Best Golf Courses In Bristol

When looking to play one of the best golf courses in Bristol or nearby, there is an excellent array to suit all tastes and budgets

Best Golf Courses in Bristol - Long Ashton - