Best Golf Courses In Gloucestershire

Not so well-known for its golf, the best golf courses in Gloucestershire still offer plenty of fun, variety and value

Best Golf Courses In Gloucestershire - Cleeve Hill - Hole 16
The par-3 sixteenth at Cleeve Hill, one of the most natural courses not just in Gloucestershire but in England
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best Golf Courses In Gloucestershire

Home to vast swathes of unspoilt English countryside and beautiful picture-postcard villages, Gloucestershire is not currently home to any courses in the Golf Monthly Top 100 or indeed Next 100. There are 40 clubs affiliated to the county union, and while none are really golfing-household names, there is still plenty on offer including some newer designs on a menu of golf that is surprisingly appealing.

Cleeve Hill

Cleeve Hill - Hole 15 and 16

An aerial view of the back-to-back short fifteenth and sixteenth holes at Cleeve Hill

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If far-reaching and unspoilt views are your thing, Cleeve Hill will tick all the boxes. This is the very epitome of natural golf, running as it does up hill and down dale at the highest point in the beautiful Cotswolds. Way back, the land was quarried for its stone, the result being a rumpled carpet of golfing fun. Recently saved from the brink of extinction, there is every hope that this idyllically-situated course now has a long-term, healthy and happy future. Cleeve Hill delivers a history lesson in golf course architecture, and with the kites circling above and sheep grazing in the rough, it’s a fabulous place for golf.

Read full Cleeve Hill Golf Club course review

Bristol & Clifton

Bristol & Clifton - Hole 15

Looking back from behind the green at the driveable par-4 fifteenth at Bristol & Clifton

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis/Golfworking)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect CK Cotton
  • GF Round £55 Mon-Fri, £65 Weekend
  • Par 70, 6,413 yards
  • Contact Bristol & Clifton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Bristol & Clifton has a very appealing course that is undulating and has some interesting features while playing to a demanding par of 70. There is a strong start with five par 4s before you then get back-to-back short holes. The 6th is of medium length and has a handful of bunkers protecting the left-hand side, the 7th should be just a flick over a dip to another well-protected green. The 13th is another memorable par 3, played from an elevated tee, and the 15th is a short par 4 where you drive over an old drystone wall. This is a course that easily balances golfing examination and fun.

Chipping Sodbury

Chipping Sodbury - Hole 12

Long is better than short at the very pretty par-3 twelfth at Chipping Sodbury

(Image credit: Chipping Sodbury Golf Club)
  • Location Chipping Sodbury
  • Founded 1905
  • Architect FG Hawtree
  • GF Round £40 Mon-Thu, £45 Fri & Sun, £56 Sat
  • Par 72, 6,657 yards
  • Contact Chipping Sodbury Golf Club (opens in new tab)

If PG Wodehouse had wanted to invent a name to use in one of his English golfing tales, he could have done no better than this! The club is now in its fourth location, and the Fred Hawtree design benefits from some more recent improvements which have seen the introduction of lakes, waterways and new sculpting. This is now a very enjoyable course kept in fine shape with several excellent holes. It is the par 4s that really make the course and you will need to drive well to score well. A further pleasure, though perhaps not from a greenkeeping perspective, is the abundant waterfowl on the course. Recommended!

Cotswold Hills

Cotswold Hills - Hole 3

At 427 yards from the back tee, the third at Cotswold Hills is justifiably stroke index three

(Image credit: Cotswold Hills Golf Club)
  • Location Cheltenham
  • Founded 1902
  • Architect Morris Little
  • GF Round £45 Mon-Fri, £55 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,557 yards
  • Contact Cotswold Hills Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Cotswold Hills began life as Cheltenham Town Golf Club in 1902, before changing to its current name just two years later. For the first seventy-plus years of its life, it used the course that is now enjoyed as Cleeve Hill. Concerns over grazing animals and public rights of way led to a move in the mid-1970s to a new site on the southern side of the town, and to a more modern course designed by one of its members. It’s undulating site runs between fast-maturing woodland and the course is kept in fine condition, especially the greens.

