Golf de Morfontaine is unanimously considered the most exclusive golf club in Europe, as well as the most desired. Those who have tried it, speak of the course not being too long but of exquisite design, truly worthy of a prince. Or a duke’s. It’s just too bad that admission is restricted to 450 club members and their guests, as in the case of Cypress Point.
Yet, will it really be impossible to get in? To hear most, the answer seems to be, “definitely yes.” From time to time, however, there is someone who succeeds in the feat and tells of one of the most beautiful and memorable golf courses in the world.
Just a little field for friends
It is 1913, in France. There is a polo field in Vellière Park that has been unused for years, just sitting there taking up space. Thirty-four-year-old Armand de Gramont, Duke of Guiche, then asks his father if he can take it, that piece of land. His idea is to have a small golf course built in place of the polo field. Something simple, just to spend a few pleasant hours with friends and family. The father agrees.
For this fledgling work, designed for an all-too-private space, the young duke contacts Tom Simpson. This should already give an idea of the turn the story will take. In fact, the architect creates a9-hole work of art, whose opening ceremony is attended by some of the most famous French golfers of the time. Nevertheless, for about 15 years the golf course remained exclusive to Armand’s circle.
After more than a decade and a world war, Armand de Gramont decides to revise how he enters the camp. First of all, contact Tom Simpson again for him to make a second 18-hole course. After that, he officially created the golf club and began organizing a series of events for male and female golf addicts. By 1930, three years later, the club had 350 members from all over the world. In 1962, the duke died, and in 1987 Golf de Morfontaine became the property of its members.
Do you want to try? Get ready to make fake papers
Throughout Europe, there are few golf courses where it is more difficult to play. Morfontaine is not one of those places where you phone and book your tee time, although occasionally someone tries. Blogger and critic John Sabino recounts the surreal attempts to contact the clubhouse, all of which foundered in miserable nothingness.
Eventually John Sabino was able to play Golf de Morfontaine, but only after years of trying and thousands of dollars spent in the endeavor. The golf addict tells all about it in the book “How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs,” available unfortunately only in English.
The only safe way to enter Golf de Morfontaine is to get an invitation from one of the club’s 450 members. Otherwise, you can keep an eye out foronline charity auctions : from time to time, the association provides access to golf courses for auditions. This is a rare event, so it is best not to rely on it too much: to date, the last one was in mid-2019.
There are some agencies specializing in luxury travel that, among other things, offer tours to the world’s most beautiful private clubs. They mostly organize group trips and are incredibly expensive, but it might be worth a try. Again, there are only so many opportunities, and it is worth setting up a Google alert.
Are you sure it’s worth it?
After so much effort (and money), will the courses at Golf de Morfontaine really prove worthy of their fame? According to John Sabino, yes: the pits are in the middle of a forest, immersed in an atmosphere of peace and solitude. As in other high-level fields, here the hand of man and nature are intertwined in a true work of art.
A work of art that will remain inaccessible to most.