ClubProGuy: Want to fit in at the country club? Be posh — and name drop

September 28, 2019

Congratulations! You finally got an invite to that exclusive country club you’ve been waiting to check out. It pays to have a brother-in-law with connections. After years of changing shoes in the parking lot and showing your receipt to the starter at the local muni, you’re ready to big-time it. But before you do, certain things are necessary to know in order to fit in. There’s nothing worse than looking like the rookie at a fancy club. You’re going to need to act like you’ve splashed around in these waters before.

As the club pro at a semi-private facility about 700 miles outside of Kansas City, I deal with my share of high rollers on a daily basis. So follow the tips below and you’ll be strutting like a fifth-gen blue blood in no time.

The Etiquetteist: 9 putting-green rules you absolutely must follow

1. Exude confidence

As the bag boy is opening the hatch on your 1999 Toyota Corolla, slip him a fiver and ask what the greens are stimped at today. He’ll know this ain’t your first rodeo.

2. Blend

Even though you’re not a member, it’s important to let people know you’re no schmuck. As you glide through the clubhouse to the men’s locker room, pop the collar on your newly purchased Peter Millar polo and put your phone to your ear, barking loudly in business-speak so the cooks in the grill room and the wives in the fitness center can hear you. Say something like, “I can get those made in China, but they’ll never make it through customs by December!” Or “What is with the Nasdaq?!”

3. Set boundaries

When you meet your caddie on the range, be cordial but make sure he knows he’s of a lower class than you. The friendlier you get with him now, the tougher it’ll be to berate him for his green-reading skills later. Also, insist that he give you distances to the exact half-yard. Tell him you didn’t get down to a 12 handicap by hitting shots from “about” 150 yards out.

4. Don’t be afraid to name-drop

You need to impress the member who invited you by letting him know you’re somewhat connected to his world. So say something like, “This place is nice, but my boss played Kemper Lakes in Chicago a few years ago and he said it was mint.” Or “I see you guys allow women here. Thanks a lot, Obama.”

The Etiquetteist: Do green-reading books really slow down play on the PGA Tour?

5. Stop and smell the roses

You’re not going to get many opportunities to play a private club, so slow down and take it in. Be methodical. Read all of your putts from four different angles — twice. Also, take full advantage of the fancy yardage book. Even though you’ve never used one before and have no idea how to read it, study it prior to each shot. Looking bookish never hurt Dr. Beeper.

@ClubProGuy moonlights as a balloon folder, specializing in likenesses of Peter Kostis.