We’ve scoured the country to unearth 20 simply sensational courses there’s every chance you didn’t even know existed let alone have visited and played. And you can play them from £15!
Leighton Buzzard, Beds
It’s Woburn-like in places – several fairways are overlooked by tall timber – but half the price to play! It’s also where Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter learnt his trade. Star hole is the 11th, a magical par-3 played from an elevated tee and demanding an arrow-straight tee shot between an avenue of trees to a long, slender well protected green. Tel: 01525 244800.
Home of a splendid century-old parkland layout which tends to get overshadowed by glamourous modern neighbour Forest Pines. But this is where the legendary Tony Jacklin honed the skills that won both British and US Opens. Take care at the demanding par-4 2nd, a bunkerless but intriguing left-to right dogleg. Tel: 01652 680291.
Cape Cornwall, Cornwall
Guarantees dramatic, quirky clifftop golf with even more dramatic scenery. It oozes charm and character – the par-3 11th, known as 'Cream Pot,' is plotted within a walled garden while the short-ish par-4 13th is unlucky for many – it requires a 230-yard carry and a testing second shot to an elevated green. Tel: 01736 788611.
Church Stretton, Shropshire
It’s the third highest course in Britain and as you would expect this short but exceptionally sweet and scenic rollercoaster of a Braid heathland layout provides to-die-for panoramic views. It uniquely opens with three par-3s and you get higher with each hole right up to the 16th. Tel: 01694 722281.
The Glen, East Lothian
This classic clifftop layout doesn’t get a look in owing to be surrounded by a string of legendary links with mighty Muirfield among them. However, the undulating Glen – backdropped by the Firth of Forth and Bass Rock - will take your breath away in more ways than one, featuring one thrilling hole after another including the sensational par-3 13th ‘Sea Hole.’ Tel: 01620 892726.
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
Holiday golf doesn’t get much better than this: a delightful fun coastal course with a good blend of holes and a fair chance of celebrating a few birdies provided you don’t get too distracted by the breathtaking views of Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne, Farne Isles and the Cheviots. Tel: 01668 214378.
There are no bunkers to negotiate and at 6,220-yards it’s on the short side so brain definitely rules over brawn at this classy natural heathland layout. However, you do need to be wary of lurking swathes of heather, bracken and gorse waiting to gobble up wayward strikes. Tel: 01442 865832.
Camberley Heath, Surrey
Century-old Harry Colt classic plotted amidst 135 acres of heathland and framed by towering pines and comfortably holds its own against neighbouring Surrey superstars. Has benefited big-time from a winter renovation project to improve its par-3s. Tel: 01276 20500.
Copt Heath, West Midlands
You probably won’t play on better inland greens than Copt Heath’s this season – they’re that impressive. It’s a classic heathland layout, the handiwork of Harrys Vardon and Colt, and with nearly 100 bunkers to around, you need to hit a straight ball! Tel: 01564 731620.
Kingswood G&CC, Surrey
Literally down the road from legendary venue Walton Heath and regarded as James Braid’s finest parkland piece although it is still virtually unheard of outside the Home Counties. Has benefited from a recent Howard Swan re-design. Tel: 01737 832334.
Scarcroft, West Yorks
A quality mature gently undulating and easy-walking parkland course with generous fairways so you can regularly pull the driver out. A wonderful alternative to star-studded, more expensive Leeds neighbours Alwoodley and Moortown. Tel: 0113 289 2311.
York GC, Yorks
You’ll be surprised to discover an exquisite and natural blend of parkland/heathland golf close to the centre of historic York. True, it lacks length but it definitely doesn’t come up short in terms of charm and personality and the greens are top drawer too. Tel: 01904 491840.
Pennard, West Glamorgan
It’s dubbed 'the links in the sky' - a fine and fitting description of a layout perilously and magnificently perched on clifftops with a stunning array of holes. It was once voted No.2 in Today’s Golfer’s ‘Top UK Courses for under £60’ listing. Tel: 01792 233131.
Boat of Garten, Inverness-Shire
Former Open champion Paul Lawrie knows a special course when he sees one and he rates this scenic beauty as one of his UK favourites. It claims to be the hidden gem of the Highlands and with some justification as it provides some of the best views and scenery you’ll find anywhere. Tel: 01479 831282.
Machrie, Isle of Islay
‘Machrie’ means ‘links’ in Scottish Gaelic, so there’s little doubt what type of course awaits on this beautiful island and, sure enough, you’ll encounter a wonderful natural links: a visit to this outpost off Scotland’s west coast is a must and like stepping back in time…Tel: 01496 302310.
A splendidly challenging parkland foil for the region’s top links, Kirkcaldy was designed by Old Tom Morris early in the 20th century and provides dramatic Firth of Forth views. Tel: 01592 205240.
Silkstone, South Yorks
This brilliant but underrated Barnsley course has been around since 1893 and is a scenic undulating parkland offering panoramic Silkstone Valley views. Your approach work needs to be spot-on – the greens are well protected – so it’s just as well the practice facilities are first rate. Tel: 01226 790328.
The handiwork of Alistair MacKenzie eight years before he created Augusta National and it’s a short but testing hidden Peak District gem where little has changed in 90 years. Also, you’re bound to spot an abundance of wildlife during your round. Tel: 01298 79708.
St Mellion (Kernow course), Cornwall
Everyone wants to play superstar neighbour the Nicklaus but the more benign Kernow still has its own teeth and can seriously bite you. It features a great mix of holes, the pick being the sensational par-3 14th – probably the best hole at the resort! Tel: 01579 352004.
Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Co. Durham
Quality mature parkland plotted on undulating terrain providing magnificent panoramic views. It’s always in great nick year-round and you’ll love the quartet of short holes, especially the highly rated 12th. Tel: 01287 622812.