Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Courses in England

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What are the best golf courses in England? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks the best layouts in the green and pleasant land.

1. Royal St George’s

2. Sunningdale (Old)

3. Royal Birkdale

Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)

Sunningdale (New)

Swinley Forest

Walton Heath (Old)

8. Royal Lytham & St Annes

9. Royal Liverpool

10 Alwoodley

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Welcome to the new Golf World Top 100 Courses in England ranking where we reveal the best golf the country has to offer. Our highly respected course rankings are now published in Today’s Golfer magazine and here at todaysgolfer.co.uk

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The courses will, however, still be chosen by an experienced panel of readers, invited to take part because of their extensive knowledge of the courses being ranked.

As we always have, we welcome your feedback on all of our rankings and know that everyone will have an opinion on their favourite's position. We'd love to hear from you via email, on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

What is the Golf World Top 100?

We have been ranking the finest courses in England for a decade and I have no doubt this is the most accurate reflection of the best the country has to offer that we have produced.

Every course in previous lists was excellent, but I think this panel’s even more comprehensive knowledge makes this a better list. As with all rankings, it will please some and infuriate others. More than anything, I think it will surprise. We have not intentionally tried to create a list of surprises, but as a result of this panel tending to favour fun, natural golf over more penal, sanitised courses, it has meant plenty of movement in/out and up/down the list.

It doesn’t mean everything in the 100 is under 6,000 yards and maintained by a flock of sheep, or that there are no ‘championship’ courses. But it’s fair to say courses of character, fun and eccentricity generally do well. There are, though, still plenty of courses that are ‘right out in front of you’, if that’s your preference.

Chris Bertram, Golf World Top 100 Editor

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Jump to the Best Golf Courses in England ranking

100-76 | 75-51 | 50-26 | 25-11 | 10-1

The Hotchkin Course at Woohall Spa Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in England.

How we score the best golf courses in England

There are a total of 100 marks awarded, and every golf course is marked using the following criteria to find the best:

Design [40 marks]

A key category, split into three sub-sections: Does the course take advantage of its landscape [20]; the green complexes [10]; the routing [10]. 

Setting [15 marks]

The aesthetic value of the surrounding views and the course itself. And the overall ‘atmosphere’ of the course – not the club. 

Memorability [15 marks]

How easy it is to recall holes? Are they distinctive, varied and interesting. Are they strategic and heroic? 

Playability [10 marks]

Is it just too tough, possibly even unfair, for the majority? Or is it easily enjoyed by all?

Consistency [10 marks]

Does every hole deliver all of the above, or is it let down by a few poor ones?

Presentation [10 marks]

Two aspects: is maintenance at ease with its surroundings, and the conditioning of tees, fairways, bunkers and greens.

What if there is a tie?

In the event of a tie, Golf World Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram decides the positions based on breadth of opinions from the panel.

Do you consider anything other than the layout itself when scoring the best golf courses?

Off-course facilities, customer service or tournament pedigree played no part in deciding any of our Golf World Top 100 Courses rankings. We care about the best golf courses, not about who has the best clubhouse, has hosted the most Opens or provides the best lunches. In the event of a tie, the Top 100 editor.

Are there any golf courses you haven’t considered?

Queenwood would be a contender for the list but do not wish to take part in rankings. Chart Hills was not considered due to renovation. JCB Club was not considered this year due to a lack of sufficient panel play.

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The Golf World Top 100 panel which selected the best golf courses in England.

Meet the Golf World Top 100 England ranking panel

As ever, our experienced panel, invited to take part because of their extensive knowledge,

Chris Bertram: Top 100 editor, has played all 100 in the list. Handicap 11
Michael Bailey: Member at Formby. Handicap 14
Peter Bosworth: Member at Hellidon Lakes. Handicap 14
Sam Cooper: Member at Royal Liverpool. Handicap 4
Olle Dahlgren: Member at Falsterbo, Sweden. Handicap 6
Nick Dungay: Member at West Sussex. Handicap 11
Simon Haines: Member at Copt Heath. Handicap 3
Ian MacDonald: Member at Ramside Hall. Handicap 11
Darius Oliver: Member Kingswood, Aus. Handicap 8
Ben Sargent: Pro at The Wisley. Handicap Pro
Stephen Vincent Member at Bearwood Lakes. Handicap 10

THINK YOU SHOULD BE ON THE PANEL? Get in touch with us, here

The Colt golf course at Close House narrowly missed out on the Golf World Top 100.

Which golf courses narrowly missed out on a place in the Golf World Top 100 England ranking?

Not every golf course in England can get into the Top 100... but here, in order are the 40 that came closest and stand the best chance of making the main ranking the next time we judge the best links golf courses.

Remedy Oak, The Wisley (Church & Mill) Close House (Colt), Bude & North Cornwall, Sutton Coldfield, Crowborough Beacon, Newquay, Appleby, The Hallamshire, Northamptonshire County, Hadley Wood, Tadmarton Heath, West Cornwall, Cleveland, Wildernesse. Leckford (Old), Enville (Highgate), North Hants, Royal Wimbledon, East Sussex National (West), Copt Heath, Royal Mid-Surrey, Goodwood (Downs), Stockport, King’s Lynn, Manchester, Northumberland, Bovey Castle, Foxhills (Bernard Hunt), Frilford Heath (Blue), Hartlepool, Weston-super-Mare, Reddish Vale, Whittington Heath, Coxmoor, Frilford Heath (Red), West Surrey, Fairhaven, Mannings Heath (Waterfall), Thorndon Park

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Hindhead Golf Club is one of 19 Surrey courses in the Golf World Top 100.

Which English county has the best golf courses?

