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Playing Exclusive Private Courses


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**Starting this post with a disclaimer that I'm aware this may be an unnecessary and fruitless topic.

 

 

For those that have played some of the top exclusively private clubs in the country, which you are not a member of, how did you happen to get on those courses? I've heard of getting in on corporate outings, or certain tournaments that they set up at those courses, but after learning about some of those entry fees or even the winning bid for foursomes at these types of clubs, that will more than likely not be a way in.

 

Would love to hear people's stories of getting on exclusive tracks and the circumstances that lead to them happening.

 

On a slightly unrelated note, if anyone happens to know of anyone at Oakmont who wouldn't hate a single tagging along, feel free to message me.

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give2gain has some right now. Generally you can find your way on either through knowing a member, a charity tournament, or buying something like this. If you belong to a place, you can have your pro call. Some have more generous policies than others. When we were at a club outside Chicago you could have the pro call up the pro and you'd get out anywhere that does not require a member to be with you at all times to be on the grounds.

 

Outside the US- you have your pro call and they'll find you a spot just about everywhere i've been. Now that we dropped our membership and moved those options are gone...for now.

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There are a couple of non charity routes.

 

In New England, we have an amateur tournament series that hits a bunch of the high end (Myopia, Kittanset, Eastward Ho, Worcester, etc.).

 

We also have MGA “member days” at several good courses - one day outings run by the Massachusetts Golf Association; and then, of course, you can play in the MGA championship events if you qualify from a handicap perspective.

 

Or you can just make great friends.

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but after learning about some of those entry fees or even the winning bid for foursomes at these types of clubs, that will more than likely not be a way in.

 

Another thing to note is that high end private golf is expensive. Really expensive.

 

We can argue about whether it should be; or whether clubs are inefficient; or how much it could cost. But in the real world, your host is out north of $1,000 to host three guys. In that context, the charity auctions aren’t so absurd.

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I used to work for a heavy contractor. Several co-workers got to play at Oakmont, because the president of another contractor we did a lot of work with was a member, though I never got to play. Another coworker got invited to play Congressional multiple times by a supplier that we bought a lot of material from.

 

Now I still do the same kind of work, but from the government side. I’m not allowed to accept any of these kinds of offers if they were to come. Ironically, I now work a lot fewer hours, and actually have the time to play.

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Jerebear21 is correct. A lot of times, it's about reciprocation. I host people throughout the year at my clubs in LA or Philly, and play other friends or business associates clubs throughout the year. We take care of one another knowing the others will do the same. Guest fees range depending on the club and whether your playing with a member or an unaccompanied guest. I've seen as high as 600 plus caddie, plus cart but many guest fees are pretty reasonable.

 

A good way not to get an invite again is ask and then not pickup the tab when you play.

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Learn how to built a network and connect with people. That is how I have done it. I have played I think around 15 top 100 which I know on here is nothing, and also have played many very exclusive clubs that are not as well known nor do they want to be. I have never used an auction or anything like that to get on anywhere. For me part of the fun is the chase. The course I belong to is not some top course either so while I will always offer to reciprocate it is usually not the reason people ask me to play. What I have learned is the more courses you start to get on the more people you meet with connections to other courses. You would be surprised at the places you meet people start talking golf and all of a sudden they are hosting you at (name a course). This is just my experience and how I have started my journey, TREAT PEOPLE THE RIGHT WAY AND GOOD THINGS WILL HAPPEN.

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^^^haha, quoted for truth

 

True story I went to streamsong black and 2 of my buds decided to cancel cuz the temperature was hanging around 65ish past winter. Long story short, they paired me up with a couple. It was kind of cold so I bought drinks for everyone including the caddie.

 

By hole 5-6 the older gentleman told me who he was(ceo of a company based in dallas), after our round we had lunch and he gave me a card and his personal email. I sent him an email telling him I enjoyed my round. He told me he would host me when I come to dallas. Low and behold it's dallas national. Can't even make this ish up even if I wanted to.

