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The main golf venues for this area are actually outside the city in the various areas surrounding London, such as Sunningdale and Wentworth which are in Virgina Water to the West, Walton Heath which is to the South, and Woburn and The Grove which are both north of the city.
Golf Vacations England – Sunningdale 6581 yards Par 72
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When golf moved inland from its beginnings on the seaside links land, it found its next natural home amongst the heather and pines of heath land. The courses at Sunningdale, in the rich vain of Berkshire and Surrey courses some 25 miles west of Central London are amongst the most renowned courses of this style.
Not a long course, the Old is offers an enjoyable challenge to all levels of player. The modest handicapper should be able to play the course without losing too many balls, although there are some carries over uncompromising heather to the fairways.
The better player on the other hand will find the Old Course a frustrating proposition – the course almost always feels as though it should yield a lower score than it does. Only by combining an accurate long game and good touch round the greens can scores be lowered, for the Old Course is not a test of brute strength, but rather of finesse, with small margins for error on most shots.
Golf Vacations England – Wentworth 6176 yards Par 72
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It is difficult to imagine a venue with more significance in its sport than Wentworth has to European golf. Since hosting the unofficial forerunner to the Ryder Cup match, played in 1926, Wentworth has become established as the most regularly used venue for major professional competition in the British Isles. It has certainly witnessed its fair share of drama.
When the Ryder Cup returned to the Surrey club in 1953, now established as one of the game’s great spectacles, it saw two short putts missed on the final green to decide the result in America’s favour. Through the 1960s and 70s the World Matchplay Championship became established at Wentworth and continues to thrill crowds to this day, guaranteeing its status as one of the world’s premier titles. Those who were lucky enough to see it cannot forget Gary Player’s incredible comeback in the 36-hole final to win the event in 1965. Seven down after the first 18 holes to Tony Lema, then the Open Champion, Player played the most remarkable golf to win at the final hole – arguably still the most famous comeback in the sport.
Walton Heath is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious clubs and attracts visitors from all over the world. The two world class championship courses have hosted nearly ninety significant amateur and professional championships and events, including five European Opens, The Ryder Cup and most recently the U.S. Open Qualifying.
The world’s top players have taken on and enjoyed the challenges of these two outstanding heathland courses for over a century. Walton Heath is less than 20 miles to the south of the centre of London. It is usually described as an inland links: the drainage is excellent, the turf beautifully crisp, the lies tight, the bunkers deep and encrusted with heather, and the greens firm and swift.
The Old Course plays to a championship length of 7462 yards and a par of 72. It is ranked in the world’s top 100 golf courses. The New Course shares the same heathland setting and is 7026 yards from the championship tees and is ranked in the UK’s top 50 golf courses.
Located in the heart of the Surrey-Berkshire Heath-land, the Swinley Forest Golf Club is one of the purest examples of classic inland golf in all of Europe and perhaps, even more impressively, one of the best few courses by master designer Harry Colt.
A private members-only club, it was formed by Lord Derby, a minister of the crown during the reign of Queen Victoria, who was once late for an appointment with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle after being held up by a slow foursome at Sunningdale. When the Queen enquired as to why a man of such means could not own his own course, Lord Derby responded by forming an exclusive club and handing Colt, who was still serving as Secretary at Sunningdale, a piece of land he had purchased within the greater Swinley Forest for the building of his new course.
A heathland setting of rare beauty, privacy and tranquility, Swinley Forest was also blessed with enough interesting ground movement to allow Colt to create exceptional golf holes. He apparently started the design process by first locating green sites for his short holes and then routing the rest of his layout around these areas. With extraordinary vision and variety he built a world famous set of par threes, carefully spacing them through both nines and including a long-iron into a natural shelf at the 4th, a ridge green with a steep fall off at the short 8th, a fairway wood across a deep valley on the long 10th and finally a mid-iron into a beautiful pushed up knoll at the 17th. That he found five short holes as attractive and diverse is a credit both to his skill as a designer and the suitability of the site for golf. Yet while these moments steal most of the headlines, longer holes such as the 6th, 7th, 9th, 14th and 15th are also fantastic. As is the incomparable 12th hole, one of the greatest two-shot tests in golf, the drive needing to draw and the approach fade to negotiate the heather, pines and rolling fairway in order to reach a severely contoured green set into an elevated bank.
