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A golfer must have scheduled the American Bar Association’s London sessions. How else to explain their fortuitous dovetailing with the 129th Open Championship — known to us Yanks as the British Open — at St. Andrews? This will mean that members will be separated from the gallery at the Old Course by nothing more than a five-and-a-half-hour train ride. Better yet, it could mean that from July 20 to 23, just about every duffer around London will be in front of the telly instead of on the tee. More than 200 golf courses lie within a 30-mile radius of London. The majority of them, though, are concentrated in neighboring Surrey and Kent. The most famous of these courses — Swinley Forest, for example — are also famously private, especially on weekends. Those with the numbers to well-connected barristers in their Palm 7s should have no trouble. But if you don’t know a member, you’d better have a letter of introduction faxed from your club’s head professional to his British equivalent or club secretary at least ten days in advance of your arrival. If there’s one course you have to tee up on, it’s probably Stoke Poges, in Buckinghamshire, 30 minutes from the West End, and, conveniently enough, only seven miles from Heathrow Airport. Designed by Colt in 1908, Stoke Poges features 27 holes including the 150-yard seventh, which inspired Augusta National’s notorious twelfth, and the 406-yard eighteenth, where James Bond defeated Goldfinger in the 1964 film. The palatial clubhouse, designed in 1791 by George III’s architect, James Wyatt, features 20 bedrooms — some with views of Windsor Castle — and all the gilded trappings you’d expect from a five-star resort set on a 350-acre estate. One thing’s for sure: Even if you don’t play a single round, you’ll have a memorable time at Stoke Poges. COURSES Buckinghamshire Stoke Poges (Tel. 175-371-7170; fax 175-371-7181) Woburn Country Club (Tel. 90-837- 0756) Kent Royal Blackheath (Tel. 208-850-1795; fax 208-859-0150) Royal St. George’s (Tel. 130-461- 3090; fax 130-461-1245) Surrey Coombe Hill (Tel. 208-942-2284; fax 208-336-7601) Royal Mid-Surrey (Tel. 208-940- 1894; fax 208-332-2957) Royal Wimbledon (Tel. 208-946- 2125; fax 208-944-8652) Sunningdale Golf Club (Tel. 134- 462-1681; fax 134-462-4154) Walton Heath Golf Club (Tel. 173- 781-2380; fax 173-781-4225) Wentworth Golf Club (Tel. 134-842- 201l; fax 134-484-2804)

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