US Open: Los Angeles Country Club is more exclusive than Augusta with Playboy Mansion


The host of this week’s US Open, Los Angeles Country Club, is nestled in the heart of Hollywood but on the course you won’t find a single famous face in sight. That’s because the Beverly Hills course is so exclusive, even celebrities need not apply.

The US Open is returning to LA for the first time in 75 years and heading to LACC for the first time ever this week but the major championship had to fight its way onto the club’s fairways.

For most golf clubs, hosting a major would be an honor but LACC has turned down the US Open time and time again, making it arguably an even more private venue than the host of The Masters, Augusta National.

The closest it ever came to opening its doors to the US Open was in 1986 when pleading factions led to a vote on whether to allow the prestigious course onto the public stage. It was shot down, five votes to four.

While Augusta is renowned for its restricted, exclusive membership of 300 with an invite your only ticket in, LACC’s membership is its best kept secret.

The US Open host, Los Angeles Country Club is so exclusive, even celebrities need not apply

The US Open host, Los Angeles Country Club is so exclusive, even celebrities need not apply

The golf course in Beverly Hills is hosting the major championship for the first time ever

The golf course in Beverly Hills is hosting the major championship for the first time ever

The country club is nestled in the heart of Hollywood with some very famous neighbors

The country club is nestled in the heart of Hollywood with some very famous neighbors

LACC has an extremely selective membership and has long been known for keeping even ‘Hollywood types’ – LA’s most common feature – out of its ranks. If you’re making headlines, you’re likely not making it in.

That’s not to say they’ve tried. Many famous faces of Tinseltown have attempted to muscle their way past the doors. 

Bing Crosby, who famously lived alongside the 14th hole, wasn’t welcomed due to his celebrity status. 

Silver screen regular Randolph Scott also wanted to obtain elusive membership but was spurned.

The tale, according to the book ‘Golf in Hollywood,’ goes that the club informed Scott that they didn’t accept actors, to which he responded, ‘I’m not an actor and I have 50 films to prove it.’ 

Of course, celebrities aren’t short of options in Hollywood. Hillcrest, the famous Jewish club in LA, welcomed the Marx Brothers and George Burns. 

Riviera, which hosts the Genesis Invitational, has the likes of Larry David, Adam Sandler and Sylvester Stallone as members. 

While Justin Timberlake plays his golf at Lakeside as Bob Hope did back in the day in the shadow of the Warner Brothers Studios. 

LACC has long been known for keeping even 'Hollywood types' out of its ranks

LACC has long been known for keeping even ‘Hollywood types’ out of its ranks

Bel-Air Country Club, home of many other stars, even allowed some scenes from Tarzan to be filmed on site. 

But as ever, celebrity wants what it can’t have. 

That’s not to say the A-Listers don’t try to get close – but the best view they’re getting is a peek through the hedges. 

The course is bordered by the sprawling mansions of the rich and famous. 

Lionel Richie’s palace, previously owned by Cher, resides by the fourth green. Famed TV producer Aaron Spelling had a 123-room French chateau-inspired property built alongside the 14th hole in 1985. 

Spelling and his family, including his Beverly Hills, 90210 star daughter Tori, no longer reside at the property but they join a notable group of LACC’s former neighbors, which features Hugh Hefner. 

Hefner spent decades throwing his lavish parties by the 13th, where the infamous Playboy Mansion resided. 

Local legend has it that Hefner wanted to build a helipad at the mansion but was shot down by the club, who wouldn’t allow it. He reportedly even offered to join the club in the hope of paving the way to his helipad but club also shot down that request. 

The private golf course used to have Hugh Hefner (L) and Playboy bunnies at neighbors

The private golf course used to have Hugh Hefner (L) and Playboy bunnies at neighbors 

The infamous Playboy Mansion resided alongside the 13th hole of the LA course

The infamous Playboy Mansion resided alongside the 13th hole of the LA course 

Monkeys and exotic birds could be heard from the mansion's zoo on the course

Monkeys and exotic birds could be heard from the mansion’s zoo on the course

But the Playboy magnate got his own back. Instead of a helipad, he built a zoo filled with monkeys, cockatoos and other exotic birds. 

The incessant chirping and screeching coming from the exhibit adjacent to the 13th green wasn’t the soundtrack the country club would have been looking for. Perhaps they’d have rather the helicopters after all.

Most of LACC’s blue-blooded membership no doubt turned their noses up at Hefner and his frivolities but others appeared to see some perks. 

‘You used to be able to see straight into the backyard,’ member Biff Naylor told Sports Illustrated in 1995. 

‘Early tee times Sunday morning were quite popular because you could look in on all of Saturday night’s partyers passed out by the pool. And occasionally there was even a scantily clad lady to be seen.’ 

However, one name did manage to make it above a locker in the clubhouse – former President Ronald Regan.

Former Dodgers owners Walter and Peter O’Malley, broadcaster Keith Jackson, former football stars Gene Washington and Pat Haden and World Golf Hall of Famer Fred Couples are also among the few who managed to sneak their way in. 

