11 most expensive tee times on GOLF’s newest Top 100 Courses in the World ranking
This is an updated version of a story that was first published on GOLF.com in November 2022. The rates reflect current fees.
There are some things that money can’t buy, like, for instance, a tee time at Augusta National. But access to other courses on GOLF’s latest list of Top 100 Courses in the World is a simple matter of economics. Pay, and you can play. Of those, here are the 10 that charge the most. (Note: All prices are peak-season rates.)
Kiawah Island Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, S.C.
World rank: 62/$650
When you book a time at the famous host site of the War by the Shore, the Ryder Cup that changed it all, you might feel a battle brewing between your inner golfer and your inner accountant. We recommend that you live a little and let the inner golfer winner.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
World rank: 14 / $625
In 2012, a seaside manse behind the 10th green that once belonged to Gene Hackman went on the market for $79 million. For that kind of scratch, you could play 126,400 rounds at the country’s most fabled public course, unless you want a caddie, which costs $155 and would cut into your budget and reduce your allotment 101,282 rounds. Loopers are helpful, and probably worth the sacrifice.
Ardfin, Isle of Jura, Scotland
World rank: 65 / £500 (roughly $608)
It’s not an easy trip to Ardfin, on the southern tip of an island off the western coast of Scotland, and for most wage-earners, it’s not an easy bill to foot. To play the course, you must stay at the hotel, where rooms command £1,600 per night (roughly $1,900), with a minimum two-night stay required.
Kingsbarns, St. Andrews, Scotland
World rank: 86 / £418 (roughly $508)
Just up the road from the Home of Golf, this artful Kyle Phillips-designed course conjures the spirit of Scottish golf, but the club operates on an American model, in the sense that it’s not shy with its fees.
Casa de Campo, Teeth of the Dog, La Romana, D.R.
World rank: 75 / $500
You can pull up on a cruise ship, as many people do, and drop by for a round on this dramatic Pete Dye-design, which has stretches of holes so close to the coast that you dip your driver in the water for good luck. But you might as well book a room and stay the night as greens fees drop to $275 for resort guests.
Cape Kidnappers, Te Awanga, New Zealand
World rank: 55 / $849 NZ (roughly $495)
On a craggy peninsula overlooking Hawke’s Bay, this stunning Tom Doak design curls along the bluffs, giving way to million-dollar views. Or at least vistas so precious that the greens fees seem like a small price to pay.
Whistling Straits, Straits Course, Sheboygan, Wis.
World rank: 91 / $485
Whistling Straits prefers not to publicize its rates, which are tough to pinpoint, anyway, since you need to book a room at the resort to play this dramatic Pete Dye design, and most greens fees are part of a package. But we’re confident we’ve come up with a reasonable number, and we also can say this about a property that was founded by the late Herb Kohler of Kohler faucet-making fame: Compared to the price of a bathroom remodel, golf here comes relatively cheap.
Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
World rank: 21 / $470
Already a host of more big-time tournaments than we can tick off here, this Donald Ross masterpiece has been chosen as a U.S. Open anchor site, meaning it will stage multiple iterations of the national championship in the decades ahead. Under a policy change from a couple years back, you must stay at the resort to play No. 2, so greens fees are often bundled into packages, but the figure we cite here comes close to the rack rate.
Muirfield, East Lothian, Scotland
World rank: 12 / £325 (roughly $395)
At a club that serves as home to a society known as The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, you would not expect the culture to be relaxed. And you’d be right. Yet Muirfield is laidback enough to welcome outside play on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For £495 (roughly $600), they’ll even let you go around twice, playing traditional foursomes in the afternoon. That price includes a lunch that ranks among the most famous in the game.
Royal County Down, New Castle, Northern Ireland
World rank: 6 / £325 (roughly $395)
In this majestic setting, with the Mountains of Mourne brooding in the backdrop, wind-whipped Dundrum Bay flows toward the Irish Sea, and a large volume of your earnings spill across the pro shop counter. Not to worry. You won’t regret a cent.
Te Arai, South, Tomarata, New Zealand
World rank: 85 / $650NZ (roughly $380)
Imagine a coastal picture worthy of a postcard, a surfer’s paradise on the North Island of New Zealand where the ocean washes against alabaster beaches in a magical palette of blue and white. For the chance to play a great links in this setting, you’d be silly not to part with a bit of green.