One of the most appealing aspects about golf in the greater London area is the array of courses and their history. Royal Blackheath, for example, dates back to 1608. If recent times and popular culture are your touchstones, you can tee it up at Stoke Park, almost a century old but familiar even to those who don't watch The Golf Channel. It served as a backdrop in Goldfinger, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Bridget Jones's Diary.
To track Bobby Jones' achievements, play Sunningdale, where he fired his famous 66 to qualify for the 1926 Open Championship and where the Walker Cup was contested in 1987.
While numerous decent courses are sprinkled inside the M25 beltway, (the October issue of London-based Golf Monthly, a Golf Digest affiliate, cites 64 to choose from), we're listing here nine that are musts for every serious golfer and worth the driving they require before you get to them. Bring a handicap card or letter of introduction from your pro.
If you have the time to travel farther, either for a weekend or full-day trip, well-known venues such as Royal St. George's in Sandwich, Kent, which will host its 13th Open in 2003, are within reach.
THE BERKSHIRE GOLF CLUB
Swinley Rd., Ascot. Forty minutes from Central Business District.
Green Fee: 70/90 Pounds. Apply to Club Secretary.
Red Course (18)-Yardage: 6,379/5,733. Par: 72/73.
Blue Course (18)-Yardage: 6,260/5,641. Par: 71/73.
MOOR PARK GOLF CLUB
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 1QN. Thirty minutes from CBD.
Green Fee: 35/95 Pounds. Weekdays only.
High Course 18-Yardage: 6,370. Par: 72.
West Course (18)-Yardage: 5,815. Par: 69.
Court Road, Eltham, London.
Green Fee: 40 Pounds (50 Pounds for 27 holes).
Caddie: 15 Pounds.
Cart: 20 Pounds.
Pullcart: 10 Pounds. Weekdays only.
ST. GEORGE'S HILL GOLF CLUB
Golf Club Rd., St. George's Hill, Weybridge, Surrey.
Green Fee: 70 POUNDS. (65/95 Pounds for 27/36). Caddies and carts available.
Red (9)-Yardage: 3,108/2,715. Par: 35/36.
Blue (9)-Yardage: 3,174/2,813. Par: 35/36.
Green (9)-Yardage: 2,660/2,458. Par: 35/35.
STOKE PARK CLUB
Park Rd., Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. Forty minutes from CBD.
Green Fee: 75/125 Pounds weekdays, 200 Pounds weekend for 18; 200 Pounds for summer day pass.
Colt/Alsion (18)-Yardage: 6,787/5,898. Par: 71/74.
Lane Jackson (9)-Yardage: 3,060/2,723. Par: 36/36.
SUNNINGDALE GOLF CLUB
Ridgemont Rd. Sunningdale, Berkshire. 28 km west of CBD.
Holes: 36. Letter from home club and handicap certificate required. Weekdays only.
Old Course-Yardage: 6,581/5,825. Par: 72/74. Green Fee: 85/120 Pounds. New Course-Yardage: 6,083/5,825. Par: 71/74. Green Fee: 60/85 Pounds.
WALTON HEATH GOLF CLUB
Deans Lane, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tadworth, Surrey. Twenty miles south of CBD.
Green Fee: 65/85 Pounds.
Old Course (18)-Yardage: 7,019/5,937. Par: 72/74.
New Course (18)-Yardage: 6,949/5,907. Par: 72/74.
Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey. Forty-five minutes from CBD.
Holes: 54. Handicap maximum: 24 men/32 women.
Caddie: 35 Pounds plus tip.
Cart: 40 Pounds.
West Course(18)-Yardage: 7,047/6,094. Par: 73/75. Green Fee: 85/210 Pounds.
East Course-Yardage: 6,201/5,388. Par: 68/72/ Green Fee: 85/110 Pounds.
Edinburgh Course-Yardage: 7,004/5,774. Par: 72/74. Green Fee: 95/140 Pounds.
WOBURN GOLF CLUB
Little Brick Hill, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Sixty minutes from CBD.
Green Fee: 125 Pounds, two rounds and lunch.
Cart: 50 Pounds.
Pullcart: 5 pounds.
The Dukes-Yardage: 6,976/6,060. Par: 72/75.
The Duchess-Yardage: 6,651/5,831. Par: 72/74.
The Marquess-Yardage: 7,214/5,831. Par: 72/73.