You may drive a bitchin’ Accord to impress the ladies of high society, or shop exclusively at T.J. Maxx to exhibit the fruits of your technical college labor. But we all know the real way to rub elbows with the cultured and rich, is to put yourself in a position to speak to them on a semi-weekly basis. And where does society’s upper echelon hang out? Country clubs, of course. There are those that are strictly social clubs, but most have the works. You get a fantastic restaurant, tricked-out bar, great views, and other amenities like swimming pools, saunas, and gyms. All of this is surrounded by beautiful golf courses. So the question is…worth it? They’re not cheap to join, but if you are of the gold-digging, rung-climbing persuasion — or just independently wealthy — it just might be worth dropping a few paychecks.
Here’s the breakdown on some ‘extras’ you’ll get with your membership fee.
Friends in High Places
Even if you don’t look like someone raised in a wealthy community, your looks will suddenly change when you are accepted for membership. It will be assumed you belong with the big boys and thus, treated as such. Staff members will dote, the older rich dudes will take you under their wing, and the wives will provide you with all the gossip you need. Need a string of parking tickets to disappear? Just ask your new friend the state senator. Need a line on a sweet job? Mention this to the millionaire manufacturer. Need a place to score good weed? Um, talk to the golf cart maintenance guy.
Our Choice: Cherokee Town & Country Club (Atlanta, GA). Their social club is split from the golf side of things and they are one of the highest ranked clubs in the nation.
This isn’t like going and playing a round of miniature golf with you friends in college then hitting the cafeteria where the mac & cheese likely had a gray hue to it. You will have your choice of the best and freshest grub around. Ribeye, salmon, lobster, T-bone. The best of the best. The service is generally impeccable and many of the wait staff have been doing it for years. A lot of the clubs do an amazing lunch buffet, while the evenings turn into a fine dining affair. Not many places we know of can make a smooth transition like that. Except maybe strip clubs.
Our Choice: Ledgemont Country Club (Seekonk, MA). Great choices in food, with several dining rooms. And an amazing outdoor terrace.
Some Fore Play
Settle down, Perverts. Country clubs are generally known for golf, and most — the good ones, at least — have some of the best manicured courses. Yes, courses. Not just one, but upwards of 3 and 4 courses to choose from. We know you may not be the golfing type and upgrading to the golf membership is always much more than just the social club aspect, but consider that the course is a good place to do business. Or at least make some good connections while you let them win.
Our Choice: Oakmont Country Club (Oakmont, PA). Their course has hosted more major golf tournaments than any other. Beat that.
The gyms are usually very good and have top of the line trainers. The tennis courts are also well maintained and you can sign up with lessons from Pete Sampras (naw, just kidding). Because country clubs are strict on who they allow in, the membership tends to be lower than say, Bally’s Total Fitness. This means less people standing in line for the treadmill. The pools are clean, large, and free of debris, which is a bonus in our book. Side note: You should see the pool at our local gym.
Our Choice: Bighorn Golf Club (Palm Desert, CA). Huge facilities for you to get your sweat on…in the desert.
To piggyback on the exercising and golf stuff, most country clubs allow you to reserve times to exercise or play. While the reservation concept if not revolutionary, you can’t always schedule times at your local tennis club and again, membership is kept in check. Less people vying for a time slot allows you to have your pick of good slots to choose from. The same can be said about the dining aspect of the clubs. For you lushes, we haven’t found a club that reserves you a 11am seat at the bar, but chances are, you’ll be able to get a seat yourself.
Our Choice: The Country Club of Colorado (Cheyenne Mountain Resort). Lots to do here — including sailing — so lots of reservations to make.
Country clubs have several events throughout the year. Some are private while others are events open to all club members. The parties can range from wine and cheese, live piano music, and ballroom dancing, to disco parties. Luckily, many clubs these days have a shrinking average age, so you’ll have more members in their 30’s and 40’s and not just the stuffy old timers that started the whole country club concept in the first place. Not that we have anything against old people.
Our Choice: Shaker Heights Country Club (Shaker Heights, OH). They have been listed as having hosted some of the best parties over the years in Ohio. They had us at ‘parties’.
We just think it sounds smarter when you use a title like that. But seriously, in closing, there are some loopholes and roadblocks you need to consider when joining a country club. First of all, most of them have a ‘we’ll call you’ policy. Meaning, you can’t just waltz in and join. You need to know someone who is already a member or you need a referral. So your schmoozing will need to start outside the club first, before you can prostitute yourself out inside the club. Secondly, the social aspect of the club usually costs considerably less than adding the golf and tennis side of the membership as well. Keep that in mind if you suck at golf and once played tennis in your eight grade gym class. And lastly, don’t forget the initiation fee also comes with the gift of a monthly dues. If you make minimum wage, maybe it’s not for you. If you can afford it, country clubs are fantastic.