The UK and Ireland are home to some of the world's best and most historic golf courses (as featured in our Top 100 golf courses rankings), but there are also some superb hidden gems that are great fun to play and feature sensational scenery to boot.
There are some amazing exclusive golf clubs in the UK&I but here we've picked out 25 stunning courses for differing budgets that all take green fees and will make you the envy of your golfing pals if you play them...
*Note: Green fees can be cheaper with twilight rates, group rates and when playing out of season
Old Head, set on a promontory on the south cost of Ireland, really is the closest GB&I gets to Pebble Beach, and many will argue that it is in fact more spectacular than its American counterpart. It's one of the best courses in Ireland.
It's not cheap, in fact the green fee is fairly hefty, but if you stump up the cash you won't regret visiting, and your friends will certainly be very, very jealous. It's easily reachable from Cork airport and can be made cheaper when played in a package.
Low season: €225, High season €375
Situated on the Isle of Arran, Shiskine has to be one of Scotland's most spectacular courses. Playing towards Drumadoon Point with incredible views across to the Kintyre peninsula and up Arran’s coast to impressive columnar basalt cliffs, a round of golf here delivers a visual feast as well as a unique golfing experience.
It's only 12-holes so can be easily enjoyed a couple of times on your visit. The Isle of Arran has a number of other courses too, so, providing you get good weather, it could make for a very memorable and enjoyable golf break.
Day ticket: £28-£33
Neyfn and District
Nefyn and District in the north-west corner of Wales is easily one of the most photogenic golf courses in the UK, where visitors can enjoy 27 holes of spectacular golf. The course at Nefyn is blessed with breath-taking panoramas, taking in Snowdonia and, on a clear day, right across to the Wicklow Mountains of Southern Ireland.
There are 27 holes at Nefyn, comprised of three nines – The Front, The Back and The Point. The latter plays along a narrow promontory with the sea and sandy beaches bordering the fairways on either side. Spectacular stuff, with some truly memorable holes to be negotiated. The three nines make this an ideal venue for a day’s golf.
The modern clubhouse has comfortable bar areas, a snooker room and an excellent restaurant. If that’s not enough, on the beach below the 6th hole of The Point is the famous Ty Coch Inn. You can get to it from the course and you might stop for a quick pint before tackling the remaining holes - Sound fun?
Summer rate: £53 - £62
Turnberry's stunning Ailsa course is one of the most spectacular in Scotland and in all of the British Isles and, if you have the cash to spare, it's a must-play.
The course has hosted four Open Championships, with its last Open taking place in 2009 where Tom Watson had a putt to win at the age of 59 before losing to Stewart Cink in a playoff. It also has a brilliant second course in the King Robert The Bruce layout so makes for an excellent golf break.
Ailsa green fee: £175-£395
On the east coast of Scotland, Elie is one of the country's most historic venues. The course is short by modern standards but offers up true links golf with amazing views.
It is also where five-time Open champion and legendary course designer James Braid grew up playing.
Green fee: £47-£130 depending on time of year
Another joyous Scottish links can be found at Cruden Bay, just north of Aberdeen. The course was designed by Old Tom Morris and opened in 1899 but golf was played there long before.
It's a simply fabulous links course boasting unique holes and stunning views. In our opinion, it's one of the best golf courses in Scotland. Plateau greens, undulating fairways, blind shots, streams and gorse, Cruden Bay is an absolute treat to play.
High season green fee: £145-£160
Just east of Edinburgh lies North Berwick, yet another Scottish links that will undoubtedly make your mates very jealous if you get a game. Every hole on the course features sea views and you'll find yourself negotiating old stone walls, burns, bumps and hollows.
The club was founded back in 1832 and its sensational links is quirky, unique and so much fun to play.
Summer Green fee: £175
Just opposite Padstow in the town of Rock, St Enodoc is the jewel in the crown of Cornish golf.
The club features 36-holes, with the Church Course undoubtedly being one of the best links courses in England.
It winds its way up, down and through dunes, offering up great quality surfaces, plenty of variety and incredible views of Padstow and out to sea.
Peak season: £105-£110 per round
Another of the best golf courses in Cornwall lies further down the coast at Perranporth. The James Braid layout offers up top quality links golf combined with wonderful views out to sea, and of the local town.
There's also great value to be had so if you're in Cornwall with your clubs, get along and check it out.
Green fee: £50 - £60
The Belfry's Brabazon course might not be one of the most spectacularly scenic courses on this list but it is has seen some of the most historic golfing moments of the past few decades.
Try and drive the famous 10th green like Seve or flush a long iron into the 18th like Christy O'Connor Jr. The Brabazon has a place in Ryder Cup history, with the match going there four times between 1985 and 2002. It has also hosted many European Tour events seeing winners like Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood.
Green fee: Online booking with varying rates available
With stunning views north to Galloway and south to the Lakes, Silloth is a striking links that has evolved naturally with contributions from great designers like Willie Park Jr and Dr Alister MacKenzie.
A little off the beaten track, it’s well worth the detour as it offers incredible links golf at amazing value - it's one of England's best links courses and features in our UK and Ireland Top 100 golf courses rankings. Many fans of links golf have Silloth on their “must play” list – If you tick it off, you’ll be sure to make a good number of your pals green with envy.
