It’s that time of year when we all start thinking back on the golf courses we played in the previous 12 months, and the ones we’d like to visit – whether for the first time or again – in the coming year.
NCG’s golf course recommendations
So what’s a golf course you have yet to play that you would like to get in the diary next year? We set out a number of questions to the NCG team to help you find some inspiration…
What was your favourite course you played for the first time this year?
Alex Perry: I doesn’t get any better than playing an empty Royal Portrush on a glorious spring evening and with great company. But away from headline-stealing venues that have hosted the Open Championship, I finally played Yelverton, near my Devon home, for the first time. Quintessential English golf.
Steve Carroll: Imagine the perfect links course and you will find it on the Ayrshire coast. Western Gailes is simply stunning.
Dan Murphy: It was Kilmacolm, which is found between Glasgow and the Ayrshire coast, on a cold but bright March morning. I love moorland golf and the turf was absolutely exceptional. Every hole was of interest and the hilly site was navigated apparently effortlessly by architect James Braid.
Tom Irwin: Playing Crail with Lee Trevino – well, near Lee Trevino – ahead of The Open on a golfing weekend for the ages.
Hannah Holden: Without question it was Pinehurst No 2. The course is immaculate and TV really doesn’t do it justice for just how hard it is and how undulating the green complexes are.
Ben Outhwaite: Alwoodley is not only one of the best golf courses in England, or the best golf courses in the UK and Ireland, but the best golf courses in the world. I didn’t even care that the back nine beat 10 bells out of me with that prevailing wind from the Yorkshire Dales crashing into my face.
George Cooper: Hands down then New Course at Sunningdale. Everything from the old school clubhouse, to the iconic heather, to the masterful sausage sandwiches, it lived up to the hype and then some. Beating Malfoy from Harry Potter was also a wonderful bonus. I now just need to go and play the Old.
What is a course you’ve played before to which you are absolutely going back next year?
Dan: I can’t wait to go back to Enniscrone in the spring. I have shamefully only played this wild links on Ireland’s west coast on one occasion previously and that was an age ago. Somehow trips since have shamefully managed to circumvent it but I will not be denied come Easter.
Tom: I didn’t make it to Seacroft this year and life does not feel the same.
Steve: Nothing has compared to my first visit to North Berwick. It was unbelievably fun and exciting. I can’t wait to return in the spring.
Alex: I have inexplicably only played each of St Enodoc, Perranporth, Trevose, and the Saunton courses once. I adore all of them and really should take advantage of having a base so nearby. (Thanks, mum.)
Hannah: Royal Troon! What a great links course, I love the fact it plays completely different every time you go depending on the weather. I go and play every year in the Scottish Women’s Amateur and it is always a great week and lots of fun.
George: I played Elie during Open week and only managed 12 holes, so I’ll be heading back to the Fife coast.
Jack: Kilspindie was the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course.
Ben: Can I say Alwoodley again?
What golf course would you like to play for the first time next year?
Alex: My answer to this question always has been and always will be Royal County Down. There’s a reason it’s rated so highly in many many top 100 golf course rankings, and I’d like to discover it for myself.
George: After visiting St Andrews for the first time back in July and feasting my eyes on the Home of Golf, the choice now couldn’t be more obvious. Santa, if you’re listening, please can I play the Old Course in 2023.
Steve: I’ve drooled over the pictures of Old Head of Kinsale like everyone else and, somehow, I’ve managed to get myself on NCG’s Top 100s panel, so my whole year is going to be built around getting there.
Dan: I will not rest until experiencing St Patrick’s Links at Rosapenna. Good judges tell me it is not just an NCG Top 100s GB&I contender but a shoo-in, and furthermore that it belongs in the upper realms of the list. That is quite the billing and I can’t wait to see it for myself.
Hannah: Does it count if you have already booked it? I’m very excited to play TPC Sawgrass and Streamsong in January. Closer to home I would love to finally play Kingsbarns.
Jack: Muirfield. This probably doesn’t need much of an explanation.
Ben: Ganton has been on my wish-list for the past two years now, and it isn’t going anywhere until I venture into the Vale of Pickering.
So where’s next for you?
Well, we hope that helps. Which golf course is top of your to-play list? Make sure you tweet us and let us know.
Perhaps you could take in a new course or two on the 2023 NCG Top 100s Tour?
The Tour’s headline sponsor will once again be TaylorMade with prizes on offer for first, second, and third place at every event. Places will sell out fast, so don’t miss out!