One of the great things about the sport of golf is its variety. Every venue presents a different challenge and every golf course is unique. Tackling as many different golf courses as possible allows you to experience the sport in its entirety and to improve as a golfer.
In this country, we are blessed with a myriad of inspiring, historic and iconic golf courses. Some are famous the world over and have a green fee to match their reputations, while others are less known and comparatively affordable to visit. Here, we look at 12 golf courses to play in 2018, which collectively showcase the spectrum of golfing opportunities in the UK.
If you want to play at some of these courses, you may be in luck. Thanks to Golf Care’s incredible Free Golf offer, if you take out a policy with us, we will treat you to three free rounds of golf worth up to £360 at over 40 superb courses across the UK.
Read about some of them below…
Designed by the renowned golf architect Dave Thomas, Spey Valley is set in breath-taking scenery with incredible views of the Cairngorm Mountains, and is one of the most striking courses to have opened in Scotland in recent years.
It’s a testing layout that travels through the pine trees and heather along the banks of the sparkling River Spey. Although it’s long, it’s a fair test with relatively generous fairways to aim at. The greens are the outstanding feature – sprawling and rolling, they will test even the most accomplished putter. What’s more, the Macdonald Aviemore Resort at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park provides a perfect base for golfers.
GF: Free to Golf Care customers under Free Golf Offer!
Credit: Golf Planet Holidays
Nefyn and District
Just outside the town of Nefyn in North Wales’ western tip, Nefyn & District is one of the UK’s most scenic courses. Perched upon the cliffs, the layout follows a narrow peninsula, with rocks on one side and a sandy beach on the other.
The panoramas are stunning, Snowdonia is visible inland and, on a clear day, you can see right across to the Wicklow Mountains of Southern Ireland.
The club was founded in 1907 and the course was opened for play in 1920 by J.H Taylor and James Braid. Throughout the 1920s, both men lent their expertise to the design of the layout which makes Nefyn and District the household name it is today.
GF: From £50
Credit: English Golf Courses
Located just to the north of Nottingham, Notts Golf Club was founded in 1887 at the instigation of the Reverend Arthur Hamilton Baynes – but the move to the present site at Holliinwell didn’t take place until 1901. Designed by Willie Park Jnr and altered by Tom Williamson in 1912, the layout remains relatively unchanged since then.
It’s a tremendous heathland course offering a series of testing holes, with the difficulty level increasing as you make your way round the course.
It’s a layout that demands precision, but it’s extremely fair, with each hole asking a clear question of the player. If you deliver the answer, then you’ll be suitably rewarded. Get it wrong and you’ll be suitably punished!
GF: From £90
Credit: Formby Golf Club
The 20 miles of coastline between the city of Liverpool and the town of Southport is Elysium for connoisseurs of the links. With fast running fairways and greens, deep bunkers and imposing sand dunes, Formby is unquestionably a links.
However, because the course is set a little below the level of the dunes and as pine trees line many of the holes, it feels a very secluded and peaceful place to play.
It’s a fabulous, varying and challenging course that demands accuracy from the tee and a deft touch around the greens. The finish requires particular concentration and calls for precise shot-making. It’s not unusual to have evidence of sandy turf on the face of every club in the bag by the time you walk off the 18th green.
GF: From £105 for a day
Credit: Rockliffe Hall
An 18th century Hall owned in its time by Robert Surtees, Alfred Backhouse and Lord Southampton, Rockliffe Hall in County Durham is now a supremely elegant golf resort and spa.
Designed by Marc Westenborg of Hawtree Ltd, the layout at Rockliffe delivers an eclectic challenge. There’s a considered mix of long holes demanding strong, accurate hitting, combined with shorter, more-strategic holes such as the interesting 18th,where placement from the tee is critical.
There’s a fine selection of par-3s with the 5th, played to an island green, standing out. Water is a significant factor here with the River Tees, as well as three lakes and eight reed beds, coming into the equation during the round.
GF: Free to Golf Care customers under Free Golf Offer!
