The author of this blog is a journalist who has been writing about golf since the age of ten. He has played on all of the courses he recommends and knows that you can’t make a bad choice if you follow his advice . . .
In time he will have a book out on the subject, with the same name as his blog: The Best Golf Courses in London.
He is a friend of mine, and I like to play golf too. But I am not sure how much stock to put in his tips. In his article on Hazeltine he says “Hazeltine is highly respected by most players” but then goes on to say that it is “not one of my favourites.” On another course, also highly recommended, he says “St Andrews is again a course that I have never been particularly impressed by.” But then he comes back and says it really is a good course.
I guess there are two possibilities here. Either Hazeltine really is outstanding and St Andrews really isn’t (which would be strange), or else my taste in golf courses is so bad that the greatest course in Britain isn’t good enough for me.
And, at last, here’s the thing I’ve been waiting to say: if you want to be a really good golfer, you should start by playing golf on one of the best courses in London.
I am not being glib. The truth is, the best courses are often the worst ones.
You need a bit of luck as well as skill. And it helps if your handicap is low. That’s because these courses have already been played on many times. They provide a kind of average standard that allows you to play well where other people have played badly and not do badly where others have done well. The second thing you need is time for practice and practice for time. No matter how good your swing, you will never play as well if you have less than 20 hours a week to practice.
The JCB golf course is located in the heart of the London suburbs and is a great place to play golf. The green fee is only £20 p.p.m. per person, which is less than half the price of many other London golf courses.
The course offers its visitors a 10-hole layout that links the charming village of Little Gaddesden with the nearby town of Hertford. There are four sets of tee boxes, each with a different height. There are also eight greens; four standard greens and four putting greens which are really long and narrow!
There is also a very good clubhouse with a bar as well as seating area and a shop where you can buy all sorts of essentials such as snacks and drinks or even golfing equipment if you need it. There is also a driving range for those who want to practice their skills before having an actual round of golf
The best golf courses in London…
It is not just the price or the food. For example, the best golf courses in London are all very nice, but some of them have a small clubhouse with a waiting area and computerized golf-scoreboards. These not only increase the waiting time for golfers; they also increase the revenue for the club because more people are standing around.
But these things are not always important. A good course is one that is designed to provide good playing conditions so that you can enjoy yourself. A bad course has been designed to look good and impress people, and the result is that it throws up barriers that interfere with your enjoyment. It does not matter if it is beautiful, as long as you cannot play it without getting hit by a tree or a ball rolling down into a lake.
It is often said that the best golf courses are found in the most unlikely places. Not so: I have just been to the best, and it was on a jcb golf course.
The best golf course I have ever played (and what a surprise that is, as I am not much of a golfer) is in London near Wimbledon. The course isn’t hard to find, but finding it is hard: it is hidden in the back of a jcb warehouse, with no sign or indication of its existence.
There are two 18-hole courses there: one for juniors and adults, and another for seniors. Walking onto the first tee you will see only a modest clubhouse and some tarmacked paths through the grass around it; you suspect nothing special lies ahead. But round the corner there are four small ponds and a small island, and from there it becomes apparent that you have entered something very special indeed. You see, these are not ordinary ponds: they contain every sort of marsh bird known to man or bird; there are herons and kingfishers everywhere. You walk across this paradise to get onto the first tee, where you are greeted by an old man who will be your caddy for the whole day. He carries your belongings
Golf courses are built and maintained by a different kind of person than is necessary for other sports. The golf course architect has to be an artist, using his or her creative instincts to solve the problems the course’s geography poses. A good course is not just a collection of terrain features, but an expression of the designer’s aesthetic sense. And it must work for a great number of players, from beginners to pros.
A good golfer will probably appreciate any course that is well designed, regardless of how much it costs. But if you want to hire an architect to design your house, you have a lot more choices than if you’re hiring one to build a new golf course: it’s much easier to find someone with the right qualifications who is willing to work cheap or even free.
If you like golf – and I don’t mean if you feel like playing 18 holes on Sunday – you could easily spend three months in London and not play at all of the best courses. And what about the rest? If there were only three good courses in London, would that be enough?
What makes golf so appealing is that it is like a sport, an activity, but also a game. You play the game, and you win or lose. But you also play the game, and you can watch yourself play. And what makes the game of golf so interesting is that it allows for a kind of vicarious experience.
And so we want to be in the game, and see ourselves in the game, not just as spectators. And we want to be in it when things are going well and when they are going badly. We want to know how well our golf course compares with others. We want to know which golf course has the best restaurant or the most exclusive membership plan.