Thorpeness | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Resorts

As the easternmost resort on the NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Resorts list, Thorpeness is somewhat tucked away in the southeast corner of Suffolk. However, with a James-Braid designed golf course, the backdrop of the ‘House in the Clouds’ and beautiful accommodation, the venue has everything you need for a golf trip.  
The golf course was designed by James Braid, a five-time winner of the Open Championship. The course celebrated its centenary in 2022, and now offers guests and members alike a true test of their abilities. It is not the longest course in our list, but the layout requires thought. The closing hole has the backdrop of the ‘House in the Clouds’ and the Thorpeness Windmill, for the perfect end to a round. Coaching is available from former LPGA and LET player Christine Langford, while there are suitable practice facilities on site as well. 
The amount of accommodation at Thorpeness is not as large as you will see at other venues, but its quality is not lacking. The rooms in the hotel are all beautifully appointed with several assorted designs and layouts. There are Standard and Classic Rooms, along with Superior and Large Superior Rooms for those looking for a luxurious stay. Braid's Bar and Ogilvie’s Grill House offer up the gastronomic options, with the latter sourcing local Suffolk produce for its steaks and meats.  
Visit the Thorpeness website here.  
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Thorpeness Overview | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Resorts

A James Braid Beauty

Set amid Suffolk’s coastal heathland, Thorpeness offers a tough challenge to all levels of players. The great James Braid laid out Thorpeness in 1922 on low-lying heathland, a stone’s throw from the Suffolk coast in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Eight holes were added to Braid’s initial 10-hole layout a year later.  
Despite being close to the sea, Thorpeness is definitely a heathland. That means it benefits hugely from firm, quick-drying soil and that gives Thorpeness exceptionally good turf that is always a delight to strike off. The famous ‘House in the Clouds’ and Thorpeness Windmill provide a beautiful backdrop as you get to the conclusion of your round. In 2021, the venue achieved championship status as it hosted England Golf’s Logan Trophy.  
After a gentle start, the run of holes from the 3rd onwards will certainly get your attention. In a six-hole spell, there are four par 4s that measure more than 400 yards from the tips, while the other two holes have water hazards. The standout of those is the par 3 7th. It is only 170 yards but plays over water and into a two-tiered green, one that has two greenside bunkers guarding it.  
You have to wait until the 9th for the first par 5 on the property, but it is one that is reachable in two shots at just 490 yards. 11 is drivable for the longer hitters but there are seven bunkers to avoid if you do so! The 14th is the last par 5 and offers one of the only real birdie opportunities on the back nine, ahead of a tough closing stretch. 16 is a 210-yard par 3, while 17 is only 277 yards long. However, it plays uphill making this par 4 much more than hitting a driver and hoping for the best, especially with five greenside bunkers. The closing hole is a tough par 4 but has that ‘house in the clouds’ as the backdrop, a perfect finish to any round of golf. 

A Suffolk Coast Stay

The range of accommodation at Thorpeness is perhaps not at the level that you might find at some of the larger resorts on the NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Resorts list. However, that doesn’t mean that the quality is any less. There are four options when it comes to the room in the hotel, with something to suit all parties travelling to the Suffolk coast.  
The Standard Twin comes with twin beds, TV and free Wi-Fi and are all on the ground floor of the hotel. There are Classic Rooms, with those in the Lakeside building having French doors that open on to a communal balcony. There are also Superior Rooms – which can be equipped with both double and twin beds, while the Large Superior Rooms are the most luxurious choice at the resort. These come with a seating area in the room, along with their own patio to relax on after a long day.  
For those that might want to stay just outside the resort, you can rent out the ‘House in the Clouds’. The property, which has incredible views over the golf course, the Hundred River, and the Suffolk Heritage Coast, is available to rent on Airbnb. However, golf at Thorpeness would then have to be bought separately.  

Gastronomic Options

Thorpeness is blessed with a variety of eateries. For the golfers, Braid’s Bar – named after the man behind the golf course – is the place to go. Delicious food and a wide range of drinks are on offer at Braid’s. 
The main eatery on site is Ogilvie’s Grill House. The restaurant offers guests views over the 3rd hole of the golf course and offers a sublime range of main meals for both lunch and dinner, with steaks being the focus. Guests can also indulge in afternoon tea at Thorpeness.  

FAQs about Thorpeness

Where is Thorpeness?  
Thorpeness is the easternmost venue on the NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Resorts list. It sits on the eastern coastline of Suffolk, near Thorpeness Beach and the Hundred River. Ipswich is 25 miles to the southwest. 

What is the nearest airport and station to Thorpeness?
Saxmundham is the nearest train station to Thorpeness, sitting seven miles away by road from the resort. Saxmundham is on the line that services Ipswich and Lowestoft, with trains running in both directions every hour.  
In terms of air travel, Norwich Airport is the closest international airport. However, London Stansted Airport is only an extra 30 minutes away by road, albeit in the opposite direction. Stansted is one of the five busiest airports in the country in terms of passengers in 2022. Stansted offers flights to most European countries, along with flights to the Middle East.  

What golf facilities does Thorpeness offer?
Along with the championship course, Thorpeness also has a driving range and short game facility on the eastern side of the resort. The short game area has a practice chipping green and a couple of bunkers to work on your sand saves. There is also a putting green by the 1st tee for those last touches before you tee off.  

Does Thorpeness offer golf lessons?
There is a wide range of coaching and tuition on offer at Thorpeness, with former LPGA and LET player Christine Langford as the Head Professional. Individual and group coaching are both available, along with residential coaching sessions, which include a two-night stay at the resort. 
Thorpeness also has a strong junior coaching section, with lessons adapted for youngsters who are first getting into the game, as well as those looking to make it to the very top of the sport.  

What are the green fees at Thorpeness?
The price of a green fee at Thorpeness changes throughout the year, depending on the season. It is also different depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend. There are also stay & play packages available at the resort.  
For more information on current green fees at Thorpeness, visit their website here

What accommodation is on offer at Thorpeness?
The Lakeside building offers accommodation options at Thorpeness, with a range of rooms to host all parties. There are Standard and Classic Rooms, along with Superior and Large Superior Rooms, the latter having its own patio for guests to relax on.  

What other resorts are nearby?
Thorpeness is one of two Suffolk-based resorts on the NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Resorts list. The other is Ufford Park, which is just a half hour’s drive from Thorpeness. Stoke by Nayland, Barnham Broom, Dunston Hall and Sprowston Manor are all just over an hour away by car.  
Visit the Thorpeness website here.  
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