,000-square feet there is just the right amount of space for the pro shops, dining room, locker rooms and more. A new lifestyle center has been added allowing members to enjoy exercise classes, wool activities, massages and spa services.

Just this year Piper’s Landing was awarded the 2018 Best Private Club in Martin and Port St. Lucie by readers of the Hometown News. And those are some very smart readers. In 2017, Indian River Magazine named the club the Best Place to Play Golf.

The membership structure is simple. Everyone is a full golf member and everyone pays the same amount. This creates a harmonious community and financial stability for the club. The golf course is the community’s greatest asset and having everyone support it, makes for a first-class club and community.

A couple weekends ago, I was invited by Pegi Austin, the club’s Membership and Marketing Coordinator, to come out and experience Piper’s Landing first-hand. I brought a colleague along for the experience.

When you arrive at Piper’s Landing, the first thing you notice is how beautiful and well-kept the landscaping is. Every yard is pristine, the common areas are groomed to perfection, the flowers are in bloom, the staff is warm and friendly. You feel relaxed almost immediately.

While everything leading up to that first tee shot may relax you, the golf course itself can be as challenging or relaxing as you desire. The par-72 layout has six sets of tees with a course rating ranging from 66.1 to 74.2, and a slope rating that ranges from 122 to 149.

Piper’s Landing was designed in 1984 by native Floridian, Joe Lee, and measures as long as 6,922 yards from the tips. Lee has designed and renovated more than 250 courses in his career, including Bay Hill, Doral’s Blue Monster, LaCosta, and Cog Hill. Lee is famous for his straightforward designs. No fancy bells and whistles, or gimmicks, just a course that’s easy on the eyes and fun for golfers of every level.

A redesign in 2007 by Gene Bates bettered the course’s drainage and irrigation while maintaining the original integrity and design principles.

The course is a wonderful blend of challenge and fun, with conditions that rival the best courses you will play. Playing from the correct set of tees, one will find themselves hitting nearly every club in the bag.

The toughest hole on the course comes up quickly. The par-5 second hole features a split fairway with the preferred side being narrowed by bunkers and out-of-bounds. Not many reach the green in two. In fact, my colleague decided to play in the sand the entire way to the green.

The par-4 10th hole is one that may be played a myriad of ways. It’s not very long, but there is a large oak guarding the approach to the green. Hit your drive long enough and it’s not much of a factor. Hit short and you face a longer approach through a narrow gap. Hit your tee ball just right and you have to go over it.

At the par-4 14th, you are again posed a challenge. There is a brook running across the fairway. You can layup or drive over it. The longer your drive, the easier the approach will be. I want a mulligan on this hole!

The finishing holes are wonderful, with the 18th having a severe dogleg to the right with plenty of bunkers guarding the turn. The more daring you are, the shorter your approach.

The best thing about finishing your round at Piper’s Landing, is that you can now enjoy a wonderful meal. The club features some of the most delicious meals. After our round, while we discussed how fantastic the course conditions were and how much we loved the course, we enjoyed a shrimp po' boy sandwich, French dip, lobster bisque, and cold beverages. We topped it off with some of the club’s famous cookies. I’ll go back just for the food!

If you would like to find out more about Piper’s Landing Yacht & Country or schedule your own personal tour, please call Pegi Austin at (772) 283-7000 or visit the website at www.piperslanding.com.

James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at stammergolf@yahoo.com.