A foursome at the super-exclusive Adena Golf Club in Florida is one of the Rounds 4 Research auction items. (Mike Lowe/Golf Advisor) The island-green par-3 15th at East Lake Golf Club. (Keyur Khamar/Getty Images) Sonoma Golf Club is a fine private club in the heart of Wine Country. (Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor) Des Moines Country Club hosted the 2017 Solheim Cup, and a foursome at the club is available in the 2018 Rounds 4 Research auction. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) Ritzy Eagle Point served as a great fill-in host for the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Whoever wins the Secession Golf Club foursome in this year's Rounds 4 Research will have a wonderful day at one of the coolest clubs in the South. (Tim Gavrich/Golf Advisor)

How to score access to dozens of America's most exclusive private golf courses



If you want the chance to play some of the greatest and most private golf courses anywhere, you'd better mark your calendar for this coming Monday, April 30.

That's because for one week, you'll have one of the great access opportunities in golf.

What's more, not only will you have the opportunity to play some amazing courses, you'll get to give back to the game of golf.

About Rounds 4 Research

Rounds 4 Research is an annual auction organized by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) under the guise of its charitable arm, the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG). The EIFG's goal is to fund research into turfgrass, water management and numerous other parts of the complicated work of golf course superintendents.

Recent EIFG-funded projects have shed new light on water conservation practices, safe insect-repelling practices and disease management, all of which seek to improve course conditions, control costs and lessen manmade environmental impact.

Rounds 4 Research began as an initiative by the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Association and has since gone nationwide. For a week each spring, the Rounds 4 Research auction's items include threesomes, foursomes and stay-and-play packages at hundreds of courses, including some ultra-private clubs most golfers would never be able to play without a member connection.

Chances are an amazing course near you can be accessed through this auction, so click here to preview the auction or read below for some of the highlights:

Where you can play

Course: Adena Golf Club - Ocala, Fla.

Details: Adena is the private enclave of Canadian billionaire and horse-racing aficionado Frank Stronach. The course occupies a unique plot of land, with several holes playing over and around deep quarries. Adena's superintendent, Asa High, came to Ocala from Augusta National.

Opening bid: $500 for a foursome with carts

Course: East Lake Golf Club - Atlanta, Ga.

Details: Host of the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship each year, East Lake's Donald Ross-designed (and Rees Jones-restored) layout is the stage for plenty of drama every year.

Opening bid: $1,400 for a foursome (plus $288 in caddy fees)

Course: Sonoma Golf Club - Sonoma, Calif.

Details: Sonoma Golf Club is one of the Wine Country's best tests of golf, having hosted the PGA Tour Champions season-ending Charles Schwab Championship from 2003 through 2009. The routing of the course - clockwise around the perimeter of the property on the front nine, counterclockwise around the interior on the back - takes full advantage of the site and means the player will experience different wind directions constantly.

Opening bid: $300 for a foursome with carts

Course: The Stanwich Club - Greenwich, Conn.

Details: Stanwich's challenging layout has long been regarded as one of Connecticut's best, and has appeared on numerous top-100 lists over the years. It hosted the 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Opening bid: $300 for a foursome with carts

Course: The Course at Yale - New Haven, Conn.

Details: Known as the best college course in the country, a round at Yale is a special opportunity. The Charles Blair Macdonald course has been lovingly restored over recent years thanks to its superintendent, Scott Ramsay, who has overseen the much-needed removal of hundreds of trees.

Opening bid: $200 for a foursome with carts

Course: Indian Creek Country Club - Miami, Fla.

Details: Indian Creek is one of the most underrated clubs in America, largely by design. Due to the quiet nature of the club, few non-members are familiar with the brilliance of the William Flynn-designed course. Residents of the private island on which the course is set have included Julio Iglesias, Don Shula and Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Opening bid: $500 for a foursome (caddie fees extra)

Course: Pine Tree Golf Club - Boynton Beach, Fla.

