Golf World Top 100: Best Links Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland

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What are the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks the best seaside courses across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Welcome to the first ever Golf World Top 100 Links Courses in Great Britain & Ireland ranking. It represents the start of a new era for our highly respected course rankings, which are now published in Today’s Golfer magazine and here at todaysgolfer.co.uk.

Golf World Top 100: The Best Golf Courses and Resorts

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 ranked that month.

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.

Ballyliffin (Old) is one of the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

What is the Golf World Top 100?

What is a links golf course?

The British Golf Museum defines a links as: “Land near the coast characterised by undulating terrain, often associated with dunes, infertile sandy soil and indigenous grasses such as marram, sea lyme, and the fescues and bents which, when properly managed, produce the fine textured turf for which links are famed.”

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Jump to the Best Links Golf Courses ranking

100-76 | 75-51 | 50-26 | 25-11 | 10-1

How we score the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland

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. No matter what your budget is, there are courses to fit your pocket. And you can play every course in this list, even if some offer very limited tee times.

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The Golf World Top 100 panel which selected the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

Meet the Golf World Top 100 ranking panel

Chris Bertram: Top 100 Courses editor has played all 100 links golf courses in our list. Handicap 11.

Michael Bailey: 88 of the Top 100 played. Handicap 17

Peter Bosworth: 96 of the Top 100 played. Handicap 14

Olle Dahlgren: 98 of the Top 100 played. Handicap 6

Nick Dungay: 96 of the Top 100 played. Handicap 11

Alan Ferguson: All of the Top 100 golf courses played. Handicap 4

Simon Haines: 61 of the Top 100 played. Handicap 3

Clyde Johnson: 87 of the Top 100 playedHandicap 8

Ronan Rafferty: All of the Top 100 played. Handicap Pro

Ben Sargent: 84 of the Top 100 played. Handicap Pro

Stephen Vincent: 73 of the Top 100 played. Handicap 10

In addition, we accepted input from our Scottish specialists Alan McPherson and Neal Stewart, Irish golf courses supremo Kevin Markham and Wales golf aficionados Richard Allen and Phil Davies.

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

St Annes Old Links narrowly missed out on a place in the Golf World Top 100 Links Courses in Britain and Ireland.

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

Not every links in Great Britain & Ireland can get into the Top 100... but here are the 50 that came closest and stand the best chance of making the main ranking the next time we judge the best links golf courses.

Royal Portrush (Valley), Lundin, Conwy, St Annes Old Links, Monifieth, Strandhill, Irvine (Bogside), Golspie, Connemara, Tain, Leven, Fortrose & Rosemarkie, Archerfield (Dirleton), West Cornwall, Ashburnham, West Kilbride, Crail (Balcomie), Portmarnock Links, Royal Dublin, Bude & North Cornwall, Moray (New), Carnoustie (Burnside), St Andrews (Jubilee), Peterhead, Gullane No.3, Porthmadog, Nairn Dunbar, St Andrews (Eden), Ballybunion (Cashen), Royal Troon (Portland), Borth and Ynyslas, Kilmarnock Barassie, Cleveland, Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce), Durness, Newburgh on Ythan, Hesketh, Cullen, Weston-super-Mare, Spey Bay, Littlehampton, Hartlepool, Prestwick St Nicholas, Wigtownshire County, Pwllheli, Powfoot, Carnoustie (Buddon), North West, Castlerock (Bann), Isle of Harris.

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Scotland has the most courses in the Golf World Top 100 Links Courses in Great Britain and Ireland ranking.

Which country has the most links golf courses in the ranking?

Of the 100 golf courses in the main ranking, it'll come as little surprise to learn than Scotland's links dominate with 40 courses, including six in the top 10. England has 29 of the best links golf courses, followed by Ireland with 20.

Then comes Wales with six, followed by Northern Ireland with five. But, in the case of the latter, sometimes its quality not quantity that counts with two of Northern Ireland's courses in the top five.

