Where Bond bested Goldfinger

The UK’s Mail Online website is running an interesting piece by Tom Chesshyre about his trip to the famous Royal St. George’s golf course at Sandwich in Kent.

The absurdly large bunker on the fourth hole

The absurdly large bunker on the fourth hole

He relates his retracing, and play, of the course where took place the epic golf battle between secret agent James Bond and archcriminal Auric Goldfinger, as told in Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel. (Fleming redubbed the course “Royal St. Mark’s” for various writerly reasons.)

Chesshyre gives an amusing running account of his less-than-Bondlike round, while pointing out the Bondian landmarks of the course, which Fleming, apparently, described quite accurately:

The [Goldfinger] film may have been shot at Stoke Park golf course in Buckinghamshire, conveniently close to Pinewood Studios for Sean Connery and the production team, but Fleming’s description acts as a guidebook to Royal St George’s.

One of the cooler factoids one gleans from the article is that Penfold golf balls marked with 007 are available from the pro shop. Collectors take note!

Golf breaks: The course where 007 outfoxed his deadliest foe is a quick but fun read, but genuine interest to both golf aficionados and James Bond fans — and combinations thereof.

“He played a Penfold!”

Penfold-heart

If you’re a golfer, and would prefer to use the same gear James Bond did, you’re in luck.

In honor of the Ian Fleming Centenary, the good folks at Penfold Golf are bringing back the famed “Penfold Heart” ball, made famous as 007’s ball of choice in the 1964 film Goldfinger. “Mine’s the Penfold heart,” Bond points out, as he destroys Auric Goldfinger’s cheating scheme on the links of Stoke Park Golf Club.

According to the manufacturer, orders for the ball skyrocketed after the release of the film, as golfers competed to be as uber-cool as the dashing secret agent played by Sean Connery.

The whole story, as well as exclusive ordering information, can be found at the Penfold Golf Limited website. They also have terrific content on the history of golf, the Ian Fleming Centenary, and assorted other manly subjects.