Burning Tree Club

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Burning Tree Club is a private, all-male golf club in Bethesda, Maryland. The course at Burning Tree has been played by numerous presidents, foreign dignitaries, high-ranking executive officials, members of Congress, and military leaders. The course was designed by architect Alister MacKenzie.

Location and founding[edit]

The Burning Tree Club was founded in 1922, supposedly in response to a male foursome from the Chevy Chase Club being stuck behind a slow-playing group of female golfers.[1] The name of Burning Tree Club was named for the colorful leaves of a particularly large oak tree in the autumn on its grounds.[2]

The club is located in Bethesda, Maryland, near Congressional Country Club, home of the 2011 U.S. Open golf tournament.


The initiation fee is $75,000, while membership fees are $500/month. Membership is exclusive with a cap around 600. The member list is private, and includes honoraria and retired golfers and can be achieved by invitation only.

Notable members and former members[edit]

Presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George Herbert Walker Bush have been extended honorary membership.

Until the appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court of the United States, the club had always extended honorary memberships to the Court's Justices; those who accepted include Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and former Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Other notable members include:

Women excluded[edit]

There are no women's locker rooms or bathrooms at Burning Tree. No women are permitted inside the club at all, not even for service reasons or parties, with rare exceptions. A recent allowance was made for the spring cocktail party, and women are allowed into the pro shop in December to holiday shop for their husbands.[1] They can do this only by appointment, during very restrictive hours, and only on Saturdays.

The exclusion of women has extended to Supreme Court Justices, as Sandra Day O'Connor was not invited to join. Even working female U.S. Secret Service agents have been turned away. Women US Army EOD(explosive ordnance disposal) have been turned away.[1]

Popular culture[edit]

In the Seinfeld episode "The Bottle Deposit", Elaine bids on a set of golf clubs supposedly used by President John F. Kennedy at Burning Tree Club on the morning of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.


  1. ^ a b c Greg Garber, ESPN.com. "A no (wo)man's land". Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  2. ^ Maryland Writer's Project, Works Project Administration. Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State. Oxford University Press. August 1940. p. 512.
  3. ^ "Rep. John Boehner's other handicap". Retrieved 17 June 2011.

Coordinates: 39°00′03″N 77°09′01″W / 39.00083°N 77.15028°W / 39.00083; -77.15028