RELATED: This is contintental Europe's best golf course

Golf World Top 100: The Best Links Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland

To read Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram's review of each course, simply click on its name

100 Pyle & Kenfig

Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan, Wales

Design 29.9 Setting 12.6 Memorability 13.5 Playability 7.2 Consistency 5.9 Presentation 7.0 

 Golf World Top 100 total: 76.1

99 Dunaverty

Southland, Argyll, Scotland

Design 27.4 Setting 13.1 Memorability 13.4 Playability 8.2 Consistency 7.3 Presentation 7.0

 Golf World Top 100 total: 76.4

98 Donegal

Murvagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Design 32.2 Setting 10.2  Memorability 12.2 Playability 5.9 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 7.8

 Golf World Top 100 total: 76.5

Shiskine is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

97 Shiskine

Blackwaterfoot, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Design 27.4  Setting 13.2 Memorability 13.4  Playability 8.2 Consistency 7.2  Presentation 7.1

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.5

96 Castlerock (Mussenden)

Castlerock, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Design 29.4 Setting 12.1  Memorability 12.6 Playability 7.3 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.5

95 Tenby

Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Design 28.2 Setting 13.3  Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.3 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.5

94 Dooks

Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Design 28.3 Setting 13.8  Memorability 12.5 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.5

93 Seaton Carew

Seaton Carew, Co. Druham, England

Design 31.6 Setting 9.2  Memorability 11.8 Playability 7.9 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.5

92 Saunton (West)

Braunton, Devon, England

Design 30.4 Setting 11.2  Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.8

 Golf World Top 100 total: 76.7

RELATED: Is this the golf club of the future?

Perranporth is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

91 Perranporth

Perranporth, Cornwall, England 

Design 28.4 Setting 13.7  Memorability 12.7 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.7

90 Askernish

South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland 

Design 30.4 Setting 12.7 Memorability 13.4 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 5.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.7

89 Narin & Portnoo

Portnoo, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Design 30.5 Setting 12.2 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 76.8

88 Kilspindie

Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland

Design 28.2 Setting 12.4 Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.9 Consistency 7.8 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 77

87 Murcar

Bridge of Don, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Design 30.2 Setting 13.2 Memorability 11.0 Playability 8.1 Consistency 7.3 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.2

86 Royal County Down (Annesley)

Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Design 29.2 Setting 13.1 Memorability 11.2 Playability 8.8 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 8.0

Golf World Top 100 total 77.2

85 Seascale

Seascale, Cumbria, England

Design 30.0 Setting 13.0 Memorability 11.2 Playability 8.5 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.0

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.2

84 Portsalon

Fanad, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Design 30.0 Setting 13.4 Memorability 11.4 Playability 8.6 Consistency 6.6 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.4

83 Gullane No.2

Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland 

Design 31.3 Setting 11.0 Memorability 11.5 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 8.5 

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

82 Montrose (1562)

Montrose, Angus, Scotland

Design 30.1 Setting 13.5 Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.7 Consistency 6.3 Presentation 7.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

81 Rosapenna (Old Tom)

Downings, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Design 31.3 Setting 11.8 Memorability 11.6 Playability 8.1 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

80 Wallasey

Wirral, Merseyside, England 

Design 31.7 Setting 11.1 Memorability 11.8 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.6 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

Fraserburgh is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

79 Fraserburgh

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 

Design 31.5 Setting 11.7 Memorability 11.5 Playability 8.1 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

78 Trevose

Padstow, Cornwall, England

Design 30.1 Setting 13.5 Memorability 11.2 Playability 7.7 Consistency 7.5  Presentation 7.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

77 Panmure

Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland

Design 31.2 Setting 11.1  Memorability 11.3 Playability 8.3  Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

76 Hayling

Hayling Island, Hampshire, England 

Design 31.0 Setting 11.8  Memorability 11.9 Playability 8.1 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 7.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5


Tom Watson is a five-time Open champion and legend of links golf.

Five-time Open champion Tom Watson on his love of links golf courses

“The first time I played the Old Course was in 1978. I really didn’t like it. It was too blind and there were too many bounces and variables. I didn’t like playing the game with so many variables. I liked to be in control.

"l didn’t grow to love links golf until just prior to the 1981 Open at Sandwich. My epiphany came during a wonderful series of rounds I had with my friend Sandy Tatum. We started out at Ballybunion in Ireland and had a glorious time there. Then we flew over and played Prestwick and Troon in one day, before taking a helicopter up to Royal Dornoch.

"On the 16th hole, I said to Sandy: “This is about as much fun as I’ve ever had playing golf.” That’s when I truly fell in love with the links style of golf.”

