I am heading to London in August and while there driving out to play Worplesdon and Walton Heath while I’m there. Does anyone know of any more hidden gem type courses under £50/round?
You can often get The Addington at a good discount (standard green fee midweek about £60-80 depending on day of the week, £100 weekends). Call the club or do some googling for discounts. Really wild heathland course near Croydon in south London with some unique holes.
Also, plenty of the good Surry/Berks clubs have a really cheap twilight rate which coupled with late sunsets is immense value. I paid £30 twilight at Woking — albeit some years back — but I’d be shocked if it’s more than £50 or so now. ( EDIT — it’s £70 https://www.wokinggolfclub.co.uk/green_fees)
Worpy and Walton Heath are two of my absolute favourite courses anywhere. Have a great time.
Some other thoughts:
A day ticket at The Berkshire — £185 to play both courses — is exceptionally good value.
Huntercombe is SUPERB and is >£80 or only £30 twilight (after 4pm). You wouldn’t regret it. It’s away from the other good London courses (near Henley) but super accessible by train out of Paddington)
Are any of the courses easily accessible by tube/train?
Also, do most London area courses have rental clubs available?
I go for work on occasion and would be able to sneak some golf in, if any courses can meet the above criteria.
All are accessible by a combination of train (almost always from Waterloo if playing in Surrey) and a cab from the station. Driving, at least for anyone who lives in central London, isn’t really a thing. I think Highgate and Hampstead you can get to on the tube. Also have a look at Hadley Wood, McKenzie course north of the city center.
Would strongly advise to check with the club beforehand re rentals. Some will, some wont.
Thanks! I’ll be sure to try Hadley Wood next time I am there!
I don’t use this forum to promote myself but I’m in the middle of writing an article about exactly this - hidden gem courses to play for business travellers who bring their clubs with them and can get a game in, post city centre meeting. As it’s bad form to link to outside work of mine, I’ll give you the gist here:
As mentioned, Hadley Wood is a place that should be much more famous than it is. Not only is it a MacKenzie track, but you can clearly see the ideas forming which later turned into Augusta. The entire back 9 is Augusta lite, a topsy turvy collection of elevation changes to greens with false fronts. And Christ are they fast. Often 12/13+ on the stimp and not a flat surface on them. If you’re not under the hole on the 15th you’re in serious trouble. The clubhouse is also delightful and they have a nice welcoming energy. You can get there very easily by taking either the Northern Line tube to High Barnet or the Piccadilly Line to Cockfosters and then a 5 min cab ride.
Again, as mentioned, The Addington is worth a look. The first hole is soft and the 2nd and 3rd are so so, but it takes off after that with some really spectacular golf that runs over tumultuous heathland. A couple of spectacular par 4’s, one of the best par 5 heathland holes I’ve ever played and a 215 yard par 3 that’s a rival to any. 18 is a poor finish but still worth it. It’s a bit fiddly to get to but take a train to East Croydon and a 10 min cab from there.
Also note a place called Selsdon Park Hotel & Golf Club nearby. It was in a pretty sorry state until taken over recently by DeVere who are renovating the hotel and showing the course a bit of love. It’s not in the same league as the others on this list but it was designed by JH Taylor so at £25 a round worth a look and watch this space if they start spending money on it. (Interesting trivia - if you like the Sharknado movies, we filmed a couple of scenes from S5 in the grounds!).
The next place to look at are actually two locations in one - Moor Park and Sandy Lodge. I lump them both together because they’re right next to each other in north west London and Moor Park tube station, on the Metropolitan Line, separates them. It’s literally the length of 2/3 golf holes from the station to either clubhouse. The High Course at Moor Park is worth a round. It’s very parkland and set out around the old park of a spectacular stately home, once the home of the Duke of Bedford, which is now perhaps the best clubhouse in the world and worth a visit alone. But if it’s pure golf you want, the much more low key connoisseur’s choice is Sandy Lodge next door. Designed by Harry Vardon, its one of the only courses built over a strip of sand within the city of London (worth knowing if you’re here in the wet winter). If you have a whole day free, play Moor Park High Course, have lunch in the magnificant clubhouse, then wander down to Sandy Lodge for an afternoon round.
In South West London is Royal Wimbledon, which is easily 90% the golf course that any if the famous Surrey tracks are. I actually prefer it to Woking (the 1st & 18th at Woking annoy me). It is, like the other Surrey Sandbelt gems, built over some rolling heathland and has a perfectly quaint little clubhouse to enjoy afterwards for tea and sandwiches. It’s tucked away in a remote corner of Wimbledon Common and you’d have no idea you were in central London playing there. They’re in the middle of some renovations trying to rediscover some magic of Willie Park and Harry Colt, who designed it and when those are complete it should be spectacular. To get there take the District Line tube to Wimbledon and a 5 min cab ride up the hill.
The last on my list should really be at the top of your To Play list, Royal Blackheath. Set in South East London, it is the oldest golf club in the world. Not the oldest course, but the oldest club that has been in continuous existence since 1608! Not only that, but it played an integral roll in the spread of golf around the world as the game was brought to London by James I, a Scot who became King of England. His retinue brought the game with them, taught the English how to play (mainly at Blackheath), and the rest is history. The course they play on now is about 85 years old and they’re just finishing a complete redesign, taking it from a stodgy, tree lined parkland to a free running, Links like course with fescue and superb bunkering. I played it again on Monday and it’s a lot of fun. Most inviting 1st tee in London and the club choice dilemma on 18 is … well, let me just say that you HAVE to go for it! The clubhouse is a 400 year old architectural gem as well. It’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon. To get there get a train from London Bridge or Charing Cross to Mottingham and walk up the hill. If you happen to be staying in Canary Wharf it’s a £15 Uber each way.
So that’s your lot in the city and within the simple transport network. Should keep you going for a while!
One more thing - club rentals. Every golf club will rent you a set of clubs if asked, but it’s not a big business for them the way it is in the US so don’t expect anything other than a ragtag collection of 10 year old clubs they have gathering dust out back. They also rarely do shoe rental.
I travel a lot and have just got into the habit of bringing my own clubs everywhere I go. Its usually pretty cheap (free on Virgin Atlantic and some other airlines if it’s your only checked bag). It’s nominally more annoying on transfers but once you get to your hotel bung them in the corner and you’re good to go if an opportunity presents itself. I also find it focuses my mind on getting a game!
Sorry, 2nd thing - if any Refuge nerds are in London and looking for a game, you’re all more than welcome at my club, Essendon Country Club, just north of the city. Just let me know.
I’ll second Royal Blackheath and Moor Park, both awesome courses and clubs.
On your offer of a game in London, i’d definitely be up for a game. Let me know if you’re interested.