Fed up of battling 7,000 yard courses on your golf holiday? Try on of these selections from all over the country… each one is guaranteed to entertain
With St Andrews to call on, a golf break in Fife can be anything you want it to be. The Home of Golf can easily morph into any kind of golf holiday.
The Old Course itself is, obviously, an Open venue capable of hosting the world’s best players, but off sensible tees it is very playable; yes there is gorse at times but often there is plenty of space and so it is not intimidatingly severe.
The Old Course.
There’s also the super-playable Eden on site too, as well as the Strathtyrum. Oh, and what about The Ladies Putting Club (The Himalayas), where the true spirit of golf lives in this two-acre, everyone-welcome, laugh-a-minute mini-links beside the 2nd tee of the Old?
Elsewhere in Fife try the Old Tom Morris designed Balcomie Links at Crail, the seventh-oldest club in the world – founded in 1786. It is short (six par 3s) firm, fast and fun.
Or Ladybank, a simply gorgeous heathland-woodland course which requires you to play conservatively off the tee to stay out of the trees. Or Leven; nothing especially showy, just a rock-solid historic links that plays in valleys between rows of relatively modest dunes. Next door Lundin might be even better, depending on who you ask.
Base yourself at the iconic Old Course Hotel (and play its own course The Duke’s on a play-and-stay deal) and you have the basis for a trip you’ll never, ever forget.
You aren’t a well-travelled golfer umtil you have played the brillianty bonkers links of Royal West Norfolk. Simply an essential part of every golfer’s education.
And clifftop hero Sherringham is a free change of scenery and pace. Then there is Hunstanton, a championship course of nearly 6750 yards, but get it on a calm tee and off the 6386 yard yellows and you’ve got yourself three hours of bliss.
And don’t forget King’s Lynn, since 1975 locaated between the eponymous medieval port and Royal estate of Sandringhma, this Peter Allis design is a haven of tranquility between the mature trees which line the fairways.
#3: East Lothian
North Berwick, founded in 1832, is full of flair, shot over stone walls, devilish burns and the beach; blind shots; wild greens; the original Redan hole; and a bunkerless, 277-yard par 4 to end your round on a high.
Then there is Kilspindie; the seminal short-but-sweet track. It even starts with a short hole. Leave the driver in the car and get creative from 100 yards and in.
Dunbar is a long-time favourite of the GE team. It starts and finishes modestly but in between you will enjoy it immensely. Face. The dog-leg 7th, to a sunken green next to the Old Boathouse, is as good as it gets. The Glen (North Berwick’s East) is not as consistently as good as the town’s West but there are lots of thrilling holes on the clifftops and by the beach. Oh, and make sure you play Musselburgh Old, a former Open venue steeped in history and with enough cool holes too.
Start with St Enodoc’s Church and you can’t go far wrong. This sublime James Braid-designed course among high dunes – along with very possibly the biggest bunker in Europe – on the north Cornwall coast is simply majestic.
Pair it with nearby Bude & North Cornwall – located in the heart of the town of Bude – and take in new-look Trevose as well. And how about Britain’s most southerly course, Mullion? It is laid out as the brilliantly-named Lizard peninsula and while the severely undulating, clifftop landscape isn’t really ideal for golf, somehow it works splendidly.
Finally, head for St Mellion and play the No.2 course here, the Kernow – the No.1 is also great, but is definitely a proper test.
Every course on Arran is ‘fun’ – there are seven, with Shiskine the best known. It is short, a bit quirky, and scenically beautiful. This is the best 12-hole course in the world, on the west side of the Isle of Arran, full of blind shots, odd bounces and vertiginous vistas. And one of your favourite courses anywhere will be Corrie, nine holes in the foothills of Glen Sannox with the mountains immediately behind. Stunning scenery, small sloping greens.
#6: South Wales
Pennard is the epitome of fun golf; cattle grazing round the fringe of greens, awesome changes in elevation and extravagant humps and bumps.
Then head for Tenby, with its natural linksland and breathtaking sea views on tap at this terrific Braid design, which can be enjoyed at little more than 6000 yards off the yellows.
P&K has a fine front nine but in truth it is a warm-up for the world-class second loop. Unless you play it in a storm, this is absolutely glorious.
Consider Ashburnham too. It starts and ends modestly and, granted it’s no pushover, but it’s too cool not to feature in this list and it never gets any credit.
Prestwick, the original Open host is more than just a golf course. How could you not have fun on ‘Himalayas’, ‘Elysian Fields’, ‘Gooseclubs’, ‘Cardinals Back’ and ‘Alps’?
Then there is Irvine, the forgotten classic of Ayrshire golf. It combines some brilliantly bonkers holes with some serious, challenging ones. We remember the former more clearly.
And West Kilbride, slightly detached from the rest of Ayrshire’s links and thus usually overlooked. Not by us though. This is simple links golf at its best, with the back-nine stretch along the sea worth a lot more than the amazingly low green fee.
Seacroft is less than 6500 yards – although it is a championship-hosting links, so you can’t afford to mess about. Blind shots are dotted about this terrifically natural, out and back links.
Then next door you have North Shore, part links and part parkland and full fun all the way round. The best-value, most fun golf break you can imagine.
Goswick is an Open qualifier, so it’s clearly no pushover but we really like it and will be surprised if you thought any different. It might be the most under-rated course in England. Memorable holes and brilliant green complexes abound. Fabulous turf and sea views too.
Dunstanburgh Castle is another great linksy opetion, but we love the clifftop holes on the back nine of Seahouses. You’ll rarely have you phone camera out of operation. So in two respects – the variety of course and the value it offers – Northumberland really impresses.
There is Ipswich (Purdis Healy) and Thorpeness too, but essentially we are including Suffolk becasue of one oustanding course – Royal Worlington & Newmarket. It is a museum piece beloved and made famous by Bernard Darwin and Henry Longhurst. Many regard it as the best nine-hole course in the world.
FOR MORE GOLF ESCAPES, CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW