Top 100 Golf Courses UK and Ireland 2021/22

Look at the full list of the UK and Ireland's Top 100 Courses

St Andrews Old Course pictured
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UK and Ireland is blessed with some of the world’s greatest golf courses, from historic links to beautiful heathlands, pretty parklands and breathtaking clifftops. 

Our Top 100 golf courses list features the best of the best and every single golf course on this list accepts visitors. We're lucky that every single Open Championship venue accepts visitors but there are some courses on these shores that are reserved for their lucky members and guests, which feature in our list of the UK's most exclusive golf clubs.

Whilst every course on this list does welcome guests, the green fees do come at a cost - so check out our 100 best cheap golf courses list, which features amazing hidden gem golf courses around the UK and Ireland that offer up top quality golf at an affordable price.

Below, we list our Top 100 courses on these shores… for 2021/22.

top 100 golf courses uk and ireland - full list



Royal County Down Golf Club

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  • Location: Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland
  • Founded: 1889
  • Designed by: Old Tom Morris, George Combe, Harry Vardon and Harry Colt
  • Green fee: £270-£370

Up 3 from previous ranking

One of the most photographed courses in the world, Royal County Down boasts arguably the most spectacular setting of any of our traditional links, blessed with sea views and the spectacular backdrop of the Mourne Mountains.. Rollercoaster fairways, blind shots and gloriously natural bunkering make this course one of the most stunning settings for golf anywhere in the world - and that's why we rank it as the best golf course in the UK and Ireland. It is exhilarating and at times challenging. When the gorse and heather are in bloom it is an absolute picture.

- Full Royal County Down Championship Course review


St Andrews Old Course

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
  • Opened: 1552
  • Designed by: Old Tom Morris and Daw Anderson (1850s)
  • Green fee: £98-£270

No change

Packed with goose-bump factor, history and drama, the Old Course is probably the favourite of more people than any other course in the world and is simply a must play for every golfer. Seven double greens, only two short holes and only two par-5s; the Road Hole and the Swilcan Bridge give this course more history than any other. It is probably one of the most playable layouts as high handicappers won't get beaten up. Wander round the famous Home End and take in the everything the experience has to offer at what is one of the world's bucket list golf courses.

- Full St Andrews Old Course review


Muirfield Golf course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland
  • Founded: 1744 (course opened: 1922)
  • Designed by: Old Tom Morris, Harry Colt and Tom Simpson
  • Green fee: £285-£420

No change

A unique and characterful golfing experience. The course at Muirfield is a near-perfect links, delivering superb variety and a firm but fair test. It has hosted The Open Championship on sixteen occasions from Lee Trevino's chip-in win to Phil Mickelson's iconic win in 2013. Muirfield largely runs in two loops, the front nine is clockwise around the outside with the back nine sitting in the centre. It means varying wind is a huge factor. This complete golfing test never fails to deliver.

- Full Muirfield Golf Course review


Trump Turnberry Ailsa Course

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  • Location: Turnberry, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1902
  • Designed by: Archibald Kennedy and William Fernie (Martin Ebert redesign 2016)
  • Green fee: £275-£395

Down 3 from previous ranking

Another of the best golf courses in Scotland comes with the championship challenge and wow-factor of the famous Ailsa Course. Despite being the host of four Open Championships (1977, 1986, 1994 & 2009), it still underwent major changes that were fully unveiled in 2016. Martin Ebert was tasked with this and he did a great job. The boldest changes were around the turn beginning with the par-3 9th along the cliffs, which is now followed by a snaking par-5 right along the coastline. The lighthouse itself has been converted into a stunning halfway house, one of the best in golf. It's expensive but it is as good as it gets.

- Full Trump Turnberry Ailsa Course review


Carnoustie Championship

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  • Location: Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland
  • Founded: 1842 
  • Designed by: Allan Robertson, Old Tom Morris and James Braid
  • Green fee: £270

No change

Carnoustie’s Championship course delivers a complete test of golf. It’s an immaculate stretch of links land with a fabulous selection of uniquely memorable holes. The finish is as good as it gets. There’s a strong case for saying that Carnoustie’s championship course may be the most challenging on the Open rota. Francesco Molinari won over baked fairways in 2018 whilst Padraig Harrington came through an epic tussle with Sergio Garcia in 2007. But, for many Carnoustie will always stir memories of 1999, Jean Van de Velde’s 72nd hole collapse.

- Full Carnoustie Championship Course review


Royal Dornoch Golf Club

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland
  • Founded: 1877
  • Designed by: Donald Ross
  • Green fee: £125-£335

Up 1 from previous ranking

Royal Dornoch delivers a selection of highly individual and unadulterated golf holes flowing across the most exquisite playing surfaces. This is golf in its purest form. Tom Watson, an honorary member of the club, described the links as “One of the great courses of the five continents.” The philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie said of his home in Dornoch, “If there is heaven on earth, it is here.” Are the plaudits and praise justified? In a word, yes. This is a captivating place that will leave an indelible imprint on the memory. Another Old Tom Morris design makes the list and it is one of the most northernly courses in Scotland. It is a classic yet timeless links course with glorious view, and improved transport links has made it a lot easier to reach this course.

