Big fan of 18 holes amongst the heather and pines? You'll love these 35 UK heathland courses...
35 Of The Best Heathland Golf Courses In The UK
Heathland golf courses are some of the world’s best, usually lined with pines and heather along with sandy, springy turf making them playable all year and beautiful aesthetically too.
The UK is home to many heathland courses, with Sunningdale being the pinnacle, however there are dozens of others that are equally as charming yet don’t break the bank.
Golf Monthly’s top 100 course rankings currently features between 25-30 heathland courses, with some in that cross-section between heathland and links.
Here we pick out 35 of the best heathland golf courses in the UK…
35 Of The Best Heathland Golf Courses In The UK
The New at Sunningdale is our highest-ranked inland course at 9th.
It was designed by Harry Colt and whilst it’s called the New, it’s actually very old.
It opened in 1923 and is an absolute must-play.
It is quite simply the best example of inland golf in the entire UK and Ireland.
The Old Course opened for play in 1901 and was designed by the legendary Willie Park Jr before being tweaked by Harry Colt who was the club’s first secretary.
The Old is one of the world’s most historic courses and has hosted numerous professional events down the years.
36 holes at Sunningdale simply cannot be beaten.
Woodhall Spa Hotchkin
Ranked 22nd in our Top 100, the Hotchkin is our third-highest-ranked inland course in the UK&I.
The brilliant heathland course winds its way through the pines and heather but there are also huge bunkers to avoid.
St Georges Hill
The beautiful St George’s Hill is our highest-ranked course in Surrey.
The Red and Blue loops make up the best 18 of the 27 holes on the property, which feature heathland golf at its very best along with some excellent short holes like the delightful 8th on the Red.
Walton Heath Old
The Old Course at Walton Heath was designed by Herbert Fowler and opened back in 1904.
It is one of the world’s most famous courses having hosted the 1981 Ryder Cup and many other high-level events like the 2018 British Masters (contested over a slight composite course with the New), the European Open, the Senior Open and US Open qualifying.
The beautiful course at Hankley is set upon huge common land and is another of Surrey’s must-play heathland courses.
It ranks 34th in our Top 100, and the James Braid layout will not disappoint.
It is truly gorgeous, with rhododendrons, heather, pines, springy turf and great greens.
Heathland golf at its highest quality.
It’s only 6,300 yards and a par 69 but it tests every aspect of your game.
Hollinwell, also known as Notts GC, is one of the midlands’ greatest courses.
It has hosted final Open qualifying as well as other prestigious events.
The current course opened for play in 1901 designed by Willie Park Jr.
The exceptional downhill par-3 13th is one of the country’s best short holes, although it’s not actually that short at 200 yards from the whites and 240 from the backs.
The Berkshire Red
The Red Course at the Berkshire was designed by Herbert Fowler and opened back in 1928.
The beautiful woodland/heathland course features six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s giving plenty of scoring opportunities.
It’s great fun to play and the higher-ranked and more undulating of the two excellent courses at the club.
The stunning Alwoodley Golf Club in north Leeds was Alister MacKenzie’s first ever course design.
MacKenzie based Augusta’s par-5 13th on the 10th at Alwoodley and the similarities are clear to be seen.
It’s a true delight to play and testing with a very tough finishing stretch that requires quality ball striking.
Walton Heath New
Walton Heath’s New Course was also designed by Herbert Fowler and opened back in 1913 and is an excellent visual and testing course.
It complements the Old very nicely and a 36 hole day at Walton Heath is tough to beat.
The delightful West Sussex, also known as Pulborough, opened for play in 1931 and was designed by Guy Campbell and Cecil Hutchison.
It is one of the South-East’s finest courses but does tend to go under the radar.
It’s primarily a two-ball club and like most courses ranked higher than it, it is heathland golf at its best.
Highlights include the back-to-back par-3s at 5 and 6 as well as the beautiful short 17th over water.
The Berkshire Blue
Like Sunningdale and Walton Heath, The Berkshire is the third and final heathland club to have both of its courses inside our Top 100.
The Blue Course, like the Red, was designed by Herbert Fowler and is regarded as the tougher of the two layouts despite being the flatter of the two.
The Rosemount course at Blairgowrie is Scotland’s highest-rated heathland course and is set in beautiful Perthshire woodland with mature pines, silver birch and heather.
It was originally designed by the great Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in 1930 after James Braid laid out a further nine holes to make it 18.
It was the site of Greg Norman’s maiden European Tour win in 1977.
Moortown is described as a moorland course but has a distinct heathland feel.
The par-3 10th named ‘Gibraltar’ is an exceptional hole playing slightly uphill with bunkers surrounding the green which leads into the memorable 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes which play up-and-down on a plateau.
Worplesdon is the highest-ranked of the famous ‘Three W’s’ and is another of Surrey’s classic heathlands.
It opened for play in 1908 designed by JF Abercrombie and standout holes include the par-3 10th over water before crossing the road to the brilliant par-5 11th and gorgeous but tough par-3 13th.
The former 13th, now 7th, is a lovely par 5, which plays first down and then up, crossing a ditch that marks the West Sussex-Hampshire border to a green protected by bunkers and which runs off at the front.
That hole features in our UK&I Dream 18 holes.
The greens at Liphook are some of the best in the country and the course is challenging yet scoreable.
