Who else thinks this is best time of year for golf?
Think about it:
Your game is likely in the best shape after playing all summer.
The weather is gorgeous: sunny and warm without the sticky humidity.
Prices come down and crowds thin out.
Courses tend to be in the best shape of the year, especially if you like it when greens and fairways run fast and firm.
And, I have no idea who coined the term "shoulder season," but if you like playing top private courses without a member connection, I call it, "opportunity season."
For example, Sankaty Head Golf Club on Nantucket is one the most enjoyable courses you could ever play.
It's intensely private during high season (the rumor is that it's nearly impossible to join unless you're a legacy), but the course opens its doors to the public after Columbus Day. Things return to "normal" in the spring.
Fall is also when many ultra-exclusive and/or top-100 clubs permit a limited number of charity golf tournaments, which is another way to gain access without calling in favors.
Now, I'll be the first one to tell you that playing in charity events at top courses isn't cheap. Prices can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars -- per player.
That said, much or all of it can be tax deductible, and when it comes to playing at these golf shrines, it's usually access -- not the access fee -- that is the bigger hurdle.