I've Played 26 New Courses This Year And These Are My 5 Favourites
Long-time course collector, contributing editor Rob Smith selects five of the best new courses he has played in 2022
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Having played golf for more than 45 years, I have been lucky enough to play all over the world and ticked off some of the best including all but eight of the Golf Monthly Top 100 and Next 100 courses.
Since Covid, I have travelled less, especially overseas, but this year have still managed to play 68 courses at the time of writing and more are booked. 26 have been for the first time, and unusually for me, all have been in England with the exception of a trip to the south of France.
Here are five that I have thoroughly enjoyed and would very happily recommend, including my personal pick in Courses The Golf Monthly Team Are Hoping To Play In 2022 !
- Location Sheffield
- Founded 1897
- Architect Harry Colt
- GF £60 Mon/Tue, £80 Wed-Fri, £100 Weekend
- Par 71, 6,361 yards
- Contact Hallamshire Golf Club (opens in new tab)
In a county with more than its fair share of great golf, this excellent club dates back to 1897. Its original course was given a substantial overhaul and redesign 40 years later Harry Colt’s company, and despite its proximity to Sheffield, its elevated, out-and-back configuration is beautifully peaceful. It is packed with interest and variety, with a strong opening before a hat-trick of crackers from the 6th.
Highlights on the back nine include the par-4 10th played over a valley, and the wonderful and very memorable par-3 17th in the quarry. Matt Fitzpatrick honed his exceptional skills here, as has his brother Alex, and there are superb long-distance views over the Peak District. There is more than enough variety and interest to keep all golfers fully engaged from start to finish.
Read full Hallamshire Golf Club course review
- Location Biarritz
- Founded 1990
- Architect Ronald Fream
- GF €80
- Par 72, 6,298 yards
- Contact D’Arcangues Golf Club (opens in new tab)
My first flight since the arrival of Covid took me down to Biarritz with a group of friends to play some courses near Biarritz. This is an excellent location for a golf trip, and while I had played two of the three courses before, I really enjoyed my first game at Golf D’Arcangues. The parkland layout was designed by American Ronald Fream who began his architectural career working for Robert Trent Jones. Blessed with a lush, undulating, woodland site, there are both natural and manmade ponds and lakes.
There are plenty of challenges all the way, from the downhill, dogleg opening par 4 to the uphill par-5 18th. Highlights include the par 3s at 6 over a valley, and 10 over water, the sweeping par-5 12th, and the loop from 13 to 15 which loop round the chateau. Informal and very pretty, this may not be on the list of the best golf courses in France, but it’s certainly great fun and comes highly recommended.
- Location Cockermouth
- Founded 1896
- Architect James Braid
- GF £28 Mon-Fri, £34 Weekend
- Par 66, 5,415 yards
- Contact Cockermouth Golf Club (opens in new tab)
As my appreciation for golf courses continues to grow, the setting and views become ever more important to me. Just occasionally, you are lucky enough to come across a course that is under the radar situated in such a location that it pretty much takes your breath away. Cockermouth, high up in the Cumbrian hills just west of Bassenthwaite Lake, is a perfect example. Just the view out from the welcoming and informal clubhouse really should put a huge smile on your face even before you set out to explore this sporty and very engaging James Braid design.
There are many highlights here including three very different par 4s in the space of just five holes; the sidehill 6th, the tough, uphill 8th that plays way longer than its yardage, and the thrilling, do-or-die, what’s-going-on-here driveable 10th. For any golfer who, like me, values scenery and panoramic views, Cockermouth is a total joy and one of the best golf courses in Cumbria.
- Location Seascale
- Founded 1893
- Architect Willie Campbell & George Lowe
- GF £45 Mon-Fri, £50 Weekend, check website for offers
- Par 71, 6,350 yards
- Contact Seascale Golf Club (opens in new tab)
Seascale had been on my radar for a long time. Behind the beautiful Golf Monthly Top 100 links at Silloth, it is probably the county’s second best-known course. It has an unusual setting, occupying a relatively small plot of linksland which works its way up the coast to a pair of holes that run up against… and then quickly away from… the Sellafield nuclear site. Please do NOT let that put you off as the course is indeed a gem; a testing and unusual links with great character.
There are plenty of standout holes including the scary left-to-right dogleg 3rd with OOB hugging the right, the par-4 9th which plays downhill to a green bordered by a stream, and the super-tough SI1 16th which is played up to a blind green. I loved Seascale, which is one of the 2022 Golf Monthly 100 Hidden Gems, and look forward to returning.
Read full Seascale Golf Club course review
- Location Wallasey
- Founded 1891
- Architect Old Tom Morris
- GF Round £140 Mon, Tue and Thu, £165 Fri to Sun
- Par 72, 6,554 yards
- Contact Wallasey Golf Club (opens in new tab)
With the exception of three or four holes at the far end, this excellent course plays through some extremely impressive dunes. Raised greens are a feature here and make correct club selection vital. The 11th, Saddleback, is a thrilling par 4, and the 12th is a wonderful and beautifully upgraded short hole from an elevated tee. Under the guidance of course manager John McLaughlin, Wallasey is future-proofing via an array of sympathetic improvements to its very fine course.
An ambitious program of work has included new paths with natural grass, new tee complexes, bunkers redesigned to blend into the natural topography, as well as substantial tree clearance and the reinstatement of natural dune grasses. I could not have enjoyed my visit to Wallasey more, it is undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in Cheshire. In fact I would go further and say that it is also one of the best links courses in England.
With my courses-played count up to 1,175, I am hoping next year to venture further afield to discover more of the endless supply of varied, beautiful and enchanting courses that populate Planet Golf.
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 email@example.com.
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