With luxurious locations, exacting standards, and strict rules about who gets to tee off on their courses, just where are the most exclusive golf clubs in the world? And, most importantly, are you up to par?
Only some of the world’s most elite have had the fortune of playing on some of the finest golf courses known to man, with membership fees reaching up to $160,000. These private membership clubs guard their privacy fervently, which means non-members very rarely get past the entrance. And it doesn’t matter where you are in the world — the more outstanding the golf course is, the more exclusive it will be.
To create a dream course, it takes a show-stopping design, a variety of holes, and a course that’s in exceptional condition. Add stunning scenery into the mix, and you’ve got everything you need for a perfect golf course. But when you’re rich enough to take your pick of the golf courses available, which do you choose?
Exclusive Golf Clubs from Around the World
We take a look at the world’s most exclusive clubs and what they have to offer their elite clientele:
Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, U.S.
This course is the one most people have heard of, but few have had the pleasure of playing. With just 300 members, you’ll have to wait for an invitation to play on the course that’s home to the Masters’ tournament. Initiation fees are thought to range from $250,000 to $500,000 — but you can’t buy your way into this club. Bill Gates famously announced (in public) he wanted to be a member of this course, and was made to wait years for his invitation because of this!
National Golf Links of America, New York, U.S.
Popular among Wall Street tycoons, this golf course is only available to those who already know someone who’s a member there. Renowned for keeping memberships in the family, this course was the brainchild of Charles Blair Macdonald, the famous architect. Nestled in 250 acres of stunning landscape, this course doesn’t just offer the perfect game of golf, but the ultimate lobster lunch to go with it.
Golf de Morfontaine, Morfontaine, France
Designed in the 19th century, this golf course was originally intended to be used solely by Duc de Guiche (a French nobleman) and his friends. However, when the duke died in 1962, the club was handed over to its 450 members, which is why it’s now Europe’s most exclusive member club. The golf course itself remains largely untouched from its original 19th-century design, despite being recently modernized by architect, Kyle Phillips.
Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
With a joining fee of $161,000, this golf course is home to the rich and famous. Steeped in history, the course is located on the former estate of Rossdhu Castle, where it’s said Mary Queen of Scots wrote her love letters. However, today you’ll find a golf course that’s breathtaking in many ways, from the woodland that lies beyond it to the crystal-clear lake that surrounds it. What’s more, after a hard day’s golfing, guests are encouraged to relax their aching muscles in the club’s luxurious spa, which is nestled in the estate’s historic Walled Garden.
Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey, England
As the host of the European Tour and the BMW PGA and home to three championship courses Wentworth Golf Club has frequently hit the headlines for its pricey membership fees. Most recently, it announced it was going to charge members a $141,000 debenture fee. This was done in a bid to reduce the number of members it had from 4,000 to 888 (a lucky number for its Chinese owners).
These ideas were later shelved, but newcomers will still be asked to pay the $176,300 joining fee, and all members are subject to the $22,600 annual subscription charge. The owners are also investing $28.2 million into the golf course in order to make it the “world’s finest private golf and country club.” Perhaps now’s the best time to get one of their exclusive memberships?
Hirono, Kobe, Japan
Designed by Charles Alison, an Englishman, this course boasts immaculate fairways and a club that prides itself on traditions and formalities. Getting to play on this course is no mean feat, though, because the club is intensely private. Despite being one of the world’s highest ranking clubs, it has only hosted two prestigious events — the Japan Open and the Japan Amateur — which were held in the 1930’s.
Since then, few outsiders have had chance to play this course, with Jack Nicklaus being one of the last famous faces to grace its greens. So, in order to tee up on this course, you’ll need to find a member who’s happy to take you with them, paying up to $335 in green fees for the privilege. And don’t be surprised if you end up in the hot tub afterwards: such are the traditions of this quintessential Japanese club.
Cypress Point, California, U.S.
Last, but by no means least, is Cypress Point, which is often deemed the world’s most desirable members-only golf club. With an exclusive list of members which only consists of 250 people, this golf club is home to many a prominent political figure. One of the club’s most defining features is its jaw-dropping scenery, as players can listen to the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks while they play.
The fees for this course vary depending on the annual running costs, which are divided up between the club’s members. And it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve teed up on this course, because the shares are divided equally between all members.
The courses featured above offer different levels of exclusivity, whether it’s in the fees they charge or the invitation-only rules they adhere to. However, one thing’s for sure, if you get chance to play at one of these most exclusive golf clubs, you’ve accomplished something even the likes of Bill Gates has struggled for years to do!