But wait, there’s a catch. The top courses are private, and require either a membership or an invitation from a member. If you can arrange to get dad in the door of one of these exclusive clubs, you will be his hero for life. Think you can’t manage it? Check the Tip under Pine Valley Golf Club for your easiest way in to an exclusive course!
Merion Golf Club, East Ardmore, Pennsylvania Merion has two courses: the East Course and the West Course. Golf Digest magazine has rated the East Course as one of America’s greatest courses year after year. Merion East will host its fifth U.S. Open this year. Jack Nicklaus said this about Merion East: “Acre for acre, [Merion] may be the best test of golf in the world.”
Pine Valley Golf Club, Clementon, New Jersey Considered a ‘fortress’ among golfers, it is exceptionally difficult to get an invitation to play at this exclusive and venerable course.
Tip: While you may not be able to get dad on the greens at Pine Valley, you can get him inside to see the famous course. Every year, usually in September, America’s premier amateur tournament, the Crump Cup, is hosted at Pine Valley. Admission is open to the public and costs $20. Take dad on a little road trip he’ll never forget and surprise him with this rare treat!
Fishers Island Club, Fishers Island, New York Fishers Island is a little-known island, just seven miles long, in the Long Island Sound. The island is one of the most affluent places in the world, and the golf club has been ranked in the top 30. An invitation to play in this secluded enclave is a sweet thrill for a golfer, for sure.
National Golf Links of America, Southampton, New York This prestigious links-style course on Long Island is lovingly called “The National” by insiders. Most of the holes on the course draw their inspiration from famous British courses, and are designed to challenge both the safe player and the risk taker by offering multiple approaches.
The Country Club Brookline, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
The venerable Country Club is a historic course. It is counted among the first 100 golf clubs in the country, and was one of the five clubs that founded the US Golf Association. It is still considered to be the best course in Massachusetts.
Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, Illinois
Another of the USGA charter clubs, the Chicago Golf Club is the oldest 18-hole course in North America. The Club was founded by Charles Blair Macdonald, who many consider the father of golf in North America, and it is where the modern out of bounds rule was established. A key piece of US golf history, this super-exclusive club has only 125 members.
Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Home to six US Opens and three PGA Championships, this Detroit area course was founded by Ford Motor Company executives in 1916. A favorite of golf legends, Arnold Palmer and Raymond Floyd all rank this golf course in their “top 10 courses in the U.S.”
Cypress Point Club, Pebble Beach, California There are eight courses on this Monterey peninsula. Cypress Point is world-famous for it’s 15th, 16th and 17th holes, which play in a breathtaking series along the Pacific Ocean. All three of these spectacular holes are consistently ranked among the best golf holes in the world.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California Pebble Beach is generally considered to be one of the most gorgeous courses in the world, offering glorious views of the Carmel Bay, Monterey Peninsula, and Pacific Ocean. It is a public course, but a prohibitively expensive one. The greens fees at Pebble Beach are $495, making it one of the most expensive games of golf in the world.
Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California
Where do the Hollywood elite play golf? At this exclusive club that requires a $250,000 initiation fee, of course. This is where Mark Wahlberg, Adam Sandler and Dennis Quaid play, and it is considered one of the best — and most difficult — courses in the country.
Lauren Haas is a writer who specializes in finding the fun! Lauren was the publisher of the St. Louis Area Family Gazette for eight years, and now writes freelance articles on St. Louis events and attractions, budget travel, arts and entertainment and fitness topics. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.