Most countries have private clubs whose members are willing to pay large amounts of money to get in. It is a way to mingle with the select crowd, socialites or the aristocracy. Membership affords the possibility of establishing new social and professional relationships. However, as it often happens, the hardest part is not the cost of the registration. Since access is granted only to those with personal references and recommendations from other members, you must be willing to wait months or even years before you are admitted.
Club de Golf Altorreal in Murcia, Spain.
In the case of Spain, we know this kind of societies exist since the beginning of the 18th century. Over time, and depending on the cultural preferences of the moment, the clubs’ needs have changed. Nowadays the ones that stand out are often associated with sports such as golf, polo or horseback riding. Additionally, there are social and cultural clubs. In many cases patrons belong to several of them, which don’t have to be in the same city. Some clubs offer their best services only during the summer season. Thus, in general, in Spain it is possible to differentiate the clubs in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao from those in resort towns like Marbella, Palma de Mallorca, Cádiz or Santander.
Some social clubs in Spain are more exclusive than others. In cities like Madrid the most prominent are the Club de Golf de la Moraleja or the Casino de Madrid, and in Barcelona the Real Club de Polo or the Liceo de Barcelona.
Liceo de Barcelona, Spain.
When it comes to golf, the Club de Golf de la Moraleja is not the only one that specializes in this sport. There are also the Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande in Santander, the Real Golf de Pedreña, the Vista Hermosa Club in Puerto de Santa María and the Club de Golf Altorreal in Murcia. Those looking for different sport options should consider the Club de Polo Santa María in Sotogrande (very popular among German and British celebrities), the Real Club Jolaseta in Bilbao (dedicated, among other sports, to hockey, for which it is considered one of the most important), or the Aeroclub in Santiago de Compostela.
Among the ones with the most restricted access, we can mention the Club de Tenis Puente Romano in Marbella or the Real Club Náutico in Palma de Mallorca. Several ex-presidents of Spain, as well as the Spanish Royal Family belong to the latter (and also to others such as the Real Club de Tenis de Oviedo).
The fact that these clubs still exist and are in great demand, even during times of crisis, is something that should not surprise. Times of crisis have always existed, and many of these clubs are more than 200 years old. ■