Exclusive RightsApril 30, 2018

One way any golfer can get inside the gates at some of America's most private clubs

Secession Golf Club downstairs
Courtesy of Secession Golf ClubThe view from the first-floor balcony at Secession. Guests stay one floor above, with spectacular views of the course -- and terrific proximity to the course.

Most of us have golf at an elite private club on our bucket list—even for those golfers who have played a bunch of great courses, there always seems to be a club or two where access has eluded them for one reason or another. So if you're like us, you're always on the lookout for ways to gain access to some of the best clubs in America.

The Golf Course Superintendents' Association of America has an intriguing avenue to being able to tee it up at some of the best clubs in the country, and it includes spending money for a good cause, too. Through its philanthropic arm, the Environment Institute for Golf, the GCSAA is having a benefit auction to raise money for turfgrass research. Rounds at some exclusive private clubs, donated by the clubs themselves, are being auctioned off in a program called Rounds 4 Research at some attractive rates.

Some ones that caught our eye: Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, N.C., an old Perry Maxwell design that recently underwent a redesign by Coore and Crenshaw, is currently going for $320 for a foursome. (Update: The current bid is currently $1,000.) Somerset Hills Country Club in Bernardsville, N.J.ranked No. 76 on Golf Digest's latest ranking of America's 100 Greatest Courses—is going for $900 for a foursome (an unaccompanied guest fee is usually $350 at the esteemed A.W. Tillinghast layout). (Note: The current winning bid is now more than $1,500 for the foursome at Somerset Hills.)

And bidding for a foursome at Stanwich Club, whose William Gordon & David Gordon layout in Greenwich, Conn., is ranked 150th on our latest Second 100 Greatest ranking, and No. 1 on our Best in State, started below $500 for a foursome—about the price of what a golfer would pay to play a public golf course in the tri-state area—but is now fetching the highest price for a foursome out of all 1,400 items—$2,500 for a foursome—a testament to the value of access at such private clubs.

Stanwich Club.

RELATED: Our latest ranking of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses

There are more than 1,300 rounds (including at Secession Golf Club, shown, above) being auctioned off in this Rounds 4 Research initiative. The auction runs through May 6. For more info, click here.

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