Just 60 miles south of John O’Groats lies Brora, a destination rarely visited but one that should be on every golfer’s list. Overlooking the 18th are the Links apartments and villas, part of the Royal Marine Hotel, which are spacious, modern and perfect for a self-catering visit.
19 STAPLEFORD PARK
This is real luxury in the Leicestershire countryside where royalty have been entertained in the Capability Brown grounds. It offers a Clarins Gold spa, two AA Rosette restaurants and a course that lives up to its surroundings. Each of the 48 bedrooms and suites are individually designed and there are also two country cottages.
There are actually three courses here in Angus but the Championship stands out, and rightly so. While the likes of Muirfield and Turnberry grab the really big headlines many think this is as good, maybe better, as a golfing test. Whatever your opinion the experience will thrill you, particularly tackling the infamous 18th. And then retire to the hotel which sits behind the final test where a spa, sauna and heated swimming pool await.
17 FAIRMONT ST ANDREWS
Any trip to the Home of Golf is special and this St Andrews Bay hideaway offers a very welcome mix of brilliant golf and superior facilities. There are two courses, the Torrance and Kittocks, to keep you amused though you might also be tempted by one or two other attractions in the nearby town. There is also one of Scotland’s largest spas though still with a personal touch and host of options to help you unwind properly.
Three nines make up a fabulous test whichever way you tackle them. This Kent layout famously held the Open back in 1932 when American Gene Sarazen triumphed.
The Lodge, which opened two years ago, has 38 bedrooms, all with ensuite facilities and views of either the Bay of Sandwich or the nearby links. Better still there is the excellent Brasserie on the Bay restaurant on site which offers fine dining. Classy.
Accommodation wise there is a little bit of everything here in Sussex, from modern to antique, all oozing style and comfort. This is a real treat and there are plenty of lovely touches, eg collections of classic books, to make your stay as memorable and relaxing as possible. There are 36 holes to savour in the shape of the Downs and Park courses, with the former sweeping up from the clubhouse to afford wonderful views.
14 SLALEY HALL
This is a huge piece of land in the Northumberland countryside and one of the jewels in the De Vere crown. The Hunting Course – there is also the Priestman – is as spectacular as it is testing thanks to the towering pines and rhododendrons.
Away from the course, there are lodges and deluxe rooms to lay your head, and a refurbished spa with new treatment rooms to treat yourself.
13 HANBURY MANOR
Hertfordshire is not necessarily known as one of England’s most blessed counties when it comes to golf but Jack Nicklaus II has done a fantastic job in creating a genuine championship parkland course here. This is part of the Marriott family and is their star attraction. The Manor suites are very stylish and grand.
12 CELTIC MANOR
Situated in the Usk Valley just over the Severn Bridge the resort is best known for the Ryder Cup where the Twenty Ten course, part of a 54-hole CV, was designed specifically for the purpose. The arrival into the five-star hotel is very impressive with its soaring atrium while the award-winning spa offers top-to-toe indulgence.
11 THE BELFRY
Given its history with the Ryder Cup, and the chance to take on the two other courses, this West Midlands resort will always be well frequented. However, in the past, the feeling was that you would be better off staying elsewhere. Until now.
A £26m investment has seen the hotel transformed into an exciting resort once again with refreshed bedrooms, four entirely new dining outlets and leisure facilities.
CLICK HERE to find out who made it into the top ten!