The Bucket List
If you’re going to dream, dream big. And if you ever get invited to play one of these very private courses, count yourself among the lucky few.
- Pine Valley Golf Club Pine Valley, N.J.
Year after year, in every major ranking system that matters, this hush-hush George Crump and H.S. Colt layout ranks at the very top of the heap. (856) 783-3000
- Cypress Point Club Pebble Beach, Calif.
The par-3 16th hole, a 200-plus-yarder that plays over an ocean inlet, is widely regarded as the greatest in the world. The other 17 ain’t shabby either. (831) 624-2223
- Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Ga.
To serious golf fans, the home of the Masters looks as familiar as their own backyard. Sigh! If only. Visit Website
- Shinnecock Hills Southampton, N.Y.
You want history? This Long Island masterpiece has hosted the U.S. Open four times — in three different centuries. (631) 283-1310
- Merion Golf Club East Ardmore, Pa.
If you’ve seen the famous image of Ben Hogan’s epic one-iron on the 18th hole of the 1950 U.S. Open, then you’ve seen the 18th hole at Merion. You’ll get another glimpse when the U.S. Open returns in 2013. Visit Website
- Sand Hills Golf Club Mullen, Neb.
The aptly named club cuts through dramatic sand dunes in central Nebraska, a surreal backdrop to some of the world’s most spectacular golf. (308) 546-2237
- Royal Melbourne Golf Club Black Rock, Victoria, Australia
Alister MacKenzie, the man behind Augusta and Cypress Point, also worked Down Under. This stirring layout, which will host the 2011 Presidents Cup, was one of the results. Visit Website
- Crystal Downs Frankfort, Mich.
Wildly sloping greens provide the grand defense for this MacKenzie course, which is buffeted by winds on a sandy bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. (231) 352-7979
- Winged Foot Golf Club West Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Not only is it private, it’s intensely punishing. At the 1974 U.S. Open, the so-called Massacre at Winged Foot, Hale Irwin won. And he was 7 over par. Visit Website
- Riviera Country Club Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Even Larry David can’t curb his enthusiasm for this George C. Thomas Jr. and Billy Bell design. He isn’t just a member; his house overlooks the course. Visit Website