Surrey has 19 golf courses in the new Golf World Top 100 England ranking, with Hertfordshire, Merseyside and Suffolk boasting five each. Berkshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Kent and Lancashire have four each.

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Golf World Top 100: The Best Golf Courses in England

100 Foxhills (Longcross)

Ottershaw, Surrey

The Longcross has been on our England list since 2015 and sometimes higher than this – but just staying on this uber-competitive list is an achievement. It does so because of a joyous journey along undulating fairways lined by Scots pine, beech and silver birch. One of Surrey’s many underrated venues.

Design 29.6 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.2 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 75.6

Centurion Club is one of the best golf courses in England.

99 Centurion Club

St Albans, Hertfordshire

A course of phases, this private club has a modern track to be proud of. It opens with holes running between tall pines reminiscent of Woburn, then moves onto more open land that has been shaped to provide interesting terrain and holes. Fine views from elevated tees and in super condition.

Design 29.9 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 75.7

98 Luffenham Heath

South Luffenham, Rutland

Opens and closes in especially good style, this heathland rumbling over interesting ground with lots of classy holes. Excellent variety, it’s hard to recall a weaker hole among them. Green complexes burst with character despite the surfaces being fairly flat. Well maintained and a nice setting.

Design 29.4 Setting 11.4  Memorability 11.7 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 8.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 75.7

97 Isle of Purbeck

Swanage, Dorset  

With investment in the right areas, we have long felt Purbeck could be a GB&I Top 100 contender. It has a lovely routing across a terrific site for the game, comprising heather, gorse and bracken and offering wonderful sea views. Purbeck is an absolute delight, with huge potential.

Design 28.4 Setting 13.5 Memorability 12.7 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 6.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 75.8

96 Bearwood Lakes

Wokingham, Berkshire

Laid out in one of England’s great estates in 1996, this woodland course is routed among mature trees and around three natural lakes totalling 50 acres. It is in exceptional  condition, with slick, undulating greens and deer, woodpeckers, swans and red kites watching your every move.

Design 29.5 Setting 11.2 Memorability 10.9 Playability 7.6 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 8.4
Golf World Top 100 Total 75.8

95 Effingham

Effingham, Surrey

The Mackenzie & Ebert renovation of this Harry Colt downland course got it into our English ranking last time and it has stayed there two years on. Sits atop the North Downs’ chalky subsoil, so offers firm surfaces all year round. The bunkering is now terrific and a good variety of holes.

Design 29.4 Setting 11.1 Memorability 10.9 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 8.3 Golf World Top 100 Total 75.8

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94 Thorpeness

Thorpeness, Suffolk

Offers a similar experience to fellow Suffolk entry Aldeburgh, this James Braid classic has an abundance of tough par 4s set in the shadow of the ‘House in the Sky’. A play-and-stay venue, it is a great base from which to play Woodbridge, Aldeburgh and Royal Worlington... Suffolk is quietly excellent.

Design 29.4 Setting 11.2 Memorability 10.9 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.2 Golf World Top 100 Total 75.9

93 St Annes Old Links

Lytham, Lancashire  

This relatively flat links – by which we mean little elevation change, for there is pleasing undulation to the fairways – is probably most appreciated by connoisseurs. There is a lack of sea views and significant dunes, but the Old Links compensate with nuance, immaculate greens and a world-class par-3 9th.

Design 29.5 Setting 11.1 Memorability 11.3 Playability 8.1 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.0

Berkhamsted is one of the best golf courses in England.

92 Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

No bunkers here, but it is still good enough to test elite amateurs every year in its famous Trophy. Instead, gorse, heather and trees flank fairways and hollows, mounds, gullies and ridges make things awkward whether chipping around the green or on approaches. Terrific fun, wonderful nick.

Design 29.6 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.0

91 Painswick

Stroud, Gloucestershire

One of the most interesting courses in this list. Some will find it bewildering, but we think most will be endlessly entertained by the green complexes and a routing that crosses itself on more than one occasion because it has to fit along a narrow ridge. Barely 5,000 yards – and outrageous fun.

Design 30.7 Setting 11.8 Memorability 12.2 Playability 7.2 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 7.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.1

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90 Coombe Hill

Kingston, Surrey

With a gorgeous landscape for a course, Coombe Hill has been skilfully routed on
an undulating site by the brilliant JF Abercromby, a man so adept at using terrain with flair. This Surrey woodland has hints of heath about it as you play among oaks, rhododendrons and some heather.

Design 29.4 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.3 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.5 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.1

89 Fulford

York, North Yorkshire

Famed European Tour venue in the 1980s, Fulford is a course of different phases.
It begins like a parkland, then morphs into more woodland with hints of heathland – and it is on those holes that the pulse really rises. A pedigree venue with the added excitement of seeing ‘Langer’s tree’.

Design 29.6 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.2 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.2 
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.2

Stoke Park is one of the best golf courses in England.

88 Stoke Park

Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

In a much-changed English ranking, Stoke Park does very well to hold a place in the 80s – testament to the work carried out here in recent times to enhance its Harry Colt heritage. The bunkering is now unrecognisable and the presentation awesome. The 7th is a real stand-out – and you can’t overlook the James Bond-Goldfinger element and the iconic hotel backdrop.

Design 29.7 Setting 11.4 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.3

87 Prestbury

Prestbury, Cheshire

A new entry for this Cheshire jewel, a classy parkland course designed by Harry Colt. He masterfully routed the course over often significantly rising and falling terrain to produce holes of great interest – and sublime views of the surrounding countryside. Wide playing areas and sandy soil, so it’s firm.

Design 30.7 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 8.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.4

86 Sheringham

Sheringham, Norfolk

Starts modestly but the dial is then turned up acutely with the five holes from the 5th, when there’s no point returning your phone to your bag. These holes high up on the cliffs are unforgettably scenic and really good fun. There is then a classy if less explosive finish alongside the train track.