 

and to add to the delight he found out I'm playing NCR this summer and sent an email to his close friend who's the starter there and a retired surgeon. He said "they will treat you very good". I'll find out how good that is when I get there!

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Great advice on here, and a couple things to add....

 

If you do get an invite, don't worry about your game and don't grind it out. Be a gracious guest and fun to be around, and that can lead to future invites or connections. It's like you are out on a date...just be personable and fun to be around, and good things will happen.

 

Also, offer to pick up costs. Most of the time, you won't be able to pay for your greens fee if you are playing accompanied, but if you take caddies, have cash on hand and be ready to cover your caddie and that of your host. Buy drinks if you are able. As it was mentioned above, don't expect it to be cheap, so if you want to try and play some exclusive courses, be prepared to pay and have cash on hand in case that club accepts it.

 

Oh and hand written notes go a very long way. Drop one in the mail to your host or if it's set up through the golf pro, send one to them as well. It never hurts to take a few minutes to send a thank you note and/or gift for your host, especially if they paid for everything. Take a note of what golf ball they play and send a dozen or if they have a favorite liquor or wine. I sent one gentleman who hosted me at a top-three course in the country a note with a bottle of nice bourbon, and that $100 investment will lead to more rounds down the road. Simple gestures like that go a long way especially when it would be fairly easy to just send an email or text thank you.

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Great advice on here, and a couple things to add....

 

If you do get an invite, don't worry about your game and don't grind it out. Be a gracious guest and fun to be around, and that can lead to future invites or connections. It's like you are out on a date...just be personable and fun to be around, and good things will happen.

 

Also, offer to pick up costs. Most of the time, you won't be able to pay for your greens fee if you are playing accompanied, but if you take caddies, have cash on hand and be ready to cover your caddie and that of your host. Buy drinks if you are able. As it was mentioned above, don't expect it to be cheap, so if you want to try and play some exclusive courses, be prepared to pay and have cash on hand in case that club accepts it.

 

Oh and hand written notes go a very long way. Drop one in the mail to your host or if it's set up through the golf pro, send one to them as well. It never hurts to take a few minutes to send a thank you note and/or gift for your host, especially if they paid for everything. Take a note of what golf ball they play and send a dozen or if they have a favorite liquor or wine. I sent one gentleman who hosted me at a top-three course in the country a note with a bottle of nice bourbon, and that $100 investment will lead to more rounds down the road. Simple gestures like that go a long way especially when it would be fairly easy to just send an email or text thank you.

 

That's some high quality advice. For golf and life.

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I have played lots of the top 100 and most all of the top 20. Here is the secret:

 

1. Be a lady or a gentlemen at all times (No cell phones, no hats in the clubhouse, just act like a respectful guest)

2. Dress like a professional (this does not mean white belts and orange pants, just don't stick out)

3. Always offer to pay for caddies and greens fees

4. Always send a hand written thank you note

5. Be fun to be around. Get to know you host and the others in the group. Make connections, it's a small world if you genuinely get to know them.

6. Know when to pick up. Pace of play is crucial.

7. Reciprocate if possible.

8. Most of all... REMEMBER YOU ARE A GUEST AND BE RESPECTFUL TO THE MEMBERS AND THE STAFF!

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There are a couple of non charity routes.

 

In New England, we have an amateur tournament series that hits a bunch of the high end (Myopia, Kittanset, Eastward Ho, Worcester, etc.).

 

We also have MGA “member days” at several good courses - one day outings run by the Massachusetts Golf Association; and then, of course, you can play in the MGA championship events if you qualify from a handicap perspective.

 

Or you can just make great friends.

 

What is the tournament series in New England? I am just getting back to playing now that my youngest is graduating from high school and I gave up my membership a while ago. I would be interested in something like this I have lost my network of golfing friends.