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Golf World Top 100: The Best Links Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland 75-51

To read Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram's review of each course, simply click on its name

75 Littlestone

Littlestone-on-Sea, Kent, England 

Design 30.5 Setting 11.2  Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.2 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.5

Castletown is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

74 Castletown

Castletown, Isle of Man, England 

Design 30.2 Setting 12.8  Memorability 12.3  Playability 7.7  Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.6

73 Dunbar

Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland

Design 31.0 Setting 12.3  Memorability 11.0 Playability 8.2 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.6

72 Seacroft

Skegness, Lincolnshire, England 

Design 31.0 Setting 11.5  Memorability 12.0 Playability 8.7 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.8

71 Portstewart

Portstewart, Derry, Northern Ireland

Design 31.0 Setting 13.1  Memorability 13.5  Playability 7.4 Consistency 5.5 Presentation 7.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.8

70 Goswick

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England

Design 31.0 Setting 11.5  Memorability 12.1 Playability 8.6  Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top100 total: 77.8

69 Glasgow Gailes

Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland

Design 32.9 Setting 11.5  Memorability 11.9 Playability 7.6  Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.0 

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.8

68 Southerness

Southerness, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Design 32.4 Setting 11.5  Memorability 11.9 Playability 7.8  Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.8

Dundonald Links is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

67 Dundonald

Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland 

Design 32.8 Setting 7.7  Memorability 12.3 Playability 8.0 Consistency 8.6 Presentation 8.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 77.9

66 Tralee

Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland 

Design 30.0 Setting 14.1 Memorability 13.8 Playability 7.3 Consistency 6.0 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 79

65 Moray (Old)

Lossiemouth, Inverness-shire, Scotland

Design 32.0 Setting 11.5 Memorability 13.1 Playability 8.6 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 79.8

64 Luffness

Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland 

Design 32.9 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.7 Playability 7.4 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 79.8

63 Ballyliffin (Old)

Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Design 32.0 Setting 11.5 Memorability 13.1 Playability 8.6 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 79.8

62 Southport and Ainsdale

Southport, Merseyside, England

Design 32.4 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.7 Playability 8.9 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 79.9

61 The Renaissance Club

Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Design 33.2 Setting 11.6 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.5 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 8.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 80

Aberdovey is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

60 Aberdovey

Aberdovey, Gwynedd, Wales

Design 32.4 Setting 11.5 Memorability 13.6 Playability 8.3 Consistency 6.5 Presentation 7.7 

Golf World top 100 total: 80

59 Elie

Elie, Fife, Scotland

Design 31.4 Setting 11.9 Memorability 12.3 Playability 8.6 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 80

58 Rosapenna (Sandy Hills)

Downings, Co. Donegal, Ireland 

Design 33.0 Setting 13.8 Memorability 13.1 Playability 5.3 Consistency 8.6 Presentation 6.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 80

57 St Andrews (New)

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland 

Design 32.4 Setting 11.9 Memorability 11.0 Playability 8.6 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 80

56 Enniscrone

Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Design 32.5 Setting 12.9 Memorability 13.4 Playability 7.3 Consistency 6.4 Presentation 7.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.1

55 Brora

Brora, Sutherland, Scotland

Design 31.4 Setting 11.9 Memorability 12.6 Playability 8.6 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.1

54 Royal North Devon

Westward Ho!, Devon, England 

Design 32.5 Setting 10.9 Memorability 12.6 Playability 8.7 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.3

53 Carne

Belmullet, Co. Mayo, Ireland 

Design 33.2 Setting 12.8 Memorability 13.9 Playability 6.6 Consistency 6.8 Presentation 7.0.

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.3

52 Ballyliffin (Glashedy)

Ballyliffin, Donegal, Ireland

Design 34.2 Setting 12.6 Memorability 12.2 Playability 6.3 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 7.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.6

Pennard is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

51 Pennard

Swansea, West Glamorgan, Wales

Design 31.3 Setting 12.6 Memorability 13.6 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.6

Three legends of the game pick their best links golf course

Sir Nick Faldo

“If I think about memorability, I think about Muirfield. It is a good, solid, honest course. It is a good mind game. But you better play well there!”

Annika Sorenstam

“St Andrews is a fabulous place. It’s just a treat to play the golf course. I love it. It does not get better than the Old Course.”

Colin Montgomerie

“I put Royal Porthcawl in the same category as Turnberry and Royal Birkdale. If the weather plays its part, it’s a super test.”

RELATED: The best golf course in England revealed

Golf World Top 100: The Best Links Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland 50-26

To read Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram's review of each course, simply click on its name

50 Prince’s

Sandwich, Kent, England

Design 33.0 Setting 12.2 Memorability 12.0 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.3 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.6

49 West Lancs

Blundellsands, Merseyside, England

Design 32.7 Setting 11.2 Memorability 11.9 Playability 7.3 Consistency 8.7 Presentation 8.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.6

48 Nairn

Nairn, Highlands, Scotland 

Design 33.0 Setting 12.5 Memorability 12 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 8.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.6

Hunstanton is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

47 Hunstanton

Hunstanton, Norfolk, England

Design 33.0 Setting 11.9 Memorability 11.4 Playability 7.7 Consistency 8.2 Presentation 8.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.6