Design 28.0 Setting 13.4 Memorability 12.8 Playability 7.4 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.4

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85 Ashridge

Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

“Parkland golf of the most refined and elegant kind,” says one panellist. “The kind of pedigree venue that’s had both Henry Cotton and Alex Hay as former pros,” says another. The kind of quietly excellent course it is easy to overlook, but we found room for a mature parkland with subtlety.

Design 29.7 Setting 11.3 Memorability 11.4 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.4

84 St Mellion (Nicklaus)

Saltash, Cornwall

The lengthy Jack Nicklaus design is famed for its stringent examination – even by the Ryder Cup stars who played it on the Tour in the ’80s. There is less emphasis now among the panel on a ‘brutal’ test, but it remains a fine modern course with some nice design touches and a lovely setting.

Design 29.8 Setting 11.6 Memorability 11.9 Playability 7.0 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 7.9 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.4

83 Cleeve Hill

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

You may have heard about the plight of Cleeve Hill, but we’re ranking it in the hope 2021 brings happier times for this brilliantly idiosyncratic course. A quirky heathland,v it mixes wonderful countryside views (it’s the highest point in the Cotswolds) and bewildering but memorable holes.

Design 30.2 Setting 11.7 Memorability 13.1 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.0 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

82 Formby Ladies

Southport, Merseyside

This compelling links within its better-known sister comfortably holds its place in our list. Fun and consistently entertaining, the turf is at least as good as its neighbour. A mix of holes on gently undulating land and others in more pronounced dunes – and blessed with some wonderful par 3s.

Design 29.0 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.5 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.9 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

81 Seaton Carew

Seaton Carew, Co. Durham

There are actually 22 holes and five possible configurations, but the quality does not vary so we rank it in its entirety. It is a robust links as befits its championship-hosting status, and consistently good. Not one of the most scenic, but if unfussily good links golf with fine par 3s appeals, head to Hartlepool.

Design 31.4 Setting 9.4 Memorability 11.8 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 7.8 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

80 Seascale

Seascale, Cumbria

Some would have Seascale much higher, such is the charm and eccentricities of this Willie Campbell and George Lowe links from 1893. There are unique, memorable holes scattered throughout and a particularly fine finish. Industrial views
in one direction, but mostly sea and hills.

Design 30.0 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.2 Playability 8.5 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 7.4 Golf World Top 100 76.5

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79 Woodbridge

Woodbridge, Suffolk

The Heath is a late Victorian heathland by Davie Grant and then James Braid, with varied fairways fringed with heather, gorse, oak and pine. It is barely 6,300 yards, but no par 5s on the back nine and the natural hazards over terrific heathland turf keep you honest. It’s complemented by the excellent Forest nine-holer.

Design 29.7 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.0 Golf World Top 100 76.5

The Brabazon course at The Belfry is one of the best golf courses in England.

78 The Belfry (Brabazon)

Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Offers an exciting experience by virtue of its Ryder Cup pedigree, an aspect that cannot be separated from the appeal of playing here, just as St Andrews’ Old’s history is part of its allure. Some memorable risk- reward holes – notably 10 and 18 – on a tough test that is in sensational condition.

Design 28.5 Setting 11.0 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.7 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.9 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

 77 Lindrick

Worksop, Nottinghamshire

Lindrick is a high-class heathland track with a nice variety of holes and lots of gorse to gather any errant shot. It is good from start to finish, which is a tough, long par 3. Recent work to enhance its heathland characteristics is paying dividends and a future rise in this list is very possible.

Design 29.6 Setting 11.4 Memorability 11.6 Playability 7.3 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 8.2 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

76 Knole Park

Sevenoaks, Kent

A notable rise up the ranking for an elegant Kent course, which sits on Greensand Ridge – making it firm in summer and quick-drying in winter. JF Abercromby only created engaging courses and this one from 1924 sees holes wind between ancient trees in the undulating grounds of Knole House.

Design 29.6 Setting 11.8 Memorability 12.5 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.7 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

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Golf World Top 100: The Best Golf Courses in England 75-51

75 Stoneham

Southampton, Hampshire

This heathland near Southampton was laid out in an old deer park in 1908 by the underrated Willie Park. Relatively short at 6,400 yards but there are enough slopes, streams, heather and bunkers to ensure it holds your attention. A very good inhouse refurbishment helps it to a strong position.

Design 30.0 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.2 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.5

74 Woburn (Duchess)

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire

By far the tightest and probably the most attractive of the three excellent courses at Woburn. You need to hit it straight to score well here as all the holes are flanked by trees. We have it as Woburn’s No.3, but there is little to choose and some panellists had it as their No.1. A delightful experience.

Design 29.3 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.2 Playability 7.0 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 8.3 Golf World Top 100 Total 76.6

73 Tandridge

Oxted, Surrey

Yet another enduring piece of work by Harry Colt. He created Tandridge in 1924 and the club’s been actively nurturing the course back towards what he bestowed on it almost a century ago. Two distinct nines, the second half enjoying the most adventurous land after a more subtle front nine.

Design 29.2 Setting 11.5 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.7 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.6

72 Blackmoor

Bordon, Hampshire

More Hary Colt genius, this time in Hampshire. The great man laid out this 1913 heathland in two loops of nine among heather, pine, birch and oaks. It is a mere 6,164 yards, but those obstacles to a good score that line the fairway make it plenty tricky enough. Exquisite par 3s, as expected.

Design 29.0 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.2 Playability 8.5 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.6

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The West course at Saunton is one of the best golf courses in England.

