ST. GEORGE'S HILL GOLF CLUB
Arguably the single best course that Harry Colt designed, St. George's Hill has a layout unlike any other around London. Built on the namesake hill, its dramatic elevation changes provide a virtual roller coaster for golfers. Developer George Tarrant experimented here with the very first residential golf course community, which he expanded upon and perfected at Wentworth. The 27-hole course allows outside play Wednesday through Friday.
011-44-1932-847-758, www.stgeorgeshillgolfclub.co.uk. Greens fees $95-$140.
WALTON HEATH GOLF CLUB
Like the more famous courses at Wentworth and Sunningdale, Walton Heath regularly makes Golf Magazine's list of the world's Top 100 courses, public and private. Instead of the typical parkland architecture, its two courses have a distinctive "inland links" feel. With very few trees, the wind that sweeps across Walton Heath dries out the fairways and turns them rock-hard, making it difficult to keep even slightly errant tee shots out of the rough. The club may have the greatest concentration of heather of any British course, with beautiful purple flowers that swallow balls quickly. A former Ryder Cup venue, Walton Heath especially welcomes outside play, occasionally even allowing weekend play with advance notice.
011-44-1737-812-060, www.whgc.co.uk. Greens fees $89-$106.
One of England's finest country homes, located an hour or so north of London, Stapleford Park recently became a full-blown resort on 500 manicured acres. Fifty-one lavish rooms and museumlike common areas allow a limited number of guests to live out a baronial fantasy that includes a Clarins spa, clay shooting, falconry, and an extensive equestrian center. But the real attraction is the new golf course, designed by Scottish architect Donald Steel in classic links style, with pot bunkers and grassy humps and hollows. Note: Golf is available to hotel guests only.