Top 100 courses under £100: 70-61
70 – Leven Links, Fife
2013 green fee: £55
Separated from Lundin by just a stone wall, Leven nevertheless has a slightly different feel. All the holes are at sea level and in the summer it gets hard and fast, just as it should be.
Why it’s special: This would be a great place to start if you’d never played links golf before and wanted to know what it’s all about
69 – Golspie, Highlands
2013 green fee: £45
Beautifully presented and with as much variety as you could ever wish for. Golspie alternates between links, heathland, woodland and even parkland. The consecutive short holes at the 16th and 17th are a highlight.
Why it’s special: You will get as warm and as genuine a welcome here as anywhere in the land
68 – St Mellion (Nicklaus), Devon
2013 green fee: From £85
Jack Nicklaus’s first course design in Europe is spectacular and never less than demanding. There is plenty of water and some seriously quick greens. It is maintained to a high level and has a super hotel (and the Kernow course) on site.
Why it’s special: As strategic an inland test as you will find
67 – Monifieth, Angus
2013 green fee: £55
Monifieth backs on to Panmure which in turn runs into Carnoustie – so this is prime linksland. This was the first links course Tom Watson ever played back in 1975 and he would surely still recognise it today; a classy links with echoes of Ganton.
Why it’s special: Monifieth has classic humps and hollows
66 – Castletown, Isle of Man
2013 green fee: £42
The off-course experience here is still sadly lacking but there can be no denying the excitement and drama of the links itself. At times, it feels more clifftop in style and there are some wonderful views of the Irish Sea.
Why it’s special: Rugged and natural, you won’t forget the experience of playing here
Much has changed at Prince’s over the last five years and a course that was looking a little tired (especially when compared to its neighbour, Royal St George’s) has been rejuvenated. 65 – Scotscraig, Fife
2013 green fee: £56
Many golfers will visit St Andrews several times without realising Scotscraig is just a short drive away. They are missing out on a course re-designed by James Braid in the 1920s that is inland but with seaside tendencies at times.
Why it’s special: Scotscraig is preparing to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2017
64 – Littlestone, Kent
2013 green fee: £70
While the likes of Sandwich and Deal steal the limelight in Kent, the locals know that Littlestone is a fine links in its own right. Relatively flat for the most part, it builds to quite a finish with the highlight being the 16th.
Why it’s special: Littlestone is brilliant in the winter – this is the driest corner of the country
63 – Pennard, Swansea, South Wales
2013 green fee: £50
This is an extraordinary course – perhaps the only one of its type – that combines being perched at the top of some almighty cliffs with genuine links turf and features. That gives you the twin pleasures of outstanding golf and views to die for, generally of the Bristol Channel. You will also enjoy real variety with some short 4s and sporty 5s mixed up with others where par is a good score indeed.
Why it’s special: It would be easier to say why it isn’t. The talking point of any trip to South Wales.
62 – Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland
2013 green fee: £42
This is pure linksland – by which we mean straw-coloured, bouncy, fast-running fairways, uneven ground and some sensational green sites. It is occasionally quirky and elsewhere simply impressive without need for show-stopping splendour. The short holes are impressively varied. It is a crime not to call in here if you are on your way to or from the east coast of Scotland on a golfing trip – it’s just off the A1.
Why it’s special: The dune formations are exceptional
61 – Prince’s, Sandwich, Kent
2013 green fee: £80
Much has changed at Prince’s over the last five years and a course that was looking a little tired (especially when compared to its neighbour, Royal St George’s) has been rejuvenated.
The conditioning is now sensational, as is the bunkering. With three loops of nine, each of which brings you back to the clubhouse, it is the perfect venue for a day out – and you can now stay here in style at the brand-new on-site Lodge.
Why it’s special: You don’t get to play an Open venue every day