Most Exclusive Golf Clubs In The UK
The UK is home to over 2,500 golf clubs and most of them welcome visitors, including every Open Championship venue and every one of our UK&I Top 100 golf courses.
However, there are some golf courses only available to the lucky members and their guests. Here we feature 11 prestigious and private clubs around the UK, in fact all in England and Scotland, that rarely take non-invited visitors...
- Location: Ottershaw, Surrey, England
- Opened: 2001
- Designer: David McLay Kidd
When it comes to golf clubs, Queenwood is the most exclusive in the UK and possibly the most exclusive in Europe, too. Little is known about the super-private Surrey club, which has a phenomenal David McLay Kidd course to rival some of the best golf courses in England.
It is home to a number of high profile members including stars of film and sports, and also has a large American membership. Plenty of DP World Tour players are members or spend time at the club due to its privacy, challenging course and ample practice facilities. Joining fees for Queenwood are rumoured to be over £200,000.
- Location: Virginia Water, Surrey, England
- Opened: 1922
- Designer: Harry Colt (West and East), John Jacobs (Edinburgh)
Another private Surrey venue is the grand and historic Wentworth Club, which is just down the road from Queenwood. Wentworth was previously open to visitors but that changed in 2014 when it was bought for £135m by the Reignwood Group, which introduced a debenture membership scheme. Since then the club has become exclusive, although it is still home to the DP World Tour's headquarters and the BMW PGA Championship.
As well as the famous West Course, Wentworth is also home to the East and Edinburgh courses, plus an executive course, a tennis club, spa and swimming pool. The huge Wentworth Estate also features some of the area's most expensive and luxury homes. It is one of Britain's most famous clubs, having hosted the Ryder Cup and numerous Tour events down the years, and has been home to a number of high profile stars through the years like Ernie Els, Sir Michael Parkinson and the late Bruce Forsyth.
- Location: Ripley, Surrey, England
- Opened: 1991
- Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jr
Sticking to the south-west suburbs of London, The Wisley is another of Surrey's exclusive clubs. It has three loops of nine holes (the Church, Mill and Garden) designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. The club is owned by its 700 members, all of whom own a share of the club.
It also has some great practice facilities and is where Open champion and Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari practised along with coach Denis Pugh before the Italian relocated to California. Like Queenwood, a number of DP World Tour players and celebrities are based at the Wisley.
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- Location: Leatherhead, Surrey, England
- Opened: 2016
- Designer: David McLay Kidd and Tom Watson
Beaverbrook, near Leatherhead, Surrey, is one of the newest courses on the list having opened for play in late 2016. The course was designed by David McLay Kidd and Tom Watson. Not a great deal is known about the course or its members, although a number of celebrities and footballers regularly play at Beaverbrook including England captain Harry Kane.
Beaverbrook features a stunning Victorian mansion which houses a hotel, restaurant and spa. It was the former home of Lord Beaverbrook, a 20th century politician who was very close with Winston Churchill. There are also other activities on site like tennis, fishing and shooting.
- Location: Wokingham, Berkshire, England
- Opened: 1996
- Designer: Martin Hawtree
Just down the road from the private Surrey clubs lies Bearwood Lakes, near Wokingham in Berkshire. As the name suggests, the beautiful course weaves its way around a number of stunning lakes and is tree-lined throughout. It only opened for play in 1996 but gives the impression that it has been there decades longer than just over 25 years.
The Bearwood Estate was originally within the grounds of Windsor Great Park and formed part of the hunting grounds for the Kings of England since the 11th century. It is home to a Mizuno fitting suite that is regularly visited by Mizuno staff players on the DP World and Ladies European Tours. The club has also hosted tournaments on the Rose Ladies Series.
JCB Golf and Country Club
- Location: Rocester, Staffordshire, England
- Opened: 2018
- Designer: Robin Hiseman, European Golf Design
JCB is the newest venue on this list, having opened in 2018. The club is the brainchild of Lord Anthony Bamford (son of Joseph Cyril Bamford) who is the chairman at the construction company started by his father, where the club gets its name.
It is located in Rocester, Staffordshire, the same small town where JCB is headquartered. The superb parkland course features a now-famous island green par-3 17th hole and has some stunning countryside views throughout. Like Bearwood Lakes, it also hosted on the Rose Ladies Series, and hosts the JCB Championship on the Legends Tour in 2022.
- Location: St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
- Opened: 2013
- Designer: Simon Gidman
The Centurion Club near St Albans, Hertfordshire has appeared on screens over the past few years as the host of GolfSixes, the Aramco Team Series and the LIV Golf Invitational Series. The course, designed by Simon Gidman, opened for play in 2013 and is over 7,100 yards long. It features both treelines holes and more open holes around water. The club is also home to a Michelin-Starred restaurant.
There are a number of membership options available, including the Senate Membership, which is by invitation only and involves buying a share in the club.
Skibo Castle - The Carnegie Club
- Location: Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland
- Opened: 1995
- Designer: Donald Steel, Tom Mackenzie
Located along the Dornoch firth, Skibo Castle and the Carnegie Golf Links really is a paradise. It is one of four exclusive Scottish golf clubs on this list and features a beautiful golf course with some breathtaking vistas of the Dornoch firth and surroundings.
The club has an Edwardian mansion and was where Madonna and Guy Richie got married. It is considered as one of the best courses in Scotland. Unlike most on this list, Skibo Castle does actually allow visitors to occasionally play the course by contacting the club's golf team.
- Location: Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire, Scotland
- Opened: 1993
- Designer: Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf
The former Scottish Open venue is one of the most beautiful courses in the UK, with incredible views of the stunning Loch Lomond and the surrounding countryside.
Big names such as Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer all won the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. The course was designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf and opened its doors in 1993. It is a very difficult club to join or get a game, but if you're lucky enough to be invited as a guest it'll be a day you'll never forget.
- Location: North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland
- Opened: 2008
- Designer: Tom Doak
The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, designed by the world-renowned Tom Doak, features beautiful views across the Firth of Forth. It is sandwiched in between Muirfield and Archerfield with North Berwick slightly further along the coast.
It has become the home of the men's Scottish Open in recent years, hosting the tournament from 2019-2022, and it has also hosted the Ladies Scottish Open and final qualifying for The Open. Membership at the club can be obtained via an introduction by a current member or by contacting the club’s management, and every member’s spouse has full golfing rights at the club, along with all unmarried children under the age of 26, at no extra cost to the annual subscription.
- Location: Isle of Jura, Scotland
- Opened: 2015
- Designer: Bob Harrison
Situated on the southern tip of the Isle of Jura, Ardfin Golf Club features one of the most spectacular settings in the UK to put it up there alongside some of the best golf courses in Scotland.
The exclusive club's course is designed by Bob Harrison and the current routing was the 14th concept developed. "No stone was left unturned in an effort to find the best configuration and the greatest number of inspiring holes to play," the club says on its website. The course makes its way around the rugged coastline with holes playing along both clifftop and beach level. The 10th hole has been described as "a-once-in-a-lifetime par three."
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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