Bellerive Country Club, located just outside St. Louis, Missouri, is widely considered one of the most prestigious, historic, and exclusive private golf clubs in the United States. Ever since its founding in 1897, it has maintained a reputation as a highly selective club for prominent local families and executives.
An invitation to join Bellerive Country Club is a coveted honor only bestowed upon a small fraction of applicants.
But this exclusivity and luxury lifestyle comes at a price – a very steep price. So exactly how much does it cost to become a member at this pinnacle of Midwest country clubs? What are the various fees, dues, and other expenses associated with belonging to Bellerive? And ultimately, is the cost worth it for everything membership provides?
Let’s closely examine Bellerive’s complex membership structure and pricing to understand the full investment required to join this elite club.
How Much Does a Bellerive Country Club Membership Cost?
Based on estimates of the initiation fee, about $100,000-$150,000, plus annual dues, around $12,000+, the total cost for a first year of membership easily exceeds $200,000 at Bellerive Country Club.
Potential members should be prepared to pay:
- Initiation fee on the higher end from $100,000 to $150,000
- Annual dues around $12,000
- Supplementary fees like dining minimums
That adds up to over $200,000 just for your first year at Bellerive Country Club. Membership is a considerable yet worthwhile financial investment aimed at the ultra-wealthy.
According to Country Club Magazine, the estimated initiation fee for a Bellerive Country Club membership is $300,000, with estimated annual dues of $25,000. However, there are rumors that the initiation fee could be as high as $500,000, with annual dues of $35,000.
Initiation Fee at Bellerive Country Club
The first major expense at Bellerive Country Club is the initiation fee. This is an upfront, one-time cost that serves as your buy-in to join the club. At high-end clubs, initiation fees often run from $75,000 up to $150,000 or more.
At Bellerive specifically, expectations for the initiation fee fall at the higher end of that spectrum for premier national clubs. Most recent members have reportedly paid between $100,000 to $150,000 to initially join Bellerive Country Club.
This initiation fee must be paid upfront before membership is activated. Some clubs may allow potential members to finance it over a set period rather than paying the full amount at once.
Initiation fees become a source of capital funding that the club can use for major renovations, course improvements, and upgrades to its renowned amenities over time. They also contribute to an air of exclusivity.
Given Bellerive’s status, history, and facilities, the initiation fee is on par with other top-tier clubs nationwide. In addition to the initial fee, some supplemental fees may apply for golf lockers, bag storage, and other add-ons.
Along with the one-time initiation fee, members also pay annual membership dues that recur each year. This covers the day-to-day operating expenses at Bellerive Country Club.
For full golf members, annual dues at Bellerive are approximately $12,000 per year, billed on a monthly or quarterly basis. So, members can expect to pay dues of around $1,000 per month for full golf and club access.
These dues pay for all functions of the club, including: course and facility maintenance, member services and events, staffing, dining and beverage operations, and more. Bellerive employs a large full-time staff dedicated exclusively to serving members.
Dues may fluctuate year-to-year depending on the membership category. But expect to budget $12,000 or more annually for full privileges. Special assessments could also be instituted for major capital projects.
Membership Categories at Bellerive Country Club
Bellerive offers a handful of membership categories, each with different access levels, fees, and dues structures. The primary categories are:
- Full Golf Membership – This premium tier grants unlimited golf and full use of the clubhouse and amenities. It is the highest level of access but comes with the steepest fees.
- Sports Membership – A notch below Full Golf, this type still allows golf, tennis, pool, and dining privileges. Fees are lower but remain substantial.
- Social Membership – Designed for non-golfers, this category offers dining and clubhouse access only. Costs are relatively lower than golfing tiers.
- Junior Membership – Discounted fees aimed at members under age 40. Transitions into regular dues later.
- Legacy Membership – Special lower pricing if parents or grandparents are existing members.
Beyond just these main options, Bellerive will work with potential members to customize an appropriate membership package and fees based on individual needs and usage. But most members opt for Full Golf access to enjoy everything this prestigious club offers.
Amenities & Benefits for Bellerive Members
What does this premium membership fee grant you? Here are just some of the world-class amenities and benefits enjoyed by Bellerive Country Club members:
- Unlimited golf on an elite course that has hosted 16 Major PGA Tournaments. Constantly ranked as Missouri’s top course.
- Access to the stunningly renovated clubhouse with fine dining, cocktail lounges, and banquet facilities available for member events.
