When Andy Ferguson Wanted to Join One of Those Country Clubs Featured In the Kavanaugh-Ford Senate Hearings

Andy likes to smile at what he sees in Washington.

Some of the colorful behavior described in the Brett Kavanaugh-Christine Blasey Ford testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee took place at Washington area country clubs—the Kavanaughs are members of the Chevy Chase Club, the Blaseys of Columbia Country Club, and the patriarchs of the two families are members of the Burning Tree Club.

The Chevy Chase Club is known as the city’s WASP country club, Columbia, located just a few blocks away, as more of a Catholic club, with Burning Tree an exclusive men’s club where women are barred from entering. The initiation fees at all three are around $100,000, with Burning Tree the most expensive because it gets no preserving greenery tax break because of its discriminatory men-only policy.

What’s it like to try to join such clubs? Writer Andy Ferguson had some fun trying in a 1991 Washingtonian piece titled “Members Only: You Can Get Into a Top Country Club If You Have Time and Money and Can Play the Game. But Don’t Call.”

Here’s what happened when Andy called the Chevy Chase Club and Burning Tree to ask about becoming a member:

Andy: “Hi. My name’s Andy Ferguson, and I was wondering who I might speak to about applying for a membership in the club.”

Chevy Chase Club: “To the member who is sponsoring you.”

Andy: “Pardon?”

Club: “You may speak to the member who’s sponsoring you.”

Andy: “Well, I don’t have a sponsor as of yet.”

Club: “That’s the only person who can help you.”

Andy: “But I’m not certain, offhand, that I know of anyone who’s a member.”

Club: “That’s too bad. This is a private club.”

Andy: “Well, is there a membership list I might consult that could tell me who’s—”

Club: “No.”

Andy: “—a member, so I can see if anyone—”

Club: “No.”

Andy: “—I know belongs to the club?”

Club: “The answer is no. This is a private club.”

Andy: “That sort of puts me in a pickle.”

Club: “This is a private club. You may run into a member somewhere and get to know them, and they may sponsor you.”

Andy: “Oh.”

Club: “That’s the way it works. This is a private club.”

At Burning Tree, Andy got past the club employee who answers the phone but still didn’t get much help. After some of the same conversation, Andy said:

“It sounds like Catch-22, doesn’t it? I mean, I can’t apply unless I know a member, but I can’t find out who’s a member until I apply.”

Club: “Sir, what would happen is that if any two members feel they’ve come to know you, and think of you sufficiently to propose you for membership, then that will happen. But until such time…”

Andy: “…I’m out of luck.”

Club: “That’s correct.”

After many phone calls to area country clubs, Andy concluded:

“Groucho’s logic is correct. Why would I want to pay to belong to any facility that would accept me as a member?”

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