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Merion vs. Aronimink


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Which would you prefer as your home club? Assuming you have the $$$, are either of these memberships realistically attainable?

 

My wife and I are members at another similarly ranked club (lower ranking, but host of multiple majors) and spend a lot of time near these clubs visiting friends and family, so are considering joining somewhere for when we’re in town. 
 

If I were to find a member at these clubs through my network, is asking about membership appropriate? I’ve heard that at some of the highest tier clubs it’s truly invitation only and even suggesting that you might like to become a member could get you blackballed. 
 

Thank you in advance for any information. 

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I don't think you are going to get into either unless you have multiple sponsors/supporters who have known you personally for a long amount of time, and possibly some kind of recognizable standing in the local business/professional community. They care about a lot more than just whether you can write the check or not. Unless you have close, long time personal friends/professional associates that are members, I'd say forget it...I think you'd be wasting both peoples' time chatting up a member you only know vaguely about membership.

 

That all being said, I've been a guest of a member at both (probably 5x as many times at Aronimink vs. Merion) and if given the option, would probably pick Aronimink as my home club. But there is zero chance of that happening in my lifetime.

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4 hours ago, Bonneville85308 said:

They care about a lot more than just whether you can write the check or not.

Correct. I know a few people that can pay but can’t get in. That goes even for gulph mills.
 

Playing Merion for the first time in a few weeks, have never played Aronimink but have a buddy from high school who is a groundskeeper there. Merion has the win on prestige.  A friend who belongs there just plays the west course whenever he wants to play a casual round which isn’t really an option for East. If I hypothetically could only play the East course, I wouldn’t want it to be my primary club but with the west course available too I think it would be great. 

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If you are a member a prestigious club and if Merion or Aronimink has a National/nonresident membership then I think you would have a shot a non resident membership.  That being said, a cold call to a member without even playing either course may not be the best way forward.  I would suggest simultaneously having your club’s manager/membership services director/membership director reach out the clubs while at the same time networking to find out if you have a close acquaintance who is a member.  Also, IMO it helps to have a solid game and low USGA handicap or amateur tournament experience.

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Having played them both, Merion would be my choice. Like @PingGuy123said, the West course is a big bonus plus the prestige at Merion is surreal feeling. 

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8 hours ago, burnsniper said:

If you are a member a prestigious club and if Merion or Aronimink has a National/nonresident membership then I think you would have a shot a non resident membership.  That being said, a cold call to a member without even playing either course may not be the best way forward.  I would suggest simultaneously having your club’s manager/membership services director/membership director reach out the clubs while at the same time networking to find out if you have a close acquaintance who is a member.  Also, IMO it helps to have a solid game and low USGA handicap or amateur tournament experience.

Thanks for the reply!  Yes, my thought was to see if either my network or my head pro is able to setup a game for me there, and hopefully make a good connection with my playing partners and try to return the favor by reciprocating at my home club and let the conversation of membership come up naturally over time.  My handicap hovers between 1 and +1 but I really don't play much tournament golf because of work, but hoping that could help me nonetheless. 

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Have the pro of your club arrange for you to play both Merion and Aronimink. If your round (s) of golf  leads to an invitation to join one or both clubs, do so.

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I’ve heard the number of sponsors you need at the Mink is 8. I do not know how many at Merion. Both are obvious gems and in my opinion for different reasons. Don’t take this the wrong way but starting this thread is not the best way to get into either. Good luck. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, dherrmann said:

These aren’t the type of clubs where a phone call will get you on.  

 

The OP wrote that he is a member of a club which has hosted multiple Majors.

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7 hours ago, Noles said:

That can still be the outcome when the pro from a place like Winged Foot, Shinnecock etc. makes the call.  Happens all the time.  

Let us know how it works out at Merion. Members of those other top ten clubs don’t need their pro to call for them because they know members at other places. 
 

I’m not speaking from a general viewpoint, but from firsthand knowledge/experience at Merion. There are people who live across the street who can’t get an invite to join, and the process takes about a year once the coveted invite is extended. No offense to the OP, but if he’s asking about a club like this on a message board then his chances are slim and a call from the pro at his club will only set him back. They don’t care what club you’re a member of now or whether you can afford it. 
 

The last US Am at Merion was won by Eduardo Molinari. Eduardo called the pro shop prior to tournament week to inquire about a scouting trip. He was told he would be welcomed, as long as a member invited him.

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Generally speaking top golf clubs/country clubs are looking for three things that form a Venn Diagram of sorts:

 

1. Are you a Legacy?

2. What is your social/professional status/wealth?

3. Are you passionate about golf/skilled?

 

No. 1 above is self feeding, if your family has been a member you are going to be wealthy and if you are passionate about the game you are probably going to continue your legacy.

 

In order to “break into” one of these clubs you need to be “good”  (single digits/history of competitive golf and wealthy or in a prominent professional role) on the other two or “world class” (c-level executive for an important entity or state level tourney champ/usgs tourney player) one one.

 

Also, most members of top clubs are passionate about golf and love to share their club and facilitate membership to like minded folks.  Sometimes (depending on a persons circumstances)it does take a call to the club to kick the networking off.  Covid and the increase in play has certainly made this more difficult.

 

Also, top clubs do regularly allow outside play from other top clubs.  Precovid I use to travel a lot for work and played as a club sponsored unaccompanied guest at several top clubs.  In fact, I have only had one turn me down and even they would have extended an invitation if I had a foursome (ironically they are the only one not rated in the top 100).  Note that these invitations are always early or mid week (never weekends) and it helps to be a good player (your club doesn’t want to send a hack out).  There are realistically about 1/2 dozen top clubs (there are other less known regional/gated community types that may also want you to play with a member) that would make you play with a member - and these are generally the type of clubs that the members themselves play only a dozen or so times a year themselves.

 

Finally and not surprisingly members of top courses are often members of other top courses.  There is a member at my club that I know is a member of at least 3/6 clubs (thanks GHIN) that I think you probably need a member to play with and I am sure my clubs’ staff would help me connect with the individual member about a round at one of those courses.


 

 

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