71 Saunton (West)

Braunton, Devon

Always been considered the second course here, but the changes in recent years have made such an improvement that the West is now a very, very good course in its own right and this position is probably the least it deserves. Less punishing and with more variety through taller dunes than the East.

Design 30.0 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.7

70 Perranporth

Perranporth, Cornwall  

Blind shots abound, but add to rather than detract from the experience. Unique, insane fun, yet can be very tough when it’s windy. Forget your scorecard and just have fun. If you can’t enjoy golf at Perranporth, you’re probably taking the game far too seriously! However, you will at least enjoy the views.

Design 28.2 Setting 13.9 Memorability 12.9 Playability 7.0 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.3
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.7

69 Camberley Heath

Camberley, Surrey

Built on open heath and although now surrounded by houses and pines, it has improved a lot in recent years thanks to a worthy restoration. Very playable with a number of good short par 4s and a scenic collection of par 3s. The extent of England’s heathland portfolio is truly remarkable.

Design 30.2 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.6 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.8 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 76.9

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68 Littlestone

Littlestone-on-Sea, Kent

“A bona fide links even without high dunes,” says one panellist. “I remember it fondly – a good links that gets better the further you progress,” says another. Often seriously firm and fast, the undulating land is used nicely and its position here shows just how much depth there is in England.

Design 30.2 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.2 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.7
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.2

67 Wallasey

Wirral, Merseyside

Some sensational holes mix with some that are less memorable playing back and forth by the road – and that costs Wallasey in the consistency bracket, otherwise it would be much higher. Still, a fast-running links with firm, slick greens and an especially good front nine with characterful holes.

Design 31.8 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.8 Playability 7.9 Consistency 6.5 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.4

66 Piltdown

Uckfield, Sussex

A significant rise for this Sussex heathland – because it is unquestionably better than ever after tree clearance, new tees and 18 new greens. There are no bunkers, but relatively slender fairways lined by heather and gorse lead to small greens surrounded by hollows and gullies. No longer a secret.

Design 30.9 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.8 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.8 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.4

The Marquess is one of the best golf courses in England.

65 Woburn (Marquess)

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire

We really like the wider playing corridors on Ross McMurray’s design at 54-hole Woburn. There is a feeling of majesty to playing here – the most modern of Woburn’s trio – with a handful of memorable holes that elevate the experience above the majority of courses of its ilk.

Design 29.8 Setting 11.7 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.7 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.5
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.4

64 Blackwell

Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

Blackwell has crept up our rankings in recent lists thanks to Frank Pont renovation and excellent in-house work. Now, negotiating the numerous dog-legs to reach the greens in regulation is only half of the test as the surfaces have many subtle slopes. A parkland with inspiration.

Design 30.8 Setting 11.3 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.8 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.4

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63 Trevose

Padstow, Cornwall

The holes by ‘Booby’s Bay’ are good fun and offer as good a setting as anything in this Top 100 – and although those playing around the fields towards the end aren’t as dynamic, this remains a fine links. Another course to receive a Tom Mackenzie renovation to a Harry Colt original.

Design 29.9 Setting 13.7 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.7 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.5
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.5

62 Kington

Kington, Herefordshire

Set at 1,284 feet above sea level, Kington is the highest course in England and affords views over seven counties. Its fast-draining heathland terrain means it is playable all year round. The biggest allure is Cecil Hutchison’s intriguing design, fitting the holes – especially the greens – into the land.

Design 32.2 Setting 11.8 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.5

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61 Cavendish

Buxton, Derbyshire

There are two reasons for planning a trip to Derbyshire. First, the wonderful views over the Peak District. Second, the work of Dr Alister MacKenzie on this undulating and partially wooded site within a mature estate. Wonderful movement in the greens and every bit as inspiring as you’d hope.

Design 32.4 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.6
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

60 Ipswich

Ipswich, Suffolk

Tranquil, classy and well-presented James Braid heathland that would sit very easily among Surrey’s illustrious names. Tight in places but rewarding of good striking and course management, Purdis Heath has been nicely refurbished by Marc Westenborg. Top 60 with something to spare.

Design 30.5 Setting 11.4 Memorability 11.8 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

59 East Devon

Budleigh Salterton, Devon

Enchanting course set 400 feet above sea level and close to clifftops. The 16th tee is probably the pick of a wealth of breathtaking views. The turf is heathland-firm all year round, and the design nous of original architect Harry Colt and the touch of James Braid (8th and 18th notably) still evident.

Design 29.5 Setting 13.3 Memorability 11.5 Playability 7.8 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

The Grove is one of the best golf courses in England.

58 The Grove

Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire

Bunker renovation in 2020 has been a big success and enhanced The Grove further. You won’t find any courses in better condition and Kyle Phillips’ routing is a masterclass in getting the most from a site. Parklands aren’t widely prospering in this ranking, but The Grove still impressed.

Design 30.4 Setting 11.1 Memorability 11.5 Playability 7.8 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

57 Woburn (Dukes)

Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire

The original and still, in our view, the best course at a club with three entries in this Top 100. The short 3rd hole is still one of some panellists’ favourite holes in golf.  Not as claustrophobic as the Duchess, but each hole is well concealed and shrewd positional play is a pre-requisite.

Design 30.2 Setting 11.6 Memorability 11.5 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.3
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

56 Delamere Forest

Delamere, Cheshire

Underrated in our opinion, this classic old school club knows how to look after its classic old school course. Tom Mackenzie has renovated this Herbert Fowler originally, skilfully and sympathetically. Greens are always exceptional and the routing through the rolling forest is clever.

Design 31.0 Setting 11.3 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.8 Consistency 7.9 Presentation: 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

55 Huntercombe

Nuffield, Oxfordshire

Huntercombe was Willie Park’s club, so he could do whatever he wanted when he laid it out – and that meant incorporating a wealth of design features that remain to this day. That means wonderfully exotic greens, terrific grass bunkers (but few sand ones) and beautiful use of the land. Originally more heathland in nature, it is now more woodland but with delightful springy fairways. A majestic experience.

