Golf Guides

Top 5 Best Private Golf Courses in California

Golf courses are popular in California as they give you a chance to relax and have a nice game with your friends. You could still bet against each other to see who can win. The good news is that there are many public golf courses in California you can check out. What if you need something exclusive? At this point, you would opt for the best private golf courses in California. That is what we want to look at today. By the end of this guide, you will learn more about the best private golf clubs to join in California.

Differences Between Private, Semi-private, and Public Golf Courses

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Choosing whether you want a private, semi-private, and public golf course comes down to the experience you will enjoy from each of the golf course. For someone who is a beginner in golfing, then public courses might offer more value. Seasoned players who want to fine-tune their skills and enjoy other club amenities should consider a private club.

Public golf courses will often be overrun, overbooked, and full of beginners. They are loved for being affordable, forgiving, and great training for anyone who is starting out. It is not just for beginners as you would get professionals too using these golf courses.

The private golf courses will impose memberships on the members. Well, the membership will come with several privileges to enjoy. Some of the benefits of joining a private golf course are that they are uncrowded and the courses are well-maintained. For those looking for five-star amenities, then this is a nice place for you to consider.

The semi-private golf courses offer the best of both worlds. These clubs are open to the public, but will have membership options for those who want private tee times. Those who register as members also enjoy lower green fee rates, more priorities, and many other perks. Always check what the course offers to its members before opting to pay the membership fees.

Benefits of Joining a Private Golf Club

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If someone is going to pay a lot of money to join a golf club, then he or she expects several benefits to come with the membership. The perks of joining a private golf club will vary from one to another. However, here are some of the common benefits anyone would enjoy with a private golf club.

The service

The service is just exceptional in such exclusive clubs. Even a bartender will remember to get your martini mix right. A valet would call you by your name and not scratch your car. There are many services you will enjoy on a personal level that makes these clubs popular. Each time you get off the course, you would feel it was worth spending the membership fee.

Good social connections

These clubs will have people of a certain social status coming together. You can make friends in all different industries. People in these clubs share friendships on another level. They always feel that they are interacting with their peers. You can forge impressive friendships and sometimes business connections from such clubs.

More time on the course

Anyone who is looking to join a private golf club wants more time on the course. The same cannot be said for the public courses. The money that members pay as membership fee allows the management to set up challenging and beautiful courses. It is why you see a 27-hole championship would only be hosted on a private course.

Good for going pro

Anyone who is looking to go pro should consider getting into a private golf course. For any sport with the best trainers and facilities then it would be a private club. Once you join the private club, you will access such trainers and facilities to help you go pro.

Offers family fun

Private golf courses would also have other amenities. They are not always about golfing. If you go to these clubs, there will be amenities such as swimming pools, conference rooms, play areas for kids, and so much more. The next time you take your family to such a course, they should not feel left out while you enjoy your tee time.

Top 5 Private Golf Courses to Check Out

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After learning about the perks of joining a private golf club, you might want to know which are the best in California. Here a list of the top options for you to consider.

Bear Creek Golf Club

This golf club is tucked away in the beautiful area of Santa Rosa Plateau, Murrieta, CA. The golf course has some of the best breathtaking views that will get you coming back for more. It was established in 1982 and has remained one of the most prestigious clubs that you can join today. Members can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to golfing.

Brentwood Country Club

The club is located along the 590 S Burlingame Ave, Los Angeles, CA. For its location, you can expect it to be popular with those who want exclusivity. The club has multiple membership categories to fit your needs. They include golf, young adult golf, junior executive golf, and social memberships. Members enjoy amenities such as convenient tee times, an 18-hole championship golf course, various dining options, and so much more.

California Country Club

This club was built in the 1950s with the aim of coming up with one of the best golf courses in the world. It is still one of the best considering it was designed by the world renown golf course architect William Bill Jr. The course presents you with an 18-hole hidden gem that you can enjoy once you get to be a member. It is not all about golfing as your family members can enjoy other amenities in the club to keep them occupied as you play the game.

Quail Lodge & Golf Club

This is another top golf club to consider today if you are looking for exclusivity. The club has been awarded for having the best playing conditions two years in a row. Anyone who has used the course states that they have the best playability and beautifully manicured greens. The course was designed by Robert Muir Graves back in 1964. It was then refined by Todd Eckenrode in 2015 to make it even better.

