One of our main passions is to find our readers ways to get access to private clubs they might otherwise miss out on playing.
(In this case, those clubs include four that currently host PGA Tour events.)
That's why what I'm about to show you is one of the cleverest such items we've ever uncovered.
I call it "clever" because it relates to something you almost definitely already have:
A credit card.
That's right - in this age of credit card companies racing to offer current and potential customers the best benefits, we've found what has to be the best one for traveling golfers.
It's the World MasterCard™, and it gives you access to the entire slate of private clubs in the TPC network.
The rest of us already are able to play the public TPC golf courses, highlighted by the likes of TPC Sawgrass, TPC Scottsdale and TPC Louisiana, which host Tour events in their own right.
But the majority of TPC facilities are private, and normally only open to full members there or at another private course in the network...
...and World and World Elite MasterCard™ holders.
The World and World Elite are popular among MasterCard's lineup, and so they are available in a number of fee/interest configurations - no annual fee and a higher interest rate, or a lower interest rate that comes with an annual fee.
Whatever the configuration, though, the card's Private Club Access feature allows cardholders to play each private TPC course once per calendar year and unlocks a number of private TPC golf perks. These include convenient tee time booking capabilities and the sort of treatment generally only reserved for full members: a dedicated locker for each visit, a "welcome gift" (e.g. a name-etched bag tag) and bar and dining privileges at each course, as well as the ability to book well in advance of play.
If you are interested in confirming your eligibility or want to check on rates and availability, call the MasterCard concierge at 888-963-7017. Qualifying cardholders may play each participating course once a year and can bring up to three guests (all charges must go on the approved card). In most instances, the Private Club Access rate is markedly less than the standard green fee.
In addition, Private Club Access may provide savings when playing a public TPC course or when staying at a resort with a tie-in to a TPC club. At Harding Park, which will host the 2015 Match Play Championship, the 2020 PGA Championship, and the 2025 President's Cup, the rate for elite MasterCard holders is $129 Monday through Thursday and $146 on weekends, compared to the $155 weekday and $175 weekend public green fee.
Guests of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort TPC can play either the Dye or Norman courses at the on-site TPC San Antonio on an à la carte basis for $199 or $259 depending on the season, whereas the MasterCard rates top out at $156 during peak months and drop to $119 in shoulder season-and you don't even need to stay at the resort.
During peak season at The Greenbrier, the MasterCard rate for TPC Old White (where Angel Cabrera won the 2014 Greenbrier Classic) is $257, whereas resort guests and public players pay $325 and $375, respectively. If you want to try the Old White in shoulder season, MasterCard can set you up for as little as $87 a round, whereas registered guests and the general public are on the hook for $195 and $245, respectively. Just remember that to secure these special rates you must call the program concierge. Note also that booking windows typically range from 14 to 30 days.
Have you played any of the private courses of the TPC Network? The public-accessible ones? Let us know your opinions of any and all of them in the comments below!