Our Experts Pick Their Favourite Top 100 Course

Four Golf Monthly course experts select their favourite track from the 2023 UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses list

Four golf courses in a montage
(Image credit: Future)

All of the courses in Golf Monthly's UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses Ranking deliver high quality, memorable golf.

The rankings are decided on a wide range of criteria and based on the reviews of all our panellists so as to be as objective as possible. 

But personal preferences are often more subjective than that and everybody has their favourites, including the experts.

Here four of our senior panellists pick their favourite course in the top-100:

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Balgownie

Royal Aberdeen

The par-3 8th at Royal Aberdeen

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

What’s the best golf course you’ve played? A seemingly simple question we’re asked more than any other on our golfing travels that is impossibly difficult to answer having been fortunate enough to play so many of our very best courses.

I typically narrow it down to three, and Royal Aberdeen, a few miles north of the Granite City, is always one of them. This surprises people a little as it’s not so well-known as our great Open Championship links, but I’d defy anyone to pick out a finer stretch of links golf anywhere than the front nine here - and I know I’m not alone in that regard.

After playing down towards the sea on the 1st, you turn left and play along shallow valleys between dunes via rumpled fairways and rolling greens. It is simply spellbinding, and a tough act for the back nine to follow… but it would be a tough act for anywhere to follow!

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Royal Birkdale - Hole 1

The 1st at Royal Birkdale

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Selecting an individual favourite from a list of one hundred favourites is a super-tough call and my stock answer for many years has been a non-committal both courses at Sunningdale. That’s still my instinct for a day’s golf, but a return to Royal Birkdale last summer reminded me just how wonderful, varied, engaging and exciting it is.

I’ve checked the records and it has been the leading English course in every ranking produced by Golf Monthly since the first one in 2005-6. I can totally see why. If the wind was howling then it could be too tough for my mid-teen handicap, but on a sunny August afternoon I was blown away by its 18 different, compelling and beautiful challenges.

If I am playing a round and I simply don’t want it to end, then that to me is the mark of greatness. I could still be at Royal Birkdale now!

Michael Harris
Michael Harris

Wallasey Golf Club

Wallasey Golf Club from above


(Image credit: Wallasey Golf Club)

I’ve a great affinity with Wallasey, having played the course a number of times over the years. I played it when I was at university, I played on my stag do, I’m a member of Hoylake which is just down the road.

Wallasey has been so close to making it into the top-100 in the past and I, like many fans of links golf, am delighted that it has earned its place this time round. The course boasts some spectacular holes up in the dunes but was let down by weaker sections in years past.

However, under the guidance of their fabulous course manager John McLoughlin and with some visionary investment by the club, the offering has been significantly elevated over recent seasons and the course is now thoroughly deserving of its top-100 ranking.

Wallasey provides a great example of what a club can achieve with targeted investment and the right people at the helm. With that approach, Wallasey is only going to get better.

Fergus Bisset

Carnoustie's Championship course

The 13th at Carnoustie

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s so difficult to pick a favourite, but I’m quick to answer when the question is, “what is the best course you’ve ever played?” My answer is always Carnoustie. For that reason, I think I must also champion it as my favourite – it’s simply the best.

Carnoustie may not be in the most beautiful setting, it may not even have views of the sea, but the course itself is a joy to look upon as well as to play. The rolling terrain, the perfect bunkering, the meandering burns and ribbons of fairway, it’s a perfect golf course.

It’s no exaggeration to say there really are no weak holes and the pressure ebbs and flows beautifully as you make your way round towards that monumental and famously brutal finish. The surfaces are the best I ever play on and the challenge is such that I always want more.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?