April 2, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

What Does It Take To Get Into The World's Most Exclusive Country Clubs?


The Most Elite Of The Elite

There are country clubs, and then there are country clubs. From Augusta and St. Andrews to Trump Miami and Liberty National, these country clubs are the best of the best. 

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Augusta National Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $300,000

Augusta National Gold Club needs to introduction. Home of the Masters for nearly a century, few people ever even get the chance to play Augusta, let alone become a member. And those who do have to shell out $300,000 to get in, the fourth highest initiation fee in the world. 

Do you know what's #1?

Augusta National Golf Clubpocketwiley, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Baltusrol Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $150,000

You might be surprised how many of the world's most expensive and elite golf clubs are in New Jersey. Springfield's Baltusrol Golf Club charges a $150,000 initiation fee. I think watching the US Open is as close as I'll ever get to Baltusrol's iconic clubhouse.

Baltusrol Golf ClubUnknown Author, CC-BY-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Bear’s Club - Initiation Fee: $90,000

You can get into Bear's Club for a mere $90,000 initiation fee. Bear's Club has only been in Jupiter, Florida since 1999, but with Jack Nicklaus designing the course, that's a bargain!

Ernie Els of South Africa at the Bears ClubDavid Cannon, Getty Images

Boca West Country Club - Initiation Fee: $90,000

Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Floria, isn't just a country club—it's an entire residential community. The 72 pristine holes of golf are just a plus. Not bad for just $90,000.

golf clubSlusing, Shutterstock

Cherokee Town and Country Club - Initiation Fee: $200,000

If you're somebody in Atlanta, you want to be a part of the Cherokee Town and Country Club. The most exclusive club in the area, initiation fees are $200,000, making Cherokee the 11th most expensive club membership in the world.

East Lake Country Club and Golf Course, Atlanta, Ga.Boston Public Library, Flickr

Congressional Country Club - Initiation Fee: $180,000

You'd think the Congressional Country Club in Maryland would be where politicians would go to play—but not many politicians make enough to afford it. 

It was founded by two congressmen in 1921, but nowadays their clientele tend to be from more lucrative fields than politics. DC Lobbyists, on the other hand...plenty of them on the links.

Congressional Country ClubCarl Lindberg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Cypress Point Club - Initiation Fee: $250,000

Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, California might not be a staple on the PGA Tour anymore, but don't let that fool you: It's one of the greatest golf courses on Earth, with some holes hanging directly out over the Pacific Ocean.

And it'll just cost you $250,000 to become a member.

Cypress Point Clubschnaars, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Golf de Morfontaine - Initiation Fee: $100,000

Golf De Morfontaine in Morfontaine, France is over a hundred years old, and it's still one of Europe's most iconic and popular courses. Memberships start at $100,000.

golf courses with palm treesSerhiy Stakhnyk, Shutterstock

Kiawah Island Ocean Course - Initiation Fee: $150,000

The unique terrain on South Carolina's Kiawah Island makes the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort one of the most remarkable in the world. But you're not just getting golf for your $150,000—there's also the world class beach resort.

Ocean Course, Kiawah Island SC.Jack Siman, Shutterstock

Les Bordes - Initiation Fee: $106,000

Just outside Paris in Sologne, France, Les Bordes is one of the most expensive clubs in Europe, with an initiation fee of $106,000—but how many of these elite clubs have an actual castle? Les Btor

Golf course FranceLeonid Andronov, Shutterstock

Liberty National New Jersey - Initiation Fee: $450,000

Courses like Augusta and St. Andrews get too many tourists. At Liberty National New Jersey, it's only the most elite of the elite. Being invite-only ensures that—and so does the $450,000 initiation fee, the second-highest in the world. 

Liberty Natl Golf clubhouseJim.henderson, Wikimedia Commons

Merion Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $70,000

Pennsylvania's Merion Golf Club's East Course was established in 1912, and it's been considered one of the best courses in America ever since. You can't miss the signature wicket baskets on every pin. But don't worry, you get a lot more than that for paying the $70,000 initiation fee.

Merion Golf Club, East and West CoursesMark E. Wangerin., Wikimedia Commons

Oakmont Country Club - Initiation Fee: $200,000

As old as Merion is, Oakmont Country Club, founded in 1903, is Pennsylvania's oldest. That much history costs a lot, with an initiation fee of $200,000, the 10th most in the world.