- Full Royal Dornoch Championship Course review


Royal Birkdale Golf Club

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  • Location: Southport, Merseyside, England
  • Founded: 1889
  • Designed by: Fred Hawtree and JH Taylor
  • Green fee: £185-£285

Down 1 from previous ranking

Running through some of the finest dunes in England, this is the jewel in the crown of English golf; a perfect links that is guaranteed to please. The Southport coast has way more than its fair share of very fine links, but one stands above them all – Royal Birkdale, where the holes play predominantly along the valleys between tall dunes. Birkdale has played host to 10 Open Championships, as well as the 1965 and 1969 Ryder Cups. It has also played host to Women's British Opens, Senior Opens, Amateur Championships, Walker Cups and Curtis Cups. Most recently, it was also the site of Jordan Spieth's infamous drop and unbelievable last five holes to win the 2017 Open Championship.

- Full Royal Birkdale Golf Club review


Royal Portrush Dunluce

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  • Location: Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Founded: 1888
  • Designed by: Harry Colt
  • Green fee: £240-£390

No change

A thrilling journey through the dunes packed with wow-factor, top quality links holes and more charisma than just about anywhere. The Dunluce is not only right up there among the best golf courses in Northern Ireland but also in the world. It was designed by the legendary Harry Colt, and even before the relatively recent changes prior to hosting the 2019 Open Championship, there were plenty who felt it was a contender for the best course in the whole of Ireland.

- Full Royal Portrush Dunluce Course review


Sunningdale Golf Club Old Course 18th hole pictured with clubhouse beyond

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  • Location: Sunningdale, Berkshire, England
  • Opened: 1901
  • Designed by: Willie Park Jr
  • Green fee: £300

Up 2 from previous ranking

A majestic heathland course delivering a great selection of holes and superb conditioning. The Old at Sunningdale vies strongly with its younger sibling for the honour of finest inland course in the UK, let alone England. It's without doubt one of the best heathland golf courses in the world, showcasing inland golf at its very finest. There are so many strong holes on this wonderful and historic layout, that picking out one over another is tough, but the stretch from the 6th to the 8th excels heading out, while the 10th is a glorious down and up par 4 that will test you to the full. 

- Full Sunningdale Golf Club Old Course Review


Sunningdale New Course Review

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  • Location: Sunningdale, Berkshire, England
  • Opened: 1923
  • Designed by: Harry Colt
  • Green fee: £300

Down 1 from previous ranking

A hugely enjoyable, classic, beautiful and testing heathland course, Sunningdale’s New Course delivers a complete examination of the game and rivals its older sibling - some even think it's the better of the two courses on the property. It’s an inland masterpiece and a supremely beautiful place to play golf, with holes that will test and tease you, and others where you may just fancy your chances. Whatever happens on the day, you can’t help but enjoy yourself as Sunningdale is home to 36 of the best golf holes in the world, let alone the country!

- Full Sunningdale Golf Club New Course review



Royal St George's

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  • Location: Sandwich, Kent, England
  • Founded: 1887
  • Designed by: Laidlaw Purves
  • Green fee: £125-£290

Up 2 from previous ranking

Another of the best links courses in the UK, Royal St George's is a challenging yet fair windswept links offering a thorough examination of ball-striking and strategy. Founded in 1887, it was the first English course to play host to The Open Championship, which it did in 1894. This links with a difference boasts fairways more rumpled in nature than on any other course on the current Open rota. There’s a glorious feeling of space around the 1st tee, but the challenge is stiff from the outset in any sort of breeze. Among the standout holes are the famous 4th with its mighty sleepered bunkers and extremely testing green.

- Full Royal St George's Golf Club review


Royal Liverpool Golf Club general view

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  • Location: Hoylake, Wirral, England
  • Founded: 1869
  • Designed by: Robert Chambers, George Morris and Harry Colt
  • Green fee: £135-£250

Up 2 from previous ranking

Exciting changes at this historic links will see it in tip-top shape when The Open Championship returns in 2023. Tiger reigned supreme over a bone-dry links here in 2006 before Rory McIlroy won his Claret Jug here in 2014. Looking out from the fine red-brick clubhouse, you’ll see a number of flat holes playing around what was once a racecourse but is now the practice ground. The course at Hoylake is a little different and really comes alive in the middle when it ventures closer to the Dee estuary for a prolonged spell of dramatic links golf. 

- Full Royal Liverpool Golf Club review


Royal Lytham and St Annes

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  • Location: Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England
  • Founded: 1886
  • Designed by: George Lowe and Harry Colt 
  • Green fee: £160-£305

Down 1 from previous ranking

A tough strategic links test with a selection of highly memorable holes and a fine history. There’s an interesting juxtaposition of nature and urbanity to be seen on the fairways. This 11-time Open venue and two-time Ryder Cup host really is a thinker’s course where plotting your way round is of at least equal merit to length of the tee. Uniquely among The Open venues, it starts with a heavily bunkered par 3, which is followed by two strong par 4s flanking the railway. The run for home is stout indeed. The long par 4s at 15 and 17 – the latter’s approach blind if you’re too far left off the tee - yield par figures with some reluctance.

- Full Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club review

Trump International Golf Links Scotland

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  • Opened: 2012
  • Designed by: Martin Hawtree
  • Green fee: £305

Down 4 from previous ranking

Sheer golfing exhilaration from start to finish on this magnificent links blending traditional features with modern styling. Tough when the wind blows, but hugely enjoyable. This jaw-dropping layout is one of the best modern links has to offer, delivering superb variety between the mountainous grass-topped hills. You get great views of the North Sea and the beaches adjacent to it. The vistas from the tees, in particular the 14th, are breathtaking.

