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Bude golf course review

The best affordable golf courses in GB&I

Looking to play somewhere this year that doesn’t break the bank? We have you covered

 

When I put together the list of courses in Great Britain and Ireland you must play, one avid fan of my work described it as an “elitist list”. To be fair, he was correct. They weren’t the most obvious collection of courses to moot, but equally they were all fairly expensive and most were reasonably well known. And as we are for the many not the few at NCG, the challenge was set to come up with another batch of ‘must plays’ that would fit most budgets. So here we go, the best affordable golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

What follows below isn’t a list of utterly unknown courses, because to make paying a green fee worthwhile the course you’re visiting has to be better than your home course. So we need to pitch these at a certain level of quality. But they are also much lower profile and available for a much lower price. Whether at home or under guaranteed blue skies abroad, there is something to suit all tastes here…

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Bude and North Cornwall

Why play it? It starts and ends in the enjoyable town of Bude and that is enough for us to be pretty much charmed.

But there’s more, such as effortlessly distinctive holes, prime seaside turf and just the right amount of challenge. Perfect holiday golf, and we mean that in the most positive sense imaginable.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Shiskine

Shiskine golf course review

Why play it? Arran is a popular island with tourists for its scenery and the seven golf courses on it benefit from this breathtaking setting.

Shiskine is the pick of them, a 12-holer of uncommon beauty and characterful holes that’s comfortably good enough for our Scottish Top 100.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Borth & Ynyslas

best affordable golf courses

Why play it? The phrase ‘brilliant little links’ might well have been spawned after a round here.

There is no fuss to Borth in any sense – and it’s all the better for that. Travel to mid Wales for fabulous turf, memorable holes and a ‘glad to be alive’ feeling.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Cruit Island

Cruit Island golf course review

Why play it? We basically think we discovered Cruit (pronounced Critch), even if of course those in the know in Ireland will have been lauding this remote Donegal course for years.

It needs some determination to get there, but the rewards are immense. A mini (much cheaper) Old Head of Kinsale.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Seascale

Seascale golf course review

Why play it? This Cumbrian links is in our Fun Top 100 with good reason.

Again it requires a bit of effort to get to, but combine it with GB&I Top 100 stalwart Silloth for two days of pure seaside enjoyment. Offers ridiculous value and endless entertainment.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Goswick

Goswick golf course review

Why play it? A brilliant links which is a GB&I Top 100 contender and is half the price of a bland European Tour-hosting ‘championship’ inland course.

Has a mid-round section of especially high calibre and if it was in Southport or Kent it would be extremely highly regarded. A class act.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Formby Ladies

Formby Ladies

Why play it? The name will probably put some off; that’s definitely their loss. Just look at where we place it in our Fun Top 100 for an indication of how good it is.

Anyone over an eight handicap will enjoy it more than Formby itself and recommendations don’t come much more solid than that.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Musselburgh Old

Musselburgh Links

Why play it? Along with Prestwick, it’s hard to understand why it isn’t more revered.

It should be on every discerning golfer’s wish list every bit as much as the Old Course, and as well as its vast history it is also a fun, playable links. Enjoys a notable setting alongside the famous horse racing track.

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Fortrose & Rosemarkie

Fortrose & Rosemarkie golf course review

Why play it? You can sometimes see dolphins leaping from the firth as you play the easy-to-love holes that have been laid out along the picturesque Chanonry Peninsula in the picture-perfect Scottish Highlands.

Need we say more?

Best affordable golf courses in GB&I: Royal Portrush (Valley)

Portrush Valley golf course review

Why play it? When you lose the best bit of your course to your big sister, it feels unlikely that you’ll improve. But the Valley has.

When Martin Ebert created two new holes for the 2019 Open venue he replaced the Valley’s lost pair with two new crackers – and improved many of the other 16 too.

Which of these courses have you played? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet us.

Chris Bertram

Chris Bertram is a specialist in all things golf courses.
He was born and brought up in Dumfriesshire and has been a sports journalist since 1996, initially as a junior writer with National Club Golfer magazine.
Chris then spent four years writing about football and rugby union for the Press Association but returned to be Editor and then Publisher of NCG.
He has been freelance since 2010 and spends the majority of his time playing golf and writing about the world’s finest golf courses.

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