The course has recently undergone huge improvements with new holes designed by Mackenzie and Ebert.
There may be some debate about Aldeburgh‘s inclusion but it is primarily set out upon heathland ground and does have heather and plenty of gorse too, although it plays linksy as well.
The members describe the terrain as “maritime heath” and that seems fitting.
Either way, it’s a beautiful setting near the coast with incredible views across the River Alde.
Bring your A Game as there’s no par 5s on the course which dates back to the 1880s.
West Hill is the second-highest ranked of the Three W’s and is another gorgeous heathland course.
Designed by the club’s first professional, Cuthbert Butchart, the layout has remained largely unaltered over the last 100 years.
Parkstone is the highest-ranked of Bournemouth’s Big 3.
Willie Park Junior designed the original course here in 1909, and James Braid made substantial modifications in 1937, which are now being refined and remodelled.
Whilst much further down in the rankings than Notts GC, Sherwood Forest is a brilliant competitor to it and is perhaps the tougher of the two.
Notts and Sherwood Forest for a heathland fan, and any golf fan to be fair, is an exquisite golf break.
The current course was originally laid out in 1912 by Harry Colt and was later refined by James Braid.
Whilst the lowest of the Three W’s in our rankings, some in the local area may feel that Woking‘s Golf Monthly ranking is undeserved compared to the other two.
The 3 W’s are constantly debated and the truth is, they’re all brilliant courses in their own right.
Formed in 1893, it is Surrey’s oldest heathland club and was designed by Tom Dunn.
Ferndown, near Bournemouth, was designed by Golf Monthly’s first editor Harold Hilton and opened in 1913.
The club is where Peter Alliss learnt his trade, with his Dad Percy the club professional for over 25 years.
The Tom Dunn course opened in 1898 and was re-designed in 1914 by Harry Colt.
Frank Pont, a Colt expert, revamped the course’s bunkers to get them back to how they original played.
A highlight is the tough par-4 7th and the downhill 14th which has incredible views of the heathland from the tee box.
Ladybank is only the second Scottish course to appear on this list.
The Fife course hosts Open qualifying when the tournament takes place at St Andrews, and is everything you’d expect from a heathland with heather, birch and pines making for a gorgeous setting.
It’s a very tough track when the wind blows, especially in the latter stages.
A hidden gem in Surrey is New Zealand Golf Club, literally across the railway from the superb West Byfleet and within 10 minutes drive of the Three W’s and St Georges Hill.
The club is fairly exclusive but does take guests and is well worth experiencing for yourself.
The course dates back to 1895 and the club gets its name from General Sir Tom Goore, who served as Governor General of New Zealand from 1855-1861.
Peacefully located in rural Suffolk, the Heath 18 is packed with fine holes such as the par-4 2nd, with its tricky approach over a pond, and the excellent short 15th to a punchbowl green fronted by a sea of sand.
One of Suffolk’s must-play courses.
Tom Simpson and Tom Mackenzie have both had a hand in changes to the James Braid original over the years, along with Harry Colt and Donald Steel.
The club, which has a strong association with Justin Rose, is blessed with a varied heathland layout that boasts a number of visually memorable holes, among them the par-5 3rd, where a lake on the right will test your mettle.
You’ll find the delightfully secluded course at Blackmoor just five miles from Liphook.
It started life as a Harry Colt 12-holer in 1912 before growing to 18 in 1924.
You play your way through pine, birch and oak, with many fairways elegantly and strategically lined by heather.
Also known as Purdis Heath, Ipswich Golf Club, set out across rolling heathland, is one of the top two courses in Suffolk along with Aldeburgh.
The club was founded in 1895 and the current course dates back to 1926, which was designed by James Braid.
The fine Willie Park Junior heathland layout lies just north of Southampton.
In recent years the club has undertaken extensive woodland clearances to help regenerate heather and improve the playing surfaces.
There’s a fun back-to-back duo at 12 and 13 – a par-5 then a tight but tempting par-4 barely half the former’s length.
Like Liphook, Hindhead was a favourite of Peter Alliss’.
“One of my favourite courses of all time with greens that are kept in magnificent shape,” Peter Alliss said of the course.
The club dates back to 1904 and is set in the Devil’s Punchbowl with plenty of undulations, especially on the front nine.
Beau Desert, otherwise known as ‘Beautiful Wilderness’ is no stranger to accommodating top golfers with the course hosting Open Championship qualifying on several occasions.
With large undulating greens and narrow fairways, it may not be a long course but accuracy is the key.
It’s one of the top clubs in Staffordshire.
The Highgate Course is slightly the longer of the two courses at the club, measuring 6,493 yard par 72 off the everyday yellow tees, and in general terms it is a driver’s course.
Provided that you can hit it reasonably straight, and that you are alert for hidden dangers such as ditches, distance is a distinct advantage on Highgate.
Indeed, on the 586 yard 9th it is essential, because this dogleg par 5, one of the longest holes in the Midlands, requires three text-book shots to reach the elevated green on which many players are thankful only to two-putt.
Clandeboye’s Dufferin is Northern Ireland’s top heathland course.
Measuring 6,550 yards, it is one of the island of Ireland’s many must-play inlanders.
It features heather, gorse and stunning views across the Belfast Lough.
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