31-40 Top 100 Golf Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

Golf Monthly's full list of the UK and Ireland's Top 100 courses

Ballybunion Golf Club Old Course with the top 100 UK and Ireland logo
(Image credit: Evan Schiller / Ballybunion Golf Club)

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31-40 Courses


Hillside from above

(Image credit: Beyond Drones)
  • Location: Southport, Merseyside, England
  • Founded: 1911
  • Designed by: Fred Hawtree
  • Green fee: £140-£250
  • 23/24 ranking: No change

Venue for the 2019 British Masters hosted by Tommy Fleetwood, Hillside is a links with a twist as mature pine trees frame a number of the holes.

Also featuring are the impressive sand dunes that line the fairways. The front nine is strong at Hillside, but the course really comes to life on the back nine as the holes move up and through the sand dunes.

Elevated tees on the run in provide stunning views to the Lake District in the north and Snowdonia in the south, but these views shouldn’t distract from the sheer quality of the holes you are traversing.

- Hillside review and key info

Old Head Golf Links general view

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
  • Founded: 1997
  • Designed by: Ron Kirby
  • Green fee: €225-€395
  • 23/24 ranking: Up 1

Laid out over a vertiginous headland in County Cork, Old Head enjoys a setting that’s hard to beat.

Many holes are simply breath-taking, but the 12th and 13th , near the headland’s slender neck, sum up the experience. The 12th tee is cut into the towering cliffs and you play up to a hidden fairway, then along to a precariously narrow target. The relatively new par 3 13th is then a short but dramatic cliff-hugger.

Old Head has constantly strived to take as much of the action as possible to the cliff edge to up the drama, with that new 13th a prime example.

- Old Head review and key info


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: £135-£395
  • 23/24 ranking: Down 4

One of the great English heathland golf courses, the Old Course at Walton Heath was opened in 1904 with a match between the great triumvirate: Taylor, Vardon and Braid.

The Scot was already the club’s professional and he continued to hold the position right up to his death in 1950. This is a club with a great history.

Designed by Herbert Fowler, it’s a sandy and firm track protected by heather, an eclectic selection of trees and the notorious, swirling winds. The greens are famously excellent and feature subtle borrows. A delicate touch is essential.

- Walton Heath Old course review and key info


Ganton Golf Club par 3

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)
  • Location: Vale of Pickering, Yorkshire, England
  • Opened: 1897
  • Designed by: Tom Chisholm and Robert Bird
  • Green fee: £90-£200
  • 23/24 ranking: No change

Ganton has a tremendous pedigree. In 1891 Tom Chisholm of St Andrews laid out a course at Ganton that would go on to host significant events, including the Ryder Cup of 1949. Several greats have lent their expertise to alterations over the years, including Harry Vardon, James Braid, Harry Colt and Dr Alister MacKenzie.

It’s an unusual course; an inland track with links-like playing characteristics. The great amateur Sir Michael Bonallack said of Ganton, “The journey from tee to green on every hole is one of the most enjoyable golfing examinations that a player is ever likely to experience."

- Ganton review and key info


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
  • 23/24 ranking: Up 4

As traditional, uncommercial and private as anywhere in the Golf Monthly Top 100, Swinley Forest is a club unlike any other.

As for its very delightful Harry Colt course, then if you were asked to close your eyes and imagine in your mind a perfect, beautiful, traditional, heathland golf course as it would have been a century ago, this would be exactly it.

This is one of Colt’s greatest legacies; one that has totally stood the test of time barring the odd new back tee here or minor tweak there. Charm and character in equal measure.

- Swinley Forest review and key info


Gleneagles King's Course 7th hole

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland
  • Founded: 1919
  • Designed by: James Braid
  • Green fee: £80-£450
  • 23/24 ranking: Up 3

James Braid’s long-revered Perthshire masterpiece enjoys one of the most majestic settings for golf in the UK&I.

It opened in 1919 and carves through the pine trees, rising and falling over springy moorland turf. It may not be the longest, but with blind shots, humps, hollows and sloping greens, it definitely rewards precise and considered play.

There are raised greens to contend with, too, most prominently on the well-protected, mid-length par-3 5th, capable of repelling any slight miscues. In recent years, a number of long-lost Braid features have been reintroduced to maximise the course’s rich heritage.

- Gleneagles King's review and key info


Nairn Golf Club from above

(Image credit: Nairn Golf Club)
  • Location: Nairn, Highland, Scotland
  • Founded: 1887
  • Designed by: Archie Simpson and Old Tom Morris
  • Green fee: £50-£298
  • 23/24 ranking: Down 2

Nairn delivers typical Scottish links golf. It’s an out-and-back layout with the sea visible on every hole.

Recent improvements by Tom Mackenzie have greatly enhanced the offering. The front nine forges out along the Moray Firth, an exacting start when into the wind. The course then turns at the 8th and heads slightly inland for the back nine. It delivers some interesting holes and an unexpected change in elevation up to the 13th green. 

During the summer months the fairways are fast-running and covered in humps and hollows. The greens are famously true and can become perplexingly pacey.

- Nairn Golf Club review and key info


Notts Golf Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Opened: 1901 (club founded 1887)
  • Designed by: Willie Park Jr
  • Green fee: £85-£225
  • 23/24 ranking: Down 1

The entrance drive to this golfing oasis creates a huge sense of anticipation for what is to come - a stunning heathland layout that is considered to be one of the best golf courses in England.

This brilliant design is in part wooded and benefits from rocky outcrops, the occasional encounter with water, bracken and fern. Rarely do consecutive holes run in the same direction, and gentle slopes reward with lovely views and strategic challenge.

- Hollinwell review and key info


St Enodoc Church

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location: Rock, Cornwall, England
  • Opened: 1890
  • Designed by: James Braid
  • Green fee: £135-£145
  • 23/24 ranking: Down 3

This distinctive Church layout is on Cornwall’s chiselled northern coast 50 miles from Land’s End and is easily one of the best links courses in England and also one of the most memorable.

Poet Laureate John Betjeman is buried at the far end of the course in the churchyard beside the 10th green, and the vast Himalaya bunker on the right of the superb par-4 6th is one of the most photographed in golf.

- St Enodoc review and key info

Dumbarnie Links 9th hole

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location: Leven, Fife, Scotland
  • Opened: 2020 
  • Designed by: Clive Clark
  • Green fee: £207-£286
  • 23/24 ranking: No change

Elevated tees at Dumbarnie provide great views across the layout, sweeping fairways lead to impressive, sloping green complexes while surrounding dunes have been sculpted to give a rugged feel.

This course presents a challenging but fair strategic test. On almost every tee, there’s a choice to be made and there are options for negotiating each hole.

- Dumbarnie review and key info

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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