 

I mostly have gotten on places through tournaments, being invited or through work. Lots of great advice above. If you don’t have a membership and are invited in addition to offering to pick up guest fees, caddy fees etc offer to reciprocate at a high end daily fee course. Your host may not take you up on it but they will appreciate the offer.

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There are a couple of non charity routes.

 

In New England, we have an amateur tournament series that hits a bunch of the high end (Myopia, Kittanset, Eastward Ho, Worcester, etc.).

 

We also have MGA “member days” at several good courses - one day outings run by the Massachusetts Golf Association; and then, of course, you can play in the MGA championship events if you qualify from a handicap perspective.

 

Or you can just make great friends.

 

What is the tournament series in New England?

 

https://newenglandseries.com/

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We can argue about whether it should be; or whether clubs are inefficient; or how much it could cost. But in the real world, your host is out north of $1,000 to host three guys. In that context, the charity auctions aren't so absurd.

 

I can see that being the case for unaccompanied guest play, but $1000 for three guests to play with a member (your example) is not normal at least on the west coast. Maybe $300 for guest fees, close to the same for caddies (if required, and even then it is usually paid in cash directly to the caddy so not part of the host's tab), and then $100 for lunch.

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We can argue about whether it should be; or whether clubs are inefficient; or how much it could cost. But in the real world, your host is out north of $1,000 to host three guys. In that context, the charity auctions aren't so absurd.

 

I can see that being the case for unaccompanied guest play, but $1000 for three guests to play with a member (your example) is not normal at least on the west coast. Maybe $300 for guest fees, close to the same for caddies (if required, and even then it is usually paid in cash directly to the caddy so not part of the host's tab), and then $100 for lunch.

 

In a prior life, I was a member of a Top 100 club on the West Coast, and it wasn’t far off.

 

My math is basically:

 

$150/guy in guest fees ($450).

 

$100/bag for caddies ($400...your bag wasn’t free).

 

$25 for snacks/drinks on the course.

 

$80 for two rounds of drinks after the round.

 

That puts you at ~$950 and you haven’t had a meal yet.

 

It’s true that it’s pretty easy for the guests to cover caddies in many cases...but even then, it’s not a cheap day out.

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I don’t have the means to join a private club so I can’t extend an invite for a home/away but I have been fortunate enough to play a good amount of clubs through corporate outings, specifically working in the hospital sector and their foundation related fundraisers.

 

Many healthcare vendors purchase foursomes to support hospitals and maintain business relationships but often times don’t have enough folks to fill foursomes so there are always open spots. Think of how many vendors supply hospitals with different materials.

 

I was fortunate enough to work with and become friendly with the foundation department, specifically the ones responsible for the fundraisers. Whenever there were spots open a few days before the outing, I’d be on the list to get an invite.

 

It’s nice to be able to play some private courses in general but I am extremely lucky to play some exclusive ones in New Jersey and not have to spend any money as well. (Baltustrol, Plainfield, Ridgewood are the most notable.

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In a prior life, I was a member of a Top 100 club on the West Coast, and it wasn't far off.

 

My math is basically:

 

$150/guy in guest fees ($450).

 

$100/bag for caddies ($400...your bag wasn't free).

 

$25 for snacks/drinks on the course.

 

$80 for two rounds of drinks after the round.

 

That puts you at ~$950 and you haven't have a meal yet.

 

It's true that it's pretty easy for the guests to cover caddies in many cases...but even then, it's not a cheap day out.

 

The thread is about "exclusive" private courses, and looking at an SF-area club in that category where caddies are required (SFGC) the accompanied guest fee is less than $100. There are no mid-round snacks/drinks to consider unless you count Gatorades for the caddies, and the $ to caddies never goes through the member. You'd struggle to spend more than $200 in the grill for lunch/drinks.

