Magazine article The Spectator

Club Ties

Magazine article The Spectator

Club Ties

Article excerpt

Palm Beach

This place is good news for senior citizens everywhere. It is the Mecca for the rich where even my old friend David Metcalfe is considered middle-aged. It is also one of the few resorts in America where religion counts a hell of a lot. In fact, this is what Palm Beach is all about.

During the daytime, that is. Let me explain: the three main country clubs of PB are where it all happens during daylight. There is the Bath & Tennis Club, known as the B&T, the Everglades Club and the Palm Beach Country Club. The first two are Christian clubs, the last is Jewish. The trouble is that Palm Beach Country Club members are inordinately rich even for Palm Beach. Their private jets carpet the airport come wintertime, and air slots have to be found for the airlines, not the other way round. It costs a quarter of a million dollars to join the Jewish club, and, for certain members who don't look too good, it has been known to go up to a million. The yearly dues are on a par with the UN budget.

So far so good. The B&T and the Everglades members are mostly Wasps, with a few token Catholics thrown in for good measure. When our very own Barbara Amiel joined the Everglades Club as Lady Black, our ex-benevolent proprietor had a couple of big shots put her up -- such as ex-secretary of state Alexander Haig -- and Babs got through with flying colours. 'It was the most terrifying moment of my life, ' she told me when I congratulated her for breaking the J barrier. Ten years before that, my great friend CeeZee Guest had been suspended by the Everglades for bringing to lunch Estée Lauder, the queen of cream, but the reason for the penalty was not lunching with a Jew, but having registered Estée as Ms O'Hara, or a name to that effect.

Never mind. I have some very good memories of the Everglades. Back in the early Fifties, Sean Flynn, Errol's boy, who died in Cambodia and whose body was never found, raced his Harley-Davidson against my brand-new Thunderbird on the club's golf course, causing great damage. It was New Year's Eve and we were 17. The club did not press charges, but told us not to bother coming back for a year or so. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.