There’s something delightfully quaint about hopping on to a train with a set of clubs and letting the rattler whisk you to your golfing destination.

Well, there is until you realise there’s a bloomin' rail replacement service halfway through the journey, you have to heave your sticks on to an over-crowded bus and the head of your 5-wood gets snapped off in the unedifying melee.

Despite such occasional palavers, golf and the railway network on these isles has a long and cherished history. Even this correspondent has an enduring relationship with the tracks. Most of my cards, for instance, tend to be complete trainwrecks.

For Dan Spence, a golf and train enthusiast, the links between the railways and the fairways have led to him compiling the kind of comprehensive guide that George Bradshaw used to piece together.

Based in Maidenhead, and a member at the town’s club which, fittingly, is a “whack of a wedge from the platform to the first tee”, Spence’s Golf By Rail website has become a valuable resource.

It contains the kind of intricate detail you’d get in the notebook of a ferroequinologist – there’s a new one for you - who’s just glimpsed a Class 17 Clayton D8568. “But I’m not a trainspotter, I just like travelling on them,” he insisted.

Spence has databased some 2,240 golf clubs in mainland England, Scotland and Wales and mapped out their proximity to a railway station in a one-stop-shop for golfers who want to let the train take the strain.

“I used to go through central London and the number of people I’d see at a main line terminus with a set of clubs on their shoulders always intrigued me,” he said.

“I’d always stop and ask them where they were playing? Two passions of mine came together. Golf and trains. In the UK, there are 141 golf clubs within half-a-mile of a station but there are actually only two stations now with the word ‘golf’ in them.

“One is Denham Golf Club on the Chiltern line and the other is Golf Street in Carnoustie. Some of the stations have up to nine railway companies that have services that stop there so I went through all of them to generate a complete list. It’s been a real labour of love.”

Back in ye day, there were stations and halts serving all manner of golfing hotspots as the game developed and expanded. Some of the most iconic railway posters of the time portrayed the auld stick and ba’ pursuit as a glamourous, accessible pastime.

Just think of those vibrant LNER prints of, say, St Andrews in the 1920s when the train would come chuff-chuffing into the Auld Grey Toun and you’ll be transported back to a golden age of steam. Trundling in on the 99 bus from Leuchars station doesn’t have quite the same allure, does it?

“It’s a big disappointment because that would be my dream railway journey,” added Spence of a line that was closed in 1969. “Coming into St Andrews on a train with my clubs and walking down to the links? How popular would that line be now?”

There is, of course, still plenty to stir a golf and railway afficionado. This July, Spence will travel to Royal Troon for The Open and will rumble down that terrific Glasgow to Ayr line that’s awash with courses and steeped in history. “There’s something wonderful about people flooding off a train and walking to an Open venue,” he added.

After that, there are one or two excursions Spence has in mind. “I’m hoping to go to Spean Bridge which, by my calculations, is the closest golf course to a railway station in the whole of Scotland,” said the 48-year-old. “It’s closer than Prestwick and Barassie.

"If you mapped them as the crow flies, of course, it would be different. Some are right next to the railway line but you have to walk out the station, round the corner, down a hill or over a bridge to get to them.

“I’m also planning a trip to Thurso which is the most northerly golf course on the mainland that’s near a train station. The idea is to then travel from Thurso to Aberdeen, come down to Penzance on the cross-country train and play Mullion, which is the most southerly course in Britain. I want to do the most northerly and the most southerly in one weekend.”

There is one catch. “Unfortunately, Mullion is not near a train station,” chuckled Spence. He might just have to get that bus...