 

A less exclusive place like Olympic would be about the same, but add $50 for burgers/beers at the turn and save money by not needing caddies (who aren't required and aren't very good anyway).

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raynorfan1 cost for exclusive clubs is about right for accompanied guest and falls in line with what I've experienced.

 

100-200x4 in green fees

100x4 mandatory caddie fee

30x4 per person for lunch

100 for alcohol

 

my home club is a lot cheaper when i host

 

75x4 Greenfees/cart

50-70 bucks for lunch

300 for alcohol(TRUE STORY HERE)

 

we have great onion rings and mahi mahi. =P

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raynorfan1 cost for exclusive clubs is about right for accompanied guest and falls in line with what I've experienced.

 

100-200x4 in green fees

100x4 mandatory caddie fee

30x4 per person for lunch

100 for alcohol

 

my home club is a lot cheaper when i host

 

75x4 Greenfees/cart

50-70 bucks for lunch

300 for alcohol(TRUE STORY HERE)

 

we have great onion rings and mahi mahi. =P

 

Well, I can only say that he is off base in terms of clubs such as SFGC, Olympic, Cal Club, CPC for accompanied guest play - but yeah, I am sure there are other courses elsewhere (who would imagine that Monterey-SF would be so cheap!) that would be in Raynorfan's zip code for this type of outing.

Cobra F9 Tour Length - Hzrdus Smoke 70 stiff
Cobra F9 14.5 - Atmos Blue Stiff
Callaway Epic Hybrid - Recoil 780 stiff
TM790 - Steelfiber R 4-UW
Ping Glide 2,0 wedges 54SS/58ES  - Recoil 95 F3
TM Spider Tour
Srixon Z-Star

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raynorfan1 cost for exclusive clubs is about right for accompanied guest and falls in line with what I've experienced.

 

100-200x4 in green fees

100x4 mandatory caddie fee

30x4 per person for lunch

100 for alcohol

 

my home club is a lot cheaper when i host

 

75x4 Greenfees/cart

50-70 bucks for lunch

300 for alcohol(TRUE STORY HERE)

 

we have great onion rings and mahi mahi. =P

 

Well, I can only say that he is off base in terms of clubs such as SFGC, Olympic, Cal Club, CPC for accompanied guest play - but yeah, I am sure there are other courses elsewhere (who would imagine that Monterey-SF would be so cheap!) that would be in Raynorfan's zip code for this type of outing.

 

I can't speak to the economics of every "exclusive" private club in the world - just the two that I'm familiar with (both well-regarded courses in major metro areas, one east coast, one west coast).

 

But if we're talking ZIP Code, it's pretty close. Even if guest fees are $75. You've got $225 in guest fees, $400 in caddie fees, call it $100 in ancillary fees (drinks and snacks for the group, including caddies). You're at $725...which to me is the same "ZIP code" as $1,000.

 

It's true that at my current club, if the stars aligned, you could walk out of there with a bill less than $300: there are some cheaper guest fees available if you do some tee time gymnastics, you could allow your guests to pay for their (and your!) caddie, and you could look the other way and fast-walk past the half-way snack stand. But that's not really the experience that I would want guests to walk away with. That's not how you treat a guest.

 

My fundamental point though is that for guys used to scooping up $75 "hot deals" on GolfNow for "great" public courses, the cost of a round at a private club is dramatically higher.

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Last word - I can't imagine a scenario where a guest at a club (exclusive or not) doesn't pick up a caddy fee (including tip). If you were my guest and didn't, it would be your last time out there (never happened to me in 30+ years taking guests out at my former club).

Cobra F9 Tour Length - Hzrdus Smoke 70 stiff
Cobra F9 14.5 - Atmos Blue Stiff
Callaway Epic Hybrid - Recoil 780 stiff
TM790 - Steelfiber R 4-UW
Ping Glide 2,0 wedges 54SS/58ES  - Recoil 95 F3
TM Spider Tour
Srixon Z-Star

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