Top 100 courses under £100: 60-51
60 – Spey Valley, Aviemore, Highlands
2013 green fee: £60
Getting to the 1st tee from the clubhouse is a journey in itself but that is soon forgotten when a new world opens in front of you once you reach the 2nd green. Truly, this is golf on a grand scale. It feels like you can see half of Scotland from this high ground and the blend of moorland and parkland golf is both unusual and captivating. Is there an inland course in Britain that occupies a grander setting?
Why it’s special: Secluded to the point of isolation, Spey Valley is a treat to the senses
59 – Tenby, South Wales
2013 green fee: £25
The oldest course in the Principality is also one of the very best, especially the opening 14 holes. At 6,500 yards it is a little longer than you might imagine, because Tenby does seem to get bracketed as a holiday course. Although the town of Tenby is a popular tourist destination, the course is rather more than that, as will become apparent from the very first hole, where the drive is blind and the green is protected by a gigantic dune.
Why it’s special: You simply can’t play here and not enjoy yourself
58 – Luffness, Gullane, East Lothian
2013 green fee: £85
Luffness New, to give it its full title, is anything but and sits comfortably alongside the three Gullane courses just as it has done for almost 150 years. Classy and impeccably presented throughout, Luffness has a certain status about it. It may not be the longest anymore but a stingy par of 70 ensures good scoring is a rarity. Until recently, Luffness was a regular host for final qualifying when the Open came to Muirfield.
Why it’s special: The turf is sensationally good here – and at any time of the year
57 – Ashburnham, Llanelli, South Wales
2013 green fee: £39
Perhaps it is the modest, homely nature of the clubhouse and the locals here but it is a travesty that Ashburnham does not receive more widespread acclaim. If honest links courses are your thing then you will not be disappointed here – in fact a stretch of nine or 10 holes in the middle could fairly be described as great. Do not miss out on the chance to play here the next time you come to South Wales.
Why it’s special: It is ridiculously good value – a game here is worth twice the price
56 – Murcar, Aberdeen
2013 green fee: £80
Murcar shares a border with Royal Aberdeen but the contrast between the two clubs is obvious. The latter is for the establishment while the former is where the locals play. This is a club where plenty of competitive golf is played and it is a real treat of a links, especially the stretch along the coast that begins with the 4th. A couple of inland holes are not quite of the same standard but the finish is tight and testing.
Why it’s special: The thrilling stretch with the North Sea to your right on the front nine
Trevose has so much to offer the visiting golfer but while the on-site accommodation is superb, it is the championship course that really counts. 55 – Royal North Devon, Westward Ho!, Devon
2013 green fee: £55
You could come here just to spend an hour in the clubhouse and soak in the atmosphere and history of England’s oldest club. Played over common land, you need to get into the spirit of things and accept it is a little confusing for the first-time visitor as the course veers through the marshlands towards the sea. Play here a few times and you start to learn its secrets.
Why it’s special: You can almost feel the presence of JH Taylor, the five-time Open champion who grew up here
54 – Parkstone, Dorset
2013 green fee: £75
Parkstone is close to the coast yet in terms of character you could be 100 miles inland. This is a predominantly heathland course, albeit one with fine views of Poole Harbour. Originally laid out by Willie Park Jr, it was redesigned by James Braid in the 1920s.
Why it’s special: The closing hole is a spectacular par 3
53 – Trevose, Cornwall
2013 green fee: £69
Trevose has so much to offer the visiting golfer but while the on-site accommodation is superb, it is the championship course that really counts. Heading immediately towards the ocean at Booby Bay, this is a big course that enjoys a sensational location.
Why it’s special: The location of the 4th green says it all
52 – Delamere Forest, Cheshire
2013 green fee: £55
You may well not have heard much about this Herbert Fowler gem built on sandy Cheshire soil, but he made exemplary use of a rolling site that a lesser designer might not have put to such good use.
Why it’s special: It is not a club that seeks the limelight so what a treat it is to play here
51 – Montrose, Angus
2013 green fee: £55
Golf has been played over this quintessential links since the 16th century. There are opportunities to score early on during the fine shore-side holes but what a finish – culminating in the 17th, a long par 4 with its green a shelf cut into the gorse-filled hillside.
Why it’s special: Golf and town life are indistinguishable here