- Full Trump International Golf Links review


Kingsbarns Links

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  • Location: Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland
  • Opened: 2000
  • Designed by: Kyle Phillips
  • Green fee: £305

No change

A very special course, with a price tag to match, where the emphasis is on fun and relaxation. It’s a fabulous modern take on a traditional Scottish links set on a beautiful section of the Fife coastline and has become one of the best seaside tracks over the last 20 years, hosting the Alfred Dunhill Links each year as well as the 2017 Women's British Open. There are many a great hole but the 12th and 13th are clear standouts as they hug the shoreline tightly.

- Full Kingsbarns Golf Links review


Royal Aberdeen Balgownie

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Founded: 1780
  • Designed by: Robert and Archie Simpson
  • Green fee: £195-£370

No change

A high-quality course at an historic club that the links purist will love. It’s rugged and rumpled but carefully thought out and the surfaces are of the highest possible quality. Architecture and typical links elements help deliver a stern test by which both professional and amateur tournaments have been hosted here. Archie and Robert Simpson from Carnoustie designed the first layout at Balgownie, before James Braid advised on alterations to the greens and bunkering in 1925. Hawtree and Company have more recently added their touches.

- Full Royal Aberdeen Balgownie Course review


Royal Troon - Old Course

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1878
  • Designed by: George Strath, Willie Fernie and James Braid
  • Green fee: £260

No change

A high quality, traditional links that delivers the challenge and experience you would expect from a course on the Open rota. Hosting one of the most exciting Open Championships in recent times when Henrik Stenson out-duelled Phil Mickelson in a thrilling final round in 2016, then to the highly memorable AIG Women’s Open in 2020, won by Sophia Popov, golf fans have been reminded just what a superb links the Old Course at Royal Troon is. The front nine takes you towards the loop and the famous “Postage Stamp” 8th hole, one of the most famous par-3s in the world. The back nine is very punishing as it is played back into the wind.

- Full Royal Troon Old Course review


Woodhall Spa Hotchkin

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  • Location: Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, England
  • Opened: 1905
  • Designed by: Harry Vardon
  • Green fee: £70-£135

Up 2 from previous ranking

The beautifully renovated Hotchkin course is heathland golf at its finest, with heather and its famous bunkers placing a real premium on accuracy. Yes, the deep, testing bunkers are what the Hotchkin is most famous for, but Lincolnshire’s finest is about so much more than that. There are so many strong holes it’s almost impossible to single one out, but if pushed, the par-5 9th sets up particularly magnificently from the tee. A stunning Tom Doak renovation project has recently been completed at Woodhall Spa, where the vision was to restore much of the course's original character with some trees, shrubs and gorse removed and bunkered returned to their original style with other long-lost ones re-introduced.

- Full Woodhall Spa Golf Club Hotchkin Course review


The European Club

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  • Location: Brittas Bay, County Wicklow, Ireland
  • Founded: 1987
  • Designed by: Pat Ruddy
  • Green fee: €230

Down 1 from previous ranking

This modern-day links offers a superb golfing experience that mixes fun and challenge with more than a hint of quirkiness in places. Back in the 1980s, Irish golf writer and golf course architect, Pat Ruddy was determined to have a golf course of his own, setting out on a helicopter mission in 1987 to find the perfect spot. The fruits of that mission turned out to be Brittas Bay in County Wicklow, and six years later, dream became reality when his European Club opened for play there. Five holes hug the beach closely with the 12th green being particularly memorable in the fact it stretches a 9-iron from front to back. A wonderful blend of fun and challenge.

- Full The European Club review


Waterville Golf Links

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  • Location: Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland
  • Founded: 1973
  • Designed by: Eddie Hackett and Claude Harmon
  • Green fee: €250

Up 1 since previous ranking

Waterville is a true links blessed with one of the most dreamy, unspoilt locations in the Top 100. While the layout is still relatively young, it has the look and feel of a course that has been here forever. Almost completely surrounded by water, there are views over to the mountains and it is an excellent test of golf. More recently, Tom Fazio completed a project to make the topography more consistent throughout while enhancing the challenge, beauty and traditional links playing surfaces. It's an excellent test situated alongside a peaceful, expansive and beautiful bay. Magical, mystical, wondrous. Waterville is all of these things and more.

- Full Waterville Golf Links review



Castle Stuart Golf Links

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  • Location: Inverness, Scotland
  • Opened: 2009
  • Designed by: Gil Hanse and Mark Parsinen
  • Green fee: £235-£300

Down 2 from previous ranking

The real beauty of the visually striking Castle Stuart is its clever design – generous off the tee before asking sterner questions of your approach play. Stylish and compact, it puts a new spin on modern golf links. It gives cracking views across to the Black Isle and is one of the world's most incredible golf courses. The early holes on both nines play in different directions along a lower shelf right beside the Firth, with the water highly adjacent on the right heading out, and the back nine then playing away from the clubhouse and vast putting green in the opposite direction with the Firth in play for a hook. 

