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How to Play a Round of Golf at an Exclusive, Private Course (Aldarra in Sammaish, WA)

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9 minutes ago, phillyk said:

I am planning to try and play Aldarra some random Monday this summer. I’ve played with their assistant professionals, my boss knows the head pro, and being in the same PGA chapter does help. It’d be cool if I could bring a 4some, but I have no idea what they’re cool with. Aldarra is definitely on my bucket list to play. Whenever they host a Pro-Member, it fills up extremely fast. 

I would imagine that the first step for me would be to establish (for the first time) what my ACTUAL handicap is, whether I'm trying to 'sneak' on to Aldarra or joining some kind of Men's League to gain street credibility. This is one of my big goals for 2020...alas, it was also one of my goals for 2019, but it didn't happen. I spend most of my time at the local ranges (Twin Rivers, Willows Run, and Bellevue Municipal) but very little time actually out on the course.

Let me know if you're ever part of a 4some but are missing a player. There may be a nice bottle of Costco-branded single-malt whiskey in the mix for you and your buddies if you make it happen!

Edited by BoomerGolfAnon

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Register for free today and you won't see this ad spot again!

All the private clubs I know of, including the one I belong to, are more than happy to let a potential new member play the course. To me It's no different than buying a car. You take it for a test drive first. But...I would imagine a car salesman hates the guy that comes to the lot on the weekend, because he's bored, to test drive a car he has no intention of buying.

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8 hours ago, TRUCKER said:

All the private clubs I know of, including the one I belong to, are more than happy to let a potential new member play the course. To me It's no different than buying a car. You take it for a test drive first. But...I would imagine a car salesman hates the guy that comes to the lot on the weekend, because he's bored, to test drive a car he has no intention of buying.

When I bought my last car, I made sure to try it out more than once AND on separate days - I didn't want to make a snap decision about something so expensive. The car-buying analogy is a good one. I felt a little bad for the first salesman, knowing that I wasn't planning to pull the trigger immediately, but that's just how things work, and it was his job to make the experience a good one for me.

If I get the timing right, and touch base with the membership folks on a slow day, I won't lose too much sleep, especially since I'm not asking them to go golfing with me.

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As per their website...they have disclosed their process.....by invite only.

If they short list you...attend the initial meeting....they may offer you a trial rd afterwards...if not ask for one.

After the rd...decide if you want to join or not.

 

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Thanks for all the feedback. I think my best bet is to simply start playing more rounds at the local public and municipal courses. Truth be told, I am a committed range rat and I spend way too much time practicing golf instead of playing golf.

I guess I'm the Boomer Golf Anon version of the 20-year-old NEET who lives in his parent's basement, playing dank video games all day long instead of interacting with actual humans IRL. If I play as a single to round out a 4some, there's at least the opportunity to meet 3 new people...one of whom may know someone who knows someone...

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Easiest way to play a private club is to simply sign up for a tournament that is being held at said course. A lot of private clubs will host local, state or USGA qualifiers. Keep a USGA handicap and check various organization’s tournament schedules.

The other way is to befriend the Head Pro, superintendent, assistant pro or one of the cart assistants. They all have privileges to take guests out once in a while. 

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52 minutes ago, Bargolfer said:

Easiest way to play a private club is to simply sign up for a tournament that is being held at said course. A lot of private clubs will host local, state or USGA qualifiers. Keep a USGA handicap and check various organization’s tournament schedules.

The other way is to befriend the Head Pro, superintendent, assistant pro or one of the cart assistants. They all have privileges to take guests out once in a while. 

I've been an avid reader of the magazine "2600" for two decades now - "2600" is a hacker's quarterly with tips on how to hack things electronically {for learning purposes only} and how to employ social engineering to achieve similar ends. In this case, I think the social engineering approach is the right one.

 

Edited by BoomerGolfAnon

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6 minutes ago, BoomerGolfAnon said:

I've been an avid reader of the magazine "2600" for two decades now - "2600" is a hacker's quarterly with tips on how to hack things electronically {for learning purposes only} and how to employ social engineering to achieve similar ends. In this case, I think the social engineering approach is the right one.

 

I'd hack right into the Aldarra computer system and get yourself an invite.  Not to mention initiation fee and annual dues electronically paid.  Let me know if it works; then we'll try breaking the code and hacking into a membership at Cypress Point.  😄

Edited by Double Mocha Man

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1 hour ago, Double Mocha Man said:

I'd hack right into the Aldarra computer system and get yourself an invite.  Not to mention initiation fee and annual dues electronically paid.  Let me know if it works; then we'll try breaking the code and hacking into a membership at Cypress Point.  😄

I'm not sure which approach is more dangerous: hacking into Aldarra's computers (a digital troll) or sneaking onto the course (an IRL troll)...let me think about this for a bit...

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On 1/11/2020 at 10:58 AM, TRUCKER said:

All the private clubs I know of, including the one I belong to, are more than happy to let a potential new member play the course. To me It's no different than buying a car. You take it for a test drive first. But...I would imagine a car salesman hates the guy that comes to the lot on the weekend, because he's bored, to test drive a car he has no intention of buying.

 

I was going to say this, too.  I played two rounds at my course before joining and I know that other courses in the area do the same.  I dont know that it applies for exclusive courses, though.  I'd just call their membership person and ask about the process.  They'll either invite you out to play or not.

Edited by dsc123

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With fourteen years experience working at a mid-level private club, and more recently, with a year and a half working at one of the most exclusive clubs in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, here's a few methods I can share to give you the best chance of playing there.

