Get your credit card ready: Here are the 10 most expensive tee times in America

June 29, 2019

Golf has never been a game for the faint of heart or faint of wallet. Some of the nation’s nicest tracks are, unsurprisingly, those that inflict the most carnage on your savings. For some of the greens fees below, you could buy an international flight, a new smartphone, or even a new set of clubs.

Or, you can buy four hours of escape at a fantastic course. Here are the 10 most expensive rounds money can buy in the United States.

The Pete Dye Course in French Lick, $350: The Pete Dye Course in French Lick hosted the 2015 Senior PGA Championship, won by Colin Montgomerie, and could host you for a hefty tag. Find this gem in rural Indiana — just try to avoid the well-advertised “volcano” bunkers.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Kiawah, $370: Grab a windbreaker and a pair of sunglasses — and a few hundred bucks — before you head out to Kiawah. But if you’re stocked with those necessities, Kiawah’s idyllic scenery and tournament-caliber test should suffice just fine.

Courtesy Kiawah Island Golf

Spyglass, $395: Pebble may get the plaudits, but those who step foot on Spyglass swear by it. Maybe the most naturally beautiful course in the country, Spyglass is a bucket-lister for golf fans throughout the country. But, like Pebble, it’ll leave a dent in that piggy bank.

Spyglass Hill is one of Pebble Beach Golf Links' three spectacular siblings.
Spyglass Hill is one of Pebble Beach Golf Links' three spectacular siblings.
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Greenbrier Old White TPC, $425: Designed by C.B. Macdonald, a looming figure in the early history of American golf, this 1914 layout pays homage to golf’s European ancestry, with holes modeled after famous counterparts at Prestwick, North Berwick and St. Andrews. Woodrow Wilson was among the first to play it. Nelson and Snead all took their hacks here, as have Nicklaus, Trevino and Watson. You get the drift: A round on Old White TPC is a rendezvous with the past.

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Pinehurst (No. 2), $445: Thanks to recent renovations by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, this Donald Ross design has been restored to its early 20th century glory. The green fees? They’re in keeping with contemporary times.

Whistling Straits (Straits), $460: A blend of artistry and outlandish engineering, this Pete Dye gem, built on bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, features wild man-made humps, natural hollows and buckled fairways flanked by rough-cut bunkers. Or are they waste areas? Ask Dustin Johnson. He might know.

TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium), $495: Ben Crenshaw once dismissed it as “Star Wars golf, designed by Darth Vader.” J.C. Snead called it “90 percent horse manure and 10 percent luck.” But those comments came in the early days, when most Tour pros were as rough on Sawgrass as Sawgrass was on them. Pete Dye has since softened the layout, and today it’s so much more than stunt golf with a famous island green. Take it from Crenshaw, who remarked after the changes: “Now it’s a darn good golf course.”

Cascata, $399: At this Rees Jones design just outside Vegas, water is pumped up a mountain in the morning, and it meanders through the course — and rushes through the clubhouse. Presumably, your fees go toward the water bill.

Shadow Creek, $500: Compared to opening-day green fees in 1989 ($1,000 per player), today’s price tag is practically a Groupon. Not that many people really pay it. This high-end Vegas redoubt draws the kind of clientele — athletes, movie stars, casino whales — who get comped to play a course they could easily afford.

Pebble Beach, $565: In 2012, a seaside manse behind the 10th green that once belonged to Gene Hackman went on the market for $79 million. It didn’t sell. No wonder. For that kind of money, you could play 149,000 rounds at Pebble, the most fabled public course in the United States.