Hampshire had one of the first county unions in England after it was set up in 1893, and there is a variety of golf to get your teeth into. On the south coast, Hayling Island offers up a true links test whilst further north towsards Surrey you'll find two stunning heathland gems in Liphook, the only Hampshire course to feature in our UK&I Top 100 courses rankings and Blackmoor. The county is home to many other great courses including Brokenhurst Manor in the New Forest as well as the ever-improving Stoneham, near Southampton.
Take a look at who else makes our list for the best courses in Hampshire below...
Arthur Croome designed this beautiful, gently undulating heathland course, which was opened in 1923 and subsequently upgraded by one of his team who went on to greater architectural fame, Tom Simpson. Both were advocates of the philosophy for a design that is strategic rather than penal, one where all golfers need to think their way round.
Liphook has undergone a major transformation over recent years under the guidance of Tom Mackenzie with three goals in mind: 1) to improve safety when crossing the road after the 14th; 2) to create a better routing and flow, and; 3) to maximise the full potential of this glorious heathland terrain.
Mackenzie has cut two spectacular new holes into the woodland, overseen a clever merging of the 10th and 11th, extended the 11th hole (former 12th) by 120 yards courtesy of a new green, and re-aligned the little-loved 15th into a straighter risk-reward hole from an awkward dogleg hole with internal OOB, which cambered the wrong way. The two brand new holes – the 8th and 9th - are a gorgeous mid-length par 3, and a shortish dogleg par 4 where you must be far enough left off the tee for the stirring approach past water on both sides.
Liphook is one of the best heathland golf courses in the UK and hands down the best course in what is a very strong county, evidence by its regular appearance in the Golf Monthly Top 100 golf course rankings.
Established in 1913, Blackmoor was designed by legendary designer Harry Colt and his original layout has stood the test of time as 16 of his holes are still in play.
You start with a fairly innocuous par-4 where a well struck drive will see you get over the ditch that runs in the fairway. Although for the shorter hitters, laying up may be the best course of action. From then on the difficult ratchets up significantly. The second may also be a short par-4 but it is very narrow and any errant shots will be punished. Then, shifting to the third, the tee shot is key. Find the fairway and you are left with a tricky approach shot, but miss and put it into the heather and you can rack up a big score easily.
The 15th hole is the pick of the bunch in terms of par-3s. It is usually into the wind and at 198 yards off the whites, take a par or bogey here and move on. One of the finest courses in the area, Blackmoor has hosted the regional qualifying for the Open Championship and has seen golfers like Gary Wolstenholme and Ross Fisher win there.
Set above shingle beaches with views out across the Solent, Hayling is Hampshire's finest links course and certainly one of the best across the South coast. The land at Hayling is perfect for golf and rarely waterlogged. It poses a considerable challenge when the breeze is up and as such it's a frequent venue for county competitions.
The par 3s are the key at Hayling. There are four of them and all demand precise tee-shots. As with all links, the wind is a factor and it's crucial to take more club than you think. The greens are quick and tend to be even more so through the summer months. They're not overly undulating but have some very subtle breaks.
The 12th, with the wind generally left-to-right and into your face, is a challenging hole. It measures 441 yards and requires a drive of at least 250 if you are to have a reasonable chance on the approach. The 11th, best par 3, at 152 yards plays straight out to sea. With the wind against it, it's not uncommon to see the members reaching for a wood.
Stoneham is a beautiful heathland course set just off the M3 north of Southampton. The mix of score-wrecking heather, narrow tree-lined fairways and roller coaster greens makes this course a challenge for even the low handicapper.
With five par 5s and five par 3s, there are places where a score can be made, but miss a hole in the wrong area at your peril. The heather guarding the fairways is deep at the best of times, and finding your ball is the easy bit. This is a course where good course management will be rewarded as wayward shots or aggressive play will cost you.
The par 5 14th hole is just one of many great holes. Measuring 481 yards, you are required to drive down into a valley and onto a fairway which narrows considerably at about 260 yards before rising up to a fiercely-sloping green protected by a large gully running up the right hand side of the fairway.
Stoneham is a great test of golf, but also a tough walk, in particular the par 5 18th, which climbs back up to the clubhouse set at the highest point of the course. Good job there's a refreshing pint waiting for you at the top.