Details: This 1961 Dick Wilson design has been meticulously restored in recent years and is one of South Florida's best tests of golf. Ben Hogan loved practicing there in the winters and called it "maybe the best flat course in America."

Opening bid: $500 for a foursome with carts

Course: Broadmoor Country Club - Indianapolis, Ind.

Details: Broadmoor is one of Donald Ross' more overlooked courses, likely due to its midwest location. But the clustered bunkers, undulating greens and classical sensibilities of the course are irresistible.

Opening bid: $170 for a foursome with carts

Course: Des Moines Golf & Country Club - West Des Moines, Iowa

Details: With two Pete Dye-designed courses, this club was a great host for the United States team's triumphant 2017 Solheim Cup victory.

Opening bid: $438 for a foursome with carts

Course: Montclair Golf Club - West Orange, N.J.

Details: Montclair Golf Club has something of a unique architectural pedigree, with three nines designed by Donald Ross and one by Charles Banks. Bobby Jones once called Montclair "the longest short course I've ever played."

Opening bid: $667 for a foursome with carts

Course: Eagle Point Golf Club - Wilmington, N.C.

Details: Eagle Point is one of Tom Fazio's many well-regarded private designs. The club counts financiers and business titans among its membership, and hosted the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship while normal host Quail Hollow prepared for the PGA Championship.

Opening bid: $400 for a foursome (caddie fees not included)

Course: Old Town Club - Winston-Salem, N.C.

Details: Old Town has undergone one of the most impressive transformations of any American course in recent years, thanks to a spectacular renovation and restoration project by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw. Golfweek just ranked it #23 on its "Top 100 Classic Courses" list.

Opening bid: $200 for a foursome with carts

Course: Old Tabby Links - Spring Island, S.C.

Details: Old Tabby is one of the most peaceful and private golf courses of South Carolina's Lowcountry. The Arnold Palmer design, recently renovated by Palmer associate Brandon Johnson, is a wonderful walk through moss-draped live oaks and coastal marshland, with a terrific set of greens.

Opening bid: $400 for a foursome with carts (my recommendation: ask to walk instead)

Course: Secession Golf Club - Beaufort, S.C.

Details: A walking-only club with one of America's most perfectly situated clubhouses, Secession is one of those courses that stirs the soul of any true golfer. The Bruce Devlin design hugs the ground, with subtly contoured greens that roll off into stacked-sod pot bunkers. The island-green 17th is one of the South's coolest holes.

Opening bid: $350 for a foursome (caddie fee of $100 per player not included)

Course: Holston Hills Country Club - Knoxville, Tenn.

Details: Some Donald Ross aficionados claim Holston Hills as the great Scot's most brilliant design, eclipsing even mighty Pinehurst No. 2. The club recently became part of the McConnell Golf group of properties.

Opening bid: $250 for a foursome

TPC course access up for grabs, too

A number of TPCs, both private and public, have put up foursomes for Rounds 4 Research as well. Here are some of the courses you can play:

- TPC Deere Run - Silvis, Ill.

- TPC Twin Cities - Blaine, Minn.

- TPC Las Vegas - Las Vegas, Nev.

- TPC Summerlin - Las Vegas, Nev.

- TPC Sawgrass (Dye's Valley) - Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

- TPC Jasna Polana - Princeton, N.J.

- TPC Myrtle Beach - Murrells Inlet, S.C.

- TPC River's Bend - Mainesville, Ohio

- TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm - Potomac, Md.

- TPC Prestancia - Sarasota, Fla.

- TPC Sugarloaf - Duluth, Ga.

- TPC Southwind - Memphis, Tenn.

These are just a handful of the more than 1,200 items available for the Rounds 4 Research auction. To get involved and to browse the available items, click here.

Apr 27, 2018



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Tim Gavrich

Senior Writer

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor and the Managing Editor of the Golf Vacation Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.