Underground Golf anyone?

By Martin Park on Sun, 6 Feb 2000 - 11:02

RUISLIP GOLF CENTRE Ickenham Road Ruislip Middlesex

Tel: 01895 638835

Where it is: Opposite West Ruislip Tube station, you cannot miss it! Tel: 01895 638835

For whatever reason you ever find yourself on the tube with a set of golf clubs with you, then this is the place to go.

The head of London Underground's planning department must have been a golfer and in his desperation to get a round of golf in after every shift at work, he linked Central London with the edge of suburbia and built a tube station smack bang outside Ruislip Golf Club.

In fact it is so handy for the tube that you could play a round of golf in the morning and be in Central London by midday if you planned it right and the trains were on time.

The course has been around since the 1920's. And in that time it has matured into a tight, tricky parkland layout with lots of trouble waiting for the wayward golfer..

Ruislip is very flat, with lots of hidden hazards such as ditches crossing the fairways at strategic points. And being so flat, the weather dictates the condition of the course. In the summer it is always in cracking condition with small, slick greens, good fairways, light rough and plenty of foliage in which you will regularly look for your wayward shots.

But as soon as the October rains fall, Ruislip loses its touch and can be messy in places, so don’t wear you best moleskin trousers until about May.

You can walk down the fairway on some holes and suddenly be up to your shins in boggy turf, miles from the refuge of the sumptuous clubhouse.

But if you can circumnavigate the wet spots in the winter, the greens and fairways are highly playable. But do get some waterproof trousers on and consider the advantages of those wellington boots with spikes on, you know the ones! They might look silly and chances are a Ruislip member invented them. But they would be ideal here.

There are some great holes here though, notably the par three fourteenth and the par five that follows. But the best is saved until the 18th, a long par three where you have to avoid the driving range, two huge oaks and a small pond to find the cut and prepared.

Warren Bennett, the 1998 European Challenge Tour winner and current Scottish PGA Champion grew up playing his golf here, so if was good enough for him, it should be good enough for anyone. And when the weather is right, it is.