Nearest driving range?

edited January 2011 in Local discussion
Santa bought me my first set of golf clubs for christmas and i'm itching to try them out. I usually play in SW london so not really sure of the facilities 'round here. Can anyone recommend a local driving range (or 9 hole course suitable for amateurs)?

Thanks

Comments

  • edited November -1

    There's a driving range in Shoreditch.

  • edited November -1
    Oakwood is pretty good and direct on the Piccadilly line for those of us without cars.
  • edited November -1
    The one behind Kings Cross used to be cool. Full of japanese tourists and taxi drivers slicing balls onto the trains.
  • IanIan
    edited November -1

    Driving range at Trent Park, easy to get to as procax says by going to Oakwood pic line and it is straight across the road virtually. I would get a couple of lessons if I were you. Trent Park is cheap to play and has plenty of hackers on it so is a good first course to try out. However, if you have a car the answer is Barnet Copthall 9 hole par 3 course. Only for your short game but its a good start. Also has a driving range.

    Muswell Hill does lessons (and is a nice course but very expensive).

  • edited November -1
    My go-to place is the Barnet Copthall driving range, its a double decker and has telephones to order italian food straight to your bay!? It does look terrible though...like a pre-fab hut from the 50's.

    @ Ian - Never been to Trent Park, any good for a semi-decent player? (i'm off 10 hcap).

    @ Any golfers - I used to play all the time when i lived in the sticks and not playing (because i live in town) is one of my biggest frustrations. I've looked at highgate, hampstead, muswell hill, mill hill and they all have MASSIVE joining fees around £1.5-2k and annual fees of £1k plus. My previous clubs were all better than these and also cheaper so i'm a bit put out. Has anyone joined a local club?
  • edited November -1
    There's one in Chingford too
  • IanIan
    edited November -1

    @Brodiej I really like Trent Park. Used to be in poor condition and impossible to get round because of hackers and very close tee off times. However, bought by an american company that have sorted out the greens and the playing times. I really like it - reasonably interesting walk round and the odd challenging hole and it's very cheap. Once played a round behind Ashley Cole (he was hopeless), once ended up in a fourball with two US golf college grads (they were extremely good).

    Muswell Hill does some offers on membership but I just don't quite buy the economics of it. it is about £800 to join with a yearly fee in the same bracket. For that you really have to play a couple of times a week to make it pay and I just don't have the time for that. I think that model is breaking down, I know that they are desperate for new members. You have to buy in wanting to participate in the social aspect of a golf club and I, along with a lot of the kind of people that play golf now, don't want to do that. I've talked about getting a membership with friends - i.e. one joins and the others free ride on the cheap green fees to play with a member - but it is still too expensive really. I also don't particularly want to play in medals and the like.

    I'd forgotten about the italian food at Copthall. It's pretty good as I remember. Been a while though.

  • IanIan
    edited November -1

    Muswell Hill have just emailed me with some offers. Couple of the greens are being fixed so they have suspended the membership fee, and they have a £25 offer for during the week.

  • edited November -1
    Annual full membership still £1500. Even without a £450 joining fee that is a joke. With the enjoyable playable season being around 8 months, that means that you still pay £50 a week. How many people can commit to playing once a week for 8 months without fail? I used to be a member of Leighton Buzzard GC, its £700 a year and you can play for free on 10 other courses linked to it. Prior to that i was at Moor Allerton in Leeds, 45 holes, Robert Trent Jones designed, £1000 a year. Some of these London courses would coin it in if they didn't price themselves out of the market. As all the older members die off, they're not going to get newbies in to fill their places. They've got to change their attitude because they're just not worth the cash at the mo.
  • IanIan
    edited November -1

    @brodiej, I totally agree.

  • edited November -1
    @ Brodiej and Ian. Trent Park is a really good public course I agree and is in pretty good condition these days having been through some bad years of over playing and bad green keeping. I first played there in 1986 and have played hundreds of rounds there over the years. I was a member but had to give up playing there because at the weekend it was just too busy with rounds taking between 5 and 6 hours! I haven't attempted to play there at the weekend for years but if they have sorted out the timings then it is well worth playing there. It is really good value and not at all snooty.

    The driving range is OK but it is a little odd as it goes downhill quite sharply so you don't really know how far you are hitting the ball. The first hole used to be a par four and you played down what is now the driving range then across the lake to the green. A much better hole than the new, slightly silly, first hole which is the only bad hole on the course.

    I was most recently a member at Whitehill in Hertfordshire, they do very good deals on membership. I was paying something like £75 a year a couple of years ago. It wasn't a full membership, you still have to pay a slightly reduced green fee but it meant you could play in all the competitions. It is quite a new course, built on old farm land I think which sounds bad but it is actually a fairly decent course. The only drawback is it is in the middle of nowhere, 45 mins from Stroud Green on a quiet Sunday by car so you would need a vehicle.

    I also play at Mill Green in Hertfordshire. That is not a bad little course and they are always texting me with offers of membership. They are usually quite good looking deals for around London. They are owned by Crown Golf who also own 48 other golf courses around England which you would get discount at including The Hertfordshire which is a very nice course.

    Another really good course I play sometimes is Crews Hill. It is a beauty and you can get a train there directly from Finsbury Park and walk from the station but they are always a bit cagey about letting non members on and it is always empty so there is something weird going on there but you could inquire.

    I haven't played yet this year owing to weather nightmares but will be out soon so if you want to come and play with me and my friends Brodiej then let me know. We are often looking for a fourth and we travel by car usually from the Stroud Green area. I play off 8
  • edited November -1

    Finally made a trip to Trent Park yesterday on a Groupon deal. 18 holes, lunch and range balls - £10! Great deal, but only managed 11 holes before i lost the will to live and walked in. As Ian mentions, the standard is appalling which means that its SLOW. We finished 9 holes after 3 hours. Having to watch 2 groups tee off before you on every hole gets a bit much in 30deg heat.

    That said, i agree with the comments about the course standard. While a bit soft (probably after all the rain), the greens are good as are the fairways which is the basis of any good course. Some of the holes were quite creative too. I was surprised about the course quality given the amount of turf i witnessed being hacked into the atmosphere on the first tee.

    As an aside, i thought the clubhouse was brilliant! Run by Irish, used by Irish....on a Sunday afternoon there was Irish music, gaelic football, bouncy castle and gallons of booze. Not what i was expecting at all. Great fun.

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