Top 100 courses under £100: 20-11November, 2013
West Lancashire, Notts Hollinwell and Silloth on Solway all feature here as we continue our countdown of the top 100 UK courses under £100
20 – Burnham & Berrow, Somerset
2013 green fee: £75
A vintage and first-class links. The opening hole is a thrilling way to begin and the closing stretch is up there with the very best. It is broadly accepted that the stretch in the middle of the round is less inspiring but perhaps only because there are so many striking holes on either side of it. Presumably, the only reason it has not achieved wider renown is because there is no natural trip to the area as the nearest courses of comparable quality are some distance away.
Why it’s special: Just look at the architects who have touched B&B: Fowler, Alison, Hilton, MacKenzie and Colt
19 – St Andrews (New), Fife
2013 green fee: £70
Just like the neighbouring Jubilee, the New is too often eschewed by visiting golfers who think the Old Course is the be-all and end-all in St Andrews. It really isn’t, and indeed many locals and good players prefer the New (which is anything but) as a test of golf. It is lacking many of the quirks of the Old – double greens for a start – and is much more clearly defined from the tee. The fairways are often lined by gorse, especially on the way out, so accurate driving is essential.
Why it’s special: The par-3 9th is arguably the best (not-so) short hole in the town
18 – Notts (Hollinwell) – Nottinghamshire
2013 green fee: £75
Hollinwell must rank as one of the finest courses in this list at which to arrive: the clubhouse is set in the basin of a valley with holes extending all around it. It is a varied mixture of parkland, heathland, woodland and even moorland sections. All are impressive, and Hollinwell also enjoys several changes in elevation. There is a real sense of grandeur about the setting which lifts this first-class course even higher.
Why it’s special: So many of our great courses are now lacking in room to expand but Hollinwell enjoys a location that is both highly attractive and spacious
17 – Aberdovey, West Wales
2013 green fee: £52.50
The romantic’s choice for the title of the finest course in Wales, Aberdovey is gloriously old-fashioned and quirky, from the train station in its car park to the outrageously blind short 3rd. This links sweeps round the coast between the dunes and the Cambrian mountains. Touched by the likes of Braid, Fowler and Colt, it is hardly any wonder it is so special.
Why it’s special: On the face of it, this is an out-and back links but although you play away from the clubhouse for most of the front nine, thanks to the curve of the shore you actually play in a slightly different direction on each hole
16 – Machrihanish, Argyll & Bute
2013 green fee: £65
To play here is to make a golfing pilgrimage, and now that Mach Dunes has opened next door, bringing with it some welcome new accommodation, it is so much easier to justify your trip to this remote corner of Argyll & Bute. The Kintyre Peninsula forms the south-western tip of a ‘leg’ of Scottish mainland and this is certainly a course that feels like it is at the end of the earth. There are some extraordinary dunes and contours and the front nine is up there with the best if you like holes to be completely individual.
Why it’s special: Take in the view as you approach the 3rd green and you will know exactly why
Silloth represents arguably the best value to be found on our list. Its sheer remoteness (you can’t go any further north and west in England) keeps the crowds away but you will never hear a bad word about the course. 15 – West Lancashire Lancashire
2013 green fee: £95
Finally emerging from the shadows of esteemed neighbours such as Formby and Royal Birkdale, West Lancs is very much a peer when it comes to the layout. This is a huge course, a big sprawling links, where the front nine is largely flat and the inward half takes a brief detour inland round the back of a copse of trees. It is not quite as pristine as the better-known names above – it feels a little bit more lived in somehow – but in terms of individual holes and shot values it ranks with the very best.
Why it’s special: There is a barely a weak hole here
14 – Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire
2013 green fee: £95
Recent work to rebuild the 2nd and 16th greens, as well as dramatically change the contours around the short 10th, show that S&A is serious about improving its status in the golfing paradise around Southport. Like many fine but unspectacular links it can be taken for granted – it is a folly to do so. Make no mistake, S&A is the real deal.
Why it’s special: It has a lovely blend of pure links holes and others featuring trees and even patches of heather
13 – Hunstanton, Norfolk
2013 green fee: £90
Just a perfect place to play. And that’s at any time of the year – Hunstanton is fantastic in the winter. A few years ago they say the greens here were below what we had all come to expect but that’s certainly not the case now. Recent work to the par-5 2nd, in particular, proves this is a club looking to the future – yet Hunstanton’s greatest charm is still the feeling that little has changed out on this championship links over the past century.
Why it’s special: Beach huts, sleepered bunkers and the sea
12 – Silloth on Solway, Cumbria
2013 green fee: £47
Silloth represents arguably the best value to be found on our list. Its sheer remoteness (you can’t go any further north and west in England) keeps the crowds away but you will never hear a bad word about the course. No wonder. With views across the Solway Firth to Scotland on a clear day and a links that is entirely natural, a day out here is simply a joy.
Why it’s special: Some greens are in sunken dells, others are on tabletops – it offers a truly wonderful variety
11 – Royal West Norfolk, Norfolk
2013 green fee: £85
This extraordinary links will probably have you scratching your head at times on your first visit – expect cris-crossing fairways, blind shots and the occasional drive where you will simply have no idea where to aim. Simply brilliant.
Why it’s special: Brancaster is packed with architectural features