Design 31.4 Setting 11.3 Memorability 12.3 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.0 Presentation: 7.6
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

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54 Goswick

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

There are some high-calibre stretches on this James Braid design that would sit very comfortably in a GB&I, never mind an England top-50 environment. A memorable and varied set of holes on undulating linksland and views out to sea and Holy Island make Goswick a hit.

Design 30.6 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.2 Playability 8.5 Consistency 7.1 Presentation 7.6
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

53 Hindhead

Hindhead, Surrey

The front nine is up there with some of the best of this entire list, being set down in a valley sculpted by a glacier in the Ice Age. That results in lots of elevation change and a thrilling rather than sedate heathland unlike some of its Surrey sisters. Back nine is less exciting, but still highly enjoyable.

Design 30.4 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.8 Consistency 7.3 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.6

Hayling is one of the best golf courses in England.

52 Hayling

Hayling Island, Hants

Hayling’s highest position in one of our rankings is well-deserved. This Tom Simpson links journeys over interesting terrain and the pace rises nicely throughout. Firm, fine fescue turf on the fairways and some enjoyable design quirks all add up to a memorable links.

Design 31.3 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.9 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.7

51 Little Aston

Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

Parklands just aren’t the fashionable choice in general these days, but Little Aston is one of the few that bucks the trend with this slot among the heathland and links. Its moments of design flair, especially around the greens, elevate it above others of its ilk and it is always immaculately presented.

Design 30.8 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.3 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.7

Golf World Top 100: The Best Golf Courses in England 50-26

50 New Zealand

Woking, Surrey

Topography not as exciting as other heaths, but a very playable pine and heather course that is a step back in time in every sense, including the fabulous locker rooms. Benefiting from a refurbishment by Frank Pont, further planned tree clearance around the turn will enhance it even more.

Design 29.5 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.5 Playability 8.6 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.5
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.7

49 Ferndown

Bournemouth, Dorset

We often describe the ‘challenge’ and the ‘examination’ of a course, and golf is always that to a degree. Here, it is definitely more pleasure than penalty. This pine and heathery heaven across a sandy outcrop of land flatters and seduces you with arguably the finest greens in England.

Design 28.0 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.0 Playability 9.6 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 9.6
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.8

RELATED: Ireland's best inland course

48 Aldeburgh (Championship)

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Laid down on maritime heathland in 1884, you can expect gorse-lined fairways, firm sandy soil, no par 5s and a host of par 4s over 400 yards. The SSS off the blue tees is 73 against a par of 68. The views of the River Alde and the North Sea accompany your considerable task on a pedigree venue.

Design 30.8 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.1 Playability 7.3 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.8

47 Beau Desert

Cannock, Staffordshire

A prominent position for a fine Herbert Fowler heathland course that is pushing for entry to our GB&I list. Beau Desert’s firm fairways are lined by spruce, heather and gorse, demanding accuracy off the tee. A terrific finishing hole rounds off a high-class inland experience on Cannock Chase.

Design 31.0 Setting 11.5 Memorability 11.5 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.8

46 Seacroft

Skegness, Lincolnshire

Moves into the top 50 in front of big names, recognising the ongoing improvements at a relatively low-profile links that deserves acclaim. Buckthorn removal has reintroduced vistas across the course and towards the sea, while bunker renovation and removal/addition is reaping rewards.

Design 31.0 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.1 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 77.8

45 Wentworth (East)

Virginia Water, Surrey

“I suspect most Wentworth members prefer the East to the West, for its unusual and attractive mix of par 4s which are either temptingly short or testingly long,” says one panellist. It is more of a traditional heathland than the much-changed West, and all the better for that. High-calibre stuff.

Design 31.1 Setting 12.1 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.3
Golf World Top 100 Total 79.6

Sherwood Forest is one of the best golf courses in England.

44 Sherwood Forest

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

A tough heathland with a string of 400+ yard par 4s on the back nine, and that can leave some suggesting Sherwood is a little serious to be in the top 40. But the greens can be intricate, with the short 10th rippling without a care as it rises between bunkers to the slightest of bowls. Quietly excellent.

Design 31.4 Setting 12.1 Memorability 12.2 Playability 7.2 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.4
Golf World Top 100 Total 79.6

43 Southport and Ainsdale

Southport, Merseyside

The two-time Ryder Cup host begins with a gorgeous par 3 and continues with a lovely par 5 to get S&A off to a fine start. A routing that darts about the linksland adds to the feeling that this is a thinking man’s links, and it also includes the crater-like Gumbleys bunker on the 16th as part of a fine finish.

Design 32.2 Setting 11.3 Memorability 11.7 Playability 8.9 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 79.7

42 Walton Heath (New)

Tadworth, Surrey

Like its higher-ranked sister the Old, the New was designed by Herbert Fowler – opening as a nine-holer initially. It begins in relatively sedate fashion and that costs it a little in the consistency stakes. But after that the New is arguably more fun and definitely more playable – so, plenty to like.

Design 31.3 Setting 12.3 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 79.8

RELATED: How good is Scotland's newest links course?

41 The Berkshire (Blue)

Bracknell, Berkshire

Both nines here begin with short holes... both weighing in at 200+yards long. It sets the tone for a round that is generally regarded as tougher than sister course the Red, even if the courses offer the same kind of classy heathland-woodland experience. A day ticket here is one to be savoured.