Credit: Golf Monthly
Situated along the north bank of the shimmering River Dee, Banchory is a supremely picturesque parkland course in the heart of Aberdeenshire. It’s a relatively short course by today’s standards, but the small greens and a testing selection of par 3s make the par of 69 a difficult one to match.
Constructed on the old riverbed, the layout allows for good drainage and the fairways and greens can become firm and fast-running through drier spells.
It’s not a track where the long hitter has a distinct advantage, more so those in possession of a tidy short game. It’s a friendly town club where you’ll be sure of a warm welcome and a great day on the course and in the clubhouse.
GF: From £38
Credit: Brockenhurst Manor
Set in the heart of the beautiful New Forest, this is a Harry Colt course dating from 1919 and, although perhaps not one of his most famous creations, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of design and layout. It’s a fine woodland track where three six-hole loops set out from, and return to, the clubhouse.
There’s a great variety of memorable holes and, overall, it’s an extremely fun and welcoming course offering a good challenge. The setting is gorgeous and the food and drink in the clubhouse are of high quality.
GF: From £65
Credit: Golf Tourism England
The Home Counties of Southern England contain many of the world’s great heathland courses – but one can also experience high quality heathland golf without paying the premium prices commanded by the likes of Wentworth. One of the very best examples is to be found at Blackmoor GC in Hampshire.
Designed by the great Harry Colt, this beautiful course winds through the pines, birch and oak; heather-lined fairways leading to true and testing greens. A shorter track with a par of 69, this is a sleek course where a requirement for precision rather than power is brought to the fore.
GF: From £70
Credit: Courses – Carnoustie Golf Link
The Open Championship will be contested over the championship course at Carnoustie this July. It might be tough to get a tee time in the immediate build-up and aftermath of the event but plan ahead and you should be able to secure a slot.
The test posed by Carnoustie is second to none, with well-bunkered fairways and sloping greens. There are no weak links on the course, with each hole demanding excellence. Some are challenging because of their length, while others ask more strategic questions.
The finish is one of the most brutal in golf, with the famous Barry Burn snaking across the 17th and 18th fairways.
Credit: Golf Monthly
At 1,284 feet above sea level, Kington is the highest golf club in England. With panoramic views from the course encompassing the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Black Mountains and the Radnorshire Hills among other landmarks, there are few more spectacular settings for golf anywhere in England.
The layout has the playing characteristics of a links – firm and fast running fairways, heather and gorse and tricky undulating greens.
This isn’t a long course and the key to success is keeping the ball in play.
Many of the fairways feature slopes, humps and hollows and you must try to use the contours to your advantage.
GF: From £30
Credit: Princes Golf Club
The set-up at Princes Golf Club on the Kent coast is ideal for a day’s golf. The clubhouse is located right in the centre of three loops of nine holes: Shore Himalayas and Dunes, each starting and finishing within 200 yards of the clubhouse.
The latter loop features a dog-leg 1st hole on a narrow green, which is difficult to hold even with the shortest of approach shots. Features like this are what make Princes one of England’s most challenging links.
The clubhosted the Open Championship in 1932 and has since hosted a multitude of other amateur and professional competitions over the years, including the Dunlop Masters and the Ladies British Open.
GF: From £65
Credit: Today’s Golfer
No venue has played host to more Ryder Cups than The Belfry. The Brabazon was the site of four between 1985 and 2002. Torrance with his arms aloft, McGinley’s leap, O’Connor’s two-iron – all took place on the Brabazon.
Visitors to the Belfry can follow in those great men’s footsteps, plus there are two further courses to explore. The PGA National Course is an excellent layout in its own right.
It played host to the De Vere European Seniors Open on two occasions. Then there’s the Derby – a slightly easier course which is perfect for beginners or as a less strenuous alternative to the two championship courses.
W: the belfry.co.uk
GF: Derby is free to Golf Care customers under Free Golf Offer.
Alternatively, Golf Care customers can play the Brabazon or Derby for 50% off under Free Golf Offer.
Note: Green fees quoted are summer 2018 for 18 holes unless stated
For more information on the Golf Care Free Golf offer visit: https://www.golfcare.co.uk/freegolf.aspx