While the many links courses in England are hailed to be some of the best places to play golf in the country, the Midlands golf courses have some of the most beautiful and unique layouts England has to offer…By Alex Clewett
While the many links courses in England are hailed to be some of the best places to play golf in the country, a fact which is impossible to disagree with, it is also possible to look to the centre of the country to find some of the most beautiful and unique courses England has to offer.
In addition, their central location and relatively low prices make them playable for a large proportion of the golfing population not just on special occasions, but on a regular basis.
We run through three courses that are must plays in each of Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.
Although the Brabazon course at The Belfry is steeped in history, having hosted four Ryder Cups between 1985 and 2002, it also costs £160 in summer and isn’t much different to any corporate venue up and down the country.
For something more original and for less than half the price, try Edgbaston Golf Club in the heart of suburban Birmingham, a shortish track measuring just over 6000 yards that is full of character and presents a good test with only one par 5 to score on.
In addition, Coventry (Finham) Golf Club is a regional Open Qualifying course and routes through beautiful, dense parkland. It is also much more scoreable than Edgbaston with five par 5s, as well as some tricky par 3s such as the 7th, played over a pond to a long green which can be anything from a pitching wedge to a 5 iron depending on the wind.
Finally, despite being another corporate venue, there are some great deals to be found at The Warwickshire, which offers two outstanding courses to choose from: the King’s, with numerous water hazards in an American style, and the slightly better Earl’s, which winds its way through a pine forest and could easily be mistaken for Woburn in many places.
There is a marked lack of recognisable names of golf courses in Northamptonshire, but this does not mean its many hidden gems should be written off. The best of these is Northamptonshire County, which is a gorgeous parkland in permanently great condition and is a fixture in most Top 100 course rankings.
Another course not to be underestimated is Wellingborough Golf Club, a tricky test which winds its way through the magnificent hilly grounds of Harrowden Hall. The signature hole is the 18th, a tight yet drivable par 4 with out of bounds right and a pond left.
Lastly, Kingsthorpe Golf Club on the outskirts of Northampton is a real gem and an example of imaginative course design on a miniscule plot. Despite this course’s small stature, being built on just 73 acres of land, this par 69 is as fun as it is tricky, with blind tee shots and carries over a ravine guaranteed to leave a big impression.
Another fixture in the Top 100 course rankings, Luffenham Heath Golf Club I set in a designated area of Special Scientific Interest, with a variety of different trees to look at, or hit, depending on how your round is going. Despite being roughly half an hour east of Leicester, this course is worth the drive and is only £50 when played in the evenings.
An even cheaper alternative is Hinckley Golf Club, a centrally located course with supposedly the best greens in the county. Numerous water hazards and dense trees provide enough difficulty to keep the best players thinking, but this course’s natural beauty makes it worth the green fee for golfers of all abilities.
Finally, The Leicestershire Golf Club is worth playing simply to tackle a course that has no par 5s, the only full size course in England with this feature. Not only is this course seriously tough, but it is also scenic and interesting and plays host to many county events all year round.