Design 31.2 Setting 12.3 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 8.3
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.0

40 The Addington

Croydon, Surrey

It will be fascinating to see where The Addington places in 2022. By then, the Mike Clayton and Frank Pont overhaul of this JF Abercromby classic will be complete. It has so much potential and we love it anyway, so we have high hopes. Just so much fun to be had on this heathland’s undulating terrain.

Design 31.0 Setting 11.8 Memorability 12.8 Playability 8.8 Consistency 7.6 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.0

Royal North Devon is one of the best golf courses in England.

39 Royal North Devon

Westward Ho!, Devon

Such a cool club and a cool links, with so much design nuance to appeal to the connoisseur and a setting to delight all. The 7th green may well be lost to erosion – and it is one of the best at Westward Ho! – but a replacement has already been built, shaped and seeded. Unsung hero of the south west.

Design 32.5 Setting 10.9 Memorability 12.6 Playability 8.7 Consistency 7.6 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.2

38 Liphook

Liphook, Hampshire

We are marking Liphook on the course our panel has seen, rather than the one with the new holes by Tom Mackenzie. That course is an exquisite heathland which, by the time you’ve played the 3rd, you are smitten with. Two of England’s finest par 3s and a joy to strike irons from its firm, sandy fairways.

Design 31.1 Setting 12.0 Memorability 12.6 Playability 8.8 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.2

37 Parkstone

Bournemouth, Dorset

No area splits our panel like Dorset, and Bournemouth in particular. Parkstone, Broadstone and Ferndown are all heathlands, but all distinctive; Parkstone enjoys a grand, rolling landscape that is perfect for golf. That results in memorable holes – which are in best-ever condition.

Design 31.7 Setting 12.0 Memorability 12.6 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.3

Broadstone Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in England.

36 Broadstone

Bournemouth, Dorset

It really is a toss-up between Broadstone and Parkstone for Dorset’s No.1 – as their positions demonstrate. So our advice is this; go and play them both. Broadstone has raunchy terrain and adventurous holes as a result. Frank Pont has nursed it back to its prime. A notable walk, but totally worth it.

Design 32.1 Setting 12.0 Memorability 12.6 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.6 Presentation 8.1 Golf World Top 100 Total 80.3

35 West Hill

Woking, Surrey

Often vastly underrated, this heathland provides entertainment of all kinds from start to finish, with the par-4 3rd, 14th and 18th and par-3 15th as tough as you like, balanced by four further par 3s and some drive-and-pitch holes to offer birdie chances. Far from the poor relation of the ‘Three Ws’.

Design 32.1 Setting 11.8 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.2 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.3

RELATED: What is this year's best fairway wood?

34 Royal Worlington

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Nine holes are enough to get Royal Worlington & Newmarket comfortably in the top 40. More than one panellist believes it has some of the greatest green complexes ever devised and all who have played here agree the holes make brilliant use of the land. ‘The Sacred Nine’ is a must play.

Design 33.3 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.8 Playability 8.4 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.6
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.3

33 Moortown

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Moortown were pruning trees and encouraging heather before it became as popular as it is now. That foresight has been rewarded with a course of more open views, firmer turf and very vibrant heather.

Design 32.3 Setting 11.9 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.2 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.3

32 Worplesdon

Woking, Surrey

“A glorious walk, always immaculately presented,” said one panellist. “Truly delightful. A beautiful and traditional course I could happily play every day,” said another. You get the idea. This traditional heathland is renovating its bunkers and encouraging heather, too.

Design 32.3 Setting 11.8 Memorability 12.1 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.3

31 Wentworth (West)

Virginia Water, Surrey

Tough from any tee, but the latest iteration has made it more playable to ensure it is an alluring prospect again – and don’t underestimate the thrill of playing holes you know from seeing them so often on TV.  An excellent strategic test and though not a heathland again yet, the feel is returning.

Design 32.0 Setting 11.2 Memorability 13.3 Playability 6.7 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 9.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.4

30 Royal Ashdown Forest

East Grinstead, Sussex

The Old at RAF is draped over fantastic terrain for a charming examination of your game. Famously bunkerless, it is a very natural heathland at an old school but welcoming club. Play here in the summer when the heather is bursting with colour and the fairways are as hard as links.

Design 33.2 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.8 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.6

Prince's Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in England.

29 Prince’s

Sandwich, Kent

Every panellist who has been to Prince’s in the past 18 months has been very impressed by Martin Ebert’s renovation. Whether it is the Shore, Dunes or Himalayas loops, it is now so much fun. An Open venue but does not try to compete with its neighbours, happy with what it offers – and rightly so.

Design 32.0 Setting 12.2 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.2 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.6

28 West Lancs

Blundellsands, Lancashire

One of the tougher layouts on England’s north-west coast, this breezy championship layout lacks the pyrotechnics elsewhere in the area, but we have long championed it. Rarely do you see the sea, but the firm turf doesn’t let you forget you’re on the coast. West Lancs scores well in the ‘pure’ stakes.

Design 33.0 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.0 Playability 7.6 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.5
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.6

27 Hillside

Southport, Lancashire

A course of two halves – but don’t make the mistake of thinking the opening half is a mere warm-up. In fact, the front nine is a strong, traditional links with more nuance than the back nine. That said, what follows on the second is indubitably exhilarating and stunning big dune golf.

Design 32.0 Setting 12.4 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.7 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 8.4
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.6

26 Hankley Common

Farnham, Surrey

Magnificent, largely open heathland which is a joy to play all year round. Set in glorious isolation, heather stretches as far as the eye can see and when in full bloom there are few more picturesque places to play inland. Wonderful, springy fairways and scoreable if you can avoid the heather from the tee.

Design 31.5 Setting 12.3 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.5 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.6

Golf World Top 100: The Best Golf Courses in England 25-11

25 Hunstanton

Hunstanton, Norfolk

Hunstanton gets better and better as the round progresses. This traditional links is often played with the wind at your back for the front nine, but the back nine is a fearsome challenge. Exceptional greens that run fast and true, this is a championship venue with lots of class.

Design 32.1 Setting 12.4 Memorability 11.9 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 80.9

The Berkshire (Red) is one of the best golf courses in England.

24 The Berkshire (Red)

Bracknell, Berkshire

Such an interesting course with incredible variety. With each hole in splendid isolation and six terrific par 3s of different lengths, it is a delight among towering pines which give a very different feel to other top heathlands. Some panellists queried recent work – but it remains one of England’s greats.

Design 32.2 Setting 12.3 Memorability 12.2 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.3
Golf World Top 100 Total 81.2

23 Notts (Hollinwell)

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

A notable slot for Hollinwell because this is a course that doesn’t do much shouting about how good it is. Well, just look at the big names below it on this list. A heck of a routing which makes good use of the rolling topography – generally with each hole in glorious solitude. A class heathland.

Design 33.2 Setting 12.5 Memorability 12.5 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 82.4

22 Saunton (East)

Braunton, Devon

One of the best opening series of holes in Britain and Ireland, with a series of classy, demanding two-shotters setting the East off on a high-calibre start. The springy turf, fast and true greens and the salty air are a joy and it could so easily be 10 places higher. There is so little to choose among the elite.

Design 33.2 Setting 12.7 Memorability 12.8 Playability 7.4 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 82.4

21 Burnham and Berrow

Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset

Debuted in our first English ranking in the 40s, but we have been nudging it up the list ever since. The front is wonderful, starting with the fabulous 1st that rises and narrows gently to provide one of the best openers in England. The 3rd, its green encircled by large dunes, and elevated 4th keep up the heroics.

Design 34.1 Setting 11.5 Memorability 13.8 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.6 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 83.8

20 Silloth-on-Solway

Silloth, Cumbria

Remote, unfussy, low profile (relatively) Silloth made it into our World Top 100. Those who’ve been will have nodded sagely at that. Those that haven’t will wonder if it can really be that good. It is. An invigorating journey via a clever routing among dunes and cool green complexes.

Design 34.2 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.5 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.1

19 Formby

Southport, Merseyside

“Something for everyone, with elements of heathland, woodland and links flowing seamlessly and with gradually increasing momentum,” reckons one panellist. Another thinks it is better than Birkdale. Super turf, good variety and impressively consistent throughout the phases.

Design 34.9 Setting 12.3 Memorability 12.9 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 7.7
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.2

18 West Sussex

Pulborough, West Sussex

Quintessential English golf. Pulborough sends you on a tranquil but exciting journey up, down and across the slopes of a delightful heathland site. We love the gorse hedge on the inside of the 14th and the back-to-back par 3s at five and six. Underestimate West Sussex at your peril.

Design 34.1 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.1 Playability 8.3 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 8.4
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.4

17 Royal West Norfolk

Brancaster, Norfolk

The brilliant links keep coming... this Norfolk gem is up there with Lahinch, Prestwick and North Berwick for fun, idiosyncratic golf. The holes around the turn affected by the tide are often noted as the stars, but there in fact are a dozen classics. Rewards strategy and imagination.

Design 35.1 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.6 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.9

Woking Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in England.

16 Woking

Woking, Surrey

The best green complexes among England’s heathlands. The beautiful mix of sand, pines and heather. The 4th... where strategy was born. Woking is now in the position it deserves to be. The Woking member is a lucky golfer indeed...

Design 35.5 Setting 11.9 Memorability 13.5 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 8.0
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.9

15 Rye

Rye, East Sussex

Rye’s highest-ever position in our England ranking... and some would have it a touch higher still. That’s how good this Harry Colt seaside masterpiece is. The par 3s are predictably good from the master of the short hole, but the 4s are not far behind. Charming, playable and so easy to love.

Design 35.6 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.6 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.9

14 Royal Cinque Ports

Deal, Kent

An old-fashioned out-and-back links, which has hosted The Open and remains strong enough to stage the Amateur. For us mere mortals, it is entertaining because of the perfect links terrain on which it sits. The topsy-turvy 3rd and its comically concertinaed fairway is not to be missed.

Design 35.9 Setting 11.5 Memorability 13.3 Playability 7.2 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 8.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 84.9

13 St Enodoc (Church)

Wadebridge, Cornwall

Has wonderful scenery, but even more appealing are the unforgettable holes; the Church offers more memorable holes than almost anywhere else in this prestigious list. The opening six and closing handful are especially good. Thirteenth is high, but we don’t think it will disappoint.

Design 34.5 Setting 13.7 Memorability 14.0 Playability 8.0 Consistency 6.8 Presentation 8.3 
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.3
St George's Hill is one of the best golf courses in England.

12 St George’s Hill

Weybridge, Surrey

Travels up and down in an entertaining figure-of-eight formation and always exudes a refined elegance which Harry Colt was a master at creating. A decade ago, SGH was just outside the top 20... now it is just outside the top 10. We are sure this is an accurate reflection of this heathland’s allure.

Design 34.4 Setting 11.9 Memorability 13.5 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 8.6
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.3

RELATED: What is this year's best wedge?

11 Ganton

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

“An inland links or a windswept heathland?  Who cares when there is so much fun to be had?” writes one panellist. Ganton is notoriously hard to classify and it’s not that easy to play, but it is pure class – and any month of the year, because it is firm and pristine whether it is November or July.

Design 34.8 Setting 11.9 Memorability 12.8 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.3

Golf World Top 100: The Best Golf Courses in England 10-1

Click the course name to read Golf World top 100 Editor Chris Bertram's full review

Alwoodley is one of the best golf courses in England.