46 Royal St David’s

Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales

Design 33.5 Setting 12.4 Memorability 11.8 Playability 6.9 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 80.7

45 Dumbarnie Links

Fife, Scotland

Design 31.1  Setting 13.6 Memorability 13.2 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.7  Presentation 7.1

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.0

44 Machrihanish Dunes

Machrihanish, Argyll, Scotland 

Design 33.1 Setting 12.6  Memorability 13.5 Playability 7.0 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 6.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.0

43 Hillside

Southport, Lancashire, England

Design 32.9 Setting 12.6  Memorability 12.9 Playability 7.8 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.0

42 County Louth

Baltray, Co. Louth, Ireland

Design 33.2 Setting 11.6  Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.4

41 Gullane No.1

Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Design 33.2 Setting 11.6  Memorability 12.4 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.3 

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.4

Trump International Golf Links Ireland (Doonbeg) is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

40 Trump International Golf Links Ireland (Doonbeg)

Kilkee, Co. Clare, Ireland 

Design 33.0 Setting 13.7  Memorability 12.7 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.4 Presentation 7.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.4

39 County Sligo

Rosses Point, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Design 33.9 Setting 12.8  Memorability 12.6 Playability 7.1 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.5

38 The European

Brittas Bay, Co. Dublin, Ireland 

Design 32.5 Setting 13.5  Memorability 13.3 Playability 6.1 Consistency 8.6 Presentation 7.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 81.6

37 Western Gailes

Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland 

Design 34.9 Setting 11.5  Memorability 12.2 Playability 6.9 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.1

36 The Island

Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland 

Design 34.3 Setting 12.0  Memorability 13.1 Playability 7.2 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.3

Rye is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

35 Rye

Rye, East Sussex, England

Design 35.3 Setting 12.1  Memorability 13.0 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.3

34 Silloth-on-Solway

Silloth, Cumbria, England

Design 34.2 Setting 12.1  Memorability 13.5 Playability 7.6 Consistency 7.8 Presentation 7.1

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.3

33 The Machrie

Islay, Argyll, Scotland

Design 34.2 Setting 12.8  Memorability 13.0 Playability 7.5 Consistency 6.9 Presentation 8.0

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.4

32 Saunton (East)

Braunton, Devon, England

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

31 Machrihanish

Machrihanish, Argyll, Scotland 

Design 34.7 Setting 12.5  Memorability 13.5 Playability 7.5 Consistency 6.8 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.4

30 Royal Porthcawl

Rest Bay, Mid Glamorgan, Wales 

Design 33.2 Setting 12.5  Memorability 12.7 Playability 7.7 Consistency 7.7 Presentation: 8.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 82.5

29 Royal West Norfolk

Brancaster, Norfolk, England

Design 34.7 Setting 12.1  Memorability 13.9 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.1

Golf World Top 100 total: 83.5

Burnham and Berrow is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

28 Burnham and Berrow

Burnham, Somerset, England 

Design 34.1 Setting 11.5  Memorability 13.8 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.8 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 83.8

27 Formby

Southport, Lancashire, England

Design 34.9 Setting 12.3  Memorability 12.9 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.6 Presentation 7.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 84.2

26 Royal Aberdeen

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Design 34.8 Setting 12.6  Memorability 13.6 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 8.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 84.6

Golf World Top 100: The Best Links Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland 25-11

To read Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram's review of each course, simply click on its name

25 Castle Stuart

Inverness, Highlands, Scotland

Design 34.2 Setting 14.3  Memorability 12.9 Playability 8.3 Consistency 7.2 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 84.8

Royal Cinque Ports is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

24 Royal Cinque Ports

Deal, Kent, England 

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

23 Prestwick

Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland 

Design 35.9 Setting 11.7 Memorability 13.8 Playability 8.6 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.3

22 Lahinch

Liscannor Bay, Co. Clare, Ireland 

Design 36.0 Setting 13.0 Memorability 13.9 Playability 8.0  Consistency 7.0 Presentation 7.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.3

21 St Enodoc (Church)

Wadebridge, Cornwall, England

Design 35.5 Setting 13.7 Memorability 14.0 Playability 7.5 Consistency 6.8 Presentation 7.8

 Golf World Top 100 total: 85.3

20 Royal Liverpool

Hoylake, Merseyside, England

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

Waterville is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

19 Waterville

Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Design 35.0 Setting 13.6 Memorability 13.4 Playability 8.0 Consistency 7.5 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.4

18 Royal Troon (Championship)

Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland 

Design 35.4 Setting 12.4 Memorability 13.8 Playability 7.5 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.4