- State-of-the-art practice facilities, including an indoor teaching center, outdoor driving range, and putting greens.
- Har-Tru tennis courts, swimming pools, and a fitness center for year-round activity.
- Full calendar of events – parties, holiday celebrations, dinners, and member-only social gatherings.
- Member locker rooms and full-service attendant staff ready to assist members.
- Junior golf development programs to build skills for the next generation.
- Reciprocal privileges at other prestigious clubs when traveling.
- Business networking amongst St. Louis’ corporate elite.
- Special access to PGA Championships and other tournaments when held at Bellerive.
For avid golfers, access to Bellerive’s world-renowned course and amenities alone is priceless and justifies the membership investment. Add in the elegant dining, networking opportunities, and prestige, and the value proposition becomes clear.
Bellerive’s Fees vs Other Premier Clubs
In the rarefied air of private country clubs nationwide, Bellerive’s membership fees are firmly in line with other elite, high-profile clubs. Initiation fees of $100k+ and annual dues around $12k are common at top-tier clubs like:
- Shinnecock Hills – Southampton, NY
- Oakmont Country Club – Pittsburgh, PA
- Augusta National – Augusta, GA
- Cypress Point – Pebble Beach, CA
- Oak Hill Country Club – Rochester, NY
The only way to significantly reduce membership costs is to join a local country club lacking the history and amenities of Bellerive. But for what it offers, Bellerive’s pricing and exclusivity is expected from a club of such prestige.
Applying for Membership at Bellerive Country Club
Gaining membership at Bellerive Country Club is a rigorous process requiring patience and persistence. Openings become available only when current members resign, which rarely occurs at roughly 100% capacity in clubs like Bellerive.
Potential members undergo a thorough application process requiring:
- Letters of recommendation from multiple existing members
- Proven financial standing and liquidity
- Personal interviews with the membership committee
- Sponsorship by current member
- Long waitlist – often 10+ years
Bellerive Membership is extended only to promote congeniality amongst members. After an opening occurs, candidates on the waitlist are considered based on qualifications.
Gaining acceptance to Bellerive represents an accomplishment – it means joining an elite tradition dating back 125+ years. While the fees are exclusionary, members claim the experiences and opportunities are well worth the investment.
Is Bellerive Country Club Worth the Costs?
There is no debating that Bellerive commands a sky-high fee that makes membership attainable only for the ultra-wealthy. Between initiation fees from $100k-$150k and annual dues of $12k+, membership exceeds $200,000 for the first year alone.
This is obviously out of reach for the vast majority of the population. However, for a select segment of affluent individuals in St. Louis, the exclusivity, amenities, and network make membership a worthwhile investment and status symbol.
Bellerive offers far more than just golf – it grants access to an elegant social and dining atmosphere, premier events, and high society connections. Given Bellerive’s jaw-dropping facilities and rich history, current members contend the fees, while exorbitant, provide immense tangible and intangible value.
Bellerive Country Club has long stood atop the pinnacle of Midwest country clubs, catering to an elite inner circle of select St. Louis families and executives. But this prestige comes at a very high entry price averaging over $200,000 just for first year fees and dues.
Yet the combination of world-class golf, luxurious amenities, and exclusivity make Bellerive’s membership cost expected and justified in the eyes of those fortunate enough to afford it. For this privileged segment, the chance to join Bellerive ranks among life’s ultimate achievements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I save money on Bellerive Country Club membership costs?
The only ways to reduce membership costs are to choose a lower category like Social Membership, apply for Legacy or Junior pricing if eligible, or request a payment plan for the initiation fee. But full access requires paying the standard fees, which run over $100,000 initially.
Who designed Bellerive Country Club?
Bellerive Country Club was designed by the esteemed golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones Sr., known for his iconic designs that have shaped the landscape of golfing around the world.
Can you rent golf clubs at Bellerive Country Club?
Golf enthusiasts visiting Bellerive Country Club have the option to rent golf clubs, offering convenience for travelers or those who prefer not to bring their own equipment. However, it’s advisable to inquire about availability and any associated fees in advance.
How many holes does Bellerive Country Club have?
Bellerive Country Club boasts a total of 27 holes across its grounds, providing golfers with ample opportunities to enjoy the sport. This includes the Championship Course, renowned for hosting major tournaments, as well as the West Course, offering a unique and challenging playing experience for members and guests alike.