These excellent clubs each offer a wonderful and varied two-round experience
15 Of The Best 36-Hole Golf Clubs In The UK&I
Crail (Main image)
Crail Golfing Society is a club that combines the old with the new like no other.
Founded in 1786, its traditional yet unusual first course is the beautiful Balcomie links.
Modest in length at just 5,861 yards, the back nine has four par 3s and two par 5s, with several holes hugging the shore.
The Craighead links opened 20 years ago and is substantially longer, twisting and turning its way over cliffs and higher ground.
GF: round: £70-£90; day: £125
Enville is an excellent members’ club that boasts two fine courses combining strong heathland and mature woodland.
The highgate is the original and better-know and is in the Golf Monthly Next 100.
It has been used for Open qualifying and is a real test, with perhaps its prettiest hole the 16th, a long par 3 over a pond that attracts both wildlife and golf balls.
The Lodge is not much shorter and is distinguished by its challenging par 4s.
GF: round: £65; day: £90
The Bracken course was opened in 1998 in order to offer something new alongside its top-flight older brother.
The result is very attractive with quite a different feel.
This has led to a great improvement in the visual and dramatic appeal, as well as the strategy required.
GF: Hotchkin: £95; Bracken: £57; both courses: £129
Another club mixing traditional and modern is Headfort to the north-west of Dublin.
The Old course runs over level parkland through specimen trees, and around the turn of the millennium, its members bought a larger parcel of adjacent land.
They engaged Christy O’Connor Jnr to build a course of quite different design, the New, on which water is a regular companion.
This is particularly so at three of the very attractive short holes.
GF: round €55-€70
Royal County Down
The stunning Championship links justifiably attracts golfers from all over the world.
Overlooked by the Mountains of Mourne and with views out to the Irish Sea, it is both a complete test and a visual feast.
As a wonderful variation, the upgraded Annesley course is much shorter but is nothing but fun, with the three new holes at the far end leading you down to and alongside the beach.
Easily manageable in two and a half hours.
GF: Championship: £240; Annesley: £50
Here, you feel as though you are stepping back in time to enjoy quintessential heathland golf.
Both its New and Old Course rank as our top two inland courses in the UK and Ireland.
It’s pricey to play there, but it’ll be a very memorable experience walking those springy fairways surrounded by heather, pines and wonderful putting surfaces.
GF: £275 each, £425 both courses
Founded in 1893, Ballybunion has a reputation that has long drawn in golfers from all over the world
For neighbouring links, the two courses here could hardly be more different.
The Old is a wonderful, classic test with some spectacular holes through the dunes.
The Cashen, a Trent Jones Snr design, is more dramatic.
GF: Old Course €250, Cashen €80, both courses €300
Fairmont St Andrews
St Andrews is the spiritual home of golf, but for anyone seeking an alternative to its wonderful links offerings, the two courses up on the hill at Fairmont St Andrews serve up 36 holes of scenic and thoroughly enjoyable golf.
It’s home to the Sam Torrance-designed Torrance Course and the Kittocks Course, designed by Bruce Devlin And Gene Sarazen.
In 2020, it hosted the Scottish Championship on the European Tour, which was won by Spain’s Adrian Otaegui.
GF: £100-£160 for both courses
The two Harry Colt designs at Moor Park in Hertfordshire run round one of the grandest clubhouses in golf, a Grade I- listed 17th-century Palladian mansion.
The High has hosted many professional events, while the West is a little shorter but just as entertaining.
The club has hosted numerous high-profile events including the Carris Trophy, Open Championship Regional Qualifying and a Justin Rose Ladies series event.
GF: High £75-£125, West £50-£90
Saunton is one of the best venues in the South West.
Each is packed with interest and strong golf.
Both courses offer up some of the best links golf to be found in England.
The Berkshire is home to two sensational heathland courses, both designed by Herbert Fowler.
The Red is well known for its layout featuring six par-3s, six par-4s and six par-5s.
The famous Berkshire Trophy is played here and the Rose Ladies Series also staged an event in 2020.
Burhill in Surrey is a quintessentially British club with a stunning Georgian mansion clubhouse that separates its Old and New Courses.
The Old is the tighter, more traditional layout with the longer New hosting events on the EuroPro Tour and Open regional qualifying.
The club has great practice facilities, a thriving membership and a very welcoming atmosphere.
Like Saunton, St Enodoc showcases some of the best links golf in England with its fantastic Church Course.
Located in Rock, the course offers up phenomenal views across the Atlantic and River Camel Estuary over to the fishing town of Padstow.
The Church Course ranks highly in our Top 100, whilst the Holywell Course is shorter and better suited to beginners and higher handicaps.
GF: £115 both courses
2018 Irish Open venue Ballyliffin’s Glashedy Course is one of Ireland’s best true links.
The club is also home to the Old Course, which was a new entry in the 2019/20 Golf Monthly Top 100 rankings.
The club is the most northerly in Ireland and showcases spectacular views of the Atlantic as well as the famous Glashedy Island.
GF: Glashedy €200, Old €180, Both €320
Regarded as one of the top links courses in the UK and Ireland, Royal Portrush’s Dunluce Course hosted the 2019 Open Championship after a 68-year hiatus.
The course received wonderful upgrades for the tournament and went on to host a superb and memorable championship, won by Shane Lowry.
As well as the Dunluce, the club is home to the Valley Links, which is also used by Rathmore Golf Club, home to Graeme McDowell.
Both courses were designed by the legendary Harry Colt.
GF: Dunluce £240, Valley £60
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