The Top 20 Most Exclusive Golf And Country Clubs In America Honored With Platinum Status

Augusta National Golf Club


There are some things that money can’t buy. Membership to one of the world’s most exclusive golf and country clubs is the most sought-after privilege for the rich and famous, and yet it is nearly impossible for the wealthy to become members. And if you are a mere mortal, don’t even think about playing at the top private clubs; you may certainly never get invited to join or afford the extravagant initiation fees and dues.

Women are still not allowed as members in many clubs worldwide, but that is slowly changing in the U.S. This month Pine Valley Golf Club, the exclusive men’s only golf club in New Jersey, just voted to allow female members for the first time in its 108 years. Augusta started allowing a few female members in 2012 and has since then chosen limited mostly powerful females as members. Traditionally only employed as caddies to the rich and famous, African-American golfers are still finding it hard to become members in many of the top private Country Clubs in the world.

The 2021-2022 Platinum Clubs® of the America winners represent the standard of Excellence for the finest Private Golf & Country Clubs around the globe and were selected by thousands of Golf & Country Clubs. (Country Clubs are defined as offering a wide variety of amenities in addition to Golf and includes Residential Communities.)

Members only at Augusta National Golf Club


The requirements to make the elite list are strict and include; Universal Recognition, Excellence in Amenities and Facilities, Caliber of Staff and Professional Service Levels, Quality of Membership, Governance & Prudent Fiscal Management, and Adapting to Changing Times and Overall Experience.

I spoke with Rathan Kumar, Founder, and CEO of MobiCom, curating the largest network of private clubs and their members for PlatinumClubNet and OneClubNet. He explains how private clubs are evolving in a post-pandemic world. “It’s not just the game of golf that saw an upswing in 2020, but also membership at Golf and Country Clubs as they continue to offer a safer environment, higher levels of personalized hospitality, and cater to diverse tastes and preferences of the member family,” he said.

President Dwight D Eisenhower and legendary caddie Willie “Cemetery” Parteet In 1953 at Augusta … [+] National

Augusta National/Getty Images

“While the demand for golf-centric membership is bound to normalize as the world opens post-pandemic, it’s a great opportunity for private clubs to offer diverse member family-centric experiences and benefits both at the club and outside, that redefine membership plans,” he adds. “Clubs also need to be more creative in generating revenue from underutilized assets from non-member events that can help reduce membership dues, enhancing value. I will be excited to see how private clubs evolve as lifestyle partners for their member families, driven by innovation in the changing world.”

Dennis Burns, Executive Director, Club Leaders Forum & Platinum Clubs® adds, “Private Clubs became safe havens for members during the pandemic, employing safety protocols and practices that members trusted. Going forward, I see this trend continuing as the Club remains the place where members and staff feel confident that their safety remains a priority.” 

Here are the top 20 Ranked Golf Clubs in America for 2021-2022:

1.         Augusta National Golf Club (Georgia)

With only 300 members, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Augusta National is home to the Master’s tournament. There are unique member amenities, including ten cabins located on the grounds that provide lodging for members, including one built for President Eisenhower. Initiation fees range from $250,000 to $500,000. (Also voted #1 Golf Club in the world)

A view of the club house from the 18th hole at Baltusrol Golf Club. (Photo by Gary Kellner/PGA of … [+] America via Getty Images)


2.         Baltusrol Golf Club (New Jersey)

Baltusrol Golf Club, in northern New Jersey, was founded in 1895. Its 36 hole, two championship courses, the Lower and Upper, were created by architect A.W. Tillinghast in 1922. In 1912, it had the first clubhouse in America to host a U.S. President (Taft). The courses have hosted 17 major championships, including seven U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships. Initiation is rumored to start at $150,000 plus $18,500 dues. (Also voted #8 Golf Club in the world)

3.         Pine Valley Golf Club (New Jersey)

Pine Valley Golf Club was founded in 1913 by a group of amateur golfers. The location is stunning with its rolling hillsides and pinelands. With under 1,000 members, the board of directors reaches out to potential members for the private club, and membership is not open to application. Even if you are a guest of a member, you must have a low handicap to play. Women were just recently allowed as members and were only permitted in the past to play the course on Sunday afternoons. (Also voted #5 Golf Club in the world)

U.S. Open on the 18th fairway at Oakmont Country Club


4.         Oakmont Country Club (Pennsylvania)

Oakmont is one of the oldest golf clubs in the country since its inception in 1903. The club is located in Allegheny River Valley and has no water and few trees. With over two hundred bunkers, it is known as one of the most difficult in the United States. Memberships are by invitation only and start at $75,000.

