From St Enodoc to Silloth and Camberley Heath to Copt Heath, immerse yourself in England's best golf courses
NCG TOP 100s
Royal Birkdale's unparalleled status within English golf has become less a matter of opinion than a statement of fact in the eyes of many good judges.
England, GB & Ireland and North West Coast
When it comes to inland golf in the British Isles only a handful of courses can possibly stand in comparison to Sunningdale.
England, GB & Ireland, Surrey and GB & Ireland Fun
It cannot be denied that the host of the 2012 Open has a certain aura. It is unrelenting, demanding and at times barbarically difficult.
A fascinating Open links, whose fairways often dissolve into rough hillocks while severely sloped gullies tend to gather imprecise approaches.
England, GB & Ireland, Kent and GB & Ireland Fun
The New is more open than the Old, but only slightly less charming. The New is an incredible layout of inland golf that stands toe to toe with its historic sibling.
England, GB & Ireland and Surrey
If a truly great golf course needs to be relentless in the quality of its 18 holes, then Woodhall Spa would likely be the recipient of the best inland course in England.
England, GB & Ireland and East Midlands
Royal Cinque Ports has the raw materials to host The Open soon again, with stunning views of the channel and a recently extended testing links set up.
A wonderful links with an exceptional closing stretch, the holes vary wildly in terms of difficulty in length but are never anything less than compelling.
England and GB & Ireland
Saunton East offers something courses with clifftop thrills rarely can – namely the maintaining of an excellent standard from first to last.
England, GB & Ireland and Devon
A rare inland links where the tees are as smooth as greens, Ganton has been shared by some of the great names of golf course architecture and has hosted many championships
England, GB & Ireland and Yorkshire
In a historic region of seaside golf – most notably the three Open-hosting Royals of Lytham, Birkdale and Liverpool – Formby offers welcome respite.
While countless links courses across the British Isles are more attractive to behold, few are as unremittingly tough. When the wind gets up Hoylake can be brutally difficult.
Walton Heath is a quintessentially English venue. With strong connections both to politics and the professional game, it is a club with the richest of histories.
A special golf course that may be without exact parallel anywhere in the world, let alone within Britain. The closest thing to Augusta National this side of the Atlantic.
England, GB & Ireland and GB & Ireland Fun
A natural heathland course, Alwoodley features eye-catching and naturalistic-looking bunkers, strategic choices, and large, often undulating greens.
As good in February as it is in July. Hankley Common can make a genuine case to be the best course in Surrey - and that is no mean boast.
It’s taken a while for Hillside to gain this sort of acknowledgement, but a day out round here is guaranteed to satisfy the senses.
Pulborough, as it is known to the locals, is a simply delightful place to play at any time of the year, but do not make the mistake of expecting a pushover.
England, GB & Ireland and Sussex
This Harry Colt work of heathland genius in the heart of Surrey features a world-famous collection of short holes among its three loops of nine.
Eccentric to the point of being obtuse at times, its simple design should be studied by any budding architect and those with even a passing interest in the game’s past.
England, GB & Ireland, Norfolk and GB & Ireland Fun
Despite its remote location, Silloth remains nothing less than a delight to those intrepid golfers prepared to venture beyond the beaten track.
Cumbria, England, GB & Ireland and GB & Ireland Fun
Notts Hollinwell offers one of the finest examples of traditional heathland golf in Great Britain, rivalling many of the more famous Surrey courses of this style.
The design is simple, obvious and flawless, and that’s the essence of West Lancs. A gem, and easy to underestimate due to the lack of fanfare surrounding this course.
The Berkshire Red layout is unusual indeed and to this day it comprises six par threes, six par fours and six par fives. Only one other course in Britain is similarly configured.
Yet another James Braid classic, St Enodoc has charm, variety, an abundance of history, an element of quirkiness and a hint of the unknown.
Cornwall, England, GB & Ireland and GB & Ireland Fun
It may not be the oldest or most historic layout in Britain but when it comes to public recognition it is second only to the Old Course at St Andrews. A legendary Tour venue.
The epitome of old-fashioned links golf In England. This eccentric, unique, traditional and uncompromising course is very much reflected in the clubhouse and membership.
England, GB & Ireland, Sussex and GB & Ireland Fun
The vintage Norfolk links is rich in character, playing fast and firm in the summer and renowned for its playability throughout the winter. Look out for the infamous 17th – a truly great two-shotter.
England, GB & Ireland and Norfolk
A gorgeous piece of rolling links land effectively sharing the same turf as Hillside and Birkdale. It's not exactly in-land but you never get close enough to see the sea.
A thinking man’s course studied in depth by the country's finest architects. There is most likely a hint of Woking at almost all of Britain’s finest inland venues.
A classic opening hole – a long par 3 demanding a dramatic carry over heather – sets the tone for this wonderful Herbert Fowler-designed heathland close to Ascot.
