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Far from the Madding Crowd

Later there is comfort in the clubhouse, a treasure-trove of museum-quality holdings. An oil painting of J. H. Taylor, the English professional who learned his golf here, dominates the main room that looks out on the course. Taylor won British Opens in 1894, 1895, 1900, 1909 and 1913. There are racks of antique wooden clubs, medals and more paintings. I can't think of a better way to spend a golf day in England than to have a round here, or two, and then examine the golfing relics before lunch and a game of snooker in the clubhouse.

I am so taken with the club that I ask Mark Reid, a club member with whom I have played, to secure for me an application for overseas membership. I fill it out on the spot, and in a month learn that my application has been approved. So before long I'll be back at RND often. And while I'm there, I'll be sure to ring Howard Singleton over at Purbeck. My guess is he'll be up for another round.

Golf In Hardy Country

One of the most appealing aspects of the golf courses in Hardy country--in the counties of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall primarily--is how accessible they are. American golfers have not been in the habit of visiting these areas, favoring the better known hot spots in Scotland and Ireland. But because the courses are off the beaten golfing path, the clubs welcome visitors with such obvious warmth and enthusiasm: They know visitors have made a special effort to learn about what they have to offer. Handicap certificates are required.

Came Down Golf Club, Came Down, Dorchester, Dorset: Visitors welcome midweek and Saturday from 9 a.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. Green Fee: $40. Contact: Mr. D. E. Matthews, Secretary/Manager. Phone And Fax: 011-44-1-305-813494.

Isle of Purbeck Golf Club, Studland, Dorset: Visitors welcome. Check with club for specific times. Green Fee: $57. Contact: Mrs. J. Robinson, Managing Director. Phone: 011-44-1-929-450361. Fax: 011-44-1-929-450501.

Royal North Devon Golf Club, Westward Ho!, Devon: Visitors welcome, except 8-9:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8-11:30 a.m. Thursday, 1-2 p.m. Friday. Best summer times:10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 3-4 p.m. Green Fee: $57. Contact: Robert Fowler, Secretary. Phone: 011-44-1-237-473817. Fax: 011-44-1-237-423456.

Saunton Golf Club, Saunton, Devon: Visitors welcome. Check with club for specific times. Two courses (East and West). Green Fee: $81. Contact: Trevor Reynolds, Secretary. Phone: 011-44-1-271-812436. Fax: 011-44-1-271-814241.

Trevose Golf & Country Club, Constantine Bay, Padstow, Cornwall: Visitors welcome anytime. Accommodations available on-site. Green Fee: $57. Contact: Mr. P. W. O'Shea, Secretary/Manager. Phone: 011-44-1-841-520208. Fax: 011-44-1-841-521057.

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