Golf is about far more than strength and distance, as these five tremendous courses demonstrate perfectly
5 Of The Best Courses Under 6,000 Yards
Originally designed for the Ashdown Forest & Tunbridge Wells Ladies’ Golf Club back in 1889, this peaceful, bunkerless design is a perfect complement to the Old course next door. A putt over 5,600 yards, the key to scoring well here is keeping straight off the tee and then finding the small, subtle greens. Watch out for the sting in the tail at the 18th, where you must cross the serpentine stream no fewer than three times.
Distinguished by its unusual, rectangular greens, this stunningly located course runs along the shoreline at the southern end of the Mull of Kintyre. With dreamy views out over the sea and up into the surrounding hills, there are seven short holes and a solitary par 5 in the course’s modest, but endlessly enjoyable, 4,800 yards. If you are lucky enough to visit on a still day, you will expect to score well.
Gleneagles – Queen’s (opens in new tab)
The finest and most beautiful golf resort in the UK&I has three lovely and very different courses, with The Queen’s the shortest but prettiest of them all. A sand wedge under 6,000 yards from the whites, it was designed by the great James Braid (opens in new tab) and opened for play in 1917. It currently sits at 55 in our UK & Ireland Top 100 (opens in new tab) and is quite simply one of the most attractive, engaging and interesting inland courses anywhere.
As at Ashdown, this is another course that was designed for a ladies’ club; this time one that still exists independently with its own charming clubhouse just yards from the main Formby Club (opens in new tab). The course may be short, but it runs through an absolute carpet of heather and is an excellent test of shot-making. There are cracking par 3s at 5 and 12, as well as several excellent green sites such as those at 4, 9 and 11.
This secluded club was founded in 1905 and its elevated, joy-making course was designed by Harry Vardon, with modifications in the 1930s by James Braid (opens in new tab). There are no sand bunkers, but there are blind shots and tons of old-fashioned charm. The reward for any climbing here is spectacular views as well as some thrilling, elevated drives. For glorious vistas and a fun-filled and peaceful round, this is up there with the best.
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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