Looking for top golf courses near London and beyond? As it is summer 2020 and given the state of the world, golf might be one of the best activities to take up to keep fit and enjoy the outdoors. While London is known for its arts and culture, it may not be a destination for its golf facilities, but there are definitely plenty. So in this article I’m going to share with you a great range of options.
So let me first say that this list comes from a friend who is an American living in London who is an avid golfer. He’s tested out quite a few and gave great perspective and thought on compiling the list.
As far as golf courses or clubs go, there are essentially 3 categories:
· Semi-Private and Public
· Traditional Private
· And what we’ll call “High Society”
I will highlight a few from each category but will include a comprehensive list including website links at the bottom of this article, that I didn’t have a chance to cover in depth.
Semi-Private & Public Golf Courses in London
In the Semi-Private & Public Category, there are quite a few options for Londoners to access as members of the general public. Check out the GolfNow app to search out courses in your area and suitable to your budget. Here are a few nice semi-private & public golf clubs in different parts of London.
Burhill Golf Club – Southwest London
Burhill Golf Club provides residents southwest of London with two 18-hole parkland courses that present a nice challenge for recreational and skilled golfers alike. The clubhouse is relatively modern, and members have priority for morning tee times during weekends and peak weekday time slots, but the general public can use the convenient online reservation system for non-peak time play.
Mill Hill Golf Club – North London
For those in north London, Mill Hill Golf Club is described as a competent no-fuss club convenient for residents in the area. Members have the first pick of tee times, but after the morning rush, the course is generally open to the public.
Pro Tip: There is a driving range behind the pro shop. You don’t have to be a member or have a tee time to buy a bucket of balls and practice!
The Addington Golf Club – South London
Heading back south, The Addington Golf Club is one of the most prestigious and well maintained semi-private courses in south London. It offers expansive views of London from its hilltop tees like those at the 14th and 16th holes. Weekend green fees for non-members are typically only available after 12 noon, and cost is £100.00. Given the quality of the facilities and of the course, the extra effort and cost is well worth it.
Traditional Private Golf Clubs in London
Moving on to Traditional Private Courses, these clubs offer a quality golf experience with the familiarity of private membership. The courses and facilities tend to be of a high standard but not necessarily with the exclusivity and luxuriousness of the High Society clubs. Visitors may play as part of a recognized golf society, but otherwise play is typically limited to members and their guests.
A few to highlight in this category:
Highgate Golf Club – Central London
Highgate Golf Club, which was the 2018 Middlesex Golf Club of the Year, is the closest 18 hole golf course to Central London. Located just north of Hampstead Heath, it is actually possible to play 9 holes at sunrise in the summer and still make that morning meeting at the office! The fairways are a bit tight and you still feel like you’re in London but for City workers it’s tough to beat the convenience.
Hadley Wood Golf Club – North London
Hadley Wood is a hidden gem among London private golf clubs. Located north of London and with hilltop views looking south onto the City, Hadley Wood boasts a traditional yet relaxed clubhouse and a challenging yet fair course design. You might find some holes have a Master’s feel because Alistair Mackenzie, who famously designed Augusta National, also laid out Hadley Wood. The members love competitions and the club has tournaments on many weekends during the golf season.
Royal Wimbledon Golf Club – Wimbledon
Next up is Royal Wimbledon, the third oldest golf club in England, dating back to 1865. The current course was opened in 1924 and is one of the more exclusive and traditional of the private members golf clubs. It is classic old school British golf – understated but to a high standard. The membership is proud of its long club history and tends to be from generational money. The next generation is encouraged and there is an active youth and amateur golf development program.
The Royal Automobile Club – 2 locations
Completing this category, I will mention The Royal Automobile Club which offers members a unique opportunity to join two clubs for the price of one. With its primary location on Pall Mall in central London, members enjoy a hotel, swimming pool, restaurants, meeting spaces and business center near Mayfair. Forty minutes south of London, the club’s second location in Woodcote Park offers two 18-hole golf courses, tennis, swimming pool, spa, hotel rooms and a range of motor sports and racing pursuits.
