Golf is undoubtedly a global sport. According to The R&A, there are more than 39 thousand golf courses distributed in 209 countries. The vast majority of them are geographically concentrated in the United States, Japan, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, France, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and Scotland. All these countries represent 78% of the fields.
In any case, and according to Platinum Club, there are only 136 golf clubs that meet enough requirements to be considered the most exclusive in the world.
This select list includes several well-known clubs and others not so many. For now, here we share the top 10 of this particular ranking.
Augusta National Golf Club is located in Augusta, Georgia. No one would ever argue that it is the most exclusive club globally, with just 300 members. It was founded by Robert “Bobby” Jones and Clifford Roberts and opened in 1933. The course design (par 72, 7475 yards) belongs to Alister MacKenzie, who presented a layout that to this day dazzles golfers and fans from all over the world. Every year, the club is visited by thousands of spectators who attend The Masters Tournament, one of the four major competitions on the calendar.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is known as the cathedral of golf and is one of the oldest clubs in the world. A private club in the homonymous town in Scotland comprises several courses where anyone who simply wants to play can play. The most emblematic is the Old Course (par 72, 7305 yards), where golf has been played since 1552. This course hosts different competitions, the most important being The Open Championship, held in St Andrews 29 times and played every 5 years.
This is the most prestigious club in Oceania, located in Black Rock, Victoria, a southeastern suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It is a private club with two 18-hole courses, with The West Course (par 72, 6646 yards) being the best known of the two. It was designed by Alister MacKenzie in 1898. Royal Melbourne has hosted several top international tournaments, including 16 editions of the Australian Open, the World Cup and the Presidents Cup.
This is a private golf institution located in Haverford Township, Pennsylvania, United States. The club has two courses designed by Hugh Irvine Wilson, the most famous being the East Course (par 70, 6946 yards), home of the US Open five times. Merion is primarily known for being where “Bobby” Jones first achieved the Golf Grand Slam in 1930.
Pine Valley Golf Club is located in Pine Valley, in southern New Jersey. It is a private club where non-members can play only if they are invited and accompanied by a member. The club has a single course (par 70, 7181 yards) and was founded in 1913. The original design belongs to George Arthur Crump. It is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, and its members include former country presidents and several major tournament winners. On numerous occasions, it was considered the best course in the United States.
Cypress Point Club is a private golf property on the Monterey Peninsula, on the west coast of the United States. It has a single course (par 72, 6554 yards), famous worldwide because several of its holes stunningly border the Pacific Ocean. The course was designed by Alister MacKenzie in 1928. From 1947 to 1990, Cypress Point hosted the famous AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament, founded by American entertainer Bing Crosby.
Considered to be the oldest club in the United States. It is a single course (par 70, 7440 yards) located on Long Island. One fact praises Shinnecock Hills: it is the only field to host the US Open in three different centuries. The original course layout belongs to Willie Davis, who initially designed a 12-hole course.
Undoubtedly one of the most exclusive golf institutions in the United States. Located in New Jersey, it was founded in 1895. It has two courses, designed by A. W. Tillinghast. In 1985, Baltusrol became the first club to host the US Open and the Women’s US Open on its two designs. The Lower Course is par 72 (7400 yards), and the Upper Course is par 72 (7348 yards).
This famous French club was founded in 1913, eight kilometres west of Ermenonville and very close to Paris. It is an exclusive club reserved only for its members and guests. It has both an 18-hole course (par 72) and a 9-hole course. Since 1927 it has been a sports association and has welcomed illustrious figures and visitors such as Aga Khan or the kings Leopold III of Belgium and Alfonso XIII of Spain.
Muirfield is a private club, home to The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. It has a single course (par 71, 7245 yards), designed by Old Tom Morris. The club was established in 1744, although the course dates from 1891. The Open Championship was first held at Muirfield in 1892 and was played 16 times, the last being in 2013.