How Can I Play Liberty National?

The New Jersey course is one of the most exclusive in the USA, but there are a few ways to play it

The 15th hole at Liberty National
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Against the backdrop of New York City on the east of Jersey City is Liberty National, one of the most expensive courses ever built.

The course was established in 2006, with Robert E Cupp and 1992 US Open winner Tom Kite entrusted with the design. Since then, the par 72 course has hosted the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust several times, while it was also the venue for the 2017 Presidents Cup, where Steve Stricker helped his US team retain the trophy, beating the International team 19-11.

The course came about thanks to a meeting between businessman Rusty Bayliss and Kite. Bayliss showed Kite images of the land he’d like him to transform – a run-down area that required years of dredging before work on the course could begin. 

The fourth green at Liberty National with a view of the Manhattan Skyline

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was worth the effort. The immaculate parkland course features plenty of bunkers around greens and some on fairways. Water is also a consideration, including on the fifth, where it runs all the way down the left-hand side. Meanwhile, at 250 yards, the 11th seems long, but there’s a downhill tee shot onto an elevated green. The 12th features a split fairway onto another elevated green, while the following hole includes a carry over water. The closing two holes features a two-tiered green on the par 4 17th while the 18th features fairway bunkers with a sloping green, guaranteeing a stern challenge to the last.

The fifth hole at Liberty National

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If the course is impressive, its views are equally as breathtaking, with players treated to stunning panoramas of the iconic Manhattan skyline from every hole, including the Statue of Liberty. 

Given its pristine condition, incredible location and $250m cost to build, it’s not surprising that the club is private. However, what may come as a shock is just how exclusive it is. Initiation fees are reportedly between $450,000 and $500,00 plus annual dues. Famous members include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, actor Mark Wahlberg, singer Justin Timberlake and six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson.

The second green at Liberty National with the Statue of Liberty in the background

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Members are allowed to bring up to seven guests (limited to two a day) while guests can play six times in a calendar year. Guest fees are between $235 and $600, cart fees are $45, while caddie fees are between $45 and $90. There is also the option to play as part of a corporate day.

You can even arrive in style via a 46-foot custom catamaran that carries people across the Hudson River from Manhattan to its private boat dock next to the state-of-the-art clubhouse.

Is Liberty National A Private Course?

Liberty National is private, with initiation fees reportedly between $450,000 and $500,000. Members are entitled to invite guests to play, while the club also hosts corporate days, offering another potential chance to play it. 

Who Owns Liberty National?

The owner of Liberty National is former Reebok International chairman and CEO Paul Fireman. He became the club's co-founder when he was introduced to the project by designer Robert E. Cupp's friend when plans to build the course ran into difficulties. 

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.