Top Golf Courses

Best golf courses in England

From former Open Championship and Ryder Cup hosts to hidden gems, here's our comprehensive guide of the best golf courses England has to offer.

Billy Dunstall
Billy Dunstall 6 mins read

England is home to a number of the best and most historic golf courses in existence. With a wide variety of layouts including plenty of parkland and heathland offerings, links golf still very much 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 are the top courses in the country for your next golf break, in no particular order.

1. Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

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.

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Course

"Very few courses in England match the history of Lytham. It is without a doubt one of the best courses in the country and is the perfect addition for a golf break in the north-west" ~ Tom Duncombe (Marketing Manager)

Royal Lytham & St Anne's facts

  • Location: Lytham Saint Anne’s, Lancashire
  • Length: 6,731 yards
  • Par: 70
  • Architect: George Lowe, Harry Colt (1919 redesign)
  • Founded: 1886
  • Course type: Links

2. Hotchkin Course, Woodhall Spa

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.

Hotchkin Course, Woodhall Spa Golf Club

"Surely one of the top inland courses in the UK, Woodhall Spa is an incredibly fun course to play with beautiful heather, natural undulations, and PROPER bunkers!" ~ Mark Jenkins (UK Sales Manager)

Hotchkin Course, Woodhall Spa facts

  • Location: Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
  • Length: 6,495 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Harry Vardon
  • Founded: 1890
  • Course type: Heathland

3. Formby Golf Club

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.

Championship Links, Formby Golf Club

Formby Golf Club facts

  • Location: Formby, Liverpool
  • Length: 6,725 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Willie Park (1912), James Braid (1922)
  • Founded: 1884
  • Course type: Links

4. Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Another course on the Open rota, Birkdale held the championship for the 10th time in 2017 and was an easy pick for the best golf courses in England list. 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.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Royal Birkdale Golf Club facts

  • Location: Southport, Merseyside
  • Length: 6,381 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Frederick G. Hawtree, J.H. Taylor
  • Founded: 1889
  • Course type: Links

5. Ganton Golf Club

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 and gives visitors the chance to tick off the 1949 Ryder Cup host.

Ganton Golf Club

Ganton Golf Club facts

  • Location: Ganton, North Yorkshire
  • Length: 6,789 yards
  • Par: 71
  • Architect: Tom Chisholm & Robert Bird
  • Founded: 1891
  • Course type: Inland Links

6. Royal St George’s Golf Club

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. No two holes are 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.

Royal St George's Golf Club

Royal St George's Golf Club facts

  • Location: Sandwich, Kent
  • Length: 6,630 yards
  • Par: 70
  • Architect: Laidlaw Purves
  • Founded: 1887
  • Course type: Links

7. Alwoodley Golf Club

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 sloping from back to front.

Alwoodley Golf Club

Alwoodley Golf Club facts

  • Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire
  • Length: 6,688 yards
  • Par: 70
  • Architect: Dr Alistair MacKenzie
  • Founded: 1887
  • Course type: Heathland / Moorland

8. Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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 Golf Course. Commonly known as ‘Hoylake’, a third of the course rests 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 the large gusts of wind.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Royal Liverpool Golf Club facts

  • Location: Hoylake, Wirral
  • Length: 6,933 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Robert Chambers & George Morris, Harry Colt (redesign)
  • Founded: 1869
  • Course type: Links

9. Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club (Deal)

Rich in both history and location, Royal Cinque Ports is, without doubt, one of the finest pieces of land to play in England and is a former two-time host of The Open (1909 and 1920). Commonly referred to as Deal, the town in which it is situated, this stunning Kent layout runs along Sandwich Bay, near the neighbouring courses of Royal St George’s and Prince’s, and dates back to 1892.

The course itself is a classic out and back links, and incorporates strong south-westerly winds, undulations, large sand dunes, and over 66 bunkers throughout. The back nine is particularly difficult as the closing stretch tends to play directly into the wind and can be a real scorecard ruiner!

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club facts

  • Location: Deal, Kent
  • Length: 7,010 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Henry Hunter, James Braid (1919 redesign)
  • Founded: 1892
  • Course type: Links

10. Hillside Golf Club

Perhaps best known for hosting the 2019 British Masters, Hillside is a beautiful links situated just outside of Southport, along England’s golf coast. As with Royal Cinque Ports, Hillside’s privileged locations mean that it is one of many classic links courses in close proximity, Royal Birkdale and Formby to name a few.

The course is a tale of two halves. The front-nine plays over relatively flat ground, whilst the back-nine weaves its way through large sand dunes and rippling landscapes, and is rightly considered to be one of the best closing nine holes in the world.

Hillside Golf Club

Hillside Golf Club facts

  • Location: Southport, Merseyside
  • Length: 6,849 yards
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Frederick G. Hawtree
  • Founded: 1911
  • Course type: Links

11. East Course, Saunton Golf Club

Situated along the beautiful North Devon coastline, next to the famous Saunton Sands beach, Saunton Golf Club is home to two exceptional links layouts, the East Course and West Course. The latter is, without doubt, a must-play course, however, it is the East Course that has captured the UK’s imagination since golf was first played here in 1897.

The course makes full use of the natural contours and undulations, with large expansive sand dunes coming into play on every hole. This challenging links has hosted a multitude of Amateur events over the years, and if it wasn’t for logistical issues, would be a shoo-in to host The Open Championship.

East Course, Saunton Golf Club

East Course, Saunton facts

  • Location: Braunton, Devon
  • Length: 6,444 yards
  • Par: 71
  • Architect: Herbert Fowler
  • Founded: 1897
  • Course type: Links

12. Broadstone Golf Club

Founded in 1898 and redesigned in 1914 by the famous Harry Colt, Broadstone is a stunning, quintessential heathland course located just outside of Bournemouth, in the charming Dorset countryside. There are similarities in the design to both Sunningdale and Walton Heath, with challenging heather, gorse, rhododendrons, and large fairway undulations a prominent feature throughout.

It is not the longest course at 6,400 yards from the back tees, however, the gentle undulations ensure you’ll rarely have a flat lie and the many rugged bunkers will demand accuracy off the tee.

Broadstone Golf Club

Broadstone Golf Club facts

  • Location: Wimborne, Bournemouth
  • Length: 6,115 yards
  • Par: 70
  • Architect: Tom Dunn, Harry Colt (redesign)
  • Founded: 1898
  • Course type: Heathland

13. Prince's Golf Club

Situated alongside Royal St George’s and Royal Cinque Ports, Prince’s Golf Club completes the Open Championship trio along Sandwich Bay. The Shore and Dunes courses make up the main 18-holes, with the newer Himalayas a fantastic addition to what was already a world-class links. Following a refurbishment in 2020, Prince’s has been brought into the 21st century in style. Expect all the hallmarks of a classic links course – blind tee shorts, large sand dunes, coastal winds, extensive fairway bunkers and more.

It’s one of the best links courses in the country, and when you add in the on-site lodges and three loops of nine, it is a must-visit golf break destination.

Prince's Golf Club

Prince's Golf Club facts

  • Location: Sandwich, Kent
  • Length: 6,855 yards (Shore & Dunes)
  • Par: 72
  • Architect: Charles Hutchings, Guy Campbell, John Morrison
  • Founded: 1906
  • Course type: Links
Feeling inspired?
It's clear that England offers one of the most unique and diverse golfing experiences in the world. Make your next golf break one to remember on home soil.

Published

Billy Dunstall avatar
Billy Dunstall

Senior UK Travel Consultant

Related articles