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London golf courses: Save some green on the English capital's greens

By S. Adam Cardais,
Heritage Club London
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Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the challenging Heritage Course at the London Golf Club is one of the English capital city's best golf courses. (Courtesy London Golf Club)

A round of golf might just be one of the most affordable ways to pass the time in London.

Money practically melts out of your hand in golf-happy England's capital, which consistently cracks the top-five rankings of the world's most expensive cities. Even if you end up dropping $100 on greens fees, a round of golf is likely cheaper than roaming London for five or six hours watching your kids' college fund disappear from your wallet. So, hit the links.

From private exclusive tracks such as the Heritage Course at the London Golf Club to the public Trent Park Golf Centre, London and its surrounding areas have plenty of great golf options.

Here're a few of the best.

London golf courses

Heritage Course at London Golf Club:. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this 7,208-yard track officially opened in 1994 with a Charity Challenge Skins Match with the Golden Bear pitted against Seve Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin. Ballesteros won the day.

The Heritage Course is a challenging track, not only long but full of hazards. Large bunkers protect the greens, so a good approach is key, and water comes into play on several holes. But don't worry, five sets of tees make the Heritage Course accessible to a range of skill levels. All in all, it is an excellent play.

"... The London Golf Club has been truly blessed with having one of Jack's finest draped over its very own hills," Linda Jackson wrote in a story for GolfEurope.com.

Richmond Park Golf Courses: This public facility has two 18-hole golf courses. Measuring 6,165 yards, The Dukes course is the flatter and longer of the two. It also has a stream that comes into play on six holes. The Princes course is only 5,868 yards, but it's extremely undulating, providing much of the challenge and excellent views across the adjacent park.

Royal Blackheath: Widely regarded as the oldest golf club in the world, the course here has grown from a five-hole infant to an immense parkland stretching over 110 acres. Redesigned by five-time British Open champion James Braid, Royal Blackheath features seasoned turf that produces excellent fairways and true greens. Trees dot the track, so many in fact that it might be hard to believe you're only 9 miles outside London.

Though Royal Blackheath calls itself the friendliest golf club in the world, it's private, so better get cozy with a member.

Trent Park Golf Centre: About 30 minutes outside central London, this 6,216-yard course is situated on 150 acres of rolling countryside. The public facility also has a driving range, a bar and restaurant and golf shop.

Got wheels?

If you've got a car in London and have the time to get out of the city for a day, try replacing one of the above courses with a round at the Royal St. George's Golf Club. A little under two hours outside the city in Sandwich, Kent, Royal St. George's is well worth the drive.

Golf Digest ranked this course, host of the 2003 British Open, 16th on its list of the 100 Best Courses Outside the U.S. in 2005. The track is full of undulating fairways and deep sand bunkers and is open to visitors Monday through Friday.

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