Courses 41-50

41. Royal St Davids (2004 position ? 44)

6428 yards; Par 69; SSS 72

Green fees £26-£62

Tel: 01766 780857

There are golf courses, there are fine golf courses and then there are great golf courses. This, without doubt, falls into the latter category. A pure thoroughbred, Royal St David?s was not designed ? it evolved, and is all the better for that. From the start one feels the hairs on the back of the neck rise and by the 6th hole it moves into the inspirational league. A few alterations have been made since 2004, with the addition of a selection of new tees and bunkers.

42. Southport & Ainsdale (36)

6703 yards; Par 72; SSS 73

Green fees £40-£85

Tel: 01704 577316

Southport & Ainsdale offers generous greens, fairways that are not too narrow (but often surrounded by heather), moderate doglegs and the wind from every possible direction. From the yellow tees it is a stimulating challenge for the competent club golfer without being so stern a test as to spoil what is a playing delight. It is less demanding than Royal Liverpool, not so majestic as Wallasey but prettier than either, and this lovely golf course has the ability to quicken the pulse. To play it is exhilarating. A visit here should be on every golfer?s wish list.

43. Formby (32)

6698 yards; Par 72; SSS 73

Green fees £50-£100

Tel: 01704 872164

Playing this course for the first time I was amazed at the quality of the holes in the first nine. They were really superb adventures. From the 12th the land opened up a lot and the setting for each hole was breathtaking. This is a tremendous course and is unusual for a links as it has many trees. As a result of this it is a fine contrast to the nearby clutch of more traditional links courses found on the northwest coast. This is a definite ?must play? course.

44. Druids Glen (40)

6560 yards; Par 71; SSS 73

Green fees E90-E175

Tel: 00353 12 873 600

This parkland course has an excellent mix of holes with water coming into the equation on numerous occasions. The carries over water on the par-3 8th and 12th pale into insignificance compared with the task in hand on the 17th tee ? 200 yards over water to a virtual island green with little margin for error. The 13th is one of the finest par 4s you?ll play. Its elevated tee shot to an elusive fairway precedes a dauntingly long approach over water to a slender green. Pars are hard-earned here! Druids Glen has been likened to Augusta, and you?ll perhaps excuse that lofty comparison a little more when you play here.

45. Sunningdale New Course (46)

6729 yards; Par 70; SSS 73

Green fees £75-£125

Tel: 01344 620128

Long and demanding, the New is a much stiffer test than the Old and you?ll soon see why SSS is three above par. Things get very tough around the turn so make sure to treat yourself to a breather at the legendary halfway hut. As with the Old Course, large patches of heather and strategically placed bunkers lie in wait for errant tee shots and approaches and the greens are deceptively borrowing. The famous old clubhouse is a sight to behold and an experience in itself.

46. Killarney Kileen Course (38)

6563 yards; Par 72; SSS 73

Green fees E80-E120

Tel: 00353 06 431 034

I believe that on a good day it would be very hard to find anywhere nicer to play a round of golf than here. Just take some time to admire the magnificent views that encompass the lake, mountains and trees. As well as a fine setting, it is a wonderful, testing golf course with what we believe is real variety, and it will definitely keep your interest up the whole way round. For a newly renovated course I found it was simply in pristine condition, which is a credit to the greenkeepers. Everything about the course was as you?d want it to be.

47. Doonbeg (new entry)

6885 yards; Par 72; SSS 74

Green fees E100-E195

Tel: 00353 065 905 5600

Set foot on this magnificent 21st-century links and you?ll be struck first by how deceptively mature it looks, then by how tricky its intricacies make it to conquer (even in calm conditions), and finally by just how much fun it will be to try. Designed by Greg Norman, this wonderful course is part of an incomparable stretch that includes Lahinch and Ballybunion and it is quickly forging an excellent reputation.

48. Aberdovey (39)

6454 yards; Par 71; SSS 72

Green fees £32-£45

Tel: 01654 767493

You?ll be faced with a very severe test if you find that the wind is blowing when you step onto this traditional out-and-in links course. This place feels as if it has soul oozing from the brilliantly well-maintained turf beneath your feet. The Aberdovey course has quite simply the finest and truest greens I have played on in the mainland UK for a long time. The tees were beautifully manicured, while the quality of the fairway (both the soil and grass) with its forgiving nature underfoot, inspired confidence in my game. Overall, an outstanding experience.

49. Burnham & Berrow (67)

6616 yards; Par 71; SSS 72

Green fees £48-£60

Tel: 01278 785760

Most holes are sunk low into the contours of this course and give you the impression of being alone. You?ll need all the clubs in your bag as accuracy and course management play an important part in this most delightful course. It is a traditional links test and extremely well maintained, with typically fast seaside greens and penal rough that will punish any errors off the tee. Set on the edge of the Bristol Channel, which helps give the course its ever changing winds that make good course management of paramount importance.

50. Liphook (50)

6167 yards; Par 70; SSS 69

Green fees £25-£69

Tel: 01428 723271

This Hampshire club was designed as a member?s course, not as a vast corporate venue, and the result is a pleasantly peaceful setting that I thoroughly enjoyed. The layout itself kicks off with an uncompromising 202 yard, par 3. Thankfully the difficulty of the challenge relents halfway through the front nine but the heather that lines the fairways is a significant danger that will test your accuracy to the end. Framed beautifully by imposing old trees the course sprawls down and away from a relatively small and understated clubhouse.

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