Passport To Play
Great Golf Near The World's 15
Busiest International Airports
The world's 15 busiest international airports see about 700 million passengers pass through their doors each year. Most travelers, mired in the maelstrom and drudgery of check-in desks, security lines and luggage carousels, are oblivious to the fact that, a short ride away, a beautiful, peaceful golf course awaits. If you're heading to one of these 15 airports, make time to visit our favorite nearby places to play.
1. London Heathrow Airport (LHR) England
Distance from city center: 14 miles
Where to play: The 63-hole Wentworth Club (eight miles from the airport) is home to the revamped, famed West Course, host of the British PGA Championship each spring and site of the World Match Play Championship from 1964 to 2007. The shorter East Course, also a Harry Colt design (1924), is very good, too.
Green fee: £95-£360 ($140-$540)
Contact info: Wentworth Club, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4LS.
Phone: +44-1344-842201; Web: wentworthclub.com
2. Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) China
Distance from city center: 16 miles
Where to play: The year-old Jade International (six miles from the airport) is a beautiful addition to the Beijing area. Located on the Wen Yu River and playing around forest and lakes, there are water hazards on 12 holes.
Green fee: 660 RMB-960 RMB ($100-$140)
Contact info: Jade International, East Jin Zhan Park, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
3. Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) Japan
Distance from city center: 10 miles
Where to play: Travelers from the United States likely will arrive at Narita airport, 38 miles east of the city, instead of Haneda. If you find yourself at Narita, play at the Taiheiyo Club Narita next door (phone +81-476-35-8820). But if you're passing through the much busier Haneda airport, get a ride on the bridge/tunnel combo Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line across Tokyo Bay into the Chiba Prefecture and to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Kazusa Monarch Country Club (25 miles from the airport).
Green fee: 13,500 Yen-24,500 yen ($150-$265)
Contact info: Kazusa Monarch Country Club, 856-2 Yanashiro, Kimitsu-shi, Chiba 292-0515, Japan.
Phone: +81-439-29-3101; Web: giganet.net/kmcc/english/index.html
4. Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) France
Distance from city center: 15 miles
Where to play: We like Paris International Golf Club (phone +33-1-34-69-90-00) but prefer the wonderful Chantilly Golf Club (14 miles from the airport), which opened in 1909. The classic layout, designed by eccentric British architect Tom Simpson, was expanded to 36 holes in the late 1980s. Play the Vineuil course (Monday through Wednesday and Friday only), scene of 10 French Opens and one of the best courses in France.
Green fee: €100-€110 ($120-$135)
Contact info: Golf de Chantilly, Allée de la Ménagerie, 60500 Chantilly, France.
5. Frankfurt Airport (FRA) Germany
Distance from city center: Seven miles
Where to play: Frankfurter Golf Club's classic (1913) Harry Colt layout is within the city limits and just three miles from the airport. Despite its location, it's a peaceful place to play, with each hole running through a forest and just the tips of the tall buildings of downtown Frankfurt peeking above the trees. Formerly it was a regular German Open venue--Henry Cotton, Tony Jacklin and Seve Ballesteros are among those who have won on these fairways.
Green fee: €80-€100 ($100-$120)
Contact info: Frankfurter Golf Club, Golfstrasse 41, D-60528, Frankfurt, Germany.
Phone: +49-69-666-2318; Web: fgc.de
6. Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) Spain
Distance from city center: Eight miles
Where to play: We love La Moraleja (phone +34-916-500-700), where Bing Crosby played his last round, collapsed and died. But perhaps a better choice is the Real Sociedad Hípica Española Club de Campo, nine miles from the airport, next to the old Formula One Jarama racetrack. There are 36 Robert von Hagge-designed holes; opt for the Norte Course. Green fee: €100 ($120)
Contact info: RSHECC, Carretera de Burgos, Km. 26,400, 28709 San Sebastian de los Reyes, Madrid, Spain.
Phone: +34-91-657-1018; Web: rshecc.es
7. Hong Kong Airport (HKG) China
Distance from city center: 15 miles
Where to play: There's a fun nine-hole, par-29 layout called SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course on the airport property, and it has lights for night play (phone +852-3760-6688). If it's a full-length golf experience you're looking for, the 27-hole Discovery Bay Golf Club (five miles from the airport) has a limited number of tee times for nonmembers on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Set on a mountain on Lantau Island, Discovery Bay offers good golf and spectacular views of Victoria Harbour, Sunset Peak and the South China Sea.
Green fee: HKD 1,650-HKD 2,850 ($210-$365)
Contact info: Discovery Bay Golf Club, Valley Road, Discovery Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong.
Phone: +852-2987-3750; Web: dbgc.hk