Though it does not enjoy the links superstars of the area around Liverpool just 30 miles to the west, Manchester can still offer a wonderful golf break on courses old and new. Indeed, Manchester is home to some of England’s finest inland golf courses.
In this blog, we’ll tour some of the best golf courses in Manchester. However, what actually constitutes ‘Manchester’ is a topic in itself, with various changes in boundaries over the years making things confusing.
The M60 is a very useful tool in this regard, though, so our yardstick for this assessment of the best golf courses in Manchester is: if it falls within about 20 minutes of the ring road, we’re claiming that as Manchester.
The best golf courses in Manchester
Course address: Macclesfield Road, Prestbury, Macclesfield, SK10 4BJ
First up is Prestbury, which has finally become a fixture in most England Top 100 rankings after a recent overhaul.
This Cheshire course, 20 minutes south of the M60, rolls elegantly over parkland terrain and is noted for its character and adventure.
Course address: Hopwood Cottage, Rochdale Road, Middleton, Manchester, M24 QQP
Manchester GC is a fabulous moorland located to the north of the city centre.
This Harry Colt design—Hopwood, as it is known locally—is a strategic test with a great variety among its holes.
Course address: Offerton Road, Offerton, Stockport, SK2 5HL
Stockport Golf Club is part of a fine selection of Cheshire golf courses on the edge of the Manchester city limits.
This pine-lined parkland with clever greens and subtle burrows has—like Prestbury—been notably improved of late.
Course address: Southcliffe Road, Stockport, SK5 7EE
Just up the road from Stockport, you’ll find Reddish Vale—an absolute gem of a golf course.
It was designed by Dr Alister Mackenzie of Augusta National fame, and although it’s squeezed into a much more compact site and lined by residential development when compared to the revered host of the Masters—it still possesses the hallmark of the great architect’s nous and cleverness.
Course address: Warford Lane, Mobberley, Knutsford, WA16 7AY
Wilmslow is another of Cheshire’s star courses; this time, an especially well-groomed, tranquil woodland course with a quirky start and finish and some memorable dog-leg holes in between.
Course address: Unsworth Hall, Blackford Bridge, Unsworth, Bury, BL9 9TJ
Another Mackenzie design, Bury, is an especially well-preserved example of the good Doctor’s work.
It sits on undulating moorland, where tree clearance has helped show off the quality of the design. The short holes and sporty par 4s here are especially good.
Course address: Chester Road, Mere, Knutsford, WA16 6LJ
The Mere is another traditional golf course near Manchester that is admirably trying to emphasise its heathland roots.
Part of a lovely resort offering a high-end play-and-stay option, the tempo moves up a gear in the second half with the side of the main lake in play.
Course address: Heaton Park, Middleton Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 2SW
Few golf courses in Manchester beat Heaton Park for fun, playability and value.
This picturesque, Championship-standard golf is situated on the grounds of the city’s biggest park. It first opened in 1911 and has hosted many events at both amateur and professional levels.
Former Open champion Henry Cotton once described the 11th hole here as the “toughest par 3 in England.” Why not try it for yourself?
Course address: 1175 Chorley Old Road, Bolton, BL1 5SG
Bolton Old Links is rather misleadingly named as it’s not seaside-based but, in fact, another magic Mackenzie moorland.
It does, however, boast views across the four nearby counties from its highest point—Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. Expect regular changes in elevation and a breeze here that makes it play more than its 6,500 yards.
The town’s ‘second’ course is Bolton—a 6,200-yard blend of moorland and parkland set down across a hillside and crossed by several ravines.
Course address: Glen View Road, Burnley, BB11 3RW
Burnley is a moorland course that sits close to the town. It’s a fun course but also a good test—again, especially when the wind blows.
It also has a Premier League ground (for now, at least) as your ideal line off one of the tees!
Course address: Barlow Hall Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 7JJ
Founded in 1902, the tranquil setting at Chorlton belies the fact it sits just four miles south of Manchester city centre.
This challenging parkland winds down narrow fairways and around the banks of the River Mersey, while the elevated land of Spion Kop, Barlow Wood, and the ancient dyke that bisects the course are all potential obstacles to a good score.
Course address: Farm Ladcastle Road, Dobcross, Oldham, OL3 6LT
This course is set high up in the Pennines, so you won’t be surprised to hear there’s lots of elevation change with breathtaking views.
Despite the elevation, though, astute routing means steep climbs are minimised.
Course address: 83 Higher Lane, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 7EZ
The stars of the show at Whitefield are the five par 3s. This north Manchester parkland course takes full advantage of the steep-sided ravines that cut across it.
Course address: Stableford Avenue, Eccles, Manchester, M30 8AP
James Braid laid out the beautiful parkland of tranquil Worsley, six miles northwest of Manchester city centre.
Be warned, though—the mature trees here mean that shot shaping is required on several holes.
Golf courses just outside Manchester…
Pleasington’s renovation programme has turned it from one of the best inland courses in Lancashire into one of England’s Top 200 courses. Architect Ken Moodie has enhanced the bunkering and its original heathland character.
Meanwhile, Clitheroe is another James Braid-designed parkland that offers aesthetic and strategic pleasure but with the threat of ditches on a number of holes, including the wonderful par-3 17th. It has even hosted Open Regional qualifying rounds.
Got a golf trip to Manchester on the horizon? Feeling inspired by our round up of the city’s best courses?
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