Green fees: £35 - £80
Golf is supposed to be fun, and this is exactly what golf at Kington, set on the English/Welsh border, is all about.
There are far-reaching, expansive views of England and Wales in every direction, and the modest green fee represents excellent value. Making the pilgrimage will reward anyone with an eye for natural beauty.
Green fee: £30-£37
One of the best courses for picturesque views, Llanymynech on the English/Welsh border is a truly international course. It boasts 15 holes in Wales, while the 4th, 5th and 6th are in England.
They are separated by ancient earthwork, Offa’s Dyke, and from the 12th tee there are wonderful 360 degree views over the course, the surrounding countryside, the Welsh mountains in the distance and seemingly the rest of the world.
Green fee: £30-£40
Located near Bournemouth, Ferndown offers up one of the very best heathland golf courses in England.
The club was founded back in 1913 and has designed by two-time Open Championship and Golf Monthly's first editor Harold Hilton. It is also where Peter Alliss grew up playing the game, as his dad Percy was the head pro.
Summer Green Fee: £120
The pinnacle of heathland golf in the UK comes at Sunningdale, where both courses are equally great. For us, the Old ranks just above the New in our most recent Top 100 golf course rankings but if you're visiting Sunningdale, you simply have to play both.
The Old was opened in 1901 and designed by Willie Park Jr, and the New opened in 1923, designed by the legendary Harry Colt, who was secretary at the club.
Green fee: £275 each, £425 to play both on same day
Royal North Devon in Westward Ho! is the oldest golf course in England, dating back to 1864, with the club describing itself as the 'St Andrews of the South'. It was also the home of five-time Open champion JH Taylor.
The links is a challenging, fun test of golf featuring holes lined by water rushes as well as grazing sheep and horses.
On almost every hole at Royal Porthcawl you can gaze south towards Somerset and Exmoor or northwest to the Gower Peninsula. It’s a course and club that exudes history and character and it’s a regular venue for top level competition including the Senior Open Championships of 2014 and 2017. It's one of the very best courses in Wales.
On a calm summer’s day there can be few more pleasant settings to enjoy 18 holes, but when the wind blows this beauty turns into a beast.
Green fees: £80 - £170
The historic Gourock Golf Club, just west of Glasgow, dates back to 1896 and is somewhat of a hidden gem. The club celebrated its 125th anniversary in summer 2021.
The parkland/moorland course features truly spectacular views of the River Clyde and the Argyllshire hills from every hole. It's also very affordable and great fun to play.
Green fee: From £40
The cliffside Norfolk course sits on the edge of the North Sea and is another of the UK's most spectacular courses. The club dates back to 1891 and has a great history to match the quality of the layout.
On reaching the fifth tee, you'll stop, take an intake of breath and remark to your playing partner, ‘this is why we play golf.’ Raised high above the fairway the panorama is spectacular and the hole that follows equally so.
Green fee: £85 - £110
Tenby Golf Club is undoubtedly one of South Wales' finest, and yet another course on this list in a stunning setting.
The club was founded in 1888 and is regarded as the 'Birthplace of Welsh Golf'.
It features dunes, undulations, sea views, sandy terrain, gorse and everything else you'd expect from great links golf.
It was designed by James Braid.
Green fee: From £30
Arnold Palmer's first European course design is a stunner - Tralee on the west coast of Ireland offers up some unique and incredible holes and is widely regarded as one of the best tracks in Ireland.
Of the course, which only turned into 18 holes in 1984, Palmer said: "I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine."
Green fee: €180-€250
The views at Bamburgh Castle are stunning everywhere you look with vistas of the castle itself as well as the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the Farne Islands and the Cheviot Hills.
The course dates back to 1904 and lies some 50 miles north of Newcastle just south of the England/Scotland border.
Green fee: Summer rate £60
A highland masterpiece, Royal Dornoch is not only one of the most scenic layouts in the British Isles, but it’s also one of the most near perfect from a golfing perspective and easily one of Scotland's best golf courses.
Forging out and away from the clubhouse, the holes flow beautifully across a fabulous piece of links land before turning at the 9. With an excellent second course in the shape of the Struie, Dornoch is a true golfing town and all lovers of the game should make the pilgrimage.
Championship course green fee: £115 to £210
Hollinwell the Home of Notts Golf Club is to be found just to the north of Nottingham, only a few miles from junction 27 of the M1. But it couldn’t feel further removed from the rush and hubbub of the city and motorway.
Set over a hidden swathe of beautiful heathland, it delivers peaceful seclusion, immaculate surfaces, historic and effective design making use of the natural terrain, a firm but fair challenge and, overall, a thoroughly memorable experience.
Green fees: £60 - £130
It’s hard to believe the Sandy Hills Links is less than 20 years old, the Pat Ruddy design opened in just 2003. Carved through the dunes, this superb layout has quickly earned a reputation as one of the finest modern links in all of Ireland.
It takes a bit of getting to on Ireland’s stunning north coast, but once you arrive, this is one of the most mesmerising and memorable links you’ll ever play.
Green Fee: €110
For more great golf courses check out Golf Monthly's UK and Ireland Top 100 Course Rankings.
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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