Seeing ways people have got on private courses. Not the Augusta, Cypress Point, Shinnecock, and/or Winged Foot. But more local ones that have hosted majors or tournaments. Seeing how people have gotten on courses that are private but not the high end exclusive.
Call and ask if you can play.
If that doesn’t work, call back later, say you want to join, and ask if you can get round to tour the course.
Ones that have hosted majors are almost exclusively going to be in your category of Augusta, Cypress, etc.
Check out local charity and non profits for any fundraiser events. Some will do golf outings and have a private club host. Consider your entry fee both charitable and a greens fee!
If you’re a stick, National amateur tournaments do qualifiers on some of the nicer courses in metro areas, in my city it’s virtually the only way to get on a top 100 course in the area.
If you belong to a club they almost always have some sort of recipricol program. The nicer the club the better the options.
Or you could call up a pro shop if it’s a course out of town and ask nicely if they allow visitor play…works for some but never a guarantee.
Save up and come on a trip to the UK. There are about 2,500 courses here and only about 4 of them are genuinely private who refuse to accept visitors (Loch Lomond, Wentworth, Queenswood and the Wisley that I know of). Every other course accepts green fees from visitors, even the Open venues.
Some of them have certain times you can play as a visitor (Muirfield is very restricted) so you need to plan ahead. But most courses here are pretty reasonable compared to the US. An average track will set you back about $50. A Top100 UK about a buck fifty. The Open venues maybe $300. The Old Course is about $200 as it’s actually a municipal owned by the town (if you live there it’s about $70a year to play it all the time!). I think the two most expensive are Trumps two courses in Scotland, including Turnberry (which, incidentally, British people now largely refuse to pay for being expensive!).
Golf is waaaay cheaper in the U.K. Especially in Scotland.
If it’s an exclusive club and you call and ask if you can join… chances are you’re going to be put on their “never allowed to join list” haha
First, I echo what @The_Cad_Says says. Scotland has such a good choice to play major and non-major championship venues. It’s a shame Trump jacked up the price at Turnberry. A round there was a steal before he bought it.
Anyway, I happened to win an auction for a round at a local high end private course (no majors on it but it’s very exclusive). A year later, I ran into the member who sponsored the auction item and he told me he wished more people would ask him to come out and play. So I told him I was in for another round, and now I’ve played out there twice. Some members seem to keep their membership for business purposes, and don’t use the membership as much as they want to. If you’re looking to play somewhere close to home, I think it’s just about networking and not being afraid to ask.
Last week I met a member at Pine Valley. Charm offensive has already begun…
Check out websites like Boxgroove also to get on the less prestigious courses.
Next-level charming would be me charming you in hopes of indirect charming getting me out on that course
Worth a shot…
Networking happy hours, intramural sports leagues, etc. Make friends. You never know what kind of connections you will make.
the easiest and most direct way is buying foursomes at charity events, its costly but helps for those who lack charm.
I get on non-elite private courses with charity stuff. There are probably some elite opportunities that exist, but I just haven’t encountered them.
If that’s not your bag, I’d consider working on an accent. Scottish or English preferable. Irish and Australian are easier, but not as good for golf. If you can pull it off, start calling and say you’re visiting (say you’re doing charity work if you really want to go hard) and would love to play a top course in the area. People are receptive to accents.
All over that…
I haven’t tried it out, but there’s a Donald Ross course about 10 minutes from my house I’ve never played, that I might try to get on by saying I’m gonna write a paper about Donald Ross
This is sorta next level, but if you join a private club that is relatively easy to get a membership at, the club pro at your home club can make a call that will be taken seriously. I’ve done this for access to places where I have no reciprocity whatsoever. It works.
To answer you question from my Hazeltine/Interlachen thread… thats hows I am getting on, b/c the head pro at my club called and set it up.
So try that (probably helps if the club is from outside on MN and that general area).
And if you aren’t a member anywhere… here is an idea: find someone you know that doesn’t live in MN, and is a member of some sort of legit club… and propose to him “get your club pro to call hazeltine/interlachen and set it up for us, and I will provide the lodging and transportation etc when you come to town and we will play”. See if that tradeoff works.
This is the playing the long game answer, but another thought is get into a career where networking happens on golf courses. Thinking things like private equity, hedge funds, finance, maybe politics. Easier said than done / not what everybody wants to do for a career, but a lot of people in those fields belong to baller clubs and business does get done at them.
Or just work your charm and make friends with people in those areas.