A new separate children’s pool and play area will open in Spring 2020. Golf is an important part of the club, but there are enough activities to entertain the whole family.
So what do you think of the courses I’ve mentioned so far? Leave me a comment and let me know which course you’d like to tackle first.
High Society Golf Clubs in London
Finally, let’s talk about the High Society clubs. These clubs are known for being highly exclusive, very expensive, and exceptionally luxurious. The courses are not necessarily the most awe inspiring or difficult, but they are lovely and very well maintained. If applying for membership you need to be ready with a £100,000 to £250,000 entry investment. You also need to know multiple members who will support your application. Visitors are welcome but only as guests of current members.
Queenwood Golf Club – Surrey
In this category I must mention Queenwood Golf Club which is so secretive that the website requires a member or guest password to go beyond the home page. Reportedly celebrities such as Michael Douglas and Hugh Grant are members. Several PGA tour players are members along with captains of industry and finance. If you find yourself playing here you are in a very select universe of people!
The Wisley Golf Club – Surrey
The Wisley is a true golfers golf club. While not as deliberately secretive as some, it is certainly as selective and attracts those who embrace the English golfing tradition. Built in 1991 by Robert Trent Jones Jr, the course has numerous remarkable and memorable holes.
Wentworth Golf Club – Virginia Water
And finally, I will mention Wentworth Club which is perhaps the perfect combination of a championship level golf course with world class service and amenities. Wentworth is the annual host of the BMW PGA Championship in May, one of the flagship events of the European Tour. At the same time, family activities along with a welcoming social environment make the club appealing to more than just golf purists. Debenture members also enjoy a one-year complimentary membership at Ten Trinity Square, a private members club located in the Four Seasons Hotel in London’s Tower Hill area.
Bucket List Golf Courses in England
I had to, of course, mention a few golf courses that should be on any golfer’s bucket list to visit in the UK, that are just outside of London. They are the courses that you can aspire to play in a lifetime, which include:
The Royal St. George’s Golf Club – Kent
The Royal St. George’s Golf Club which is consistently rated the best course in England and this year is ranked #28 in the World 100 Greatest Courses according to Golf Digest Magazine. Royal St. George’s should be on every avid golfer’s “bucket list”. The course is/was scheduled to host The Open Championship for the 15th time in 2020 where the world’s best professionals descend. Located in Kent, it’s about a two hour drive east from London. While this is not likely a club Londoners would join, it is definitely a course to play once to walk in the hallowed footsteps of the great champions of the sport. Or you may want to visit to watch The Open Championship in person.
Sunningdale Golf Club – Sunningdale
Finally, I want to mention Sunningdale Golf Club which is less than an hour from central London, and is arguably the mecca for golf purists. Golf Digest magazine ranks the Sunningdale Old Course at #15 in its latest ranking of the World 100 Greatest Golf Courses. The second course on the property, the New Course, is also remarkable and ranked #35. This place is for serious golfers who want to play a challenging, championship quality course. Visitors are welcome to play on certain days but with a valid handicap certificate.
So I hope this article has given you some great options to discover amazing golf courses and clubs near London. Below I have an expanded list including some others I didn’t mention, which you may want to visit too. Do let me know in the comments any golf courses you recommend or visit as a golfer yourself!
More Golf Clubs in London to Visit:
Stoke Park: https://www.stokepark.com/
Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club: https://www.rmsgc.co.uk/
De Vere Selsdon Estate Golf Club: https://www.devere.co.uk/selsdon-estate/golf/
Golf Practice Facilities:
Dukes Meadows: http://www.dukesmeadows.com/golf/
N1 Golf and Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range: http://www.n1golf.com/london/
Urban Golf Smithfield: https://urbangolf.co.uk/
Other Resources for Golf Lovers:
American Golf: https://www.americangolf.co.uk/