What earns recognition as one the best golf locker rooms? Is it a storied history, modern luxury or simply an unassuming place to change your shoes? For our latest ranking of America's 50 Greatest Golf Locker Rooms, we put this question to Golf Digest's 1,500 course-ranking panelists. The answer, we found, is that no one style of a quality locker room appeals to all, although ones oozing character seem to resonate more. The locker room at Seminole Golf Club, the 1929 Donald Ross design in Juno Beach, Fla., tops our list—just as it did on our 2007 inaugural ranking in Golf Digest Index magazine. "It's so authentic and unchanged, you could picture Ben Hogan changing his shoes with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth," says one panelist. Other historic clubs making our list include Augusta National (No. 8), Oakmont (No. 12), Winged Foot (No. 33) and Merion (No. 36). For golfers with more lavish tastes, there are the ultra-modern locker-room experiences: Sip a house-made cabernet on the balcony at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (No. 22) or get in a workout at the second-story gym overlooking the course at Adios Golf Club (No. 3). Thirty-three of the locker rooms on our ranking, in fact, were built in 1970 or later compared to 17 classics. But whether you're a purist or enjoy being pampered, the locker rooms on this page are some of the best places to relax and ruminate about the day's round.
1.) SEMINOLE G.C., JUNO BEACH, FLA.
"It is quiet, pleasant and elegant—one of the better places in Florida to change your shoes," Dan Jenkins wrote in 1965. Not much has changed in more than 50 years. With 30-foot-high wood ceilings, taxidermy on the walls and gold lettering on boards listing winners of the club's prestigious tournaments, you step back in time here.
2.) CASTLE PINES G.C., CASTLE ROCK, COLO.
Dressed in a suit and tie, locker-room manager Tom Horal—in his 34th year at the club—remembers your name and drink order after one visit.
3) ADIOS G.C., COCONUT CREEK, FLA.
The locker room has a second-floor gym with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the course. Walk a few steps from the gym and you'll find yourself in one of the bars named to our list of Best 19th Holes in America.
4.) INDIAN CREEK C.C., MIAMI
You'll often find celebrities playing cards and knocking back a cocktail in this locker room featuring cathedral-style wood detailing.
5.) THE MADISON CLUB, LA QUINTA, CALIF.
Rock music blares throughout, and the posh grillroom has a Vegas-like sports ticker on the huge, wide-screen TV.
6.) WHISPER ROCK G.C., SCOTTSDALE
Several dozen PGA Tour players are members, including Phil Mickelson. Need to rejuvenate after your round? Hit up one of two "nap rooms," there to let members sleep off the day's events, if need be.
7.) STOCK FARM CLUB, HAMILTON, MONT.
A stuffed cougar and mule-deer heads adorn the walls, and antlers are used in chandelier fixtures and table lamps—appropriate decor for this log-cabin-like hangout.
8.) AUGUSTA (GA.) NATIONAL G.C.
This might be the most coveted place to visit among golfers: Walk upstairs for the Champions Locker Room—a must-see for any Masters fan.
9.) THE GOLF CLUB, NEW ALBANY, OHIO
A very large oil painting of club founder Fred Jones sits on a shelf above the Cotswolds stone fireplace, as if he's still watching over the club, long after his death.
10.) NANEA G.C., KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII
Walk through the locker room to find open-air showers in an outdoor courtyard with gray-pebble floors and lava-rock outcroppings. Also, you need to try the homemade cookies.
11.) FRIAR'S HEAD G.C., BAITING HOLLOW, N.Y.
Likened by some to a new-age luxury hotel, the ambiance here is cozy. The small locker-room bar offers views of the first tee and ninth green.
12.) OAKMONT (PA.) C.C.
Hundred-year-old spike marks on the benches and compartments used by members to hide booze during Prohibition are just two signs of its history.
13.) FOREST CREEK G.C., PINEHURST, N.C.
It's like stepping inside the most glamorous horse stable. The 9,000-square-foot locker-room has stall doors that separate each set of lockers and a roof with wood shingles.
14.) THE ALOTIAN CLUB, ROLAND, ARK.
How far does the service go? Garbage is refrigerated on-site (to avoid any odors) during the day before being shuttled out in electric carts.
