NEW YORK, Aug. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- To mark the start of the world-famous PGA Golf Championships this week, Billionaire.com has compiled its definitive guide to the most exclusive courses to tee off from in the world.
" With over 30,000 golf courses worldwide, picking the top ten most exclusive is a difficult - and sometimes controversial - task," said Tara Loader Wilkinson, editor at large of Billionaire.com.
The courses were judged on metrics including difficulty of attaining membership, price of fees, calibre of other members and former players, notoriety and fame, course scenery and condition, history and the design of the course itself.
After extensive research Billionaire.com consulted a panel of independent golf experts and enthusiasts including Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills Group, John Sabino, world-renowned golf critic and blogger, and Kay Hwa Tang, Executive Director of Dalat at 1200, to approve the following shortlist:
1. Cypress Point, California, US
Located on the Monterey Peninsula between Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill on the 17-Mile Drive, it is rumoured that John F Kennedy was once denied entry to the restaurant at Cypress Point. Designed by golf course architect Dr Alister MacKenzie in 1928, scenery is a major selling point. Fees are determined by yearly running costs, divvied up between the 250 members, many of whom are prominent political figures.
2. National Golf Links of America, New York, US
Originally the brainchild of famous architect Charles Blair Macdonald, this course is described as "perfection, figured out". Built on 250 acres of rolling landscape, membership at the club mostly stays within the family.
3. Augusta National, Georgia, US
With only 300 members including Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, Augusta National is home to the Masters tournament and was famously designed by a duo of champion golfer Bobby Johns and Dr. Alister MacKenzie. Fees are reportedly between US$25-50,0000 per year.
4. Golf de Morfontaine, Mortefontaine, France
This golf course was designed in the 19th century for the personal pleasure of the Duc de Guiche and his friends, and, to this day, retains much of the original design. Several years after the duke died in 1962, the club became the property of its 450 members and, as such, remains the most exclusive club in continental Europe.
5. Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
This remote estate was once home to Rossdhu Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots is said to have written her love letters. The breathtakingly beautiful golf course offers panoramic views of the lake and woodland beyond. With a joining fee of US$161,000 this has become a favourite haunt for celebrities and local billionaires.
6. Los Angeles Country Club, California, US
Built on some of the most valuable land in Beverley Hills, the Los Angeles Country Club is considered ultra exclusive; its membership roster is comprised of America's oldest family dynasties. Despite its proximity to Hugh Heffner's neighbouring Playboy Mansion, the club reportedly has a strict no 'movie-star' policy.
7. Royal Melbourne (West), Melbourne, Australia
The Royal Melbourne Golf Club is the oldest and most prestigious golfing destination in the Pacific, with 1,843 playing members. The work of infamous golfing architect Dr Alister Mackenzie, most golf aficionados consider its famous West Course as the kingpin of the Melbourne sand belt.
8. Hirono, Hyogo, Japan
The immaculately kept fairways at the Hirono golf course were originally the design of Englishman, Charles Alison. Intensely private and extremely exclusive, to see the course attend one of the Japanese golf tournaments or be invited to play by a member and pay between US$290 and US$335 in green fees.
9. Swinley Forest, Berkshire, England
Known as one of the most beautiful courses in the world, Swinley Forest was originally built as the playground of Lord Derby and his friends. So traditional that a hand-written application letter is required for would-be players. It is a 'one-out, one-in' club and is mostly made up of English aristocracy, old Etonians and Harrovians.
10. Gleneagles, Perthshire, Scotland
A shining example of the country that gave the world golf. Home to three top ranking golf courses, a five star hotel and the only two-Michelin star restaurant in Scotland, Gleneagles is also the location of this year's prestigious Ryder Cup Championship, which will be played at their PGA Centenary course. Membership fees start at £2,545 with a £600 joining fee.
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