In general, the initial step in gaining membership is to submit a formal application to the club. Before an application will be considered the prospective member must be sponsored by a club member. The role of this member sponsor is critical to the receipt and acceptance of this inquiry given the selective nature of the application process. The sponsoring member ensures that all the necessary information is contained in the application and then forwards the application to club management or to the membership committee.
In many clubs the prospective member’s application is sent out for scrutiny to the club membership. This is important to note because the club’s members can accept or reject the applicant based on personal reasons, stature in the community, fit with values of the club, or some other pertinent reason. In all cases, the general consensus of the membership is strongly considered before the membership committee levies their vote for approval or rejection.
It is interesting to note that clubs in England traditionally use the ‘black ball’ system, whereby each member is given a black and a white ball to be used in a secret ballot. A black ball indicates rejection and a white ball indicates acceptance. If any prospect receives a black ball then the applicant is rejected.