Golf…the most painful and degrading game of all. Nothing brings you back down to earth like back to back triple bogeys and 6 lost balls on the first 9. Golf is also one of the most heavily played sports for those with deep pockets. On the courses on our list, you won’t find dodgy fairway bumps and poorly manicured greens. These aren’t your local $850 a year golf club memberships. These are highly sought-after, way-of-life golf clubs that cost an arm and a leg.
The Vintage Club, Indian Wells, California
Initiation fee: $250,000
Annual membership: $32,000
Don’t let the exorbitant price tag fool you, this prestigious club has serious interest from all over the globe. There are reportedly over 500 members, most notably of all, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. The Golf Club made headlines during the very public divorce between Bill and Melinda Gates after Bill was seen spending most of his time in and around the clubhouse. At Indian Wells, we aren’t just talking an 18-hole perfectly sculpted mountainside course, there is an 15,000 square-foot fitness and wellness centre, an elaborate swim complex, and a full-service tennis centre. Of course, membership is by invitation only.
National Golf Links of America, Southampton, New York
Initiation fee: $150,000
Annual Membership: $10,000
Nestled in the ideal pocket for Wall Street’s elite and the billionaire residents of the Hamptons, this links-style course proves to be a hub for who’s who in New York. It has been described as an almost ‘perfect course’ by previous PGA tour players and is highly, highly exclusive. Non-members aren’t even able to visit the website. Memberships, a hot commodity, are by invitation only.
Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
Initiation fee: Unknown (estimated $100,000-$300,000)
Annual Membership: Unknown (estimated $30,000)
Arguably the most iconic golf course in history, Augusta is better known as home of The Masters. Think Wimbledon, World Cup, Superbowl, The Ashes. It is strictly invite only and Augusta cap their members at 300 at any given time for ease of accessibility and convenience for high-paying members. Gates once publicly stated he would like to become a member which goes against Augusta’s strict policies, however he was later accepted, for billions of reasons we imagine….
Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, New Jersey
Initiation fee: $150,000
Annual membership: $18,500
Founded in the 1890’s, Baltusrol is a private 36-hole ultra-exclusive golf club. It is known as golfing legend Jack Nikklaus’ favourite course of all time. It features an upper and lower course of sprawling fairways, inch perfect greens and a faultless layout. The club attracts some of New York’s wealthy business figures.
Pine Valley Golf Club, New Jersey
Initiation fee: Unknown
Annual Membership: Unknown (estimated $10,000-$50,000)
One of the more mysterious features on our list. There is little known about Pine Valley Golf Club. There are no public records of fees, there is no record of information on how to attain a membership, however ex-members have stated it is via an unexpected, anonymous call. An interesting fact about PVGC is that it only was passed by Club President Jim Davis to allow women to become members and play on the course. Prior to 2021, women were only allowed to play as guests on Sunday afternoons.
Pine Valley is rated as the best course in the USA, ahead of Augusta, so we can only imagine the top-secret fees make your eyes water.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland
Initiation fee: $200,000
Annual Membership: $28,100
Known as the oldest and most prestigious club in the World, St. Andrews is the ‘home of golf’. They have a limit of 2,500 members that live all over the world and their fees are highly confidential and, of course, a common theme on this list, memberships are via invitation only.
If money was no object, which course is your first pick?