Best Golf Courses In Norfolk

Spearheaded by two much-loved Top 100 favourites, the best golf courses in Norfolk serve up an impressive array of top-quality links and inland golf

Best Golf Courses in Norfolk - Hunstanton Golf Club Aerial
An aerial view of the closing hole at Hunstanton with the impressive clubhouse waiting beyond
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best Golf Courses in Norfolk

Norfolk is known for its northern coastline and its Broads, and is actually one of the largest counties in England. Despite that, it has a relatively low number of golf courses for its size. Happily, including two of the best and most popular links in the Golf Monthly Top 100 golf course rankings, what it lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for with its quality. This introduction to the best golf courses in the county begins with its two best-known golfing hotspots. Actually, hotspot is probably not the right word as each is all the better for its relative seclusion and unspoilt setting.

Royal West Norfolk

Royal West Norfolk - Aerial

The beautifully isolated terrain at Royal West Norfolk is atmospheric and haunting

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Brancaster
  • Founded 1892
  • Architect Holcombe Ingleby
  • GF Contact club for details
  • Par 71, 6,457 yards
  • Contact Royal West Norfolk Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Royal West Norfolk, also known as Brancaster, is a classic links and also very much one of a kind. It is a traditional out-and-back routing that is timeless, atmospheric and teeming with character. When the wind is up, it is a supreme test, and even in benign conditions, there is much to consider. The back-to-back par 5s at 7 and 8 are a real highlight, but there is just so much more on offer here. Two things are important when considering a visit to Brancaster. One is that this is a 2-ball/foursomes club and the green fees are priced accordingly. The other, something of a blessing and a curse, is that the approach road is tidal and the club is occasionally inaccessible. The water level also has an effect on the appearance and to a degree the playability of parts of the course, primarily at the far end.

Read full Royal West Norfolk Golf Club course review

Hunstanton

Hunstanton Golf Club - Hole 16

The short sixteenth at Hunstanton is very well protected by a sextet of bunkers

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Hunstanton
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect James Braid, Martin Hawtree
  • GF £125 Singles, £60 Foursomes
  • Par 72, 6,741 yards
  • Contact Hunstanton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The outstanding links at Hunstanton is a serious championship test that has hosted many important amateur events including the 1967 PGA Championship before the tournament moved to its Wentworth home. Martin Hawtree has made relatively recent improvements that are totally in keeping with its heritage. Unusually for a links, you change direction on almost every tee from the 4th onwards. This is very much a golfer’s golf course; testing, fair, and most importantly, enormous fun. It is also situated along a beautiful, spacious and pleasingly diverse expanse of the north Norfolk coastline.

Read full Hunstanton Golf Club course review

Sheringham

Sheringham Golf Club - Hole 5

The par-4 fifth at Sheringham is a wonderful hole along the clifftop

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Sheringham
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect Tom Dunn
  • GF Round: £65-£110 Sun-Fri
  • Par 70, 6,251 yards
  • Contact Sheringham Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This absolutely lovely clifftop course offers a fine and testing contrast to Norfolk’s premier league links. Holes three to seven run closest to the edge, and from all over the course there are terrific elevated vantage points that provide panoramic views. The closing four holes are flanked by the North Norfolk Railway, where a slice and a northerly wind make for a very bad combination. If you keep the ball straight, this is an absolutely delightful place for golf. Actually, even if you don’t, it still is!

Read full Sheringham Golf Club course review

Royal Cromer

Royal Cromer Golf Club - Aerial

The par-4 fourteenth at Royal Cromer is played on higher ground past the lighthouse

(Image credit: Royal Cromer Golf Club)
  • Location Cromer
  • Founded 1888
  • Architect Old Tom Morris, JH Taylor, James Braid, Frank Pennink.
  • GF £80 Mon-Fri, £85 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,544 yards
  • Contact Royal Cromer Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Sitting on top of the coast, this very pretty course is great fun and a real pleasure to play. There are sensational views, plenty of elevation changes and great natural beauty. It is also a quite unusual and therefore engaging mixture of clifftop, parkland and downland… with a hint of links thrown in. Old Tom Morris was responsible for two sets of major revisions to the layout, since when plenty more has changed, partly due to erosion on the cliffs. This is an entertaining, scenic and very well-maintained course.

Read full Royal Cromer Golf Club course review

Royal Norwich

Royal Norwich Golf Club - Hole 17

The short seventeenth on the new course at Royal Norwich is a real beauty

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Weston Longville, Norwich
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect Ross McMurray
  • GF £100-£130, check website for details
  • Par 73, 6,763 yards
  • Contact Royal Norwich Golf Club (opens in new tab)

A literally groundbreaking move by Royal Norwich three years ago saw the club relocate from their old home near the city centre. Funded by the sale of their James Braid course for housing, they took over the site of Weston Park Golf Club and commissioned Ross McMurray of European Golf Design to create something special. The result is an extremely attractive and varied course that runs over easy-walking turf between magnificent trees over the expansive estate. Along with state-of-the-art clubhouse and practice facilities, and even its own micro-brewery, the course is the star of the show. The design ensures that it can be played and fully enjoyed by golfers of all standards while also having the potential to host a top-level tournament.

