This handful of excellent clubs each offers a wonderful and varied two-round experience
5 Of The UK&I’s Best 36-Hole Golf Clubs
Crail Golfing Society is a club that combines the old with the new like no other.
Founded in 1786, its traditional yet unusual first course is the beautiful Balcomie links.
Modest in length at just 5,861 yards, the back nine has four par 3s and two par 5s, with several holes hugging the shore.
The Craighead links opened 20 years ago and is substantially longer, twisting and turning its way over cliffs and higher ground.
GF: round: £70-£90; day: £125
Enville is an excellent members’ club that boasts two fine courses combining strong heathland and mature woodland.
The highgate is the original and better-know and is in the Golf Monthly Next 100.
It has been used for Open qualifying and is a real test, with perhaps its prettiest hole the 16th, a long par 3 over a pond that attracts both wildlife and golf balls.
The Lodge is not much shorter and is distinguished by its challenging par 4s.
GF: round: £65; day: £90
The Bracken course was opened in 1998 in order to offer something new alongside its top-flight older brother.
The result is very attractive with quite a different feel.
This has led to a great improvement in the visual and dramatic appeal, as well as the strategy required.
GF: Hotchkin: £95; Bracken: £57; both courses: £129
Another club mixing traditonal and modern is Headfort to the north-west of Dublin.
The Old course runs over level parkland through specimen trees, and around the turn of the millennium, its members bought a larger parcel of adjacent land.
They engaged Christy O’Connor Jnr to build a course of quite different design, the New, on which water is a regular companion.
This is particularly so at three of the very attractive short holes.
GF: round €55-€70
Related: The 22 best golf courses in Ireland
Royal County Down
The stunning Championship links justifiably attracts golfers from all over the world.
Overlooked by the Mountains of Mourne and with views out to the Irish Sea, it is both a complete test and a visual feast.
As a wonderful variation, the upgraded Annesley course is much shorter but is nothing but fun, with the three new holes at the far end leading you down to and alongside the beach.
Easily manageable in two and a half hours.
GF: Championship: £240; Annesley: £50
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