“We are THE golf club for the Olympics,” bellows Jeremy Sturgess, the owner of North London parkland golf club Trent Park.
And before I can ask him why, he tells me.
“We are the only golf club right by an Underground station.”
He’s not wrong. Cross the road outside Oakwood station - the penultimate stop on the westbound Piccadilly Line - and you’re in Trent Park’s car park. It means I can walk out the front door of my SW15 home and be paying my green fee within an hour. It’s easily accessible by car too, just off the M25 at Potters Bar.
But having got there so effortlessly, is it a nice golfing experience? Well, yes, actually. Stand on the first tee and it’s hard to believe you’re a short tube ride from the hustle and bustle of central London.
Despite playing just 6,216 yards from the whites, Trent Park certainly feels longer as you meander through the rolling countryside, up and down the hilly terrain, playing numerous approach shots into the greens with an extra club in your hands.
And when the wind picks up, this track can provide a real test.
Accuracy is the name of the game with the opening hole – a short but extremely tight par-5 which sweeps downhill right-to-left and immediately demands strategy rather than opening up the shoulders.
Having walked all the way down the hill for the opener, it can only mean one thing. You’ve got to walk back up for the daunting par-4 second. Now’s the time to let go. Find the fairway here and be sure to take an extra club with your approach.
A 150-yard par-3 lends some respite at the third, before moving into a nice downhill dogleg par-4. Cut the corner here and you’ll flirt with sand, but clear the traps and you’ll set up a very good birdie chance.
A downhill par-3 follows. It’s relatively short at around 160-yards, but don’t go long or you’re in trouble. The par-4 sixth also requires strategy. The biggest hitters can take on the ditch which splits the fairway – but sensible golfers will take a nice easy long-iron and find the fairway.
The monstrous par-4 seventh and tricky par-3 eighth will test your resolve, while the ninth – played along the side of the hill – demands an accurate approach.
The fairway of the delightful par-4 tenth is split with two huge trees, providing a small but makeable target for your drive. But it doesn’t end there, as a pair of gaping bunkers will gobble up any approach falling short.
And now’s the time to really start picking up the points. The downhill, picturesque par-3 11th – the shortest on the course at 135-yards – is no more than a flick of the wedge, while the par-4 12th offers a wide fairway and large green.
The long-but-straight par-5 13th and the 292-yard par-4 14 th offer back-to-back birdie chances. Keep the ball in play on these holes and you could be pulling out the red pen – particularly when what follows is a lengthy par-4 into the wind on top of the hill.
Three delightful holes end your round with the par-5 16th requiring nothing more than a 3-wood down the hill before asking you to clear the trees back up the slope into the relatively small green.
17 is a 175-yard par-3, and I’ve always under-clubbed on this hole. Leave it short, like me, and you’ll be left with a tricky up-and-down from either the rough or the sand.
The 18th is a pleasant finishing hole up the hill offering a lovely view of the holes you’ve just played as well as the approach to the first green and the second.
The well-stocked clubhouse provides a friendly atmosphere with two large screens, a decent selection of ales and a fine menu. As pay-and-play golf clubs go – you won’t find much better inside the M25.
Trent Park Golf Club
Address: Bramley Road, Southgate, London, N14 4UW
Contact: 0208 367 4653 (0208-FOR-GOLF) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Green Fees: £21 (weekdays), £24 (weekends) and reduced rates for online bookers, seniors, juniors and twilight rounds.
Length: Par-70; 5842-yards (yellow); 5587-yards (red)
Designers: Hugh Stovin, Peter Alliss and Clive Clark
Range: 34 bays; floodlights; open 9am to 9.30pm; lessons available
Pro Shop: Nevada Bob’s
Official website: www.trentparkgolf.co.uk
Public transport: Oakwood Underground station, just a short walk from the club, is on the Piccadilly Line - 25 minutes from King's Cross and 30 minutes from central London