This historic links itself often defies straightforward description. Certainly it is an acquired taste, but playing here on several occasions brings truly great joy.
Devon, England, GB & Ireland and GB & Ireland Fun
The rich turf of the East is a dream to hit iron shots from, and the surroundings are wonderfully floral. A mixture of holly and rhododendrons greet you all the way round.
For many years the virtues of Sherwood Forest remained, for some reason, curiously uncelebrated. Now its demanding Harry Colt and James Braid design is rightly admired.
Packed with classic styles of holes – such as risk-and-reward par 5s and the the odd drivable par 4 – anyone who makes their way across the Lincolnshire Fens will be amply rewarded.
East Midlands, England, GB & Ireland and GB & Ireland Fun
A true classic, Moortown has been on the ‘must play’ list of every serious golfer since it was crafted by Dr Alister MacKenzie 110 years ago.
A fine test of golf in delightful surroundings, Liphook is far from long but the topography and design almost always ensure that good scoring remains elusive.
England, GB & Ireland, Hampshire and GB & Ireland Fun
Of all the classic Surrey heathlands, the comparisons between which being treacherous for any golf magazine, we can perhaps agree that Worplesdon is the prettiest.
Shaped by a trio of Open champions, Aldeburgh is among the most traditional of English clubs. It's a seriously tough heathland course against the par 68.
England, GB & Ireland and Suffolk
Beau Desert may indeed be a beautiful wilderness, but not when attempting to find your ball from within its darkest heathland recesses.
England, GB & Ireland, West Midlands and GB & Ireland Fun
Standing on the first tee box, perched high above the sea, the view is astonishing. East Devon certainly doesn’t rely on its views, however, and is a superb test of golf.
Simply delightful from the moment you arrive – this is a bunkerless, heathland course with small and elusive greens that will charm and confound in equal measure.
Heavy investment in recent years has bolstered the status of this distinctive heathland layout in Cheshire. With rolling par 5s and short, intricate par 4s, this is a course with real variety.
In relative terms, the start is largely unremarkable but the stretch in the middle through the dunes is outstanding. Overall, Hayling is a superb course worthy of any trip.
England, GB & Ireland and Hampshire
Despite the fact there is not a single artificial feature to be found, including bunkers, you will need more than a driver to tame this classic old course.
Characterised by a distinctive split between front and back nine, Hindhead is one of the premier heathland courses in Surrey with beautiful flowers in spring.
Parkstone is nothing if not entertaining. Most of the holes are heathland in character but there are some parkland outbreaks and even a sniff of linksland.
Dorset, England, GB & Ireland and GB & Ireland Fun
Purdis Heath, also known as Ipswich Golf Club, is a James Braid design that is rich in character and distinctive. Recent work has elevated its presentation to new levels.
A classic links in Northumberland which deserves greater acclaim, there’s no doubt that Goswick is one of the UK’s best hidden gems.
England, GB & Ireland and North East
Understated and modest, never clamouring for attention, it would be easy to overlook New Zealand when considering the great Surrey courses. It would also be a mistake to do so.
Pretty and undulating with a stream crossing several fairways, West Hill is perhaps best known for its quintet of superb short holes.
The West course is slightly shorter than the East but hazards dotted all over the place means it provides a sound test. A wonderful compliment to the neigbouring East.
The highest golf course in England, sitting at 1284 feet above sea level, Kington is a fun, funky and wholly fascinating course that might just take your breath away.
Home to some sensational green complexes that blend into the Derbyshire countryside, this is a special MacKenzie moorland design of rare subtlety.
Perranporth is an exciting and vastly interesting course demanding concentration for every shot. The more one plays it the more one likes it, low and high handicappers alike.
Invariably presented in impeccable condition, it is immediately obvious how lovingly it is maintained. Trevose is one of the finest links in the south-west of England.
England, GB & Ireland and Cornwall
Littlestone is a raw-boned, fast-running championship links that frequently calls for approach shots to be chased on to the close-cropped greens.
England, GB & Ireland and Kent
A famous tour stop with a picture-postcard short hole, the Dukes will long continue to represent a fine, and more importantly enjoyable, test of golf.
Royal Worlington not only presents a magnificient design on a tiny patch of land, but is also the spiritual home of 9-hole golf.
England, GB & Ireland, Suffolk and GB & Ireland Fun
Camberley Heath is yet another stunning Surrey heathland that was designed by the great Harry Colt. Its collection of tempting short par 4s can ruin as well as make your scorecard.
The home of Stableford scoring, you'll be thankful not to have to record every shot around this supremely challenging and exceptionally kept links.
Tandridge benefits from firm, springy fairways that make it playable throughout the winter, fast-running in the summer and a delight at all times. A Surrey delight.
This Southampton parkland was designed by the great Willie Park Jnr, who utilised its undulating site of an old deer park to craft a course that is never less than stimulating.
