No.11 Bovey Castle, Devon (2008 position 8)
Rooms & Suites: 78 Price: £293 Courses: 1 W: boveycastle.com Best for: Luxury, Couples, Families, Small Groups
A fine country house on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, Bovey Castle was built by the son and heir of the stationer W.H. Smith. The resort’s Old Course is a superb, traditional parkland course designed by eminent English architect J.F. Abercromby and opened for play in 1926. In 2004 alterations and refurbishments overseen by Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie were completed. The hotel is decorated in a traditional and individual style with great attention to detail, along with a wonderful choice of dining options, from afternoon tea on the South Terrace to a private dinner in the secluded Summerhouse. There’s a superb spa, while off-course activities include falconry and fishing – or for something a little different the hotel even offers classes in cider and sloe gin making.
No.12 Old Course Hotel
/Duke’s Course, Fife (2008 position 10)
Rooms & Suites: 179 Price: From £435 Courses: 1 W: oldcoursehotel.co.uk Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups
Set alongside the world’s most famous golf hole – the 17th at St Andrews – The Old Course Hotel is one of the most recognisable in the UK. Owned by US plumbing magnate Herb Kohler, the building has been upgraded and improved in recent years. As an example, the Road Hole Grill has been fitted with floor to ceiling windows affording spine-tingling views across the links and up towards the Auld Grey Toon. The hotel’s Duke’s Course (10 minutes in a shuttle bus) has a heathland feel with towering pines and rough-edged bunkers. From a number of holes there are dramatic views across the Firth of Tay towards Carnoustie.
No.13 Archerfield, East Lothian (NEW ENRTY)
Rooms & Suites: 70 Price: Contact resort Courses: 2 – Fidra, Dirleton W: archerfieldgolfclub.com Best for: Luxury, Small Groups, Big Groups
Archerfield ranks highly for its excellent and varied accommodation, top-class facilities and two wonderfully contrasting golf courses. The Fidra offers a blend of links golf and tree-lined fairways, while the Dirleton is a modern take on the traditional Scottish links played out in full view of the magnificently restored Archerfield House. The superb practice facilities and clubhouse will soon be complemented by a new spa set to open in January.
No.14 Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire (2008 position 14)
Rooms & Suites: 49 Price: £410 Course: 3 nines- Colt, Alison, Lane Jackson W: stokepark.com Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups
The course at Stoke Park, known as Stoke Poges, was designed by Harry Shapland Colt and it opened for play in 1908. Just 25 miles west of Central London, it’s a fine parkland track, always maintained in excellent condition. The striking white clubhouse will be well-known to film buffs. It provided the backdrop for James Bond’s famous golf match against Goldfinger. The hotel features luxuriously appointed rooms, three restaurants and a Spa with 11 treatment rooms.
No.15 De Vere Slaley Hall, Northumberland (2008 position 20)
Rooms & Suites: 142 Price: £155 Courses: 2 – Hunting, Priestman W: devere.co.uk Best for: Value, Couples, Families, Small Groups, Big Groups
Slaley Hall boasts a splendid far-from-the-madding-crowd setting deep in Hadrian’s Wall country, with two courses to savour. Both have hosted tour golf, with the majestic Hunting course playing through mature pines and colourful azaleas on some holes, then over open moorland on others. Beyond the usual five-star leisure facilities of pool and spa, outdoor pursuits include quad biking, off-road 4×4 and clay pigeon shooting.
No.16 Marriott Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire (2008 position 16)
Rooms & Suites: 161 Price: £207 Courses: 1 W: marriottgolf.co.uk Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Group
The five-star Hanbury Manor is one of Marriott’s premier UK golf resorts centred around an extended Jacobean mansion in 200 acres of Hertfordshire countryside. Dining options include the continental Zodiac restaurant, and the informal Vardon’s bar, named after the six-time Open champion who built Hanbury’s original nine-holer. Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus’ design team created today’s 18-hole layout – host to the English Open in the 1990s.
No.17 Druids Glen, Co. Wicklow (2008 position 12)
Rooms & Suites: 145 Price: €210 Courses: 2 – Druids Glen, Druids Heath W: druidsglenresort.com Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups, Big Groups
Druids Glen’s magnificent parkland ‘Druids Glen’ course has been attracting golfers to this part of Ireland since 1995. Likened to Augusta by some, it offers exceptional variety and a wonderful cast of par 3s including its own island-green 17th. The Heath course arrived in 2003 and complements the Glen beautifully – a heathland test with a strong links flavour. The hotel offers everything you’d expect of a five-star establishment, from spa, health club and pool, to a choice of eateries – Druids Brasserie specialising in local Wicklow produce, and the Thirteenth restaurant, by the Glen course’s magnificent 13th hole, with open fires and just a hint of the après-ski.
St Andrews, Fife (2008 position 24)
Rooms & Suites: 209 Price: From £320 Courses: 2 – Torrance, Kittocks W: fairmont.com/standrews Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups, Big Groups
This imposing five-star hotel perched above St Andrews on the coast road blends the best of modern facilities with a traditional feel. There’s a wonderful backdrop as you play down towards the Firth of Tay on the Kittocks course, while recent remodelling of the Torrance has given it more of a links flavour, creating greater contrast between the two. The high-spec spa and health club features 12 treatment rooms, a gym, steam room, sauna, spa bath and indoor pool, while among the six dining options is the golf clubhouse overlooking the Firth, where the views on a sunny day are nothing short of glorious and should go down well with the signature dish of Pittenweem haddock in a beer batter and chips.
No.19 De Vere Cameron House/
The Carrick, Dunbartonshire (2008 position 13)
Rooms & Suites: 128 Price: £159 Courses: 2 – Carrick, Wee Demon W: http://www.cameronhouse.co.uk/cameron-club-loch-lomond/the-carrick.html.Best for: Luxury, Couples, Small Groups
Cameron House simply oozes Scottishness from the baronial styling of the old part of the hotel to the décor, and of course the wonderful views across Loch Lomond. Eat in Cameron Grill, Great Scots Bar or the Claret Jug in the main hotel, or the light and airy Boathouse right beside the Loch. The Carrick Spa, boasting the very best in treatment suites, thermal experiences and wet and dry exercise areas, lies a couple of miles away along with the Carrick course. An intriguing mix of American-style, heathland and lochside holes, although course condition out of season holds it back a little.
No.20 The Belfry, West Midlands (2008 position 18)
Rooms & Suites: 324 Price: £290 Courses: 3 – Brabazon; PGA National, Derby W: thebelfry.co.uk Best for: Value, Big Groups, Small Groups
There are few better-known golf hotels than The Belfry where four Ryder Cups have been fought. There are top-class off-course facilities, although a postponement of a much needed hotel upgrade prevent a higher ranking. Its three courses suit all abilities. The Brabazon lets you take on the famous tee-shots on the 10th and 18th, while the PGA National provides an unexpectedly links-like experience. While The Derby offers a little more playability.