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The Wisley

This club is famous for… all the members being shareholders

Becoming a member at The Wisley is a tad more difficult than at your average private members' club - but then it's a very different concept too
 

The Wisley might not be in the Augusta National league of exclusivity, but it’s still difficult to rock up for a game at this Surrey layout.

If you’re not on firm terms with a member, it’s going to be a challenge to play the three loops of nine – the Church, Garden and Mill – at this private members’ club.

So if you can’t just hand over some readies for a green fee then let’s become a member, right?

Hmm. This isn’t exactly straightforward either. For becoming a member at The Wisley means being a bit more involved than at your average club.

Here, it means owning a share.

“There are 700 shareholders in total, never anymore, never any less,” says The Wisley’s website.
“The shares can be bought from existing members who are retiring from the club.”

Needless to say, it’s not revealed how much the shares – on the rare occasions they are made available – would cost to purchase.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say they are probably more on the expensive side.

But if you’ve set your heart on joining this club, found discreetly behind the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens about an hour outside of London, then don’t despair.

There is another way.

“Each year there are shareholders who wish to rent out the rights of their share,” The Wisley’s website continues.

“We have a 12-24 month rental membership option for those who, perhaps wish to experience the club prior to becoming a shareholder member.”

So what do you get for your hard earned? Well, a brief look at just a couple of internet reviews – from those lucky enough to have experienced the Robert Trent Jones Jnr design – will usually reveal the following words: immaculate, elegant and luxurious.

It’s perhaps not a surprise then that the club is such a firm favourite with top professional golfers and personalities.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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