The 18th hole at Cypress Point Club in Carmel California


5.         Cypress Point Club (California)

With only 250 members, this is one of the world’s most desired clubs. The stunning location is a major selling point as players golf along the Pacific Ocean on the Monterey Peninsula. Fees are determined by yearly running costs divided up between the members regardless of how often you use the club. (Also voted #6 Golf Club in the world)

Merion Golf Club


6.         Merion Golf Club (Pennsylvania)

The Merion Golf Club launched in 1896 when members of the Merion Cricket Club opened a golf course in Haverford Township. Merion has hosted 18 USGA championships, more than any other golf venue in the country. Initiation fees are rumored to start at $70,000. (Also voted #4 Golf Club in the world)

Winged Foot Golf Club


7.         Winged Foot Golf Club (New York)

Membership is strictly invitation only, and the waiting list for membership is over a decade long. Winged Foot has two golf courses, and among the highlights is the stunning historic stone clubhouse with a slate roof built in 1929. Initiation fee starts at $150,000 with annual dues reportedly over $15,000.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. T


8.      Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (New York)

The only way you can play at this Southampton Club, is if a member accompanies you, and good luck getting a tee time which can be months in advance. It has the oldest golf clubhouse in the U.S. from 1892 and recently had major restoration. Located along the Shinnecock Hills it resembles courses in Britain. The 2026 U.S. Open Championship will be held at Shinnecock. (Also voted #7 Golf Club in the world)

Aronimink Golf Club

Getty Images

9. Aronimink Golf Club (Pennsylvania)

Located just outside of Philadelphia in Newtown Square, Aronimink dates back to 1896 when the Belmont Cricket Club created it. The Donald Ross-designed course is consistently rated one of the finest and most challenging in the United States. With over 300 members, initiation is rumored to start at $65,000 with $12,500 yearly dues.

18th hole at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida.

Getty Images

10.       Seminole Golf Club (Florida)

Located in Juno Beach, 18-hole Seminole was founded in 1929 by an investment banker on a site filled with natural sand dunes. The rolling greens were designed to mimic the waters of the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. With only 300 members, the club is so exclusive it even turned down golf legend Jack Nicklaus.

11.         San Francisco Golf Club (California)

12.         Caves Valley Golf Club (Maryland)

13.         Chicago Golf Club (Illinois)

14.         Desert Highlands Golf Club (Arizona)

15.         National Golf Links of America (New York)

16.         Adios Golf Club (Florida)

17.         Jupiter Hills Club (Florida)

18.         Bighorn Golf Club (California)

19.         Muirfield Village Golf Club (Ohio)

20.         The Loxahatchee Club (Florida)

*50 Golf Clubs were selected for Platinum Status in 2021.

Aerial of Congressional Country Club

The Washington Post via Getty Images

Here are the top 20 Ranked Country Clubs in America for 2021-2022:

1.           Congressional Country Club (Maryland)

2.           Ocean Reef Club (Florida)

3.           The Vintage Club (California)

4.           Boca West Country Club (Florida)

5.           Addison Reserve Country Club (Florida)

6.           John’s Island Club (Florida)

7.           Cherokee Town and Country Club (Georgia)

8.           Monterey Peninsula Country Club (California)

9.           Country Club of Virginia (Virginia)

10.         Chevy Chase Club (Maryland)

11.         River Oaks Country Club (Texas)

12.         Medinah Country Club (Illinois)

13.         The Los Angeles Country Club (California)

14.         Desert Mountain Club (Arizona)

15.         Fisher Island Club (Florida)

16.         Isleworth Golf and Country Club (Florida)

17.         Charlotte Country Club (North Carolina)

18.         The Country Club (Massachusetts)

19.         Indian Creek Country Club (Florida)

20.         Houston Country Club (Texas)

*150 Country Clubs were selected for Platinum Status in 2021.