All you need to know about this brilliant British course
England, GB & Ireland and West Midlands
Just admire the way Abercromby uses the slopes and hills to make interesting holes rather than allowing them to detract from the overall standard of the course.
Ferndown has sat elegantly for over hundred years, and is a nice and gentle place to be. It's easy to see why Peter Alliss loves the place so much.
England, GB & Ireland and Dorset
The Marquess is a quality, modern, championship course that is the perfect complement to Woburn’s older and more established charms.
Picturesque throughout, should you be able to shape the ball this way and that you are in for a profitable day – just as it should be. The Gleneagles of the south.
Like a wonderfully complex puzzle, Lindrick itself is resistant to generalisation. Only those lucky enough to play it again and again can hope to uncover all of its eccentricities.
Should you be the sort of person that cares to take a stroll down the fairways of modern history as well as great golf holes, Fulford is a place where you will find both in abundance.
One of those timeless English clubs that tends to fly under the radar when discussing great English courses. This list intends that to be the case no longer.
Counting Open champions and prime ministers among its alumni, Coombe Hill has the richest of histories. Of Surrey's many notable courses, this one is closest to central London.
Herbert Fowler and Tom Simpson worked wonders with just over 100 acres at this Worcestershire classic, a course that probes and tests at every level.
Unspoilt Woodbridge is just a few miles from Ipswich but feels a world away from modern life. It's an undulating heathland with gorse, bracken and attractive trees lining the fairways.
This distinctive Hertfordshire parkland boasts some famous club professionals – not least the three-time Open champion Henry Cotton and the former BBC commentator Alex Hay.
Cleeve Hill presents a pale, inhospitable, windswept landscape that wouldn't be out of place on the moon. All that open space however conceals a wonderfully subtle course.
Every bit as authentic a seaside course as its famous neighbour, Lytham, St Annes Old Links is a century-old layout that has stood the test of time.
Situated close to south-west gems Trevose and Saunton, Bude is a fantastic linksland challenge that is well worth a visit on any golfing trip to the Cornwall coastline.
This is a course that all of us feel we have played without so much as setting foot on the property. Host to some of European golf's great moments, this course will never disappoint.
Sheringham enjoys the most spectacular of settings on the North Norfolk coast. Noted for its long par 4s and sensational clifftop views, it's a course that is dear to many golfers' hearts.
In terms of difficulty, ambience and design many would argue Thorpeness is the best in Suffolk. The classic Braid design has a number of genuinely memorable holes.
The West is a fun course to putt on. It really does reward those with good touch and who can appreciate the severity of some of the contours, which are not always apparent.
A jewel on industrial Teesside, the magnificent character and immaculate condition of this wonderful layout always shines through, no matter the weather.
The cutest and least forgiving of Woburn's trilogy of fine courses – be prepared to leave your ego in the well-appointed clubhouse and treat this lady with due respect.
The outstanding greens are fenced off to keep grazing cattle away. It's a magnificent piece of land, and a site of real scale and grandeur.
Painswick is fun and outstandingly entertaining. You can make any number of birdies but there's also scope to take lots of other, much higher, numbers.
England and GB & Ireland Fun
If you want to experience modern, championship inland golf and play a course in the kind of condition more normally associated with a professional tour event, The Grove is for you.
Northants County is a an attractive and testing layout shaped by Harry Colt and James Braid. Watch out for the firm, sloping fairways and a collection of meaty par-4s.
Taddy, as it's known, is never less than interesting, and the turf here is fantastic both to walk on and to strike your iron shots off. It is quintessentially English.
Much work has been done in recent years to restore the look, feel and definition of a high-quality array of genuine links holes. Make sure you visit, or re-visit, Prince’s soon.
The first four holes, collectively, must rank as hard as any in Yorkshire. The greens are outstanding – firm, fast and true – and live long in the memory.
England and Yorkshire
James Braid’s Sevenoaks parkland is surely one of the best-presented parklands in the country and its sweeping fairways are lined by mature and attractive trees.
Willie Park Jnr revealed his design genius at Huntercombe by carving out grassy hollows and creating a series of incredible green complexes high on a ridge of the Oxfordshire Chilterns.
Not only are the views stunning at Purbeck, but the course is quite spectacular to play and provides a stern challenge for even the most accomplished golfer.
Enville's presentation is a real strength and greets you with the most appealing sight – a pristine 1st tee with a heathland par 5 stretching away into the distance.
Unless you are either very good or lucky, you will come to grief at various points. But as a golfing experience to savour, The Addington scores very highly indeed.
Set amidst beautiful terrain and long known for its conditioning, this Midlands masterpiece doesn't have a blade of grass out of place.
Renowned for its firm fairways and quick greens, Luffenham Heath is a real thinking-man’s course and requires accuracy and good ball striking throughout the round.