Cigar Aficionado

Eden Golf Club

Ever wished you could belong to golf clubs everywhere? Ever regretted during your travels that you hadn't arranged to play at Riviera or Royal County Down or Wentworth? Ever wanted to have a home at the "Home of Golf"?

The Eden Club makes these things happen. The Eden Club is an international private golf club that provides its members with access to fine private clubs worldwide and gives them a home clubhouse at St. Andrews, Scotland. It also provides a regular schedule of special member-guest and club-versus-club events, and travel and accommodation services.

Tom Lawrence founded the Eden Club as part of an umbrella company he began in the late '90s known as The Finest Golf Clubs of the World. The Londoner was in the sports-marketing business at the time and belonged to a local club, but traveled frequently and found it an enormous hassle to arrange golf while traveling, especially when it came to gaining entry to top private clubs.

"It seemed to me that there were enough businessmen traveling the world who, like me, didn't want the aggravation of arranging to play at private clubs, but certainly wanted to," says Lawrence.

He also had the parallel idea of establishing a first-rate club at St. Andrews for those not anointed as members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. "St. Andrews has not had a fine golf club of a high level of service. It's always been very average," says Lawrence.

So, he married his two concepts, establishing relationships with private clubs across the globe and taking over the old Eden Clubhouse along the Road Hole at St. Andrews and refurbishing it. He arranged for his members to have accommodations at Strathtyrum House, an eighteenth-century stately home, and got a fleet of Land Rovers to ferry them around. Everything very tip-top.

You can join the Eden Club for $49,000 and annual dues of $4,200. For your money you receive unlimited golf on the courses at St. Andrews, seven complimentary rounds of golf at clubs worldwide, seven complimentary nights of accommodation at fine hotels and resorts, and the services of the club's secretariat, which arranges everything.

"Most people spend more money just to belong to a golf club at home," says member Randy Wilcox, chairman of Sarcom, a Columbus, Ohio, provider of computer services.

"I'm a network guy and it gives me a great way to network all over the world," says Richard Callahan, chairman of Denver-based Cable Partners.

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