Best golf courses in England
From former Open Championship and Ryder Cup hosts to hidden gems, here's our round up of the best golf courses England has to offer.
England is home to a number of the best golf courses ever to be built. With a wide variety of layouts including plenty of parkland and heathland offerings, links golf still rules the roost. However, there are still several inland gems well worth the visit.
We are often asked by our customers, what are the best golf courses in England? To make your search easier, we have put together a round up of what we believe to be the top courses in England, from Southport to Sandwich.
It’s hard to believe that the Old Course is only a few miles from the M25 in leafy Surrey. Once out there, you’ll soon be in golfing paradise amongst the beautiful heathland. The first 9 can play tough into a stiff, links-like wind but there are more chances to get a couple back coming home. The par-5 16th is arguably the signature hole. The approach requires pinpoint accuracy with heather on the left and a huge bunker sucking up anything slightly right or short at the edge of the green.
Situated only 10 miles from Royal Birkdale, the richness of world-class links golf does not relent at Lytham & St Annes. Bordered on the west by a picturesque railway line, Blackpool Tower looms in the background. The Guardian Victorian clubhouse peers over the 11-time Open Championship layout. When the famous tournament comes here, the challenging layout is usually the winner.
The Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa has frequently been referred to as the “best inland golf course” in the UK. Set amongst glorious pine, this heathland layout is Lincolnshire’s finest and has been the headquarters to the English Golf Union since 1995. Watch out for the notorious sand traps on the Hotchkin, and the closing hole is one to remember, a stunning 540-yard par 5.
Formby is a lesser-known layout in the golfing hotbed of Southport, but don’t be alarmed – the Lancashire region has a rich list of stunning golf courses, many never really heard of due to its famous neighbours. Formby is certainly at the top of that list and is strikingly attractive. Stooped in tradition, expect to be greeted on the first tee by a starter dressed in a formal jacket and tie.
Another course on the Open rota, Birkdale held the championship for the 10th time in 2017. The famous Southport venue has also hosted the Ryder Cup twice and can be a torrid experience if the wind is blowing. Whatever the weather is like (and it really does vary here), Royal Birkdale is a challenging spot to play golf. Expect stunning views from the towering dunes that line the fairways as you plot your way round this true test of links golf.
Set amongst stunning heathland in the heart of Yorkshire, Ganton was put on the map in 1896 after club pro Harry Vardon won his first open title at Muirfield. The tough test has held some of golf’s most prestigious matches, most recently the Walker Cup in 2003. The club welcomes visitors with open arms and if you’re serious about golf, Ganton is an absolute must play.
St George’s is the one of the most natural feeling golf courses you will ever play. Having hosted 15 Open Championships to date, the Sandwich course has survived the test of time and is still a very memorable layout. Not one hole is the same, the true sign of a great golf course. Take on the tallest bunker in the country on the 4th and many other distinct links traits that make Royal St George’s a true British classic.
This track is a subtle combination of heathland and moorland with crisp fairways and plenty of heather and gorse to swoop up any stray tee shots. The finely scoped architecture of this Alister MacKenzie masterpiece make Alwoodley a true joy to play. The signature hole is no doubt the 9th hole, a Par 3 with a spectacular green site sloping from back to front.
12-time Open Host, the last two times the championship was played here, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy took the spoil on the Royal Liverpool course. Commonly known as ‘Hoylake’, a third of the course rest in the tricky dunes whilst presenting another true test of links golf. Be careful of the many undulations that pop up around the layout whilst enjoying little to no protection from a large gust of wind.
Senior UK Travel Consultant