Golf in Los Angeles: Where do the celebrities play?

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Golf in Los Angeles: Where do the celebrities play?

Golf is to Los Angeles what brunch is to New York. It isn’t so much about the game (or the meal in NY) but is more the way business is done. Relationships are everything, and let’s be frank: everyone is in LA to do business.

Sure, the weather is great. But if it was just about weather, Los Angeles would be a smallish coastal town. Millions have flocked there for one reason alone. Business. Specifically, the movie business.

And while that business may not actually be done on fairways and around bunkers, the golf course is used as a testing ground for someone’s character. A guy who throws his clubs, or won’t repair his divots, or takes Mulligans freely might not be the kind of guy you want to entrust your $100 million film with.

Here are a few of the best known country clubs in Los Angeles.

Riviera Country Club

The cream of the crop for A-list golf courses in LA, the Riviera Country Club requires more than just connections to get in. The wait and cost is brutal with $250k the initiation fee and rejection the name of the game. Once in, you will join Adam Sandler, Mark Wahlberg, Dennis Quaid, Luke Wilson, and Larry David who are all members here.


Perhaps the most staid of the LA clubs, Bel-Air is known for its amazing greens and canyon location, which creates a variety of playing approaches. Strict with the collared shirt-no shorts dress code, Bel-Air is strict in their banning of cell phones, even in the parking lot. Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Fred Astaire, and Richard Nixon were all members, although nowadays you will find Jack Nicholson, Kelsey Grammer, Chuck Lorre, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise on the course.


This Jack Nicklaus designed course is considered one of the best in the area and is nestled up against the Santa Monica mountains, giving it a leafy, woodland feel. Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Mel Gibson, and Kevin James all waggle their wood at Sherwood.


One of the top clubs in the area, Hillcrest was designed as an all-Jewish club in response to the early shunning by other clubs in LA. The average member age is creeping up toward 80 these days, but with names like Sidney Poitier, Jerry Weintraub and historical members Groucho Marx and Milton Berle there is still kudos to membership.

Other clubs frequented by the well-heeled in Los Angeles are Lakeside in Burbank, El Caballero in Tarzana.

Two of the most exclusive clubs in Los Angeles where you absolutely will not find movie types doing their business is the Wilshire Country Club and ultra-clannish Los Angeles Country Club. Neither will admit entertainment types and while no longer overtly racist, have a history of prohibiting Jews from membership.

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