Top UK & Ireland links courses
If links golf is your thing, we've pulled together a nice list of courses for you to try. Question is, which one to try first?
With so many outstanding links courses across the UK and Ireland, it is no wonder customers regularly ask us, what are the best links golf courses in the UK?
From the home of golf, St Andrews, to the rugged and distinctive Lahinch, a round of golf on a links course always lives long in the memory. For those looking for some inspiration, take a look at our list of the best links courses in the UK and Ireland.
Located in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful links settings, it is no wonder the Championship Links at Royal County Down is regarded as one of the best links courses in the UK, and even the world. Stretching along the shores of Dundrum Bay, and zigzagging back and forth, this course provides unique vistas on every hole. Bearded bunkers, the narrowest ribbons of fairways, purple heather and golden gorse all add to the links’ natural challenge.
Overlooked by the perpetual Ailsa Craig, the aptly names Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry is an Open Championship venue that is on many golfer’s bucket list. Its stunning backdrop is recognised all over the world, and its illustrious history spans over 100-years. This beautiful links on the Ayrshire coast is one not to be missed.
This golf course needs no introduction. The oldest and most iconic in the world, and open to the public, St Andrews allows every standard of golfer to follow in the footsteps of legends. Golfers can experience iconic features of the course such as the Swilcan Bridge, Hell Bunker and the Valley of Sin, and recreate shots of past Open Championships gone by.
Royal Dornoch’s timeless setting is what makes it such a pleasing place to golf and why so many people travel from all over the world to play this natural links. Don’t let the blaze of colour from the gorse in early summer and the pure white sandy beach that divides the links from the Dornoch Firth distract you from Royal Dornoch’s wild challenge, in such an isolated layout. It was Old Tom Morris who introduced the plateau greens, which are the soul of the course.
As the only club in Ireland to host the Open Championship, it is no wonder Royal Portrush has made it onto our list. The Dunluce Links is a masterpiece of golf course architecture, where unimaginable rough and testing greens are combined with unpredictable weather off the roaring North Atlantic, for an unforgettable challenge. Links golf in Northern Ireland doesn’t get much better than this.
As arguably the best golf course on Kent’s golf coast, Royal St George’s is a must-play links course in England. It is more recently recognised for being the venue of Darren Clarke’s famous Open Championship victory in 2011. The undulating fairways, true greens, humps, swales, dunes and wild rough all combine to create a brutal but enjoyable challenge when the wind blows.
Another Open Championship venue, and the site of some of the most famous Open moments – step forward Jean van de Velde – Carnoustie’s Championship Course is generally regarded as the toughest of the Open Championship venues, as well as featuring some of the toughest closing holes in links golf. If you get through the final four holes unscathed, you should count yourself lucky.
Often referred to as the St Andrews of Ireland, Lahinch is a remarkable golf club and arguably the best in all of Ireland. From its opening in 1892, the club has moved with the times in order to maintain its challenge. The course is rugged, distinctive and has an unusually varied out and back layout on the beach of Liscannor Bay, making it a truly enchanting place to play golf.
Many regard Royal Birkdale as the finest links course in England, and as an Open Championship host venue, we can understand why. It requires every part of your game to be up to scratch, whether that be accuracy off the tee to funnel your drive through valleys of giant sand hills, or reading the subtle breaks on the pristine greens. The golden links on the North West coast in Southport is a truly special golf course.
Its magnificent setting sloping down to the seashore is what sets Royal Porthcawl apart from the other links courses in Wales, as well as the fact it has also hosted the Senior Open Championship and the Walker Cup to name but a few prestigious tournaments. Uniquely, this course doesn’t feature any sand dunes, allowing golfers to enjoy memorable views throughout. To add, the holes face every point of the compass meaning golfers are tested by the wind from all directions.
Senior Golf Vacation Specialist - UK & Ireland
Senior Golf Vacation Specialist, I help golfers find their ideal golfing getaway