15.) SHERWOOD C.C., THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF.
Vistas of the rolling L.A. hillsides from the patio, where you might see Wayne Gretzky or Justin Timberlake, make this one of the West Coast's coolest hangs.
16.) MILWAUKEE C.C., RIVER HILLS, WIS.
The bratwurst and sausage highlight the daily spread. Rumor has it Brett Favre was asked to leave after knocking over a trophy while tossing a football between locker rows.
Courtesy of Milwaukee Country Club
Courtesy of Milwaukee Country Club
17.) DIAMOND CREEK G.C., BANNER ELK, N.C.
Period artwork and furniture give this rustic, modern clubhouse more of a luxury mountain lodge feeling than a golf locker room.
18.) KINLOCH G.C., MANAKIN-SABOT, VA.
Attendants will detail your car as you play. Bartenders greet guests upon entry, asking for your drink order.
19.) MUIRFIELD VILLAGE G.C., DUBLIN, OHIO
Jack Nicklaus made milkshakes the signature drink at his home club as a nostalgic nod to operating the soda machine at his dad's pharmacy as a teenager.
20.) OLD MEMORIAL G.C., TAMPA
With on-site cottages and no official closing time inside the locker-room bar, things can get rowdy at Old Memorial, named one of Golf Digest's Best 19th Holes in our 2008 ranking.
21.) CALUSA PINES G.C., NAPLES
Owner Gary Chensoff traveled to golf's best clubs for inspiration. The result? "It's like you're stepping into a locker room that has been there for more than 100 years," says one panelist.
22.) THE BRIDGES AT RANCHO SANTA FE (CALIF.)
A vineyard on property produces the club's own wines. Enjoy a cabernet or sangiovese in the locker room or on the balcony with views of the Southern California foothills.
Marisa Reinert/The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe
23.) OLD SANDWICH G.C., PLYMOUTH, MASS.
Locker-room attendants will happily take your lunch order as you relax in the steam bath post-round.
24.) GOZZER RANCH GOLF & LAKE CLUB, HARRISON, IDAHO
An outside bar is tucked away in a forested area between the locker room and first tee, serving drinks and tacos.
25.) SEBONACK G.C., SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y.
As if you were checking into a hotel, guests are welcomed at a desk inside the locker room.
26.) SEA ISLAND G.C., ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA.
This is the highest-ranked locker room open to the public. The 6,000-square-foot space has an exercise room, rainfall showers and one of the best cigar rooms around—with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Sargent Architectural Photography
27.) CHAMPIONS G.C., HOUSTON
A marker on the horseshoe-shape locker-room bar denotes where co-founder and three-time Masters champ Jimmy Demaret would drink his post-round martini.
28.) SAGE VALLEY G.C., GRANITEVILLE, S.C.
Founder Weldon Wyatt, emulating nearby Augusta National, wanted every detail taken to the next level. That includes a new pub where transfusions are poured into huge goblet glasses.
29.) MOUNTAINTOP GOLF & LAKE CLUB, CASHIERS, N.C.
A full-service spa includes a large steam room with a shaving sink, sauna, whirlpool and cold plunge pool.
30.) THE COUNTRY CLUB, CHESTNUT HILL, MASS.
The patio overlooking the 18th green is where the 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team celebrated its epic comeback. Lights over each locker still operate by pull string.
31.) BURNING TREE CLUB, BETHESDA, MD.
Former presidents and congressmen of both parties are members, and everyone eats together at the long dining tables.
Courtesy of the Burning Tree Club
32.) SHADOW CREEK, NORTH LAS VEGAS
Hanging above the urinals are the course records of Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, including a quote from Freddie: "Make sure you put this above the urinals next to Tiger's record," after tying Tiger's record of 60 in 2007.
33.) WINGED FOOT G.C., MAMARONECK, N.Y.
A trophy case greets entrants with decades-old memorabilia before entering a two-level locker room filled with photos of past major champions.
34.) MAYACAMA G.C., SANTA ROSA, CALIF.
Lockers are positioned around the massive stone fireplace, which is so big an attendant has to climb inside to stoke the flames.
35.) PRESTON TRAIL G.C., DALLAS
The all-male club has strict rules: You must be 21 years old to play (even Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't get an invite 'till his 21st birthday).
