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Best hidden gem golf courses in the UK & Ireland

A hidden gem is defined as something which is extremely outstanding but relatively unknown and these courses are no exception. Here's a round up of the best of the best the UK and Ireland have to offer.

Billy Dunstall
Billy Dunstall
7 mins read
LinksParklandHeathlandUK & IrelandScotlandEnglandIreland

Hidden gem golf courses offer a great golfing experience and tend to be at a fraction of the price of your more well-known golf courses.

Across the UK & Ireland you can find these little pearls that will leave you and your friends coming back for more, and the exciting challenges these courses offer won’t be a secret for long. Take a look at ten of our favourite hidden gem golf courses in the UK & Ireland.

Nairn Golf Club

Created from a Highland wilderness of gorse and heather, Nairn Golf Club is one of Scotland’s finest golf courses, nestled on the shores of the Moray Firth. The Championship Course here delights visitors, but you must be accurate off the tee as you battle with the constant hazard of gorse and the strong westerly wind. There is also the nine-hole Cameron Course that all the family can enjoy and is perfect for fine-tuning your short game.

Nairn Golf Course

Fulford Golf Club

Just one-mile outside of the historic city of York, Fulford Golf Club is a fine heathland course with a history of its own. The course hosted 23 consecutive European Tour events in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, with an impressive list of winners that includes the likes of Lee Trevino, Sam Torrance and Greg Norman. This was also the scene for Bernhard Langer’s famous shot out of a tree on the 17th hole, where he managed to hit the green and two-putt for a bogey.

Fulford Golf Course

St Anne's Old Links Golf Club

Although sometimes overshadowed by its Open hosting neighbour, Royal Lytham & St Annes, the 6,941-yard St Anne's Old Links is fantastic challenge in its own right on England’s north west coast. The course has been designed to test your patience and resilience, which makes it no surprise that the club has hosted Open qualifying and international matches in the past.

St Anne’s Old Links

Carden Park

There are 36-holes of outstanding golf to be found at Carden Park, popular among those who frequent Cheshire, although those who are new to the area may not realise the true beauty of the courses here. The Cheshire Course leads to a dramatic finish, with the added beautiful views across the estate. The Nicklaus Course, designed by Jack and his son Steve, definitely rewards those who plot their way around the course, with strategically placed hazards across the 18 holes.

The Nicklaus Course, Carden Park Golf Resort

Mottram Hall Golf Course, Mottram Hall

The Mottram Hall Championship Course is another gem in Cheshire that every standard of golfer can enjoy. As one of Cheshire’s finest parkland golf courses, just one-mile from the village of Prestbury, golfers are delighted by magnificent oak and beech trees as well as tricky, well-guarded greens. A recent £1.5 million refurbishment only adds to the experience.

Mottram Hall Golf Course

Old Thorns Manor Hotel

The golf course at Hampshire's Old Thorns Manor Hotel will see you walking in the footsteps of some of the game’s best golfers, as it was officially opened by Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Isao Aoki and Bill Rogers. Whether you’re a beginner or a scratch golfer, the course accommodates everyone and offers stunning views from many of the elevated tees.

Old Thorns Golf Course

Stoneham Golf Club

Set out through an old deer park, Stoneham Golf Club offers a fantastic 18-hole challenge on the Northern boundary of Southampton. Although only 6,400-yards, this course will reward the strategic golfer as undulating heathland means you rarely get a flat lie, and a premium is put on accuracy. This really a gem in the south of England.

Stoneham Golf Course

Thorpeness Hotel and Golf Club

Designed by the legendary James Braid in 1922, this truly remarkable 18-hole heathland golf course remains in almost perfect condition with the finest quality fairways in the region. Measuring in at 6,281 yards, it is built on quick draining, sandy soil, so the course is playable year-round. A regular host of PGA events, and a former host of the ‘EGU Senior Championships’, it offers an extraordinary challenge for golfers of all levels.

Thorpeness Golf Course

Donnington Valley

Measuring in at 6,353 yards, this 18-hole Par-72 golf course is a must-play in Berkshire. The course provides an interesting and challenging round for golfers of all levels. While some of the holes prove to be quiet forgiving, the four closing holes really test the player's ability, with water obstacles featuring on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes. These holes are regarded by many as one of the toughest finishes in the country. Don’t forget that the fantastic Victorian clubhouse, Snelsmore House offers exception views of the course as well as social facilities with its two bars.

Donnington Valley Golf Course

The Island Golf Club

Nestled among some of the highest sand dunes known in golf, The Island Golf Club boasts a must-play classic links that is steeped in golfing history and tradition. The course provides a great test of imagination and shot-making skill that will leave you with golfing memories to treasure forever. Beginning and ending with two bold par-4s, this is one of the most popular courses in the Dublin region and of the highest calibre. One that is not to be missed.

The Island Golf Club

Feeling inspired?
Find your next UK golfing treasure at one of these outstanding courses that have yet to reach international acclaim.


Billy Dunstall avatar
Billy Dunstall

Senior UK Travel Consultant

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