A Tuscan-style clubhouse and gorgeous landscaping add to the charm at the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe.
There’s an air of mystery surrounding most private golf clubs. But the mystery will remain for most golfers because the stakes for entry are high and the number of members allowed is typically low.
So unless you’ve got a friend or business associate who’s a member or you’re able to play in a charity tournament held at a private club, chances are you’ll never get the opportunity to tee it up at one.
Even though a small amount of golfers belong to private facilities in the Southland, these clubs are a big part of the golf landscape. Some hold professional tournaments, where the image of the region is beamed to a worldwide television audience. Others attract celebrities and movers and shakers of the business world. Almost all set the standard for course conditions, design and amenities that every public golf course would love to emulate.
They also possess a special ambiance and character.
“Every club I’ve ever worked at, I feel a genuine sense of pride that members have for their course,” said P. Alexander Roberts II, a professional caddie who, over the past 10 years, has worked at Riviera, Bel-Air and several other elite clubs. “A lot of the members are wealthy enough to belong to several clubs, but I always get the sense when I’m working with them that they feel they are playing the best course in the world, and they are so glad to be a member. Which makes sense, because if you’re going to spend the money, you better like where you are.
“But it’s also because these are some of the best golf courses in the world. And there’s a reason for that.”
Following is a glance at our 10 favorite private clubs in the Southland.
Hacienda Golf Club
Newport Beach Country Club
Los Angeles Country Club
Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe
Bel-Air Country Club
Shady Canyon Golf Club
Virginia Country Club
Riviera Country Club
ALSO: Five reasons to join a private club