- Full Castle Stuart Golf Links review


Royal Porthcawl Golf Links

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis,
  • Location: Porthcawl, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Founded: 1891
  • Designed by: Charles Gibson and Ramsay Hunter
  • Green fee: £150-£220

Up 1 from previous ranking

Perhaps the greatest strength of Wales’ finest links is that it has 18 fresh and different challenges that serve up splendid sea views at almost every turn. You should aim to make your score on the front nine as the course ramps up the challenge later on with four par 4s over 400 yards in the last six holes. Wind can be a strong influence here especially as the course dodges about, so holes face in all directions. Perhaps one of the very best things about Royal Porthcawl is that with no towering dunes in the way and a wonderful tract of land that slopes gently down towards the beach, there are great sea views to be savoured from almost every part of the course.

- Full Royal Porthcawl Golf Club review


Adare Manor

(Image credit: ©2018 LC Lambrecht)
  • Location: Adare, County Limerick, Ireland
  • Founded: 1995 (re-designed 2016)
  • Designed by: Robert Trent Jones Sr (Tom Fazio re-design)
  • Green fee: €395

Up 2 from previous ranking

For modern, perfectly-conditioned parkland golf of the very top order in terms of interest, excitement and beauty, there is simply none better. It had been closed for a full two years in order of a renovation and the result made it undoubtedly the best inland course in Ireland that now ranks as the fourth-best inland golf course in the entire UK and Ireland. State-of-the-art drainage was installed with more than 6,600 square meters of new bunkering and completely new playing surfaces. It is arguably the most Augusta-like experience anywhere this side of the pond. The 2027 Ryder Cup will be hosted at this parkland gem, 100 years after the first match - it's set to be an incredible week.

- Full Adare Manor Golf Course review


St George's Hill clubhouse pictured

(Image credit: Jason Livy)
  • Location: Weybridge, Surrey, England
  • Opened: 1911
  • Designed by: Harry Colt
  • Green fee: £225

No change

Achingly beautiful, a lesson in golf course design and presentation, this Colt classic is quintessential, timeless, heathland perfection. There is drama, variety and challenge aplenty laid out beneath the imposing red brick clubhouse that you play back up towards on the Red nine’s finale. It's home to three nines (Red and Blue main 18 plus Green) for what is one of the very best golf courses in Surrey. To pick out one or two standout holes from such a strong cast is tough, but the 2nd on the Red is a demanding par 4 played from a raised tee over a crest, then gently back up to the green, while the 2nd on the Blue is a well-guarded 120-yarder where trouble awaits in the form of deep bunkers and steep banks.

- Full St George's Hill Golf Club review



(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Ballybunion, County Kerry, Ireland
  • Founded: 1893
  • Designed by: Robert Trent Jones Sr
  • Green fee: €250

Down 3 from previous ranking

This must-play jewel, with echoes along the coast of Pebble Beach, features some of the most dramatic and scenic holes in Ireland. While some of the holes cling to the cliff-tops, others nudge and elbow their way down and along through the sandhills. Sometimes it is both. Five-time Open champion Tom Watson is a huge fan. He played the course 40 years ago and described it as the best in the world. "After playing Ballybunion for the first time, a man would think that the game of golf originated here.” He would later return to advise on some course changes, and also to serve as the club’s millennium captain.

- Full Ballybunion Old Course review


Lahinch pictured from above

(Image credit: Steve Carr)
  • Location: Lahinch, County Clare, Ireland
  • Founded: 1892
  • Designed by: Alister MacKenzie
  • Green fee: €240

Up 6 from previous ranking

A wonderfully natural links that showcases the very best in design. It’s a must visit for golfing purists. Lahinch played host to a thrilling Irish Open in 2019, won in some style by Jon Rahm. The event showcased the quality of the design and test offered by the Old Course. That, combined with extensive works, has seen Lahinch climb six places to 26th our latest UK&I Top 100 rankings. Golf at Lahnich on the County Clare coast began in 1892 when two officials of Limerick Golf Club laid out 18 holes with the assistance of officers from the “Black Watch” regiment. Old Tom Morris made improvements in 1894 but it was Dr Alister MacKenzie who, in 1927, created the course largely still in play today.

- Full Lahinch Old Course review


Portmarnock Golf Links pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Portmarnock, County Dublin, Ireland
  • Founded: 1894
  • Designed by: William Pickeman
  • Green fee: €250-€425

Down 1 from previous ranking

Attention to detail and conditioning has always been very evident at this superb, timeless and very honest championship links.  Set on a relatively flat and wonderfully sandy peninsula to the north of Dublin, the 27 holes at Portmarnock look exactly as though they were always destined for golf. It is extremely highly regarded and has long been ranked as one of the country’s very finest golfing examinations. Golf here dates back to 1894, and the course has hosted a huge number of prestigious titles including no fewer than 19 Irish Open Championships. More recently, in 2019, it was the home of the Amateur Championship

- Full Portmarnock Golf Club review


Burnham and Berrow links pictured

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis (
  • Location: Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England
  • Founded: 1891
  • Designed by: Charles Gibson
  • Green fee: £130-£155

Up 2 from previous ranking

Burnham & Berrow is a links with a difference, with a strong cast of par 3s and a short stretch of reed-lined holes adding to the course’s individuality. Featuring tight fairways, impressive sand hills and thick rough, the course seems a daunting prospect requiring strict accuracy off the tee. It has hosted more than 50 amateur competitions and provides a fair challenge that links enthusiasts will relish. It's not only one of the best golf courses in Somerset but arguably the best course in the South West.

