Last Updated: 21/12/2017
So you've got your gear sorted - but how do you decide where to play? We've collated some of the top golf courses to visit in the UK to give you a head start!
Golf has a long history that dates as far back as the 17th Century, when it was a sport enjoyed by royalty, such as James VI of Scotland and the esteemed gentry and upper class. However, modern-day golf is no longer just a game for the upper echelons of society with more and more people joining in the game from all walks of life.
The sport has also undergone a significant surge in popularity over the past few decades in the UK and worldwide and Britain is home to some of the world’s top golfers, from Nick Faldo through to the younger generations Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. Teamed with high-profile world players like Tiger Woods, the sport’s popularity has rocketed and it now considered a big name sport with millions of people following major golf tournaments like the Ryder Cup, the Masters and the Open Championships, as well as venturing out onto golf courses themselves.
Naturally, as a result the UK has met the demands with a staggering amount of golf courses on offer. In England alone there are over 1,900 golf clubs, which is more than Ireland, Scotland and Wales combined; and the number of adults participating in golf in the UK is reported to be around 4,000,000. Taking this into consideration it’s fair to say this sport has taken the UK by storm in a big way. But it isn’t just Brits who are playing on our golf courses, as golf enthusiasts from all over the globe head to the British Isles to play on some of the best golf courses in the UK.
With this in mind, we want to take a look at some of the best golf courses throughout the UK, so whether you’re a seasoned golfer, novice or something in between, you can find the best places to tee up and play a round of golf to remember.
This challenging golf course in East Lothian, Scotland is considered one of the best courses in the UK and has played host to the prestigious Open a few years back. While some may say it’s not the prettiest course in terms of scenery, it’s still a beautiful place to play a round of golf. And if you’re a true sportsman, what really matters is focusing on your game to get around the course with a score as close to par as possible. With many hazards to content with, the trick is to avoid as many pitfalls as possible that a high-class course like this can throw at you, whilst still enjoying your time there.
St. Andrews (Old), Scotland
Another Scottish delight and heritage golf course is the St. Andrews – Grand Old Lady, which has been played on by almost all of the sport’s greats at some time or other. With a long-standing history that dates back to 1400, this impressive course provides stunning views to take in as you tackle the challenging 18-holes it has in store. Although it can be a demanding course to take on, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable place to play time and time again.
Royal St George, England
Kent’s high-class golf course, Royal St George is another vintage golf course that first opened in the late 19th Century. Spanning across undulating fairways amidst sand dunes, the fairways are by no means easy to negotiate to reach the green. There’s plenty of bunkers to navigate, however, the beauty of the surroundings and theses challenge are all what make it a thrilling and rewarding 18-holes regardless of what your final score card reads.
Trump Turnberry Resort, Scotland
Turnberry Golf Resort in Ayrshire has been home to the Open and still remains one of the UK’s best golf courses to play, although it is expensive. With new owner Donald Trump, this fantastic course hugs the breath taking Ayrshire coastline, with 18 holes that are full of surprises for even the most experienced golfers. Despite its spectacular location and views, the course itself is well designed too, covering awe-inspiring linksland that is as demanding as it is beautiful.
Royal Birkdale, England
While many of us may not think of golf when we think of Southport, it is in fact home to one of England’s finest golf courses, Royal Birkdale, which has been an Open host throughout its rich history. Playing along the sand dune lined valleys, this 18-hole course offers a fair test on your golfing prowess in a picturesque setting that will make you want to play there time and time again.
Sunningdale in Berkshire has two course, the Old and New. Both offer a cracking round of golf for all abilities and can be a great full day of golf if you want to combine the two. While Sunningdale Old is tipped as one of Great Britain’s most attractive inland courses to play on, with tree-lined fairways and pitch perfect greens, the new course is also a delight. On either course you’ll struggle to find a better place to enjoy all 36-holes of golf.
Royal Lytham & St Annes, England
One of England’s most northerly championship courses, Royal Lytham & St Annes in Lancashire is rightfully up there as one of the top golf courses in the country. Although it lies about half a mile inland from the Lancashire coastline with a view of Blackpool Tower in the distance, this is still a links course with plenty to offer keen golfers. With relatively flat ground with a few exceptions, it’s always a pleasure to play on, but by no means an easy course.
Royal Liverpool, England
A veteran of major golf tournaments, the Royal Liverpool in the Wirral offers a course in superb condition with brilliant views over the Dee estuary that make a round of golf there even more enjoyable. With the sea breeze always a contender, some of the holes can be a tough measure, but regardless, you’re sure to love the contrasting landscapes with rich green fairways banked by rolling sand dunes.
Woodall Spa (Hotchkin), England
Woodall Spa in Lincolnshire is well-renowned for its bunkers, which prove hazardous for golfers of all abilities. The club has a rich history dating back to 1891, and despite being home to some of the deepest bunkers around, this course stretches along open heathland and woodland to deliver a spectacular golfing experience all day long.
Royal Porthcawl, Wales
Cited as one of the best golf courses in Wales, the Royal Porthcawl in Mid Glamorgan is an absolute treasure for anyone who’s looking for a challenging links course. This coastal course has holes playing in all directions and with the wind off the sea ever-present it can make for a very interesting, possibly frustrating, round of golf. With a rugged terrain, deep bunkers and dangerous run-offs, this course definitely isn’t one for the fainthearted golfer.
Gear up golfers
With ten awesome courses to inspire you to polish up your clubs and hit the golf course, you will no doubt be full of excitement and anticipation. And while all of these spectacular courses and many others throughout the UK pose distinct challenges throughout the course, there is also the other challenge of getting around the course.
It’s estimated that the average golfer walks around 8.5km on an 18-hole golf course, which is based on the distance from the first tee to the last green on the 18th hole. However, this can be increased by as much as 1.5km if you factor in the walking to and from the car park, clubhouse and practice areas.
To many the lengthy walk mixed with some vigorous ball hitting and carrying golf clubs the entire way is all part of the appeal and can be a great form of physical exercise. But having said that, it’s still a long way to carry even the lightest of golf bags. This is why for so many keen golfers, they look to invest in a golf trolley to wheel their clubs on or even hire a golf buggy to drive them round the course. While golf trolleys are a great solution, even they can be demanding to drag across an entire golf course, particularly on courses where there is challenging terrain to master.
However, as is often the case, technology is on hand to help those golfers, both young and old, who want an easier way of carrying their clubs – electric powered golf trolleys. Investing in one can make a game much less tiring and physically demanding, which will allow you to put your energy into your swing rather than lugging your clubs around. They’re also much more cost effective in an already expensive hobby than hiring a golf buggy.
Of course electric powered golf trolleys come in all different shapes and sizes, but to make sure you get the most out of your motorised golf trolley it’s always a good idea to invest in a decent quality golf trolley battery. The last thing you want when you’re halfway round the course is for your golf trolley battery to fade and die, leaving you with the prospect of manually pulling your trolley for another 4 kilometres of so.
With a little help from technology, negotiating your way around these impressive golf courses will make some of the game less challenging and much more enjoyable.