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Membership to private social and recreational clubs is taking root in Kenya, especially with the growing consumerism of an emerging middle class. Further, the number of women who are taking up club membership either for leisure, sports or social interactions is on the upward trend. Most membership clubs, especially golf clubs, have been primarily male-dominated, private, and with locked-in members.
This research seeks to find out the effect of assimilating members who have hitherto not been able to access the services of these closed-in groups. The research employed an ethnographic approach in which the researchers interacted closely with other club members for a one-year period. During this time, the researchers observed the interactions among club members, held interviews with some of them, and examined archival data held at the club. Content analysis was used to analyze the large amount of data. Findings indicate that there are many benefits accruing to the club as a result of admitting new different members. These benefits include, but are not limited to, increased funding, more patronage, and expanded quality of league players. However, with the coming of this new category of members, problems arose in areas such as club norms, facilities, social change and the pain of sudden change for the established members.
The researchers provide several recommendations that can hasten and ease the assimilation of members with diverse characteristics and preferences.
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