- Full Burnham and Berrow Golf Club review


Walton Heath Old course pictured from abovie

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, England
  • Opened: 1904
  • Designed by: Herbert Fowler
  • Green fee: Contact club

Down 2 from previous ranking

A classic heathland golf course with a great heritage where firm fairways and smooth greens demand good ball striking and a delicate touch. The older of Walton Heath’s two excellent courses has a long and rich history that features a Ryder Cup and many other high-profile events with the 2023 AIG Women's Open on the horizon. The stunning Surrey heathland is blessed with an expansive landscape where you can often gaze out over several holes, though rarely will they impinge on each other. If you’re into the wind heading out, the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th will all test your game to the full, especially if you’re unable to keep it out of the heather.

- Full Walton Heath Golf Club Old Course review


North Berwick pictured

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland
  • Founded: 1832
  • Designed by: David Strath, Old Tom Morris, Ben Sayers and C.K Hutchison
  • Green fee: £175

Down 1 from previous ranking

Although imitation is often attempted, North Berwick is a unique course. It’s natural and pure links golf. As you head out from the town you go towards the sea - you'll be negotiating walls, burns, bumps and hollows. The 13th to 15th is one of the most famous stretches in golf with the final hole of the three, a 192-yard par-3 being one of the most copied in the world. It is living proof that the design philosophies of a bygone era can still be very much part of the modern game. Indeed, many would argue that the challenges of some of the quirkier elements of this wonderful old links are exactly what the game is missing in certain quarters.

- Full North Berwick Golf Club review



Hillside Golf Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Southport, Merseyside, England
  • Founded: 1911
  • Designed by: Fred Hawtree
  • Green fee: £90-£230

Up 3 from previous ranking

Hillside is one of England's finest links, and as an unusual one with a number of holes beautifully framed by towering pines. The front nine is strong, but the back nine really shines - it's arguably one of the best back nines in the entire UK. The par 5s - the 11th, sweeping from right to left, and the 17th through a dune-lined valley - really stand out. Hillside borders Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale and is one of the best golf courses in Lancashire. It hosted the 2019 British Masters won by Marcus Kinhult.

- Full Hillside Golf Club review


Hankley Common GC

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Farnham, Surrey, England
  • Opened: 1897
  • Designed by: Harry Colt and James Braid
  • Green fee: £130

Up 1 from previous ranking

A tremendous free-draining course in a peaceful and expansive setting. Hankley Common is a beautiful golf course that is of top quality. The surrounding area is a site of special scientific interest and the setting features thousands of birches, rowans, pines and oaks. The course is renowned for its good drainage and the dry conditions make for fast-running fairways akin to a links course, as Bobby Locke once pointed out. The club never rests on its laurels and continues to improve what is one of England's premier inland layouts.

- Full Hankley Common Golf Club review


Old Head Golf Links

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
  • Founded: 1997
  • Designed by: Ron Kirby
  • Green fee: €375

Down 2 from previous ranking

The truly spectacular Old Head Golf Links, laid out on a towering headland jutting into the Atlantic near Kinsale in County Cork, boasts elements of links and cliff-top golf… and is arguably the most dramatic setting of any course in our Top 100. Many of the holes are stunning, but the 12th and 13th, near the headland’s slender neck and perilously close to sheer vertical drops, sum up the Old Head experience. In places, mixing cliff-top with links, defies belief with its incredible setting and series of spectacular holes. The experience and views on offer make Old Head one of the world's most incredible golf courses.

- Full Old Head Golf Links review


Ganton Golf Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Vale of Pickering, Yorkshire, England
  • Opened: 1897
  • Designed by: Tom Chisholm and Robert Bird
  • Green fee: £75-£170

Down 6 since previous ranking

A great course blending heathland with a feel of the links that will test the very best players. It has an embarrassment of riches, and a number of holes that will quickly expose your weaknesses, especially if you stray into one of many bunkers that wouldn’t look out of place at Woodhall Spa. The final run for home is strong, with the 17th not quite able to decide if it’s a par 3 or 4 on the card, and 18 then somewhat unusually playing over an entrance road that is actually OOB should your ball come to rest on it. It's an historic club that once boasted six-time Open champion Harry Vardon as its professional, and it has hosted the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup, Curtis Cup and the Amateur Championship.

- Full Ganton Golf Club review


Nairn Golf Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Nairn, Highland, Scotland
  • Founded: 1887
  • Designed by: Archie Simpson and Old Tom Morris
  • Green fee: £160-£285

Up 3 from previous ranking

Gorse-lined, criss-crossed by burns and pockmarked by perilous pot bunkers, the newly upgraded Nairn delivers typical Scottish links golf. Dating from 1887, this superb links has welcomed many important competitions over the years, including the 1999 Walker Cup and 2012 Curtis Cup. The Amateur Championship visited for a second time in June 2021. This is a thinker’s course with testing greens and run-off areas demanding careful placement. Old Tom Morris and James Braid both had a significant hand in the shaping of this fine old links on the Moray Firth. The holes play mostly along the Firth in either direction, save for a brief foray up and away in the middle of the back nine where the feel becomes more heathland for a few holes with magnificent views.

- Full Nairn Golf Club Championship Course review


St Enodoc Church

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Rock, Cornwall, England
  • Opened: 1890
  • Designed by: James Braid
  • Green fee: £75-£135

Up 4 from previous ranking

One of the most distinctive, memorable and scenic courses in the Top 100, St Enodoc is one of a kind and a real treat that offers excellent value and real variety. The Cornish coastline provides a stunning backdrop to this wonderfully varied James Braid design that changes direction and elevation throughout. Packed with memorable features such as the Himalayas bunker, the course's namesake church and stunning views across the Camel Estuary to Padstow, it's a thrilling ride from start to finish. It's top of the list when it comes to the best golf courses in Cornwall and is right up there as one of England's best links courses.

