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Top 100 under £80: No. 60-51

Scottish links and inland beauties dominate this section

By Dan Murphy
on 23 November 2011

60 Tain

Highlands, Scotland
Designers: Old Tom Morris/Herbert Fowler
Green fee: £45
Tel: 01862 892 314

YOU will not find a club that takes better care of its visitors than Tain, just down the road from Royal Dornoch. An Old Tom Morris design, it winds its way through gorse and broom with only the occasional view of the Dornoch Firth on the back nine. It is an unusual combination of links and heathland with the best hole perhaps the 2nd, a right-to-left dogleg over uneven ground with a burn short of the green. The 17th is a great short hole where you must clear a stream from the elevated tee.

59 Moray (Old)

Highlands, Scotland
Designers: Old Tom Morris
Green fee: From £49.50
Tel: 01343 812 018

THERE are shades of the Old Course at St Andrews when you stand in front of Moray’s imposing clubhouse. This is wonderfully traditional seaside golf, with all the classic ingredients of sandy turf, fast-running fairways, deep bunkers and an ever-present sea breeze. With great views across the ocean, the only sounds you will hear in this otherwise idyllic spot are the jets taking off and landing at nearby Lossiemouth. The last is as good a closing hole as you will find anywhere – well over 400 yards from the backs and rising steadily towards a naturally defended green that welcomes only the best approach shots from distance. Most will play it as a three-shotter and gratefully accept a five.

58 Pyle & Kenfig

Bridgend, Wales
Designers: Harry Colt/Philip Mackenzie Ross
Green fee: From £75
Tel: 01656 783 093

PYLE & KENFIG is next door to the finest course in Wales, Royal Porthcawl, and co-hosted the Amateur Championship with its esteemed neighbour in 2002. The front nine, designed by Colt, is perfectly good, honest stuff but the back nine, in truth, in on a different level. Mackenzie Ross designed holes that plough through the dunes – the view from the 14th tee is stunning – and culminate in a trio of tough par 4s to finish. The best hole is arguably the 13th, where a blind drive must be positioned at the angle of the dogleg for a clear view of the green. A friendly, homely clubhouse guarantees you a warm Welsh welcome once you have finished your round.

57 Scotscraig

Fife, Scotland
Designers: James Braid
Green fee: From £55
Tel: 01382 552 515

SCOTSCRAIG is among the oldest clubs in the world and the ideal choice for something a little different if you are planning a trip in the St Andrews area. Just up the coast from the Auld Grey Toun you will find a course that defies easy classification. Despite being close to the sea this doesn’t feel like a links, with most of the holes featuring trees. There is heather and gorse and even, on the short 14th, a pond, so it’s almost heathland and parkland in nature. What is not in doubt is the quality of Scotscraig – it remains a regular host of Open qualifying. It starts with a fine par 4, played over a rippling fairway that gradually pinches in to nothing, making the approach longer than you might like.

56 Beau Desert

Staffs, England
Designer: Herbert Fowler
Green fee: From £50
Tel: 01543 422 626

THIS is not a part of England that necessarily springs to mind if you are seeking classy inland golf but Beau Desert is an outstandingly attractive and distinctive course. The fairways are lined by fir trees, heather and gorse, and that makes accurate driving crucial. It is not a long course by any means so with a host of greens that slope away from the fairways and lead into awkward little run-off troughs, control is key. Herbert Fowler created a fine mix of long and short par 4s.

55 Ashridge

Herts, England
Designers: Guy Campbell/CK Hutchison/ Hotchkin/Simpson
Green fee: From £70
Tel: 01442 842 244

ASHRIDGE is as pleasant a venue for a day’s golf as can be found. Impeccably presented, the fairways on this parkland course meander between the trees and lead to greens that are a joy to putt on – albeit with some subtle slopes. Better players will enjoy it more from the back tees, from where recent work to extend two of the par 5s can be best admired. Henry Cotton was the pro here in the 1930s and you can see why.

54 Littlestone

Kent, England
Designers: Purves/ Braid/MacKenzie/Pennink
Green fee: From £65
Tel: 01797 363 355

NEW ROMNEY is one of the driest corners of the British Isles and that makes Littlestone a great choice to play at times of the year when other courses are under water. It occupies a piece of predominantly flat links land and is known for its fine putting surfaces. Watch out for the 11th, where a stream runs parallel to the angle of the dogleg and turns an otherwise straightforward par 4 into an extremely awkward one.

53 Perranporth

Cornwall, England
Designer: James Braid
Green fee: From £36
Tel: 01872 573 701

IF you don’t enjoy playing here you should seriously consider taking up an alternative pastime. Perranporth, south of Newquay, has a lunar topography and you can expect to face an enormous range of shots and challenges. That is obvious as early as the 2nd, Whym Wham (Cornish for ‘this way and that’, which zig-zags uphill and over a dune. There are countless blind shots, rumpled fairways and some of the most natural green sites imaginable. Brilliant fun, even better value.

52 St Andrews (Jubilee)

Fife, Scotland
Designers: Angus/Auchterlonie /Steel
Green fee: From £65
Tel: 01334 466 666

ALL of the St Andrews Links Trust courses apart from the Old are habitually underrated and none more so than the Jubilee. Donald Steel’s work in the late 1980s has transformed it into a genuine championship test, and arguably the hardest course in St Andrews. Over 6,800 yards, there are no double greens and generous fairways like on the Old. The course nearest to the West Sands, you even get a little bit more wind.

51 The Addington

Surrey, England
Designer: JF Abercromby
Green fee: From £60
Tel: 0208 777 1055

THIS little patch of heathland paradise – designed by JF Abercromby (also responsible for Worplesdon) – is just 10 miles or so from the centre of London. Curiously, The Addington begins with two short holes in the first three either side of a long par 5 and this is a sign of things to come. Unconventional, quirky and sometimes plain confounding, this is no ordinary course with ravines, mounds and run-offs. There are six par 3s with the 17th the pick.

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