Some of our friends are now converting their junior memberships at L.A.’s top country clubs – Brentwood Country Club, Hillcrest Country Club, Los Angeles Country Club, Bel Air Country Club, and Riviera Country Club. We’d thought we’d regale our readers of the trials and tribulations that they are facing.
Angelenos choose their country club based on (1.) religion, (2.) legacy, (3.) location — in that order. Hillcrest and Brentwood are known to be very Jewish while L.A. Country Club is the polar opposite. That said, religion no longer is as set in stone as it once was.
Arguably the best, Hillcrest Country Club, located across the street from Fox Studio in Beverly Hills, and flanking public golf course, requires tax returns, a home visit and an itemized list of yearly charity donations for new incoming applicants. How much you give to Jewish charities, and which Jewish charities you choose, are a major entry criteria. The home visit is to see how you live.
If your parents are members at any club, you have the option to begin as a junior member at different age intervals. Your dues increase on those intervals. At Hillcrest, the junior memberships intervals are 21, 30, 36, 40 and 45. At each age your dues go up, rather you’ve joined yet, or not. Rather your parents are members or not, you fill out an application and go before the board.
Another top tier club we know of sends out letters to all the members asking them to submit comments and feedback on potential new members; they list the name and home address of that member so you can start your search-and-destroy process.
Kind of reminds us of Spago’s screening system in L.A. Story: Meet us at City National for your background check.
“Your usual table? No, I want a good one this time. I’m sorry sir, that is not possible. Part of the new cruelty? Yes. I see.” – L.A. Story
Some Jewish families historically have found Brentwood Country Club on San Vincente to be more family friendly because they are one of the few clubs that have a pool. While Hillcrest is the who’s who of LA, Brentwood tends to be more low-key. One appealing aspect of BBC for younger members are the highly organized tennis tournaments, and the rouge basketball league games in the parking lot made of 20 to 40 year old members.
Hillcrest has taken steps in the last couple years to attract new members has become popular for the Century City young Jewish professional crowd who work at investment banks, law firms, Fox Studio nearby, or talent agencies like CAA. Hillcrest re-did their menu, and gave the club a bit of a face-lift which improved and youth-ened the vibe.
To give an example of dues, a 36-year old at Hillcrest is paying $12k while a 45 year old at L.A. Country Club is paying $20k a year. That’s about where the cap is set; 20k a year is normal for adults over 40. Initiation fees for those over 40 can run up to $200k … Club food, green’s fee, an Easter egg hunt or bringing 10 family members to a Rosh Hashanah dinner are extra.
Although many of our friends in the Palisades will make the trek to L.A. CC, many just join Riviera instead, despite the corporate ownership. Our friends living in Bel Air joined Bel Air Country Club and often remark that it is the ‘most fun’ golf course in L.A.
On the note of crust — there is also the Jonathan Club which has two clubhouses — downtown (called the town club), and the beach club called the beach club. Not to be confused with The Beach Club next door. Or the Bel Air Bay Club next to that. All three are good.