Oakmont Country ClubJohn Kaminski, Flickr

Ocean Reef Club - Initiation Fee: $150,000

Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo is exactly what you're picturing. Founded in 1957, this unbelievably gorgeous club has world-class golf, dining, a marina for your yacht, and a private airport—all things you don't need if you can't afford the $150,000 initiation fee.

Ocean Reef Clublorida Keys History Center-Monroe County Public L, Flickr

Old Head Golf Links - Initiation Fee: $30,000

The Old Head of Kinsale juts out majestically into the Atlantic Ocean in the south of Ireland, but even since 1999, the majestic views are reserved for members of the Old Head Golf Links, who pay a $30,000 initiation fee for the pleasure.

Old Head Golf Linkstiarescott, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Pebble Beach Golf Links - Initiation Fee: $250,000

Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of America's most iconic courses, is actually open to the public to play. But if you want to be a member of the exclusive club, that'll cost you $250,000, the 7th-highest fee in the world.

Pebble Beach Golf Linkssk, Flickr

Pinehurst Golf Resort - Initiation Fee: $45,000

Pinehurst No.2. is the jewel of Pinehurst Golf Resort in North Carolina, but there are nine 18-hole courses for members who pay the $45,000 initiation fee.

Pinehurst Golf ResortCraig James, Flickr

Seminole Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $100,000

Even if you have the $100,000 initiation fee, you still probably won't get into Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida. Members have included kings, presidents, and as of 2020, Tom Brady.

Tom Brady Mark Sardella, Flickr

Shanqin Bay Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $100,000

One of the most exclusive clubs in China, the Shanqin Bay Golf Club charges a $100,000 fee, the highest in Asia.

man playing golfkasakphoto, Shutterstock

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $250,000

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club isn't in the rolling hills of Ireland—it's in Southampton, Long Island. Founded in 1891, it's believed to be the oldest incorporated club in the US. You could be a part of that history for $250,000.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club at the 2018 US OpenPeetlesnumber1, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Sunningdale Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $98,000

When London's elite need out of the city, they can play a game at Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, where membership initiation costs $98,000.

Sunningdale Golf ClubWojciech Migda, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

The Madison Club - Initiation Fee: $500,000

The Madison Club in La Quinta, California is the most expensive country club membership in the world. If you can pay the $500,000 initiation fee, you can rub shoulders with Apple CEO Tim Cook and a few Kardashians.

The Kardashian'shotrock pictures, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews - Initiation Fee: $200,000

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews in Scotland is probably the most famous golf course in the entire world. $200,000 for initiation doesn't even sound that bad if it's St. Andrews.

Royal And Ancient Golf ClubNatlaff, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Melbourne Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $40,000

One of the oldest and probably the finest golf club in Australia, Victoria's Royal Melbourne Golf Club charges a $40,000 initiation fee.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club - Melbourne, VictoriaTravelstock by Powerhouse, Shutterstock

The Vintage Club - Initiation Fee: $300,000

Nestled in the mountains of Indian Wells, California, the Vintage Club has world class golf, tennis, food, spas, and real estate. The $300,000 membership fee pays for it all.

The Vintage ClubTrevor Fairbank, Shutterstock

TPC At Sawgrass - Initiation Fee: $75,000

Since being built in as one of the first Tournament Players Clubs in 1980, TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida has remained one of the most beloved golf clubs in the United States ever since, and a membership at this world class resort will cost you $75,000.

TPC Sawgrass  golf courseCraig ONeal, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Trump National Doral Miami - Initiation Fee: $75,000

Trump National Doral Miami in Doral, Florida, outside of Miami, is the most expensive of all of Donald Trump's golf clubs, with a $75,000 initiation fee.

Doral Golf Resort in Miami, FloridaCfmyers, Wikimedia Commons

Whisper Rock Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $130,000

The finest golf club in Arizona, Whisper Rock in Scottsdale has a $130,000 initiation fee.

Whisper Creek Golf ClubDan Perry, Flickr

Winged Foot Golf Club - Initiation Fee: $150,000

Located in Mamaroneck, New York, Winged Foot Golf Club was founded around the same time as Shinnecock Hills in 1892. You can still join today, for $150,000.

winged foot golf clubDavid W. Leindecker, Shutterstock


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