"The coolest new wrinkle in the private-access game might be the Outpost Club."

John Paul Newport looks at the many ways you can get on private clubs through the array of group membership concepts, including a nice shout-out for the architecture-driven Outpost Club.

Modeled after historic golf societies in Great Britain, it does not own a course but members can play, on a limited basis, more than 50 private "partner clubs" in North America. Members (currently 340) pay a $5,000 initiation fee plus $900 in annual dues and a $900 annual minimum in golf and lodging at partner courses. The club is "by invitation only," requiring an application, but the process is about gauging seriousness.

"People don't join our club for the status, they join because they are avid golfers who appreciate great architecture and like to play fast, usually walking, with fellow members who feel the same way," said co-founder Colin Sheehan, who is Yale's head golf coach. The club won't release the names of the courses, but I've seen the list and almost all were designed by heavy hitters, dating from Ross and A.W. Tillinghast.