- Full St Enodoc Church Course review


Holinwell Golf Club

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Opened: 1901 (club founded 1887)
  • Designed by: Willie Park Jr
  • Green fee: £75-£200

Down 1 from previous ranking

A fine heathland routing with sometimes breath-taking changes in elevation and a host of exceptional holes - easy to see why the course is riding so high. Notts provides a genuine away-from-it-all feeling. An ongoing bunker-improvement programme is successfully recreating a true heathland appearance. Not only is it top of the best golf courses in Nottinghamshire list but it is also the best golf course in the midlands. Holinwell has hosted numerous high-level events including Open Final Qualifying and is only getting better thanks to work from Martin Ebert.

- Full Holinwell Home of Notts Golf Club review


Gleneagles King's course pictured on a sunny day

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1919
  • Designed by: James Braid
  • Green fee: £140-£300

Down 1 from previous ranking

Nowhere gives you the chance to pit yourself against Braid’s design mind in quite as gloriously serene a setting as Gleneagles King’s course. His Perthshire masterpiece enjoys quite simply one of the most beautiful settings for golf in the UK&I. Carved through the pine trees, the King’s rises and falls over springy moorland turf. Scotland's number one inland course is designed to play like an inward links with tightly cut fairways that are now 40 per cent wider while a new tee on the final hole stretches its yardage to 555. There's the odd blind shot around a number of breathtaking backdrops. It's a must-play.

- Full Gleneagles King's Course review


Swinley Forest GC, 18th hole and 1st hole pictured

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Ascot, Berkshire, England
  • Opened: 1909
  • Designed by: Harry Colt
  • Green fee: Contact club

No change

Swinley Forest is a shining diamond; a Harry Colt classic that has passed the test of time with flying colours. Swinley Forest is a quintessentially old-school course that is always a delight. Tunnelling through beautiful pines it provides a sublime balance of fun and variety, making it one of Harry Colt's greatest legacies. Colt described Swinley as his "least bad course." It's not the longest but this golden-age classic has more than survived the test of time. It's only second to Sunningdale when it comes to the best golf courses in Berkshire.

- Full Swinley Forest Golf Club review

Dumbarnie Links pictured on a sunny day

(Image credit: Mark Alexander)
  • Location: Leven, Fife, Scotland
  • Opened: 2020 
  • Designed by: Clive Clark
  • Green fee: £185-£258

New entry

A modern masterpiece, Dumbarnie boasts a wonderful, elevated setting above the Firth of Forth and a great mix of holes to both challenge and tempt you. It had been talked about for years and eagerly anticipated for some time once work commenced, but it finally became a reality in 2020. The brainchild of former Ryder Cup player, Clive Clark, Dumbarnie serves up a truly exceptional golfing experience, playing from an elevated clubhouse right down to the shore at times via a series of remarkable holes, many of which stand out visually. Among them is a trio playing downhill towards the Firth of Forth - the appetite-whetting 1st, the simply gorgeous short par-3 8th and the attractively bunkered 9th. Just nine miles from St Andrews, this modern gem is a very welcome addition to the already-fantastic golf on offer in Fife.

- Full Dumbarnie Golf Links review



Formby GC clubhouse and accommodation pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Formby, Merseyside, England
  • Founded: 1884
  • Designed by: Willie Park Jr, James Braid and Harry Colt
  • Green fee: £110-£200

No change

This superb championship links is very distinctive and memorable, all the more so due to its heathland characteristics - a perfect blend of styles. While many links courses lack the framing and variety offered by trees, Formby features the best of both worlds. It is abound with strong par 4s that contribute to its reputation as one of the very best courses on a coastline packed with excellent golf. This premier-league links is distinctive and memorable and its future is safeguarded with changes on the way.

- Full Formby Golf Club review


The Berkshire GC Red Course par-3 10th hole pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Ascot, Berkshire, England
  • Founded: 1928
  • Designed by: Herbert Fowler
  • Green fee: £125-£255

Up 1 from previous ranking

A dizzying blend of six short holes, six par 4s and six par 5s add maximum variety to a sublime heathland setting. This fabulous Herbert Fowler design provides enormous fun with variety with something new in store at every turn. It's a stunning heathland layout that more than packs its punch in a popular area, and a 36-hole day at the Berkshire playing the Red as well as the superb Blue course is a day to remember.

- Full The Berkshire Red Course review

Trump International Doonbeg

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland
  • Founded: 2002
  • Designed by: Greg Norman
  • Green fee: €210-€240

Down 8 from previous ranking

A striking layout set amidst towering dunes. A fabulous modern links in a beautiful location overlooking Doughmore Bay in County Clare. Greg Norman’s brilliant layout has been further enhanced by Martin Hawtree since the Trump Organization took over in 2014.. The course begins with one of the greatest opening holes in golf, a fabulous par-5 that takes you through the tunes to an amphitheatre green. It raises the expectation of what is to come, and that expectation is met with a tremendous selection of strikingly memorable holes that are supremely enjoyable simply to behold, let alone to play.

