How To Play The World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs – Book Review

How To Play The World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs – Book Review

How To Play The World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs
Grade: B+
Teacher’s Comments: Manages to walk the treacherous line between gloating and offering interesting stories and useful information.

The risk in writing a book on how to play the world’s most exclusive golf clubs is in descending from advice and storytelling to gloating. Fortunately, author John Sabino has managed to avoid this pitfall in his How To Play The World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs.

As the title suggests, Sabino has managed to figure out a way to play the world’s most exclusive golf courses, including all of those generally accepted as the Top 100. And yes, the list includes Pine Valley and Augusta. The book is an outgrowth of his Top 100 Courses blog, in which he has been chronicling his adventures since 2006.

Sabato’s recipe boils down to connections, time and money. A career in finance, as well as the popularity of his blog, put Sabato in touch with many exclusive club members. He also has the money and time to travel. Those factors put most of us working schlubs out of the running for membership in the Top 100 Club. Indeed, Sabato estimates that there are only thirty who have completed the list.

Still, Sabato offered a lot to think about in terms of leveraging the few contacts that I have. I also came away with the feeling that my best chance to play some really exclusive clubs lies overseas, where clubs are ironically much more “democratic” than the ones in the United States. I have also begun to think seriously about how I might get a round at Crystal Downs, Michigan’s version of Augusta. Sabato actually called the course and asked. I might write a nice, old-fashioned letter.

As for Augusta National itself, ideas for playing a round occupy an entire chapter of the book. Unfortunately, they all involve lottery-like odds. Your best bet might be to pony up $150,000 or more at a charity auction.

Advice aside, How To Play The World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs is good read (that again, does not descent at all into gloating). I really enjoyed learning about the quirks and traditions of the various clubs, and about the courses they shepherd. Sabato has a good eye for detail, and the literary chops to bring the clubs he visited to life. This would make a great gift for the golfer in your life — and especially one who is a dreamer.


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