Here we look at some affordable and some more expensive options that will surely make your mates very jealous
20 Golf Courses Everyone Can Play That Will Make Your Friends Jealous
The UK and Ireland is home to some of the world’s best and most historic golf courses, but there are also some superb hidden gems that are great fun to play and feature sensational scenery and views too.
Below, we pick out 20 courses for all budgets, high and low, that will happily accept your green fee and make you the envy of your golfing pals…
*Note: Green fees can be cheaper with twilight rates, group rates and when playing out of season
Old Head, set on a promontory on the south cost of Ireland, really is the closest GB&I gets to Pebble Beach, and many will argue that it is in fact more spectacular than its American counterpart.
It’s not cheap, in fact the green fee is fairly hefty, but *humble brag* having played it myself I can tell you it’s not a place you’ll regret visiting, and your friends will indeed be very, very jealous.
It’s easily reachable from Cork airport and can be made cheaper when played in a package.
Low season: €225, High season €375
Situated on the Isle of Arran, Shiskine has to be one of Scotland’s most spectacular courses.
It’s only 12-holes so can be easily enjoyed a couple of times on your visit.
The Isle of Arran has a number of other courses too, so, providing you get good weather, it could make for a very memorable and brilliant fun golf break.
Day ticket: £28-£33
Neyfn and District
Nefyn and District in the north-west corner of Wales is easily one of the most photogenic golf courses in the UK, where the back-nine on the Old layout plays over an unfeasibly narrow headland called The Point.
This is a golf setting like no other in Wales, so even if your game deserts you, you can simply soak up the views, or even stop off at the Ty Coch Inn halfway through the back nine to refresh and regroup.
Summer rate: £38-£45
Turnberry’s stunning Ailsa course ranks No.1 in Golf Monthly’s UK and Ireland Top 100 Course list after some phenomenal upgrades in 2016.
The course has hosted four Open Championships, with its last Open taking place in 2009 where Tom Watson had a putt to win at the age of 59 before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff.
It also has a brilliant second course in the King Robert The Bruce layout so makes for an excellent golf break, which also makes it better value.
Ailsa green fee: £175-£395
On the east coast of Scotland, Elie is one of the country’s most historic venues.
The course is short by modern standards but offers up true links golf with amazing views.
It is also where five-time Open champion and legendary course designer James Braid grew up playing.
Green fee: £47-£120 depending on time of year
Another joyous Scottish links is found at Cruden Bay, just north of Aberdeen.
The course was designed by Old Tom Morris and opened in 1899 but golf was played there long before.
It’s a simply fabulous links course boasting unique holes and stunning views.
Plateau greens, undulating fairways, blind shots, streams and gorse, Cruden Bay is an absolute joy to play.
High season green fee: £145-£160
Just east of Edinburgh lies North Berwick, yet another Scottish links that will undoubtedly make you mates very jealous.
Every hole features sea views on the course where you’ll find yourself negotiating old stone walls, burns, bumps and hollows.
The club was founded all the way back in 1832 and its sensational links is quirky, unique and so much fun.
Green fee: £100-£160
Just opposite Padstow in the town of Rock, St Enodoc is the jewel in the crown of Cornish golf.
The club features 36-holes, with the Church Course undoubtedly being one of England’s most spectacular golf courses.
It winds its way up, down and through dunes, offering up great quality surfaces, plenty of variety and incredible views of Padstow and out to sea.
Peak season: £95-£100
Another of Cornwall’s great links lies further down the coast at Perranporth.
The James Braid layout offers up top quality links golf combined with stupendous views out to sea and of the local town.
There’s also great value to be had.
Green fee: £45-£50
The Belfry’s Brabazon course might not be one of the most spectacular courses on this list but it is has seen some of the most historic golfing moments of the past few decades.
Try and drive the famous 10th green like Seve or flush a long iron into the 18th like Christy O’Connor Jr.
The Brabazon has a place in Ryder Cup history, with the match going there four times between 1985 and 2002.
It has also hosted 12 European Tour events seeing winners like Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood.
Green fee: See Belfry’s online booking system (currently down due to Covid-19)
Golf is supposed to be fun, and this is exactly what golf at Kington, set on the English/Welsh border, is all about.
There are far-reaching and very pastoral views of England and Wales in every direction, and the modest green fee represents remarkable value.
Making the pilgrimage will reward anyone with an eye for natural beauty.
Green fee: £30-£37
Another to feature in our ‘5 of the best courses featuring panoramic views‘ article that is also on the English/Welsh borders is he truly international course at Llanymynech.
It boasts 15 holes in Wales, while the 4th, 5th and 6th are in England.
They are separated by the ancient earthwork that is Offa’s Dyke, and from the 12th tee there are wonderful 360 degree views over the course, the surrounding countryside, the Welsh mountains in the distance and seemingly the rest of the world.
Green fee: £23-£40
Located near Bournemouth, Ferndown offers up some of the best heathland golf in the country.
The club was founded back in 1913 and has designed by two-time Open Championship and Golf Monthly’s first editor Harold Hilton.
It is also where Peter Alliss grew up playing the game, as his dad Percy was the head pro.
Green fees: £60-£120
The pinnacle of heathland golf in the UK comes at Sunningdale, where both courses are equally great.
The Old was opened in 1901 and designed by Willie Park Jr, and the New opened in 1923, designed by the legendary Harry Colt, who was secretary at the club.
Green fee: £275 each, £425 to play both on same day
Royal North Devon in Westward Ho! is the oldest golf course in England, dating back to 1864, with the club describing itself as the ‘St Andrews of the South’.
It was also the home of five-time Open champion JH Taylor.
The links is a challenging, fun test of golf featuring holes lined by water rushes as well as grazing sheep and horses.
The historic Gourock Golf Club, just west of Glasgow, dates back to 1896 and is somewhat of a hidden gem across the UK and Ireland.
The parkland/moorland course features truly spectacular views of the River Clyde and the Argyllshire hills from every hole.
It’s also very affordable to play with green fees starting at £20.
Green fee: £20-£30
The cliffside Norfolk course sits on the edge of the North Sea and is another of the UK’s spectacular courses.
The club dates all the way back to 1891 and its excellent course plays like a links with fairways lined by beautiful gorse.
It can easily be played in a golf trip to Norfolk featuring Cromer, Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk, with all courses easily drivable from one and other.
Green fee: £55-£95
Tenby Golf Club is undoubtedly one of South Wales’ finest, and yet another course on this list in a stunning setting.
The club was founded in 1888 and is regarded as the ‘Birthplace of Welsh Golf’.
It features dunes, undulations, sea views, sandy terrain, gorse and everything else you’d expect from great links golf.
It was designed by James Braid.
Green fee: From £25
Arnold Palmer’s first European course design is a stunner, with Tralee on the west coast of Ireland offering up some unique and incredible holes.
Of the course, which only turned into 18 holes in 1984, Palmer said: “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine.”
Green fee: €180-€250
The views at Bamburgh Castle are stunning everywhere you look, featuring vistas of the castle itself as well as the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the Farne Islands and the Cheviot Hills.
The course dates back to 1904 and lies some 50 miles north of Newcastle just south of the England/Scotland border.
Green fee: Summer rate £60
For more great golf courses check out Golf Monthly’s UK and Ireland Top 100 Course Rankings.
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