- Full Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg review


Prestwick GC pictured

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1851
  • Designed by: Old Tom Morris
  • Green fee: £145-£160

Down 2 from previous ranking

Packed with blind shots, drivable par 4s, desert-sized bunkers and rollercoaster greens, Prestwick is a living link with the game’s past. It can sometimes be easy to forget that St Andrews is not the true home of The Open. The first 12 Opens were played on this famed Ayrshire links that was less than a decade old when eight players teed it up for the inaugural Challenge Belt in October 1860. Prestwick is a lesson in course design, a true one-off and a must-play for golf fans.

- Full Prestwick Golf Club review


Royal St David's GC

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales
  • Founded: 1894
  • Designed by: Harold Finch-Hatton and William Henry More
  • Green fee: £60-£135

Up 1 from previous ranking

A traditional links packed with strong par 4s and a particularly challenging finish; very much a golfer’s golf course. The undulating fairways, deep bunkers and hard, fast greens of Royal St David’s are watched over by the majestic Harlech Castle on the town side and a tall dune ridge on the coastal side. The back nine certainly has more drama than the flatter front nine at Royal St David's. Overall, this is a strong links that places demands on good positional play and a willing acceptance of the odd rogue bounce. The dormy house is very comfortable and there are some terrific packages for golf and accommodation.

- Full Royal St David's Golf Club review


Rosapenna Sandy Hills pictured along the coastline

(Image credit: Larry Lambrecht)
  • Location: Rosapenna, Donegal, Ireland
  • Founded: 2003 
  • Designed by: Pat Ruddy
  • Green fee: €110-€210

Down 2 from previous ranking

A tremendous modern links carved through impressive dunes. It’s challenging but fair with some interesting holes to negotiate – a real thinker’s course. It’s hard to believe the Sandy Hills Links is less than 20 years old, the Pat Ruddy design opened in just 2003. Carved through the dunes, this superb layout is one of the great examples of course design from the last 25 years. It makes the very most of this dramatic coastal landscape, delivering a superb variety of unique, memorable and challenging golf holes. It’s tough, there’s no question about that, but it’s fair and it’s hugely enjoyable.

- Full Rosapenna Sandy Hills Course review


Western Gailes

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1897
  • Designed by: Fred Morris and Fred Hawtree
  • Green fee: £185-£245

Up 2 from previous ranking

Set between railway and sea, the recently improved Western Gailes in Ayrshire delivers an exacting challenge over the purest golfing terrain. It shows exactly what Scottish links is all about and is close to links golf heaven. Some great green settings and thought-provoking par-4s, a thorough test of golf with stunning views to Arran to accompany it.

- Full Western Gailes Golf Club review


Tralee par 3 pictured

(Image credit: Evan Schiller)
  • Location: Barrow West, County Kerry, Ireland
  • Founded: 1984
  • Designed by: Arnold Palmer
  • Green fee: €250

No change

A small-town nine-hole Irish club securing Arnold Palmer’s services to create its new 18-hole layout was a remarkable coup. But the King was clearly seduced by the spectacular seaside plot high above the beach at West Barrow that Tralee Golf Club had in mind.The dream layout Palmer created in the mid-1980s mixes links and clifftop golf over two contrasting nines. The back nine was always the star here but the latest upgrades will see an already good front nine seriously up its game.

- Full Tralee Golf Club review


Saunton Golf Club East Course pictured

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Braunton, Devon, England
  • Founded: 1897
  • Designed by: Herbert Fowler
  • Green fee: £80-£130

Down 4 from previous ranking

Designed by Herbert Fowler in the 1920s, Saunton East is a challenging links that has played host to a number of significant championships. Saunton is home to two of the best golf courses in Devon with both the East and West featuring in our top 100. The more challenging of two wonderful links courses is the East, which is set in the glorious North Devon dunes to provide a wonderful and testing setting to play golf.

- Full Saunton Golf Club East Course review


Alwoodley Golf Club 1st and 2nd hole pictured

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Moortown, Leeds, Yorkshire, England
  • Founded: 1907
  • Designed by: Alister MacKenzie
  • Green fee: From £95

No change

Recent clearing and renovation work at Alwoodley has further improved this superb heathland course blessed with particularly fine opening and closing holes. As course design debuts go, this Alister MacKenzie heathland beauty on the outskirts of Leeds takes some beating - it's so good that MacKenzie even based a couple of holes at Augusta National on it. Some of his original design features lost over the years have even been re-introduced in the 21st century. Fine opening and closing holes bookend this testing inland classic, which is one of England's finest heathlands and one of the very best golf courses in Yorkshire.

- Full Alwoodley Golf Club review



Silloth on Solway

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Wigton, Cumbria
  • Founded: 1892
  • Designed by: David Grant and Willie Park Jr
  • Green fee: £35-£80

Down 4 from previous ranking

A timeless, idyllic outpost of wonderful links golf that will more than reward any effort made to get there. Silloth is blessed with an idyllic setting, the rumpled links never seems to attract a bad word. Heather, gorse and the breeze will challenge every department of your game. Somewhat paradoxically, this is a Top 100 hidden gem and undoubtedly the best value course in the Top 100.

- Full Silloth on Solway Golf Club review


The Machrie pictured

(Image credit: © Phil Inglis)
  • Location: Isle of Islay, Scotland
  • Founded: 1891
  • Designed by: Willie Campbell
  • Green fee: £130-£160

Up 38 from previous ranking

When renovation work at the ruggedly natural Machrie inks went beyond the original remit, the result was a truly breath-taking transformation. The famous Islay links is now reaping the full dividends of DJ Russell's course transformation, and that's why it climbed 38 spots in Top 100 to make it the highest riser on the list. The new Machrie plays over a rumpled landscape of unending drama, with several front-nine tees right on the shore. It's a magnificent place to play golf with some truly magical green settings.

