Covering a sizeable slice of the country, it is the proud home of some of England’s finest inland layouts, including Ryder Cup venue The Belfry in the Midlands, while the East Coast is renowned for the quality of its links courses.
The Belfry has benefited from a £26m hotel refurbishment worthy of its three 18-hole courses – Ryder Cup track The Brabazon ably backed-up by the PGA National and The Derby. The iconic venue offers great value stay-and-play packages but is far from being the region’s lone star, being surrounded by a collection of classy if less well known courses; heavenly heathland tracks Copt Heath and Beau Desert readily spring to mind.
Astbury Hall, near Bridgnorth, is one of the best new courses to emerge in England in recent times and is a true rock and roll modern venue being owned and run by ex-Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing. Woodhall Spa, the home of England Golf, is a must visit and it’s well worth tackling both courses at this remote Lincolnshire venue.
The Donald Steel-designed Bracken course is an outstanding parkland alternative to its superstar neighbour the Hotchkin – one of the top five courses in England. Seacroft is the only true Lincolnshire links – an out-and-back layout on a narrow strip of land adjoining the Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve – and is playable year-round. So the winter package of £30 for a round plus all-day breakfast is great value.
You’ll find the pick of the links, though, in neighbouring Norfolk, which boasts seaside layouts such as Royal West Norfolk and Hunstanton closely pursued by Royal Cromer and Sheringham. King’s Lynn and Thetford meanwhile are the inland heroes. Suffolk decisively punches above its weight in terms of quality of courses.
Felixstowe Ferry is one of the best and provides a real coastal treat while wonderful Woodbridge is a hidden heathland masterpiece plotted in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You’ll find stunning heathland golf aplenty in Nottinghamshire and at Notts GC (Hollinwell) in particular.
The good news is that from November 1 a fourball can experience it, including a one-course meal, for £240. The Lindrick, just outside Worksop and the scene of the 1957 Ryder Cup, is worth visiting this winter too: a November 2014 - March 2015 tee-time (between 10-11am, Mon, Wed, Thurs & Fri) costs £120.