The Kendleshire

The Kendleshire - Holes 11 and 17

An aerial view of The Kendleshire with the island green of the par-3 second on the Ruffett nine

(Image credit: The Kendleshire Golf Club)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1997
  • Architect Adrian Stiff, Peter McEvoy
  • GF Round £52 Mon-Thu, £60 Fri-Sun
  • Hollows Par 36, 3,252 yards
  • Ruffet Par 35, 3,347 yards
  • Badminton Par 34, 3,029 yards
  • Contact The Kendleshire Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The original two loops here - Hollows and Ruffet - were designed by local architect Adrian Stiff and offer an extremely enjoyable mix; part parkland, part modern-American with plenty of water. The 4th is a dog-leg right with water and a sleepered bunker, while the 7th is a really tough par 4 to a narrow green. Nine is a pretty tiddler which should be just a dink over the pond, and probably the most photogenic hole is the scary 11th with its island green. The Badminton course is a walk beyond the other 18, but once you are there, it provides a very attractive and entertaining test.

Knowle

Knowle Golf Club - Hole 17

The penultimate hole at Knowle is a strong and attractive par 4 with an uphill approach

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis/Golfworking)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1905
  • Architect FG Hawtree & JH Taylor
  • GF Round £42 Mon-Fri, Sat from 15:30, Sun from 14:30
  • Par 70, 6,047 yards
  • Contact Knowle Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Tucked away in the leafy suburbs to the south-east of Bristol, Knowle is a delightful parkland layout that is distinguished by a raised ridge that runs through the middle of the course. This adds perfectly both to its strategic demands and to the lovely views on offer internally and beyond. Accuracy rather than brute force is the key to success here. The five short holes are particularly appealing, and the raised approaches to the 1st, 4th and penultimate greens will call for perfect club selection. This is feelgood golf with fun very much to the fore.

Long Ashton

Long Ashton Golf Club - Hole 2

Played down into an old quarry, the second at Long Ashton is the shortest hole on the course

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis/Golfworking)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect FG Hawtree & JH Taylor
  • GF Round £50 Mon-Fri, £65 Weekend
  • Par 71, 6,368 yards
  • Contact Long Ashton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Just to the west of Bristol, Long Ashton has a beautifully varied course that runs either side of Providence Lane. Various changes have been made since its foundation almost 130 years ago, but it’s the Hawtree and Taylor work from 1937 that has defined the course in play today. Feature holes include the very short but sweet par-3 2nd and the risk/reward driveable par-4 8th. There are also far-reaching views both over Bristol, and to the south and west towards Somerset. Former Golf Monthly playing editor and Ryder Cupper Chris Wood learnt his golf as a junior member here and still has links with the club.

Read full Long Ashton Golf Club course review

Minchinhampton

Minchinhampton Golf Club - Cherington Course

The par-4 second on the Cherington Course at Minchinhampton turns sharply from right to left

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis/Golfworking)
  • Location Stroud
  • Founded 1889
  • Architect Old Tom Morris, Fred and Martin Hawtree
  • GF New £80 Mon-Fri, £90 Weekend
  • GF Old £30 Mon-Fri, £35 Weekend
  • Avening Par 70, 6,320 yards
  • Cherington Par 71, 6,459 yards
  • Old Par 71, 6,088 yards
  • Contact Minchinhampton New Golf Club (opens in new tab)
  • Contact Minchinhampton Old Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Minchinhampton is most unusual in that it has three, full-length 18-hole courses… in two quite different locations. The Old is up on the common and is packed with natural charm, while the Cherington and Avening are a couple of miles away to the east of the village.

Minchinhampton Golf Club - Old Course

The signature hole on the Old Course at Minchinhampton is the short sixteenth

(Image credit: Minchinhampton Golf Club)

They are the work of father and son with Fred Hawtree designing the first new course in 1975. Martin Hawtree then used this as the basis for a second fine parkland course about 20 years later.

