How to get on at Private courses?

So I seem to always see post on how some of you hackers have enjoyed rounds at some of the best or not best, but still private courses. I am wondering how you do it? Is it just knowing the right people, or is there a method to it?

I, for instance, live in Atlanta and have played a great number of the public and semi public courses around here (The Frog, Stone Mountain, Dog Wood, Marietta City Club, Lake Spivey, Browns Mill), but haven’t ever sniffed a round at East Lake, AAC, Peachtree or Ansley. Granted I have only seriously been back into golf for about a year and half, but I was just curious.

The way I see, is I just need to become way more successful than I am. Also please note I am really just geniunely curious on how people do it.

Mostly through knowing people, unfortunately. The US country club model is markedly different than it is overseas, where a simple inquiry and proof of handicap can grant access to some of the best courses, at a cost.

There really isn’t any short cuts here.

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Here’s a big secret that the crooked golf world won’t tell you about access to exclusive clubs…

Be really good at golf.

A ton of great clubs host qualifiers for state and national tournaments. Aside from that, yes you just have to meet members and be friendly. Having a reciprocal round helps.

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Joining a place will get you on to a lottttt of other places. You can just have your pro call another club to set something up. Also, if you join a place, you have access to Thousand Greens. I’ve had some logistical issues just figuring out the timing to set up rounds, but TG is awesome. Playing at a place in Tampa next weekend through TG (with @IlliniGolferHack and @JDinDelray among others!).

Other than that, playing in fundraisers/events will get you on. A chemistry trade group had a fundraising outing at a place I’d always wanted to play (and is hard to get on), so my buddies and I bought a foursome. We are not in the sciences at all lol.

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FYI Eastlake and AAC have members with open offers on Thousand Greens.

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Other than befriending members, or buying foursomes at charity events, you should find you a pro, or pros, who know people at places…and ask them for a favor.

The pros, starters, caddy masters, head superintendents…they have the keys too.

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I didn’t think so. I am a “young professional” who does meet a lot of differnt folks, but I can’t think of a scenario where I am schmoozing with members of these clubs. I guess one day, I will run across some.

I do have a bit of an interesting story about the Augusta National though. So My pop’s side of the family is from Augusta, and I was fortunate enough to go to the masters as a young lad, and one of the guys my father grew up with is a member of the national. He told my dad years ago, there would be tons or request by athletes, actors, politicians, etc. to play the course, and there was just this board in the clubhouse where a member could just choose who they would play a round with. Like sure I’ll go play with MJ, send him my schedule. I don’t know if it works like that now, but from what I know it used to.

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Not sure offering a round at Browns Mill will get me the same offer in return. HAHA.

Not to knock my home course basically.

Haha probably not, but eventually you might get to a point where you want to join somewhere. It doesn’t have to be another high end club, just somewhere that’s fun to play.
I wouldn’t consider mine a high end place, but a member from Essex County Club had never played it and was happy to trade a round.

How Prestigious does your club need to be for this to actually work?

They tier it. \

Only full memberships are considered in Tier determination (many of our members have several memberships, including long distance or other restricted memberships – these are not considered for tier determination, more on that in the Help section). We have four tiers. The highest tier (Fern) consists of some of the most sought after and top rated clubs in the world. The next tier (Sage) has clubs that are recognized as the top clubs in the U.S., the British Isles, Australia, Continental Europe, etc. The next tier (Moss) consists of clubs that are featured on the website http://www.top100golfcourses.com. The next tier (Olive) encompasses private clubs that are not mentioned on the “top100golfcourses” website. We do not make any personal judgement in determining the tiers and only use published rankings from various sources.

Assume I’m a member of an Olive tier course. (I am.) What are the benefits? Wasn’t clear to me from the website.

East Lake is a tier above mine (EL is Sage and I am Moss) but I have the option to request a round there. It looks like the member has opened the place up to requests from tiers below his. And the member at AAC (a Moss tiered course) actually has an open offer with details. So while I can’t guarantee what an Olive tiered member would see (I’m one tier above that), I’m nearly positive if you’re on the site, you’d be able to request a round from them.

If you go this route, I’d say just be flexible on your availability to play - time of day, days of the week, etc. That will help a lot.

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You can request rounds at places on your own tier, and then any club at a higher tier where the member has an open offer or has opened up the place to requests from the lower tiered members.

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FYI Ansley is on there as well. It’s a Moss tier course.

some places don’t allow you ask UP, but many do. I haven’t used it yet, but I’ll probably offer my club up to anyone.

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Right yeah. For example, @jcm3 , Muirfield Village is grayed out for me. I cannot request a round there because I am not a member at a place on that tier (the highest tier, Fern). However, Philly Cricket is a Sage course (a tier above mine), but I can request a round there (which is so sick that the members there have opened the place up to people).

There are a number of seriously top notch courses that some very generous people have opened up to requests: Eastward Ho!, Philly Cricket, Olympia Fields, Valhalla, Ballyneal, Hazeltine, Aronimink, Prairie Dunes (I think the Prairie Dunes guy is a Refugee, actually), Somerset Hills, Inverness, East Lake

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and me, I can request Muirfield, but not Fisher’s Island.

Oh interesting. So maybe the member at Muirfield Village has opened it up to requests from Sage tier clubs but not Moss (where I’m at) or Olive. I’m assuming you’re at a Sage tier club, Guy, yes?