Barnham Broom

Barnham Broom Golf Club - General View

Barnham Broom is blessed with 36 holes of very enjoyable golf

(Image credit: Barnham Broom Golf Club)
  • Location Barnham Broom, Norwich
  • Founded 1977
  • Architect Frank Pennink
  • GF £35-£85, check with club for details
  • Par Valley 72, 6,555 yards - Hill 71, 6,588 yards
  • Contact Barnham Broom Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The Valley Course is one of two at Barnham Broom, roughly 10 miles to the west of Norwich. This is a top-quality golf resort with a 46-room hotel hidden away in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. Ponds, wetlands and even the River Yare come into play at various times, especially on the 3rd, a tough par 4 where it bisects the fairway, and the short 17th. The Frank Pennink design is complemented by the Hill Course that opened some 12 years later and is also very enjoyable but also a little more forgiving. Two fine courses and a lovely hotel, the ideal combination for a short golfing break.

Eaton

Eaton Golf Club - Hole 3

The third hole at Eaton is a super-tough par 4 that suits a right-to-left shape from the tee

(Image credit: Eaton Golf Club)
  • Location Norwich
  • Founded 1910
  • Architect JH Taylor
  • GF £60 Mon-Fri, £70 Weekends
  • Par 70, 6,144 yards
  • Contact Eaton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Despite some later modifications and a handful of new holes, this is very much credited as a JH Taylor design dating back to two years after the club was formed. It is tree-lined and confounds the notion that Norfolk is a totally flat county away from its northern cliffs. This is a thinking golfer’s course where positional play from the tee or on the lay-up is the key to scoring well. There are three par 5s, at the opening hole, the 5th and at the 16th - and a handful of short holes which vary in length from 148 to 185 yards from the white tees. This is a charming course and a very friendly club.

Great Yarmouth & Caister

Great Yarmouth & Caister - Hole 7

At Great Yarmouth & Caister, the par-3 seventh is a challenging hole played to a long green

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Originally and unusually opened as a 12- and then 13-holer, it was only a year or two before the course was extended to a full 18. Following the First World War, the town’s racetrack was relocated here which led to a number of course changes in 1921. The racetrack now encompasses the first fairway and holes four to ten. This is an easy-walking, quite rugged and very natural-looking links that offers excellent value for money. Ten of the first eleven holes are par 4s, punctuated by the excellent par-3 7th that borders the racetrack. In contrast, the closing seven feature three more short holes and two long par 5s.

King's Lynn

King's Lynn Golf Club - Hole 17

The par-4 seventeenth at lovely King’s Lynn is a tough right-to-left dogleg

(Image credit: King's Lynn Golf Club)
  • Location King’s Lynn
  • Founded 1923
  • Architect Peter Alliss & Dave Thomas
  • GF £100 Mon-Fri, £110 Weekends
  • Par 72, 6,609 yards
  • Contact King’s Lynn Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Having relocated in the mid-1970s to a site to the north-east of the market town, the heavily tree-lined course at King’s Lynn looks way older than it actually is. This is a very attractive but also demanding course where positional play from the tee is vital. Doglegs abound, but you also need reasonable distance if you hope to make the more difficult par 4s in two. The turf is wonderfully free-draining, and this is a pretty and peaceful place to play with each hole discrete and separate from all others.

Sprowston Manor

Sprowston Manor - Hole 7

The seventh at Sprowston Manor works from right to left beside an attractive pond

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Norwich
  • Founded 2003
  • Architect Ross McMurray
  • GF Contact club for details
  • Par 71, 6,547 yards
  • Contact Sprowston Manor Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Sprowston Manor was designed by Ross McMurray of European Golf Design and features USGA-specification greens, more than 70 bunkers and a number of ponds, mainly beside the dogleg par-4 7th and between the 11th and 12th. It is situated on the north-eastern outskirts of Norwich, and the accompanying hotel is based in an impressive 16th-century manor house. The easy-walking course has hosted the EuroPro Tour but is equally playable by golfers of all standards.

Swaffham

Swaffham Golf Club - Hole 17

Nestling in the trees at Swaffham, the green at the par-4 penultimate hole

(Image credit: Swaffham Golf Club)
  • Location Swaffham
  • Founded 1922
  • Architect BK Wilson, Jonathan Gaunt
  • GF £50 all week
  • Par 71, 6,501 yards
  • Contact Swaffham Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Despite its maturity, the lovely course at Swaffham only made the jump from 9 to 18 holes just over 20 years ago when the club purchased some extra heathland on the outskirts of this market town. The new holes were mainly carved through mature woodland, but they have blended in extremely well resulting in a design that is narrow in places and rewards accurate play from the tee. The course is free-draining and so fully playable and enjoyable throughout the year. It is kept in fine condition and the club is currently celebrating its centenary.

Thetford

Thetford Golf Club - Hole 16

Heather is a beautiful problem at Thetford such as here on the short sixteenth

(Image credit: Thetford Golf Club)
  • Location Thetford
  • Founded 1912
  • Architect James Braid, Philip Mackenzie Ross and Charles Mayo
  • GF £40-£60, check website for details
  • Par 72, 6,851 yards
  • Contact Thetford Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The course at Thetford has evolved over 110 years from a pure heathland layout to one that still retains those characteristics but where the holes are now separated by swathes of mature pine, oak and birch. It covers a large acreage on the edge of Thetford Forest Park and is an excellent test of golf, constantly changing direction and serving up something new. Unusually, it opens with two of the four short holes in the first three holes. The greatest challenge comes from half-a-dozen par 4s over 400 yards, even from the yellow tees. The abundant, lovely but punishing heather is a real feature, especially in late summer.

There are, of course, several more very enjoyable courses in Norfolk that are worth seeking out, many of which offer great value for money. This is a peaceful and very rural county where the golf very much reflects its pastoral and off-the-beaten-track nature.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

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 r.smith896@btinternet.com.