For golf aficionados, there are a number of top-notch courses scattered across the globe with reputations so glowing that money is no object. And it's a good thing, because playing them is not cheap.
These sites promise fairways where golf's masters have walked, seaside putting greens and sand traps crafted by master course architects, as well as the lure of luxury to accompany 18 holes.
According to Chad Ritterbusch, chief administrator of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, the pricey courses offer players more than a round of golf, including resort amenities and a "professional golf" experience.
"These venues are more than just golf courses -- they're true destinations -- they offer resort settings, fine dining, famous golf courses that have played host to the most famous major championships," Ritterbusch said. "Certainly, it enables the golfer to experience what the pros have experienced."
Golfers are no longer just interested in early tee times, he added. They want to understand and appreciate the cultural and historical significance of the golf courses they play.
"Today, there are thousands of golfers around the globe who are not just golfers, but are very much interested in the golf course design, how that golf course came to be, how it's assembled in a strategic way, how the golf course interacts with the environment," Ritterbusch said.
The following 11 golf courses have the world's highest green fees, or cost, for those who are not members, guests or residents, to play 18 holes of golf.
1. Shadow Creek Golf Course -- Shadow Creek Golf Club, Las Vegas, Nev.
To play at Las Vegas' exclusive Shadow Creek Golf Club, golfers not only have to be guests at an MGM-Mirage property, but they also have to fork over the course's $500 green fee. Rooms at MGM properties can cost from around $100 to over $1,200 a night, according to the resorts' online reservation systems.
Golfers willing to dish out the money, don't worry -- the green fee includes transportation to and from your hotel. Those who can afford all that can play a course that cost almost $2.7 billion to build. And the course's designer, famous golf course architect Tom Fazio, imported flora and fauna, such as small, kangaroo-like Australian wallabies, to make the course's 18 holes a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
2. Pebble Beach Golf Links -- Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Pebble Beach Golf Links has been listed by Golf Digest as the No. 1 golf course in America, and was the site of the 100th U.S. Open in 2000. Perfection comes at a price, though, and this course commands another of the highest green fees in the United States. Non-resort guests pay $495, in addition to golf cart fees, for the opportunity to play on the resort's most prestigious greens.
3. Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Ireland
At Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale, Ireland, a round of golf costs nearly 295 euros. In July, that'd cost visitors a whopping $461 to tackle the course's 18 holes. The iconic course juts out more than two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. According to the course's Web site, the constantly changing sea breezes make the course a challenge for amateur and pro golfers alike.
4. Pinehurst No. 2 -- Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Pinehurst, N.C.