10 Alwoodley

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Alister MacKenzie’s first design has obvious nostalgic appeal, but Alwoodley is much more than a homage. Routed in an out-and-back configuration, the road home is tough, but there are lighter moments throughout and springy moorland-heathland turf aided by recent renovation and maintenance work.

Design 34.4 Setting 11.9 Memorability 12.8 Playability 8.5 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.4

Royal Liverpool, known as Hoylake, is one of the best golf courses in England.

Royal Liverpool

Hoylake, Cheshire

Hoylake may not be routed through huge dunes like Birkdale or Hillside over the Mersey in Southport, but there is terrific movement in the fairways and plenty for both the thrill-seeker to enjoy around the turn and on the new 15th by Martin Ebert. It’s now getting the credit it deserves.

Design 36.1 Setting 11.2 Memorability 12.9 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 8.4
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.4

Royal Lytham & St Annes is one of the best golf courses in England.

Royal Lytham & St Annes

Lytham, Lancashire

First, let’s get it straight that Lytham is not flat and boring. There are plenty of undulations in the fairways, even if tees and greens are on the same level. We also find beauty in the infamous bunkering that frames holes. Not pretty beyond the links, but an unremittingly strong examination.

Design 37.3 Setting 8.5 Memorability 13.4 Playability 7.3 Consistency 9.6 Presentation 9.3
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.4

Walton Heath's Old Course is one of the best golf courses in England.

7 Walton Heath (Old)

Tadworth, Surrey

Incorporates more humps and hollows than many of its heathland counterparts – a quirky element that will appeal to many. The 4th, 12th and 16th are epic and the Old’s heathland panoramas are an absolute delight. Seventh feels low for a course of this majesty... but just look at the class above it.

Design 34.2 Setting 12.2 Memorability 13.0 Playability 8.4 Consistency 8.8 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.5

Swinley Forest is one of the best golf courses in England.

6 Swinley Forest

Ascot, Berkshire

A step back in time in every sense and, as this noteworthy ranking suggests, one that we absolutely adore. Colt’s finest moment? Perhaps. Certainly his brilliant routing of the broadly undulating slopes is masterful and a set of greens that truly complement the terrain. Heathland perfection.

Design 34.6 Setting 12.0 Memorability 13.7 Playability 8.5 Consistency 8.7 Presentation 8.2
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.7

Sunningdale New is one of the best golf courses in England.

5 Sunningdale (New)

Sunningdale, Surrey

It opens and closes in a sedate manner, but in between it matches its higher-ranked sister. Some on the panel think it better and certainly it is at least as challenging, if that is what you prefer. Arguably more consistent 2-17 than the Old, and in the sporty 7th you have one of England’s finest.

Design 34.6 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.4 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.8

Woodhall Spa's Hotchkin is one of the best golf courses in England.

4 Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)

Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire

Woodhall Spa has always been one of the finest courses in England, but this highest-ever position is reward for the bravery of the club to improve the world-class course they have. Engaging Tom Doak to conduct an overhaul was bold, but his nous has paid dividends.

Tree and bunker management has resulted in better heathland views, a firmer, faster turf and an increase in playability as well as strategy. Some holes are unrecognisable, others merely tweaked. The overall package is that of a course that is a ‘must play’ for all discerning golfers.

Design 36.5 Setting 11.6 Memorability 12.2 Playability 7.6 Consistency 8.8 Presentation 9.1
Golf World Top 100 Total 85.8

RELATED: Woodhall Spa's renovation story

Royal Birkdale is one of the best golf courses in England.

Royal Birkdale

Southport, Merseyside 

If big dune golf is your thing, you’d have Birkdale as your No.1. This multiple Open venue is relentlessly good and very fair – it’s ‘right out in front of you’, as Tour players say. They love it because it is predominantly fairways sliding between tall dunes, and you rarely get a bad bounce. If you like a bit more eccentricity, you’ll prefer Sandwich.

Design 34.3 Setting 12.2 Memorability 13.9 Playability 8.0 Consistency 9.0 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 86.3

Sunningdale Old is one of the best golf courses in England.

2 Sunningdale (Old)

Sunningdale, Surrey

Half the panel would have the Old as their No.1, which the marks confirm. This Willie Park and Harry Colt design among pine and heather has more than stood the test of time – make no mistake it remains a very fine examination for all amateurs. The Old is a heavenly experience, as the great Bobby Jones said after playing it in 1926: “I wish I could take this course home with me.”

Design 35.6 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.9 Playability 8.2 Consistency 8.7 Presentation 8.9
Golf World Top 100 Total 87.4

Royal St George's is the best golf course in England.

Royal St George’s

Sandwich, Kent

A very close contest, but Sandwich is our English No.1. It does not appeal to all, mainly those with a card and pencil in their hand and playing for a big sum of money. Those in Major contention want flat fairways, true bounces and an exact correlation between quality of strike and end result. Those of us who play golf for enjoyment rather than for a living and a legacy relish such quirkiness. Of course, even amateurs can be frustrated by Sandwich’s humps and hollows. But the charm and character of this unique links surely outweighs the occasional bad bounce.

Royal St George’s, which staged England’s first Open – in 1894, a mere seven years after it opened – begins with a gentle hole without too many of the eccentricities which follow. But it isn’t long before you are wide eyed at what lies before you, ‘Hell’s Bunker’ on the 4th being the second highest in England and making for a truly awesome tee shot.

In summary, a breathtaking dunescape, awesome green sites and epic holes.

Design 36.3 Setting 12.6 Memorability 13.9 Playability 8.3 Consistency 8.6 Presentation 7.8
Golf World Top 100 Total 87.5

READ NEXT: Golf World Top 100 Links Courses in Britain and Ireland