With an immense variety of golf to choose from, we take a look at some of the best golf courses in Hampshire.
The Best Golf Courses In Hampshire
Hampshire had one of the first county unions in England after it was set up in 1893, and there is a variety of golf to get your teeth into. Hayling Island offers up a true links test, Liphook and Blackmoor are two stunning heathland gems, and Old Thorns and Stoneham will whet your appetite for parkland golf.
Take a look at who else makes our list for the best courses in Hampshire below.
Related: Golf Monthly’s UK&I Top 100 Courses
Arthur Croome designed this beautiful, gently undulating heathland course, which was opened in 1923 and subsequently upgraded by one of his team who went on to greater architectural fame, Tom Simpson.
Both were advocates of the philosophy for a design that is strategic rather than penal, one where all golfers need to think their way round.
Despite its relative lack of length – just 6,301 yards from the very back tees – scoring depends on approaching the greens from the correct angle.
This understated approach also applies to the course’s greatest defence, the greens themselves, which are fast and true with very subtle breaks.
Unusually, the round opens with a par 3, which at around 200 yards sounds a daunting prospect but is played downhill to a bunkerless green with plenty of space on the right.
The 13th is a lovely par 5, which plays first down and then up, crossing a ditch that marks the West Sussex-Hampshire border to a green protected by bunkers and which runs off at the front.
Established in 1913, Blackmoor was designed by legendary designer Harry Colt and his original layout has stood the test of time as 16 of his holes are still in play.
You start with a fairly innocuous par-4 where a well struck drive will see you get over the ditch that runs in the fairway. Although for the shorter hitters, laying up may be the best course of action. From then on the difficult ratchets up significantly. The second may also be a short par-4 but it is very narrow and any errant shots will be punished. Then, shifting to the third, the tee shot is key. Find the fairway and you are left with a tricky approach shot, but miss and put it into the heather and you can rack up a big score easily.
15 is the pick of the bunch in terms of par-3s. It is usually into the wind and at 198 yards off the whites, take a par or bogey here and move on.
One of the finest courses in the area, Blackmoor has hosted the regional qualifying for the Open Championship and has seen golfers like Gary Wolstenholme and Ross Fisher win there.
Set above shingle beaches with views out across the Solent, the land at Hayling is perfect for golf and rarely waterlogged. It poses a considerable challenge when the breeze is up and as such it’s a frequent venue for county competitions.
The par 3s are the key at Hayling. There are four of them and all demand precise tee-shots. As with all links, the wind is a factor and it’s crucial to take more club than you think. The greens are quick and tend to be even more so through the summer months. They’re not overly undulating but have some very subtle breaks.
The 12th, with the wind generally left-to-right and into your face, is a challenging hole. It measures 441 yards and requires a drive of at least 250 if you are to have a reasonable chance on the approach. The 11th, best par 3, at 152 yards plays straight out to sea. With the wind against it, it’s not uncommon to see the members reaching for a wood.
The golf course is a wonderfully picturesque parkland/woodland hybrid, with some truly unique holes and a selection of elevated tees that provide exceptional views as you can see from the fifth (above), and 17th (below).
As far as signature holes, Old Thorns has plenty to choose from and whittling down to a personal favourite is next to impossible, but the closing stretch is certain to leave you wanting more. 15 is a short par-4 that plays totally uphill and has a two-tiered green so make sure you take note where the pin is when playing the fourth earlier in the day. 16 is totally dependent on the pin location. If it on the bottom of the three tiers, then go for it, but if not, play this hole with caution.
17 is a stunning par-5 that is all about the tee shot. Find the fairway, or go left of the bunkers and you can definitely get on in two. But find the three fairway bunkers and you will have to play it as a three-shot hole.
Finally, 18 is a monstrous par-4 that requires a tee shot with a cut, and an approach shot with a draw. A par here is a rare thing so head to the bar with glee if you secured a four!
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Stoneham is a beautiful heathland course set just off the M3 north of Southampton. The mix of score-wrecking heather, narrow tree-lined fairways and roller coaster greens makes this course a challenge for even the low handicapper.
With five par 5s and five par 3s, there are places where a score can be made, but miss a hole in the wrong area at your peril. The heather guarding the fairways is deep at the best of times, and finding your ball is the easy bit. This is a course where good course management will be rewarded as wayward shots or aggressive play will cost you.
The par 5 14th hole is just one of many great holes. Measuring 481 yards, you are required to drive down into a valley and onto a fairway which narrows considerably at about 260 yards before rising up to a fiercely-sloping green protected by a large gully running up the right hand side of the fairway.
Stoneham is a great test of golf, but also a tough walk, in particular the par 5 18th, which climbs back up to the clubhouse set at the highest point of the course. Good job there’s a refreshing pint waiting for you at the top
Originally designed by James Braid, Nort Hants Golf Club has gone through three redesigns by some famous golf architects. Harry Colt did so in 1913, Tom Simpson in 1930 and finally Donald Steel introduced three new holes in the early 2000’s.
Like Liphook above, the first is a long par-3 that will test the nerves and the opening swing of the round. Their is no let up on the second either with the 433-yard par-4 offering up a testy drive and a narrow second shot.
The third is a stunning par-5 which requires you to hit a draw off the tee to counter-act the sloping fairway. The longer hitters will have their sights set on reaching in two, but beware, the water on the right is beckoning any loose shots.
The club is probably most famous for one of its members, Justin Rose, who has become one of the finest golfers England has ever produced. The course was also the venue for Final Open Qualifying for the 2004 Women’s British Open.
One of the most interesting courses in Hampshire due to its peculiarity, Burley Golf Club is essentially a nine hole course that plays as an 18 thanks to its different tee positions.
Located in the heart of the New Forest, there are two things to be wary of whilst playing, the roads and the animals. One some of the holes the A31 and A35 are in play and many of the local horses and cows could be frequenting the fairways and greens.
The sixth is a very intimidating hole given the road and out of bounds markers coming into your peripheral vision constantly. However, if you get a good drive away and find the green, a two-putt par will look very good on the card.
Army Golf Club was formed way back in 1883 after they settled at their principal base in Aldershot. But todays course layout was formed in the 1960’s and measuring at 6,550 yards, Army is one of the longest courses in the area.
The first three holes are pretty simple with the first real test of your golf coming on the par-4 4th. 441 yards off the whites, it is a slight dogleg that requires a tee shot down the right hand side to leave a better line into the green. The approach shot will test your distance control as you are hitting into a raised green that is only 24 yards deep. The next, a 220 yard par-3 is also a tough hole so make your tow pars here and run off with glee.
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