1) Most private clubs are closed on Mondays. A select few clubs stay entirely closed, even to their own membership. This gives the grounds crew an unhindered day to work on big maintenance tasks. A far more common practice of private clubs is, hosting non-member fundraising events on Mondays. It's a huge revenue driver for the club. Find out if this club of yours hosts any Monday charity. These days charity tournaments always have open spots. These events arent run by the club, so ask for the tournament director. Then find the charity selling spots for the least amount.

2) Have your pro call their pro. So long as you have a good relationship with the pro at the public course you normally play... If you dont, start building one. Whether working at a public course or a private club, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Head Pro or Directory of Golf that isn't a Class A PGA Professional. And any self-respecting Class A pro abides by an understood code of conduct. One of the precepts is to offer reciprocity by hosting players by way of reaching out with a special request. This may come with a guest fee, or just paying a cart fee or may be a full comp.

3) Reach out to the Membership Director under the pretense that you are a considering membership at their club as well as the others in the area. You'd like to set an appointment to take a tour of the club, which of course should include playing the course, to make sure it meets your needs, as a potential dues paying member. While this option may test the morals and/or values of some, here's some advice to put your mind at ease. So what if your current financial position can't afford you the means to join, who's to say that won't change down the road? Take the tour, play the round. One day you will be a member there, even if it's not the next day... I'll also say, don't abuse the process. Clubs talk amongst themselves, you don't want to be "blacklisted".

Hope this helps! 

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On 1/18/2020 at 12:08 AM, Ben said:

With fourteen years experience working at a mid-level private club, and more recently, with a year and a half working at one of the most exclusive clubs in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the country, here's a few methods I can share to give you the best chance of playing there.

[snip]

Thanks for this information, Ben. It's great advice.

Having said that, it looks like my quest may be over! Here's the story:

Yesterday, I was driving around Bellevue, WA on errands, and on a whim I decided to swing by Puetz Golf to try out a new putter (a Stroke Labs V-Line double-bend mallet putter that I've had my eye on for over a month). Normally, I only go to Puetz when I need a new grip for clubs I buy at Value Village, but this day was different.

There was another customer already at the indoor 'putting green'. We quietly putted from opposite ends of the 15-foot green for several minutes, and both of us were either sinking or rimming most of our long putts. I broke the ice by by asking him what kind of new putter he was looking for and why, and we started talking about golf. It quickly became clear to me that this guy knew his stuff, and eventually he asked me about my own golf story and where I like to golf. I said: "Honestly, I don't really golf much. I'm a range rat and spend most of my time practicing - I try to practice every day." He said, "Come on, you must golf somewhere!"

I replied: "Yeah, you're right. My local public course is Twin Rivers in Fall City. BUT...the course I *really* want to play is Aldarra Golf Course in Sammamish. I drive by it each time I head out to the range. It's an exclusive, private club that's gorgeous, and I'm desperate to meet someone who is a member there so I can play a round. And, if that doesn't work, I may try some kind of social engineering troll to sneak onto the course!"

Then he said: "Well, I may be able to help, because I am a member at Aldarra, and I'd be happy to take you out for a round whenever you want." I almost dropped my putter. What a stroke of luck! The stars had aligned in my favor! We kept on putting and talking about golf and exchanged contact info.

So there you have it. There's no longer any need for any social engineering (or digital) shenanigans. All I had to do was try out a new putter on a whim...and get the timing JUST right. It worked, but I still can't believe it happened!

I'll need to do A LOT of prep work prior to the big day (probably sometime in the early spring when things have dried out). The guy I met is also rehabbing a shoulder injury, so (presumably) he'll need to get past that, too. In the meantime, I'll be spending a lot more time actually PLAYING GOLF at the nearby public courses so I can make a good initial impression and do just justice to this amazing golf course. Maybe I'll even get a lesson for the first time in my life.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with advice. And a big shout out the Double Mocha Man for all his hilarious banter.  

On 1/10/2020 at 6:29 PM, Double Mocha Man said:

Let's resolve, for 2020, to find a way to sneak onto Aldarra Country Club.  I'm not afraid of a night in jail...

Looks like Aldarra is off my radar for a 2020 "Sneak In"...but don't fret: there's always Newcastle!

 

 

Edited by BoomerGolfAnon

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4 minutes ago, BoomerGolfAnon said:

So there you have it. There's no longer any need for any social engineering (or digital) shenanigans. All I had to do was try out a new putter on a whim...and get the timing JUST right. It worked, but I still can't believe it happened!

Fantastic story!  Connections matter.

Hope you got his phone number.  Tell him you have a Bellingham friend who wants to play Aldarra, too.  😄

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7 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Fantastic story!  Connections matter.

Hope you got his phone number.  Tell him you have a Bellingham friend who wants to play Aldarra, too.  😄

Will do, my friend. Your name is at the TOP of the list!

And yes: we've already exchanged a couple of text messages, so it's legit.

Edited by BoomerGolfAnon

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58 minutes ago, BoomerGolfAnon said:

Will do, my friend. Your name is at the TOP of the list!

And yes: we've already exchanged a couple of text messages, so it's legit.

P.S.  If that's you in your photo I'd suggest not to show up looking like that for your round at Aldarra.  😁

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5 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

P.S.  If that's you in your photo I'd suggest not to show up looking like that for your round at Aldarra.  😁

Yes, that is me. I borrowed my son's hand-made, paper mâché Anonymous mask from Venice, Italy when I had the picture taken. I'll be sure to leave it at home and be properly attired as well (black tapered golf pants, a proper golf shirt, and a nice cardigan vest). I'm going to go for a Bubba Watson look, but with a different golf hat.

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Congrats on the hook-up!  Keep us in the loop when this happens.  Jealously awaiting the details from down in Puyallup...

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