La Quinta Country Club

The golf club was established in 1959 with some of the best heritage that other clubs can only dream about. Anyone who visits the golf course quickly falls in love with its beautiful ambiance and the overall design of the course. The club also offers its members some of the best locker rooms, multiple facilities for social gathering, tournaments and so much more. Their calendar is always filled with multiple activities that the whole family can participate in.

Cost Considerations When Joining a Private Golf Club

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Before joining a private golf club, there are various costs you might have to incur. Here are some of the costs to expect;

Initiation fees

This is the initial cost of joining a club. The fees will vary from on club to another. Most of the time, they are based on the economic factor of a club. The fees can be based on capacity rate, cash flow, operating income and much more. You might pay $5,000 to join the club only for another member to pay $1,500 to join the club five years down the line. Some clubs offer discounts on the initiation fee to entice more members.

Monthly Payments

Even after paying the initiation fees, you still have to consider the monthly payments to the club. These payments are essential so that the club has enough cashflow to keep it running. The monthly dues can vary largely from one club to another. It is best to inquire with the club to find out how much you would be paying. It is best if you opt for a club with monthly dues within your budget.


This is the minimum amount you can spend in the golf shop or on food while at the club. Each member is supposed to observe the minimums to remain as a member. The aim of minimums is to ensure that the club can get additional income coming its way. As a result, the club will now have a consistent revenue each month.


Assessments are important for generating the crucial funds to cover emergencies and projects the club might have in the future. Assessments are handled by the clubs differently. So, it is best for you to inquire about them before joining a club. Some might have new projects in the pipeline that might require a lot of money from its members.

Club Debt

Even the prestigious private clubs will have debts. Some take huge loans to help them expand their courses. Learn about such debts and how the club plans to pay them off. Becoming a member means you are partially responsible for their liabilities and assets.

The Separation Policy

Sometimes people do not check out this policy and end up with troubles when they need to leave the club. Some clubs will require that they get another person to replace you before you can leave the club. Yes, that happens. It is important to go through the separation policy before joining the club. Some clubs might give you the initiation fee back if you are lucky.

Miscellaneous costs

The costs mentioned above will be the most common when joining the club. That being said, there are many other costs that you might end up having to deal with as continue being a member. These are the miscellaneous costs. Such include;

  • Tips for employees
  • Lesson fees for beginners or even pros
  • Bag room storage
  • Holiday gifts
  • Practice range
  • Hole-in-one insurance
  • Pool
  • Food
  • Tournaments
  • Cart or caddie fees

For any private golf club, you can be sure to find other hidden fees. It is best if you take your time to learn more about the club fees before joining the club. The last thing you want is to be overburdened by the fees of maintaining your membership.

Additional Factors to Keep In Mind Before Joining a Private Golf Club

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Type of Club

You need to understand if the club is equity, non-equity, or for-profit. For an equity club, you will own part of the club in terms of rights. Upon resignation from the club, you can sell the rights to other people sometimes at a higher value.

Non-equity clubs can be defined like renting an apartment. This means that you do not own any rights. For-profit clubs on the other hand, are owned and operated by a few owners or a management firm. The club will be operated with an aim of providing profit to the owners.

The Process to join the Club

The process will differ from one club to another. There are clubs that would only need you to write them a check for the initiation fee and you agree to the club rules. Others might need a current member in the club to recommend you as a new member. It might not be as easy as you think. In the latter case, it might need a bit of networking to be recommended for membership.

The Golf Course

This is the most important consideration for joining a private golf club. The course should have everything you have always wanted. It is best if you get some private tours and sessions on several courses before deciding which one would be best for you.

The Number of Members

Well, golf clubs restrict to having a certain number of members per given time. The aim is to ensure the members do not have to worry about their play time. You can get into the club and enjoy yourself on the course. Also, the management wants their members to enjoy the facilities without stretching them with too many members.

Additional amenities

Some people love to take their kids to the private golf courses. They want to be sure that there will be fun for everyone attending the club. It is why most private clubs will have additional amenities such as restaurants, swimming pools, play areas for children, and so much more. Check out if the club has such amenities before opting to join one.

In Summary

The best private golf courses in California have so much to offer. If you decide to join one, you will get exposed to the best golf facilities. In addition, you get the best private lessons on golfing to make you a better golfer. Anyone who wants to be a better golfer should consider getting into a private club. Always take your time to research more about the club before paying the membership fees. It is important to experience the value for your money.