Tee time: The best golf courses in and around London

22 Sep 2023 | |By Kari Colmans

There's far more than putting practice to be had at these stellar golf courses, all easily accessible from the capital

When it comes to choosing a luxury golf course, we won’t let you settle for anything below par. From Surrey to St Albans and Kent to Berkshire, these prestigious courses are ranked as some of the best in the world – and are all easily accessible on a day trip from London. Grab your clubs and start perfecting your putt: it’s tee time.

The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

the grove golf

Situated within the grounds of this glorious, sprawling country hotel in Hertfordshire, which can easily be visited from London for the afternoon, The Grove is home to one of the UK’s most prestigious 18-hole golf courses. The top-notch 7,152-yard course played host to a World Golf Championship event won by Tiger Woods in 2006, as well the British Masters in 2016.

Open to all who love the game, which is certainly a selling point for beginners or fair-weather players, there is no membership policy. However, regular golfers can take advantage of specific points-based schemes. Keen golfers will also love the new TrackMan Range facility, a flexible golf ball tracking app with a wealth of game-enhancing features, including detailed shot analysis, interactive experiences, and 3D rendering. With a range of golf-centric hotel stay packages available, you’ll be tempted to make a long weekend of it.

Off-peak green fees from £199 a game, visit thegrove.co.uk

Centurion, St Albans

This famous St Albans-based 18-hole course has been open to members and their guests for nearly a decade and is handily located just off the M25. Visually stunning, the resort-style course boasts true putting surfaces, with the manicured aesthetic giving it a country club feel. This summer, the club played host to the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational, with a field including some of the best-known names in the industry, such as Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood.

Each hole is unique, and at 7,100 yards from the back tees, raised well above fairway level, there are some 80 bunkers and four major water features on the course. It will challenge even the most seasoned swingers, in terms of ability and approach.

Membership fees upon application, visit centurionclub.co.uk

London Golf Club, Kent

As the only Joint Venture Partner Golf Club of the European Tour, as well as being part of the prestigious European Tour Destinations, IMG Prestige, and Pacific Links Network, London Golf Club provides an oasis of golfing tranquillity in 700 acres of idyllic Kent countryside, just 25 miles from central London. What’s more, unlike many golf clubs of its calibre, it caters to all visiting golfers and corporate golf events, as well as offering memberships.

There are two exciting courses here, both of which are maintained to the very best standards year-round. The Heritage is a classic Jack Nicklaus course, with dramatic tee shots and daunting approaches, and in 2008 and 2009 played host to the European Open. The International, on the other hand, is undoubtedly one of the finest downland courses in Europe; its fast, undulating fairways allowing players to chase the ball into position. There’s nothing subpar about this club.

Off-peak green fees from £145, visit londongolf.co.uk

Sunningdale Golf Club, Surrey

sunningdale golf

Set in Surrey, Sunningdale’s pair of courses are as fine a set of 36 holes as you’ll find. Welcoming mid-week visitors to both its Old and New Course (with Friday - Sunday tee times reserved for members), as well as group golf days, the club is steeped in more than a century of heritage.

Sunningdale’s Old Course was designed by twice-winner of the Open Championship, Willie Park Junior, and opened in 1901, but has stood the test of time, and even now with the advance of modern technology, can be challenging to even the longest of hitters. Over the years, the New Course has seen far more changes than its older sister, but has proven itself worthy of any championship, with many of the world’s top players having graced the fairways. Be sure to swing by and try both.

Off-peak green fees from £325, visit sunningdalegolfclub.co.uk

Bearwood Lakes, Berkshire

Berkshire’s Bearwood Lakes is an exclusive golf club where members and their guests can enjoy a historic and sprawling estate, which has been part of the hunting grounds of the Kings of England since the 11th century. While the wild bears and boars have long gone, the woodland still forms a natural habitat for deer and other wildlife roaming the grounds.

Set amidst 200 acres of beautiful countryside, the 18-hole course boasts gently undulating putting surfaces constructed to full USGA specification, weaving through natural lakes totalling 50 acres. The fairways are fully irrigated, and a variety of tee positions provide a stimulating challenge for golfers of all abilities. Membership places are at a premium here, so if you can’t get yourself in, start cosying up to an existing member for an invite.

Membership fees available on request, visit bearwoodlakes.co.uk

Walton Heath, Surrey

walton heath golf

The historic Walton Heath, once frequented by Churchill, is one of the country’s most highly regarded clubs, famous for its rich golfing and political history and the quality of its two testing heathland layouts. Both Surrey-based courses feature in the UK and Ireland’s Top 50 rankings: the Old Course has earned its place in the World’s Top 100 every year since the inception of the rankings in 1938, while the New Course shares the same bucolic setting as the Old and is also a fine Championship course, having been ranked in the UK and Ireland’s Top 50 courses for more than 10 years.

Visitors are welcome, on and off the golf courses (with membership also available), while the club’s calendar highlights include the US Open Qualifier and the Walton Heath Trophy (formerly the South of England Open Amateur Championship). It has also played host to the 1981 Ryder Cup and the 2018 British Masters and will be the venue for the 2023 AIG Women’s Open.

Off-peak green fees from £240, visit waltonheath.com

Coombe Hill Golf Club, Kingston-upon-Thames

coombe hill golf

Not far from London in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, this lush 18-hole course is internationally regarded as one of the best classic courses in the country. Designed by JF Abercromby, its former members span prime ministers, pro golfers, and actors alike, including James Bond (aka Sean Connery). Also available to those wanting to improve their handicap are private lessons from PGA Head Professional Mark Lawrence, open to both members and non-members alike. If you do plan to visit, it’s worth noting that, while welcoming to all visitors, you must be a member of a recognised golf club and hold a current handicap certificate.

Off-peak green fees from £90, visit coombehillgolfclub.com

The Shire, St Albans

the shire golf

Home to the only UK golf course designed by Seve Ballesteros, The Shire’s status as the home of the Golf Trust charity makes this St Albans club one of the most inclusive and unpretentious in Greater London. Boasting six par threes, six par fours, and six par fives, with no two consecutive holes of the same par on either nine, links holes, stadium-style tour golf holes, and traditional British parkland holes, all holes here are immaculately presented. The Ballesteros Masters Course concludes with an unforgettable 18th, where the course architect stamped his initial with an S-shaped lake.

Off-peak green fees from £55, visit theshirelondon.com

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