17 Ballybunion (Old)

Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Design 35.6 Setting 13.8  Memorability 13.9 Playability 7.6 Consistency 6.5 Presentation 8.2

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.6

16 Skibo Castle

Dornoch, Highlands, Scotland

Design 34.5 Setting 14.0 Memorability 13.1 Playability 6.9 Consistency 8.0 Presentation 9.1

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.6

15 Trump International Golf Links Aberdeen

Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Design 33.8 Setting 13.9 Memorability 14.4 Playability 6.7 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.6

14 Royal Lytham & St Annes

Lytham, Lancashire, England

Design 37.3 Setting 8.5 Memorability 13.4 Playability 7.6 Consistency 9.6 Presentation 9.3

Golf World Top 100 total: 85.7

Cruden Bay is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

13 Cruden Bay

Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Design 35.9 Setting 12.7 Memorability 14.4 Playability 7.5 Consistency 7.9 Presentation 7.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 86.0

12 Kingsbarns Golf Links

Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland

Design 34.3 Setting 13.9 Memorability 13.4 Playability 8.5 Consistency 8.1 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 86.0

11 Portmarnock (Old)

Malahide, Dublin, Ireland 

Design 36.2 Setting 11.8 Memorability 13.4 Playability 7.0 Consistency 9.2 Presentation 8.4

Golf World Top 100 total: 86.0

Golf World Top 100: The Best Links Golf Courses in Great Britain and Ireland 10-1

To read Top 100 Editor Chris Bertram's review of each course, simply click on its name 

Carnostie Golf Links Championship course is among the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

10 Carnoustie Golf Links (Championship)

Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland

Design 35.8 Setting 10.9 Memorability 13.5 Playability 6. 9 Consistency 9.2 Presentation 9.7

Golf World Top 100 total: 86.0

North Berwick is among the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

9 North Berwick

North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland 

Design 37.1 Setting 12.5  Memorability 14.4 Playability 7.9 Consistency 7.7 Presentation 7.8

Golf World Top 100 total:  87.4

Royal Dornoch is among the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

8 Royal Dornoch

Dornoch, Highlands, Scotland

Design 36.5 Setting 13.4 Memorability 13.5 Playability 7.8 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 7.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 87.4

Royal Birkdale is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

7 Royal Birkdale

Southport, Merseyside, England 

Design 35.3 Setting 12.2 Memorability 13.9 Playability 8.1 Consistency 9.0 Presentation 8.9

Golf World Top 100 total: 87.4

Royal St George's is among the best links golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.

6 Royal St George’s

Sandwich, Kent, England

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

Royal Portrush's Dunluce is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

5 Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

Portrush, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland

Design 35.6 Setting 13.2 Memorability 13.9 Playability 7.6 Consistency 8.4 Presentation 8.8

Golf World Top 100 total: 87.5

Muirfield is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

4 Muirfield

Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland

Design 37.5 Setting 12.1 Memorability 13.2 Playability 7.4 Consistency 9.5 Presentation 9.6

Golf World Top 100 total: 89.3

Trump Turnberry's Ailsa is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

3 Turnberry (Ailsa)

Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland

Design 36.0 Setting 14.4  Memorability 14.4 Playability 8.7 Consistency 8.3 Presentation 8.5

Golf World Top 100 total: 90.3

St Andrews Old Course is one of Great Britain and Ireland's best links golf courses.

2 St Andrews (Old)

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

Design 36.8 Setting 13.2 Memorability 14.0 Playability 8.7 Consistency 8.5 Presentation 9.1

Golf World Top 100 total: 90.3

Royal County Down is the best links golf course in Great Britain and Ireland.

1 Royal County Down (Championship)

Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Design 36.9 Setting 13.7 Memorability 14.1 Playability 7.2 Consistency 8.9 Presentation 9.7 

Golf World Top 100 total: 90.5

Rory McIlroy is a huge fan of Royal County Down.

Why Rory McIlroy loves Royal County Down

I believe this par 3 is also one of the most photographed golf holes anywhere. Essentially, it’s a straightforward hole on a calm day, but gorse and bunkers protect the green and really come into play in breezy conditions.

It’s a very challenging test for any level of player. 

Just like every links course, the elements are its best defence. But you also have a number of blind tee and approach shots to contend with. Then there’s the rough and the gorse, so there can be no let-up in concentration when you play here.

It’s definitely in the top few golf courses in Britain and Ireland. 

There just seem to be too many top links in Britain and Ireland for me to point to just one as the best. Each has its own qualities, quirks and character traits that make it unique. When I’m home, I still play the odd round at Royal County Down with my mates.

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