When I was researching my recent post on Best (and Worst) Values in Links golf, I re-discovered something that will not surprise many readers. I won’t try to editorialize or make larger points about American culture- just the facts, jack.
Of the top 50 golf courses in the world, 22 of them are completely private. This means you are extremely unlikely to be able to EVER play them, unless you are friends with a member. Of these 22 courses, 21 are in the United States. One actually has the nerve to call itself National Golf Links of America! (It is not, by the way, a true links course.)
Almost all of the best courses in Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and South Africa are proud to share their beautiful courses with golfing enthusiasts from around the world. Visitors have to meet certain requirements (such as belonging to another golf club or having a minimum handicap) and they have to behave themselves (even we Americans can do that if we try hard enough). Yet for some reason, many of our nation’s best courses are forever closed to everyone save an elite few. Shame on you for not allowing even of a few of us great unwashed to enjoy a stroll on your fairways.