Mention golf in the British Isles, and most of us instinctively think of Scotland, the birthplace of the sport. Ireland would be a close second: In recent years golf in the Emerald Isle has come on strong, and many of its seaside links rank among the world's best. So where does this leave London, the European city Americans visit most?
London's golf scene may be off the radar screen of most sporting travelers, but it shouldn't be. Few cities in the world have London's abundance of top-quality, publicly-accessible golf - more than 100 courses in the greater London area. Recent additions to the resort golf scene, lots of history, and short commutes to world-class links provide ample reason to pack your clubs the next time business or pleasure takes you to London. Here are a few notable links.
STOKE PARK CLUB
This upscale private club and its golf course have been around for a while, but with the recent addition of 20 stately guest rooms, Stoke Park became, in 1999, the first private club admitted into the Leading Hotels of the World group. Just seven miles from Heathrow Airport, the palatial mansion more closely resembles the White House than a clubhouse. The estate traces its history back 10 centuries, and the current structure was built in the 1790s. Resort guests can use the Stoke Poges Golf Club, designed in 1908 by Harry Colt, the architect behind such legendary courses as Muirfield and Royal Portrush. Movie buffs may want to play the course for another reason: Stoke Park is where James Bond (Sean Connery) played his pivotal match against the villain Goldfinger in the movie of the same title.
(877) 468-3585, www.stokeparkclub.com. Greens fees $108-$266.
THE WENTWORTH CLUB