LACC’s membership restrictions didn’t just apply to celebrities either. It didn’t admit any Jewish members until the 1970s, and the first Black member wasn’t admitted until 1991, according to The Athletic. 

Even if you do make the cut, you’d better have deep pockets. 

Bing Crosby, who lived alongside the 14th hole, wasn't welcomed due to his celebrity status

Bing Crosby, who lived alongside the 14th hole, wasn’t welcomed due to his celebrity status

Former President Ronald Reagan did manage to get his name into the locker room

Former President Ronald Reagan did manage to get his name into the locker room 

1992 Masters winner Fred Couples is also among the few who managed to sneak their way in

1992 Masters winner Fred Couples is also among the few who managed to sneak their way in

Members must pay initiation fees ranging from $300,000 to $500,000 and annual dues of $20,000 to $30,000, according to AS.  

And as unrelenting as it is towards its membership criteria, LACC is as equally stubborn when it comes to its rules.

In recent years, golf has seemingly realized we’re now in the 21st century. Most clubs have relaxed their rules, allowing jeans in the clubhouse bar, the use of electronic devices on the property and, god forbid, even hoodies on the course.

But LACC is having none of it. The club has a reputation for being buttoned up, and it is very well-earned.

Members and guests alike must adhere to the club’s strict rules detailed on the Guest Information page of the club’s website in a brief, 1,071 words. 

Trousers are required for men all year round, not matter the weather, and not only are shorts a no-go, the trousers can’t just be whipped off the rack in the pro shop. No, they must be of a ‘tailored nature.’ It also goes without saying that shirts must be tucked in. 

And if you’ve got a late tee time, don’t forget your dinner jacket because after 6pm you’ve got to slip it on inside the clubhouse. 

The women face even tougher requirements. Slacks must be of a tailored nature and must be ankle length or longer, while you’d better have your measuring tape handy if you want to wear a skirt as they must be no shorter than four inches above the knee.

Members and guests alike must adhere to the club's strict rules detailed on the club's website

Members and guests alike must adhere to the club’s strict rules detailed on the club’s website

Women were required to play in skirts or dresses until roughly the turn of the century

Women were required to play in skirts or dresses until roughly the turn of the century

Golf caps are not allowed inside the clubhouse for both men and women but the ladies are permitted a brimmed hat, permitting it co-ordinates with their outfits. No color clashing, please. 

It is a slight improvement from previous rules. Women were reportedly required to play in skirts or dresses until roughly the turn of the century. 

And for the children – yes, that’s right, even children aren’t escaping the rules – under-seven-year-olds ‘must maintain a conservative and modest attire,’ while eight and older must follow the same rules as their parents. Have you ever seen an eight-year-old in a dinner jacket before? 

It goes without saying that denim, clogs, flipflops, jerseys, shorts and leggings are out of the question.  

And once you get past the dress code, you mustn’t forget your electronic devices etiquette. 

Discreetly checking messages on the North and South Courses and Course Cafes is allowed but the use of phones is not permitted on club premises, except in your car or in the Phone Room or ‘Phone Booths’ inside the locker rooms. 

But taking your phone out to snap a photo for your Instagram feed will not be tolerated. 

Identifying the club on any form of social media, including photos, hash tags, comments, posts, location check-ins and more is forbidden, while members and guests are not allowed to discuss membership, events, policies, rules, by-laws or activities on online platforms. 

But all that is set to change this week. The course that has tried to hide itself in plain sight in the middle of the see-and-be-seen crowd Tinseltown, will finally have its moment in the spotlight.

And ironically, with the US Open will come the exact people LACC has been trying to keep out.

Stan Kroenke, owner of the L.A. Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Arsenal, has bought out the entire LACC pro shop for the week to serve as his private suite overlooking the first tee, according to The New York Post. 

Stan Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets has bought out entire LACC pro shop for the week

Stan Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets has bought out entire LACC pro shop for the week

LACC did host the 2017 Walker Cup, when a Scottie Scheffler-led US team won 19-7

LACC did host the 2017 Walker Cup, when a Scottie Scheffler-led US team won 19-7

Meanwhile, NBC leaned into the Hollywood theme for the advertisement of its coverage of this week’s major. The network rolled out ‘Arrested Development’ actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett to promote the US Open at LACC. 

And of course, the general public will come traipsing in in their shorts, wielding their cell phones with LACC’s rules not applying to US Open spectators.  

LACC has gradually been unfurling itself to the rest of the world. It hosted the 2017 Walker Cup, when a Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa-led US team routed Great Britain and Ireland 19-7. 

But its US Open hosting duties have burst the dam wide open. The course will continue to put itself on the stage and screen with the 2032 US Women’s Open and the men’s US Open again in 2039.

As much as its tried to shroud itself in mystery, LACC can’t hide this week. All eyes will finally be on the exclusive club when Rory McIlroy and Co. rock up to tinseltown. 



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