Despite being cut through impressive forests of pine and birch, Swinley enjoys a special feeling of spaciousness as the trees rarely interfere with play and the holes are instead dominated by a hearty cover of heather, which provides definition to the fairways and beautifully frames the green sites. The intricate putting surfaces, positioned in a variety of superb natural areas, are a feature throughout the layout as are the rippled and bumpy ground contours that create uneven bounces and varying stances to further complicate approach play into these tricky targets.
Steeped in the traditions of early 20th century golf and once described by Colt as his ‘least bad course’, Swinley Forest is a layout of rare quality and one that even the most seasoned golfer will feel privileged to have played.
Woburn is the ideal venue for a quality golf day with a choice of three championship courses, over 54 outstanding holes. The Club is home to the Duke’s, The Duchess’ and Marquess’ Courses.
Having tested many famous names in golf the Dukes is still the course most people associate with Woburn. The Duke’s Course was the scene of the British Masters for twenty years as well as other top professional events. The Duchess’ Course is Woburn’s hidden gem and a fine example of a course built for the thinking golfer. The natural characteristics of each hole provide a testing challenge and demand a number of different strategies. Opened in 2000, the Marquess’ Course is often referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’. A breathtaking addition to the Golf Club, creating a 54-hole complex that is unrivalled anywhere in the UK.
The London Club is the home to two sensational tournament golf courses. The Heritage and The International offer a challenging, enjoyable and memorable golf experience.
The Heritage is a classic Jack Nicklaus course, which forces you to consider every shot. Dramatic tee shots and daunting approaches make this course both memorable and challenging. Recently host to The European Open and maintained to the very best standards.
The International is undoubtedly one of the finest downland courses in Europe. Fast, undulating fairways allow you to chase the ball into position. The course is punctuated with exciting risk and reward tee shots over water that really get the heart pumping. The International recently played host to Regional Open Qualifying and Stage 1 of European Tour Qualifying School.
The Grove is one of England’s finest luxury golf courses; where greens are kept in immaculate Championship condition all year round. Golfers of all levels can enjoy the course thanks to multiple tee options.
Rewarding for confident hitters and complete beginners alike it’s hugely satisfying. The 7,152 yard championship golf course was designed by the distinguished international architect Kyle Philips, who combines modern game strategies with the great traditions of British golf course architecture.
The 18-hole layout is kept in immaculate condition and follows a majestic route through the rolling leafy Hertfordshire landscape with fully integrated cart paths which are open all year round.
England South – The Oxfordshire – 7192 yds – Par 72
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There are few locations as exquisite as The Oxfordshire when it comes to playing on a championship golf course. Set in the heart of the picturesque Chilterns, our world-class course offers a wealth of challenges.
Designed and built by the world-renowned architect Rees Jones, his first in Britain. No expense has been spared in creating this beautiful course.
A tactical blend of bunkering, strategically placed lakes, wispy rough and wind make this a real challenge. Combine that with its natural beauty and you have everything you need for an outstanding game.
Founded in 1928, The Berkshire Golf Club is home to two courses, both of which are widely regarded as amongst the best in the British Isles. The Berkshire welcomes visiting golfers all year round to enjoy the beauty of its pine and heather lined courses, and to face the subtle challenges of a superb traditional design.
The Club is host to The Berkshire Trophy, one of the UK’s major amateur competitions. Past winners include Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ross Fisher. The Berkshire has also hosted the English Amateur Championship and the British Senior Amateur Championship, and in 2009 it was the venue for final qualifying for the Senior Open Championship.
The course is less than 20 miles from Central London, and very close to Heathrow Airport