36.) MERION G.C., ARDMORE, PA.
During the Great Depression, the club looked at cutting expenses like water costs from its legendary showers, which require oversize supply pipes and drain plates. A member footed the water bill for years to keep its tradition intact.
37.) CONGRESSIONAL C.C., BETHESDA, MD.
At the bottom of a non-descript staircase, you enter a darkened room with a miniature four-lane bowling alley with a fully stocked bar, immediately transporting you back to the 1920s.
38.) THE PRESERVE G.C., CARMEL, CALIF.
Everything is posh and lavish, including the hot tub with a window overlooking the course, which sits within the 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve. The experience is unique, with very few groups being out there each day.
39.) ROBERT TRENT JONES G.C., GAINESVILLE, VA.
Four former presidents (George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) are members. Guests are known to open their lockers to see if they're in town.
.) THE BEAR'S CLUB, JUPITER, FLA.
It has an impressive pro-golfer membership that rivals Whisper Rock, and there are six bays in the men's locker room for members to choose from. (Yes, six.)
41.) PINE VALLEY (N.J.) G.C.
Simple, unadorned beige metal lockers, wood-paneled walls and green carpeting ensure that all your attention is on the golf course.
42.) SAN FRANCISCO G.C.
Ancient pistols are on display, a nod to the Broderick-Terry duel in 1859, which took place yards from the seventh hole.
43.) NATIONAL GOLF LINKS OF AMERICA, SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y.
This historic sanctum sits in the basement of the clubhouse. A quote above the entrance reminds players that faster matches should play through.
44.) OCEAN FOREST G.C., SEA ISLAND, GA. One of the most relaxing spots in golf might be the library in the locker room, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
45.) MEDALIST G.C., HOBE SOUND, FLA.
If Tiger Woods is home, you're likely to find him here. Super Bowl weekend is unique: unlimited golf, stadium seating to watch the game, and a half-time steak-and-wine dinner.
46.) GLENWILD GOLF CLUB AND SPA, PARK CITY, UTAH
It's hard to get lost exiting this locker room: The spa and the golf-shop doors are right outside the exit door, as are carts to the practice area or first tee.
47.) GARDEN CITY (N.Y.) G.C.
Sport coats are mandatory in the men's-only clubhouse, no matter the weather. Metal-grate lockers and coat racks to hang guest jackets are also decidedly old school.
48.) THE G.C. AT BLACK ROCK, COEUR D'ALENE, IDAHO
A hot tub in the men’s locker room with a TV hanging above it makes this a popular hang, as locker-room attendants will serve you drinks—as late as you choose.
49.) BUTLER NATIONAL G.C., OAK BROOK, ILL.
Locker-room maître d' Tony Ulloa learns guest names before they arrive. The lounge on the upper level has a gigantic window with views of the 18th.
50.) THE ESTANCIA CLUB, SCOTTSDALE
Challenge the chef's staff to make anything not on the menu. Full massages are offered, too.
5 WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOMS THAT GET IT RIGHT
Not enough attention is paid to where female golfers change their shoes, and the amenities they're given. Aptly summed up by one of our panelists, who has played at many of the best clubs in the country: "We are usually an afterthought, even at some of the nicest courses." And as another panelist stated: "Many women's locker rooms are so small, they only have one or two extras, or none at all, for guests." We hope that changes. Here are five clubs that get it right. —SH
COEUR D'ALENE (IDAHO) RESORT
You can schedule a chair massage before or after your round.
CASCATA, BOULDER CITY, NEV.
Guests are welcomed with the beverage of their choice, a wide selection of snacks and a personalized locker.
SOMERSET HILLS C.C., BERNARDSVILLE, N.J.
Many members say it's nicer than the men's locker room. Music plays on wireless speakers throughout the newly designed space.
KOHANAIKI, KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII
Walk through the club's garden-pool entrance to this "incredibly lavish experience," as one panelist puts it, which includes poke bowls for lunch, pineapple water spiked with vodka and ice-cream sandwiches on 18.
SHINNECOCK HILLS G.C., SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y.
The newly renovated women's locker room is on the top floor of the clubhouse, offering a bird's-eye view of the course. Shinnecock honors its history, having women members since the club's founding in 1891.