Inside the gates of heaven: Attend an event at these prestigious clubs

Inside the gates of heaven: Attend an event at these prestigious clubs

Curious what it's like on the inside? Put these events to Pine Valley, Augusta National and Cypress Point on your calendar.
A front-row seat at Augusta National is a rare treat. Thanks to the new Augusta National Women's Amateur, however, it just became a bit more accessible.

It’s the dream of every golf nut, especially anyone who cares about course design. To tread the magical fairways of Augusta National Golf Club, Pine Valley or Cypress Point is the stuff of magical fantasy.

Unless you are extremely well-connected to a member and get a precious invitation, access behind the gates of these legendary tracts is beyond the realm of possibility. But now comes a new way to see these places, even if entry does not include the right to play a round.

Try spectating. It’s the easiest, least expensive way to get a first-hand look at some of the layouts that have defined the early history of course design.

Tickets to The Masters are annually sold out well in advance, with a wait list that hardly moves and third-party prices that run four digits for a day. But now the club is opening its grounds for $75 on the Saturday before The 2019 Masters for the final round of the first annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur. That final is slated for April 6, following two days of play at Champions Retreat Golf Club in town – for which tickets are free. (The final round at Augusta will also be broadcast on NBC.)

Access for the ANWA finals at Augusta National is only available online via an online application process. Applications are being accepted through Sept. 30, with a maximum of two tickets per order. The tickets can’t be resold or transferred. The club won’t say how many tickets are available, as they never discuss attendance numbers. But it does constitute the best chance in a long time for the general public folks to get an affordable peek at one of the world’s most magnificent golf courses.

One of Augusta's few rivals in terms of prestige is New Jersey's Pine Valley Golf Club, which has been opening its gates to golfers in the know each September. There, the public is welcome to accompany the two finals matches (mid-am and senior divisions) of the Crump Cup, one of golf’s most prestigious privately sponsored events. Tickets are only $25, with parking available near the club entrance and a casual lunch menu available on the grounds.

Cypress Point is another of golf's toughest tickets, but you will be able to walk its hallowed grounds if you attend the 2025 Walker Cup

Down the road, architecture junkies have more events to get excited about, as the USGA has announced the 2021 Walker Cup for Seminole Golf Club in Florida and the 2025 Walker Cup at Cypress Point Club in California.

No, it’s not the same as playing the course. But access like this at least gives serious golf fans a chance to experience first-hand the places that have helped define classic golf architecture.

Veteran golf travel, history and architecture journalist, Bradley S. Klein has written more than 1,500 feature articles on course architecture, resort travel, golf course development, golf history and the media for such other publications as Golfweek, Golf Digest, Financial Times, New York Times and Sports Illustrated. He has published seven books on golf architecture and history, including Discovering Donald Ross, winner of the USGA 2001 International Book Award. In 2015, Klein won the Donald Ross Award for lifetime achievement from the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Follow Brad on Twitter
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The Stress-free Golf Swing

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Brad - another way to gain access is volunteering for a USGA event....and meet/make friends with some of the members. One of the best things I ever did this summer was doing just that at Chicago Golf Club for the inaugural US Senior Women's Open.

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I have played at Augusta many times. I always wake up before I finish.

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I have been to Augusta National twice. Television does not do it justice. I would love to see it in person again.

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Would love to experience any of of my bucket list dreams!

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Would love an article of outings, scrambles or other ways a person can get on and play some of these special courses.

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Inside the gates of heaven: Attend an event at these prestigious clubs