- Full The Machrie Golf Links review


Royal Cinque Ports

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Deal, Kent, England
  • Founded: 1892
  • Designed by: Harry Hunter and James Braid
  • Green fee: £115-£185

Up 5 from previous ranking

Along with Royal St George’s and Prince’s, Royal Cinque Ports is one of three Open Championship links in our Top 100 that lie almost back-to-back on the Kent coast between Sandwich and Deal. It's a very strong course with a great variety of holes forging out to the turn and then back into the prevailing wind. This strong links heads out along the sea wall before turning for home on 12 and asking big questions of your game all the way to the clubhouse.

- Full Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club review


Walton Heath New Course pictured

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey, England
  • Opened: 1907 nine holes (1913 18 holes)
  • Designed by: Herbert Fowler
  • Green fee: Contact club

Down 3 from previous ranking

The New eases you in with a short par-4, delightful par-3 combo, before a beautiful and, at times, very challenging heathland examination. Architect Herbert Fowler created both heathland beauties at Walton Heath, with the first nine holes of the New arriving three years after its older sibling in 1907, before being extended to a full 18 in 1913. When tour events and the Ryder Cup have visited this corner of Surrey, they have typically played a composite course.

- Full Walton Heath New Course review


Liphook Golf Club

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Liphook, Hampshire, Surrey
  • Opened: 1923
  • Designed by: Arthur Croome and Tom Simpson
  • Green fee: £90-£140

Up 11 from previous ranking

This classy, absorbing, heathland design in the South of England now boasts two excellent new holes and three cleverly reworked ones to further strengthen its overall test and flow. Liphook is enjoyable all year round as it is delightful, engaging and peaceful. It was already top of the pile when it comes to the best golf courses in Hamsphire and it has got even better.

- Full Liphook Golf Club review


The Berkshire Blue Course pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Ascot, Berkshire, England
  • Founded: 1928
  • Designed by: Herbert Fowler
  • Green fee: £125-£255

Up 3 from previous ranking

The Blue Course is an absolute cracker; picturesque and challenging, and a perfect complement to the Red over a similar, glorious landscape, but somehow still completely different. Making use of the land's natural slopes, the holes fit naturally and comfortably into the landscape. The Blue is probably the tougher of the two at The Berkshire and is equally attractive.

- Full The Berkshire Blue Course review


West Sussex pictured

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Pulborough, West Sussex, England
  • Opened: 1931
  • Designed by: Guy Campbell and Cecil Hutchison
  • Green fee: £105-£140

Down 5 from previous ranking

One of the prettiest courses in the Top 100, West Sussex is an excellent test of golf with great variety - a real golfing oasis. This heathland classic twists and turns constantly as it runs over gently undulating and very springy turf sitting on a free-draining subsoil. Don't be fooled by this charming layout's modest length of 6,351 yards, for the par is just 68. Take full advantage of the opening par 5 as four several testing par 4s and the very long par 3 6th give little away willingly. Of the best golf courses in Sussex, West Sussex GC is top and it is certainly one of the best heathland golf courses in the country.

- Full West Sussex Golf Club review


Gleneagles Queen's course

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1917
  • Designed by: James Braid
  • Green fee: £140-£300

Down 3 from previous ranking

The Queen’s is a gorgeous layout on the higher ground of the Gleneagles estate whose test and challenge confound its modest yardage. The shortest of the three at Gleneagles, at just 5,965 yards, makes the list as it is regarded by many as the most enchanting. More heather has been introduced to enhance the beautiful aesthetics on offer.The back-to-back par-3s at 13 and 14 around a small loch are a joy to play and the course really shows that length isn't everything.

- Full Gleneagles Queen's Course review


County Louth

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Baltray, County Louth, Ireland
  • Founded: 1892
  • Designed by: Tom Simpson
  • Green fee: €165-€185

Down 6 from previous ranking

A traditional and classic course that delivers fair and honest links golf. It’s subtle and understated yet a true championship venue. Although County Louth Golf Club dates back to 1892, the course is largely the work of Tom Simpson in 1938. Despite, or rather because of some more recent changes from Tom MacKenzie, it remains traditional, stirring, bracing seaside golf at its best. It was host to the Irish Open in 2004 and again in 2009 when Shane Lowry famously won the event as an amateur. The wind is almost always a factor at County Louth, or Baltray, and you need to be able to shape the ball both ways to score well.

- Full County Louth Golf Club review


Royal West Norfolk

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Brancaster, Norfolk, England
  • Opened: 1892
  • Designed by: Holcombe Ingleby
  • Green fee: Contact club

Down 6 from previous ranking

Packed with character and more than a little bit different, this rugged links is a wonderful golfing experience from start to finish. Some holes and the entrance road have been affected by the tide, but this merely adds to the character of this step-back-in-time links that is still a true test in the modern era. Also known as 'Brancaster', this mainly two-ball only club is a wonderful experience of links golf from start to finish with some stirring holes. We think it's the pick of the bunch of the best golf courses in Norfolk.

- Full Royal West Norfolk Golf Club review


61. GULLANE - NO.1