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Far from the Madding Crowd

Other Notable Courses

Burnham & Berrow Golf Club, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset: Only slightly out of the way for Hardy-goers, but well worth the jaunt to the Somerset coast. Awe-inspiring sand hills, some blind shots, meandering and hilly fairways, greens situated on precipices and in hollows. An eccentric and always interesting links. The seventeenth is a two-hundred-yard par three to a green set high on ground exposed to the wind, which is usually a factor on the course. Visitors welcome. Check for specific times. Green Fee: $81. Contact: Mrs. E. L. Sloman, Secretary. Phone: 011-44-1-278-785760. Fax: 011-44-1-278-795440.

Parkstone Golf Club, Poole, Dorset: Attractive heathland course in wooded neighborhood, designed by Willie Park and James Braid, opened in 1910. Visitors welcome, but check for specific times. Green Fee: $72. Contact: Mr. J. M. Harper, Secretary. Phone: 011-44-1-202-707138. Fax: 011-44-1-202-706027.

Worth Noting

The Ryder Cup, golf's most important international event, had its genesis at the Came Down Golf Club. Samuel Ryder, a wealthy English seed merchant, took his holidays in the area and in 1925 joined the club, where he became friendly with the pro Ernie Whitcombe. Whitcombe was one of three brothers who dominated British golf for a time, and he finished second in the 1924 British Open. Ryder learned that Whitcombe did not compete more often because of the expense involved and decided then and there to begin a competition between a team of American professionals and that of British and Irish professionals. The first official Ryder Cup was held in 1927 at the Worcester Country Club, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The three Whitcombe brothers played in the 1935 Ryder Cup; that remains the only time three brothers have competed for a team in the biennial matches.

Where To Stay

Dorset

The Casterbridge Hotel, Dorchester. Phone: 011-44-1-305-264043. Fax: 011-44-1-305-260884. The Casterbridge is small but comfortable. It's the best place to stay in town--a block from the Dorset County Museum, home of Hardy manuscripts and memorabilia.

The Haven Hotel, Poole. Phone: 011-44-1-202-707333. Fax: 011-44-1-202-708796. The Haven Hotel is situated on the narrow finger of land known as Sandbanks that points into the entrance of Poole Harbor. The hotel has a heated indoor/outdoor pool, tennis courts and fitness and spa facilities.

The Mansion House, Poole Phone: 011-44-1-202-685666. Fax: 011-44-1-202-665709. Construction of the elegant Georgian house began in 1776, so the rooms--only thirty-two of them--are on the small side, but they are very well appointed. A quiet atmosphere, antique charm, courteous service and excellent food are the attractions. The menu can only be described as classically British--with a fresh, imaginative, even opulent twist.

Plumber Manor, Sturminster Newton. Phone: 011-44-1-258-472507. Fax: 011-44-1-258-473370. One of the few really luxe places in Dorset, the gracious Jacobean country estate of the Prideaux-Brune family has been in the family since the early seventeenth century. In 1973, the Prideaux-Brunes turned their home into a restaurant and hotel. There are only sixteen rooms, and the coziness adds to the sense of English country seclusion. Your hosts can arrange golf, fishing, hunting or shooting for you. The restaurant is the hotel's glory. Chef Brian Prideaux-Brune combines fresh local ingredients with flair.

Summer Lodge, Evershot. Phone: 011-44-1-935-83424. Fax: 011-44-1-935-83005. This lodge, a Relais & Chateaux property, has elegant, antique-filled rooms.

Devon

Whitechapel Manor, South Molton. Phone: 011-44-1-769-573377. Fax: 011-44-1-769-573797. Suites at Whitechapel Manor are elegant and very large, a place for reading, sipping sherry and drinking in the rustic and serene view from the window. Be sure to get out and walk in the rolling countryside.

Cornwall

Treglos Hotel, Padstow. Phone: 011-44-1-841-520727. Fax: 011-44-1-841-521163. The hotel is a two-minute drive from Trevose, and it's a first-rate place to stay. The coast of Cornwall, warmed by the gulf stream, is England's quasi-tropical spot, so if you're of a mind to surf or put in some beach time, this is the place.

Oxfordshire

Old Parsonage Hotel, Oxford. Phone: 011-44-1-865-310210. Fax: 011-44-1-865-311262. The Old Parsonage, a four-hundred-year-old building, provides an excellent spot from which to explore the university and area golf. The Old Parsonage has a gem of a small bar, the perfect spot to enjoy a drink at the end of a day's sightseeing.

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