FIVE SUPER EXCLUSIVE U.S. GOLF CLUBS Getting Through the Gates Is Just the First Step
Private golf clubs are not exclusive to their members; however, some clubs are just a lot more private than others. Let’s say you’re a member at a quality private club in Dallas and you’re vacationing in Miami…there’s a possibility you’re head pro in Dallas can make a call to a private club in Miami and get you sorted. You will pay a heavy guest fee and they might make you play with a member, but you can get through the gates. However, there are some “super private” clubs, which means you better know someone. If you don’t have the blessing and invite from a member, you ain’t getting in. And even when you think you’re home free…don’t be an idiot and blow it.
A group of Americans were running late for their tee time at Royal County Down Golf Club in Northern Ireland, one of the best golf courses in the world. They called the pro shop to let them know they were a bit behind schedule, to which the club complied and said it was okay. The Americans thought they were in the clear, but made a fatal mistake. In a rush, upon arriving, the Americans changed from sneakers to golf shoes in the parking lot—subsequently the Americans were asked to leave.
The moral to the story is this: even when you’ve made it through the gates, be respectful of local rules, be courteous and don’t forget—you are a guest. Change shoes in the locker room, never wear a hat inside, be respectful of everyone and be aware of where you can and cannot wear golf shoes.
We have spread the wealth and selected from around America, here are five super private clubs—if you get an invite, take it and don’t blow it.
Cypress Point Club | Pebble Beach, California
Designed by Alister MacKenzie, the same guy that designed Augusta National Golf Club, this gem on the Monterrey Peninsula is one of the most heralded of them all. Bob Hope is famous for saying, "One year they had a big membership drive at Cypress. They drove out 40 members." The views there along the rough coastline are some of the best in the world.
Pine Valley Golf Club | Pine Barrens, New Jersey
About 20 miles south of Philadelphia is one of the best golf courses in the world. A true challenge for a proper player, the course is cut from southwest New Jersey’s sand pine barrens. Fairways can be hard to hit, the bunkers are hell and distance control is of the essence.
Shinnecock Hills | Southampton, New York
This is common, but you are required to play with a member at Shinnecock Hills. They don’t want four guest idiots out there playing slow and trashing up the place, so a member must come along. It works out better for everyone—a member can help with suggestions off the tee and on/around the green.
Shinnecock is rather famous for hosting the U.S. Open four time, perhaps its most famous for the 1995 edition. That year, Corey Pavin won his only major—his four wood on #18 to seal the deal is legendary. In 1995, a 7,000-yard golf course was a really long way and the 5’9” Pavin beat them all. The U.S. Open returns in 2018.
Chicago Golf Club | Wheaton, Illinois
We love the Windy City. Nothing is better than pounding Old Styles at Wrigley. Perhaps teeing it up at Chicago Golf Club comes close...It is one of five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association (USGA), and CGC is the oldest 18-hole course in North America. The last time a major event was hosted there was the Walker Cup in 2005. It’s common for prestigious clubs to not to host a lot of events—they don’t need or want the attention.
Augusta National Golf Club | Augusta, Georgia
This should come as no surprise, but this is the most exclusive private club in the world. From its Magnolia Lane entrance, to the SubAir equipment for the putting greens and reasonably priced pimento cheese sandwiches for patrons during the tournament—everything at Augusta is regal. The SubAir equipment is basically an underground wonderland that helps keep Augusta’s greens perfect. Here’s an indication of how stuffy the membership is. Popular CBS announcer Gary McCord, was banned from the Masters for saying that the fast greens were “bikini waxed.” Everyone thought it was funny, accept its 300 members.