Hey Squalo i tend 2 agree with you on the "rules" part... never been a big fan.For what it's worth - I was new to 4x4 when I bought a GU and joined Patrol4x4.com, and I got a lot more out of just heading out with forum members than I did from the club I joined.
Clubs suit some people perfectly, not a good fit for me though. I work best when not encumbered by rules
I do know that clubs do a lot more for our interests than most people realise - lobbying government and environmental groups for example, to keep tracks open. So I do encourage people to get involved in clubs, even if just as financial members.