Naunton Downs

Naunton Downs - Hole 10

Looking back over the gully from behind the green on the short tenth at Naunton Downs

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Stow-on-the-Wold
  • Founded 1993
  • Architect Jacob Pott
  • GF Round £27-£36
  • Par 71, 5,979 yards
  • Contact Naunton Downs Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Enjoying an extremely peaceful location in the north-east of the county, Naunton Downs has a very attractive course that is still improving and maturing. Despite its name, it is really more parkland than downland, and there are plenty of birdie chances with driveable par 4s and a handful of par 3s, none of which is long. Two of them, the 6th and the new 10th, call for heroic shots over a valley and are very pretty. The Cotswold stone clubhouse is spacious and relaxing, and the informal and friendly atmosphere makes this a very appealing place for a game of golf.

Painswick

Painswick Golf Club - General

Set up high on common land, Painswick is very much one of a kind

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Painswick
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect David Brown
  • GF Round £20 Mon-Fri, £27.50 Weekend
  • Par 67, 4,831 yards
  • Contact Painswick Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This quite remarkable course is less than 5,000 yards and at one point features a hat-trick of short holes followed by a pair of par 5s. The reason for this design restriction is that it runs along Painswick Beacon. This is a narrow and extremely scenic ridge that is home to an iron age hill fort. This makes it one of the quirkiest golf courses in the UK&I… but in a totally good way! There are frequent crossovers, driveable par 4s and some very small greens. Golf here is all about embracing and enjoying the magical setting. It will never host The Open, and you may need to watch out for walkers, but for any lover of scenery, setting and originality, Painswick has a huge amount to offer.

The Players Club

The Players Club - Hole 16

The final short hole on the Codrington Course at the Players Club is 155 yards over water

(Image credit: The Players Club)
  • Location Chipping Sodbury
  • Founded 2002
  • Architect Adrian Stiff
  • GF Codrington £54 Mon-Thu, £60 Fri-Sun
  • GF Stranahan £28 Mon-Thu, £30 Fri-Sun
  • Codrington Par 72, 6,575 yards
  • Stranahan Par 68, 5,340 yards
  • Contact The Players Club (opens in new tab)

The Codrington, another Adrian Stiff design, is one of the very best courses in the area and presents both a terrific test of golf and a feast for the eyes. Starting with a demanding par 4, there is light relief at the bunkerless short second before the pleasure and the pain of the signature hole. ‘Island’ is a spectacular two-shotter where both the drive and the approach must carry the lake. Later highlights include the superb 15th, an epic hole that seems to go on forever, and the picturesque par 3 that follows, played from an elevated tee back down to the lake that you hoped you had already left well behind. The second eighteen, the Stranahan, has seven short holes and three par 5s and embraces the concept of the 3-hour round of golf! There is also a lovely 9-hole par 3 course, the Watergarden.

Stinchcombe Hill

Stinchcombe Hill - Hole 9

The short ninth at Stinchcombe Hill with the River Severn in the valley beyond

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis/Golfworking)

Probably best described as downland, this attractive course is still surprisingly easy walking. Situated on a hilltop to the east of the Severn Valley, there are far-reaching views down over the river and across into Wales. A short par 4 takes you to the edge of the ridge, which you then follow for the next 5 holes. The trio from the 4th are particularly interesting; a long par 3 into the breeze, a fine par 4 to a green cut into the slope, and an uphill tiddler right along the edge to a well-bunkered green. There are panoramic views from each, and there is still plenty to come including the short par-4 16th which is played to an elevated green.

Read full Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club course review

Tewkesbury Park

Tewkesbury Park - Hole 5

Looking over the short fifth at Tewkesbury Park with the abbey in the far distance

(Image credit: Andy Hiseman)
  • Location Tewkesbury
  • Founded 1976
  • Architect Frank Pennink
  • GF Round £25-£48, check with club for details
  • Par 72, 6,554 yards
  • Contact Tewkesbury Park Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The hotel at Tewkesbury Park beside the River Severn makes for a delightful place to stay when exploring the golf courses of Gloucestershire. The Deerpark course here runs over land that was populated with deer in the 12th-century, and the bunkers and conditioning received a full upgrade in 2016. This is a charming and scenic course that offers views over Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, the Severn Valley, the Malverns and even the Welsh Mountains.

Gloucestershire may not have a strong reputation for its golf, but it rightly has one for beautiful countryside and architecture. This, combined with green fees that are way more pocket-friendly than in many other counties, makes it a very appealing county for exploring accessible and very enjoyable golf.