5 Most Expensive Rounds Of Golf
For millions of people, golf represents a relaxing and/or frustrating way to spend a few hours on a weekend. Fortunately, there are thousands of municipal courses that each charge modest fees for the privilege. For a more ardent type of golfer, there's always more - a higher hill to climb, a more pristine fairway to walk or a more challenging hole to make par on. For the golfer who'll spare no expense, we present some of the most expensive courses on the planet.
The Green Monkey - Sandy Lane, Barbados
If you don't consider Barbados synonymous with golf, perhaps you've never played the Caribbean's most exclusive course. Sandy Lane is a luxury resort and playground for royalty, situated on the west coast of the former British colony. Spectacular even without the golf courses, Sandy Lane boasts three of them. Of the three, it's the Green Monkey course that garners the most attention. Designed by that Stradivarius of the sawgrass, Tom Fazio, the Green Monkey is 7,343 yards of former limestone quarry transformed into a breathtaking 18 holes. Rates start as low as $175, but the average cost is about $240. The money doesn't tell the whole story, because golf on the Green Monkey course is a package deal. You can't just show up and play a round unless you stay at the resort. Rates in the most modest suite at the resort start at over $1,000 a day.
Old Head Golf Links - County Cork, Ireland
On the southern coast of Ireland sits the island's most expensive and perhaps most beautiful course. It stands to reason that a venerable Irish course would make the list. Venerable Old Head dates all the way back to … 1997. Old Head was designed by a consortium including Ron Kirby, former associate to some of the game's most legendary course architects; Robert Trent Jones; and Jack Nicklaus. The fickle Atlantic seabreeze and the majestic cliffs provide a backdrop to challenge even touring pros. Prices range from around $195 to $250 Even after a recent reduction, a high-season 18 holes at Old Head remains one of Europe's most expensive rounds.
Turnberry Resort - Ayrshire, Scotland
Turnberry isn't the birthplace of golf, but it's close enough. Many a Scot will testify that this Ayrshire trio of courses is where the game achieved perfection. Situated on the Firth of Clyde, a wind-aided two-wood away from Ireland, Turnberry is managed by Starwood Resorts. The Dubai government's investment arm bought the course four years ago. The deal, worth roughly $55 million, will take some years to recoup costs, but management is doing its best. A round on the famed Ailsa course costs around $325, a price the resort does not publicize.
Pebble Beach Golf Links - Pebble Beach, Calif.
America's most or second-most famous course (depending on where you slot fully private Augusta National) is, not surprisingly, one of its costliest. Pebble Beach is renowned for its unspeakable beauty, hugging the central California coast with unsullied views of the Pacific Ocean. The course uses a figure-eight layout which makes full use of a peninsula that's just the right size to hold 18 holes.
Pebble Beach is technically a public course, open to anyone with the wherewithal to play, but you can't schedule a tee time during the third weekend of June every decade or so. That's when the U.S. Open comes to town, as it did in 2010 and will again in 2019. The U.S. Open is played on the links course, one of five at the resort and easily it's costliest. A round on the links costs $495. If you're staying at the adjacent lodge, where prices start at about $715, they'll throw in the cart rental.
Shadow Creek - North Las Vegas, Nev.
One of the greenest, most lush and most scenic courses in the world is also one of the least probable. Carved out of half a square mile of inhospitable Mojave Desert in 1989, Shadow Creek is renowned for its inaccessibility and exclusivity. When built by casino magnate Steve Wynn, Shadow Creek was on the edge of suburban Las Vegas. While sprawl has caught up with and surpassed the course, it remains a guarded oasis in a sea of tract homes and xeriscaping. There's a berm around the perimeter, buttressed by trees, which means that most passersby don't even realize that the most expensive golf course in the world lies mere yards away.
The CEOs, celebrities and athletes aren't even the most prominent names on Shadow Creek's membership roster. According to rumor, many former U.S. presidents have lockers at Shadow Creek. A round at Shadow Creek costs about $500, but that includes transportation and club rental. If that sounds exorbitant, which it should, there is a workaround - a way to play free. There are qualifications: you have to be a scratch player, young, and in good academic standing. Shadow Creek serves as home course for the University of Nevada varsity team, a perk that the college's recruiters are only too happy to avail the nation's top high-school players of.
Your neighborhood course charges less for a round and the dress code is probably a little more relaxed, too. But should you have the means, the desire and the availability to play one of the most expensive courses in the world, it can be a difficult thing to pass up. Just remember, the worse you play and the more strokes you need, the longer you get to enjoy it.