And soon, Liberty National's members will have the option of never leaving. Three residential high rises, currently in the planning stages, will allow golf lovers to literally live, breathe and play the game. Though the 36-, 43- and 50-story towers will stand in Jersey City, they'll have all the trappings of luxury Manhattan apartments.
"A lot of people are going to be very surprised at the quality," Fireman said. "We're going to have this sort of eco-environment on the top floor of the 36-story tower that overlooks the city. It'll have an ecolounge with a whole planetarium and this beautiful balcony."
Also in the works is an ultraluxe clubhouse that the creators hope will be far removed from the stale vibe of most country clubs. The multistory construction, slated to open in 2008, will boast a gourmet restaurant by "Top Chef" judge and New York City restaurateur Tom Colicchio, a cigar lounge and a martini bar with views of the Manhattan skyline.
Fireman seems to be crafting the ultimate fraternity for business bigwigs, and like any exclusive social circle, getting in is a job in itself. To become a member of Liberty National, it's not enough to just cough up $450,000 in cash — potential candidates are usually referred through existing members and undergo a five- to six-week-long interview process.
"We require that people come out to see the course and go for a drive. It gives us a chance to get to know them," Fireman said. "We don't solicit. We don't advertise. We go on word of mouth. We do get some calls, and we'll interview them and give everyone the same consideration."
Fireman insisted he was not trying to keep people out.
"We're not snobby, but we are careful," Fireman said. "You get one bad seed and it really can contaminate the whole bunch."
Like a good stock portfolio, Fireman has built up Liberty National's membership with care. With 65 people currently in the club, he anticipates membership will grow to 250 or at most 300 in the coming years. But with members bent on anonymity and exclusivity, Fireman thinks they may pay to make sure the club's gates eventually get locked.
"At some point the membership may say, 'Hey, we don't want anymore members, we'll buy out the rest of the membership,'" Fireman said. "They want to preserve the exclusivity, and more importantly they don't want it to be overplayed."
Though Liberty National's gilded gates may keep out a lot of golf lovers, there is one way everyone can experience its grandeur: through the TV, when the club hosts the Barclays PGA tournament in 2009.
"Having a tournament really opens it up to the public and lets them see some of the best players in the world play here," Fireman said. "Even though maybe you can't play on it, you can at least experience it by watching the pros play."