By Issy Ronald, CNN
(CNN) — Hollywood’s back catalogue of movies is peppered with mysteries, from “Rear Window,” to “Clue” and “Knives Out.”
And right at Tinseltown’s geographical center lies another mystery – the Los Angeles Country Club, a golf club of such exclusivity that there is no mention of joining fees on its website, though it has widely been reported to cost around $250,000 to $300,000, while it refused entry to celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Groucho Marx and Hugh Hefner, according to English newspaper the Daily Telegraph.
Now, the club is opening its doors to a curious public and media as the host of the US Open, the first individual event to visit the famed Los Angeles County Club since 1940, though it hosted the Walker Cup in 2017.
Sprawled out across about 300 acres of prime real estate in Beverley Hills with views of the city’s skyline, it has remained closed off to the golfing world through refraining from hosting tournaments.
“It’s like an unveiling,” club president Gene Sykes told the LA Times. “A lot of golf people kind of know of it or have heard about it, but have never been there. It’s mythic in some ways.”
But even if its exclusivity prevents stars from playing on the golf course, the club is surrounded by them. Lionel Richie’s mansion is a stone’s throw away while Hefner’s famous Playboy Mansion, and zoo which he reportedly built as revenge after being refused entry to the Los Angeles Country Club, sits next to the 14th hole.
Whatever Hefner’s intentions, even today golfers say they can still hear the monkeys, parrots and peacocks from the golf course.
“You can hear the monkeys almost every time you go back there,” Patrick Cantlay told reporters in his pre-tournament press conference. “There’s a bunch of other wildlife back there that you can hear occasionally.”
The club’s mysterious aura is maintained by its strict rules, including a clothing etiquette – after 6 p.m. men must wear a jacket in most areas of the clubhouse “unless otherwise specified for an event,” denim of any kind is not permitted, men’s shirts must have sleeves, collars and be tucked in while women’s skirts can be no shorter than four inches above the knee.
Meanwhile, cell phones aren’t permitted inside the clubhouse, though calls can be made in a specially allotted Phone Room or in phone booths in the locker room while “discreet use… in silent mode” is allowed in locker rooms, parking lots and a closed-door meeting on club business.
And posting any trace of the club on social media is strictly forbidden – any photos, comments and even discussion of the club’s membership or activities are prohibited.
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