Another of the best golf courses in Hampshire is Brokenhurst Manor, which is situated in the New Forest village of Brockenhurst (spelling with the added 'c' is correct). The Harry Colt design measures 6,238 yards off the back tees with a par of 70.
The course has a lovely and natural woodland/heathland feel to it with holes lined by mature trees, ferns and deep bunkers. It opened for play 1919 and is the pick of a number of brilliant courses in the New Forest. It appeared on the Rose Ladies Series in 2020 and 2021, producing winners in Charley Hull and Becky Brewerton.
Originally designed by James Braid, Nort Hants Golf Club has gone through three redesigns by some famous golf architects. Harry Colt did so in 1913, Tom Simpson in 1930 and finally Donald Steel introduced three new holes in the early 2000's.
Like Liphook above, the first is a long par-3 that will test the nerves and the opening swing of the round. Their is no let up on the second either with the 433-yard par-4 offering up a testy drive and a narrow second shot.
The third is a stunning par-5 which requires you to hit a draw off the tee to counter-act the sloping fairway. The longer hitters will have their sights set on reaching in two, but beware, the water on the right is beckoning any loose shots.
The club is probably most famous for one of its members, Justin Rose, who has become one of the finest golfers England has ever produced. The course was also the venue for Final Open Qualifying for the 2004 Women's British Open.
The golf course is a wonderfully picturesque parkland/woodland hybrid, with some truly unique holes and a selection of elevated tees that provide exceptional views as you can see from the fifth (above), and 17th.
As far as signature holes, Old Thorns has plenty to choose from and whittling down to a personal favourite is next to impossible, but the closing stretch is certain to leave you wanting more. 15 is a short par-4 that plays totally uphill and has a two-tiered green so make sure you take note where the pin is when playing the fourth earlier in the day. 16 is totally dependent on the pin location. If it on the bottom of the three tiers, then go for it, but if not, play this hole with caution.
The 17th is a stunning par-5 that is all about the tee shot. Find the fairway, or go left of the bunkers and you can definitely get on in two. But find the three fairway bunkers and you will have to play it as a three-shot hole.
Finally, 18 is a monstrous par-4 that requires a tee shot with a cut, and an approach shot with a draw. A par here is a rare thing so head to the bar with glee if you secured a four! Old Thorns is popular with visitors and makes for a fantastic golf break with the club featuring on-site accommodation and reasonable prices.
One of the most interesting courses in Hampshire due to its peculiarity, Burley Golf Club is essentially a nine hole course that plays as an 18 thanks to its different tee positions.
Located in the heart of the New Forest, there are two things to be wary of whilst playing, the roads and the animals. One some of the holes the A31 and A35 are in play and many of the local horses and cows could be frequenting the fairways and greens.
The sixth is a very intimidating hole given the road and out of bounds markers coming into your peripheral vision constantly. However, if you get a good drive away and find the green, a two-putt par will look very good on the card.
Army Golf Club was formed way back in 1883 after they settled at their principal base in Aldershot. But todays course layout was formed in the 1960's and measuring at 6,550 yards, Army is one of the longest courses in the area.
The first three holes are pretty simple with the first real test of your golf coming on the par-4 4th. 441 yards off the whites, it is a slight dogleg that requires a tee shot down the right hand side to leave a better line into the green. The approach shot will test your distance control as you are hitting into a raised green that is only 24 yards deep. The next, a 220 yard par-3 is also a tough hole so make your tow pars here and run off with glee.
Situated in the heart of the New Forest, the two 18-hole layouts at Bramshaw Golf Club could hardly be more different from one another. This therefore lends itself to an excellent golfing break with something to suit all tastes.
The Forest Course dates back to fifteen years before the club was formed in 1880, and is a delightful and extremely natural heathland design. It is also situated half a mile up the road from the Inn, and with plenty of parking, it’s worth taking the car. Running over gently-undulating ground, accuracy is far more important than length, and the course’s chief defence comes in the form of several very pretty but awkward streams that come into play throughout the round, often when you least expect it! Several greens are fenced off to prevent inadvertent damage from the bountiful wildlife, especially the abundant ponies and deer.
Right next to the Bell Inn, the Manor Course is a fine parkland alternative which opened for play almost 50 years ago and which runs through majestic woodland four times that age. This is a longer course than its older brother, but by no means excessively so, and the holes are mainly bordered by mature, specimen trees meaning that straight-driving is more important here.
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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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