21. K Club Palmer Course (2004 position ? 19)
6815 yards; Par 72; SSS 74
Green fees E150-E350
Tel: 00353 16 017 200
www.kclub.ie

The K Club is often omitted from lists of great Irish courses because of its relative youth and for the fact that it?s not one the Emerald Isle?s famous links tracks. Golfers that take that view will be missing out on a unique experience, because as an American-style layout where the focus should is on playing exciting holes in a beautifully manicured environment it has few peers. The re-routing of the course for the Ryder Cup will certainly balance the layout better and has set up one of the most knee-knocking finishes in golf. Holes like the 6th, 7th, 11th and 17th (as played in the Ryder Cup) will test your skill and nerve to the limit.


22. Machrihanish (22)
6235 yards; Par 70; SSS 71
Green fees £20-£50
Tel: 01586 810213
www.machgolf.com

The opening hole is the best I?ve ever played and sets the scene for a traditional links laid out by Old Tom Morris in the 1870s. It?s a stunning location and you get an incredible feeling of anticipation when taking in the panorama while standing on the 1st tee. There is a great variety of holes and it?s in immaculate condition ? probably the best presented links course I?ve played, with excellent definition between fairways and rough. The greens were lightning-fast, very true and a joy to putt on.


23. Royal Porthcawl (28)
6685 yards; Par 72; SSS 73
Green fees £80-£100
Tel: 01656 773702
www.royalporthcawl.com

There is an understated excellence to everything at Royal Porthcawl. The course contains no weak holes and each is a demanding examination in its own right. The 5th is a beauty of a par 5 firmly in the risk/reward category, requiring an arrow-straight uphill approach to a green flanked by a wall on the left and gorse on the right. In fact, while the par 3s here often attract favourable comment, for me it is the collection of par 5s that stand out. Four is a possibility on all of them but plenty of 6s will be racked up as well.


24. St Georges Hill (20)
6513 yards; Par 70; SSS 71
Green fees £65-£100
Tel: 01932 847758
www.stgeorgeshillgolfclub.co.uk

A hilly course with particularly good par 3s and involving lots of great drives from high tees with breathtaking views. A plethora of mature trees, heather patches and high quality bunkers make this a very pretty course to play around and its diversity of holes makes it a very good all-round challenge for golfers of all abilities. The clubhouse is in a great position and full of history and character.


25. Sunningdale Old Course (33)
6308 yards; Par 70; SSS 70
Green fees £95-£165
Tel: 01344 620128
www.sunningdale-golfclub.co.uk

Always in immaculate condition, the Old is a strong test of accuracy but it?s not overly long, so a good score is within your grasp. However, the course is very well laid out and so if you aren?t accurate off the tee you are likely to encounter the many patches of heather or some of the several well-placed fairway bunkers. The greens are infamously difficult to read and will challenge even the finest of putters.


26. Nairn (35)
6436 yards; Par 71; SSS 72
Green fees £30-£105
Tel: 01667 453208
www.nairngolfclub.co.uk

A wonderful links hugging the Moray Firth. With pot bunkers and lightning-fast greens, Nairn is an exacting test of seaside golf. Each nine is very different to the other and the often windy conditions can make it a test of almost every shot in your armoury. The course was in excellent condition and four of the opening holes ? 1, 2, 3 and 5 ? make the start at Nairn one of the toughest around.


27. Royal Aberdeen (61)
6530 yards; Par 71; SSS 73
Green fees £80-£120
Tel: 01224 702571
www.royalaberdeengolf.com

Highly rated by links connoisseurs and the venue for the 2005 British Seniors Open, this has one of the finest front nines in the UK that is usually played into a biting wind. The undulating fairways, the positioning of the bunkers and the fast greens make it a searching test even for the very best golfers. The often elusive combination of length and accuracy is a pre-requisite if you are to post a decent score.


28. Saunton East Course (30)
6779 yards; Par 71; SSS 72
Green fees £35-£80 including lunch
Tel: 01271 812013
www.sauntongolf.co.uk

Challenging and entertaining, with no two days? golf likely to be the same due to the ever-changing North Devon weather. All the holes are very different, with the par-3s requiring not only accuracy but good club selection too due to the swirling winds. Due to the layout of the course you will need to keep your concentration right until the end ? the closing five holes are very tough and require good course management skills.


29. Ganton (43)
6753 yards; Par 73; SSS 73
Green fees £70-£80
Tel: 01944 710260
www.gantongolfclub.com

Not for the faint hearted, Ganton may be the best inland example of a pure golfing test. Errant shots are an absolute no-no and club selection will be crucial if you are to score well. The greens are excellent and very deceptive ? holing out is more difficult than it appears due to the gentle borrows. There are no weak holes at all and the consistency of the course is flawless, ensuring an identity as a purist?s heathland track.


30. Wentworth West Course (42)
6998 yards; Par 73; SSS 74
Green fees £100-£285
Tel: 01344 846306
www.wentworthclub.com

If the Old Course at St Andrews is golf?s spiritual home, then Wentworth can be described as its commercial hub and it popular with visitors all year round. Many of the holes on the West Course meander through trees from left to right and vice versa, rewarding those players with the ability to gently shape their ball through the air. This is far easier said than done, especially with a driver in hand and with thick rough and trees waiting to catch errant tee shots.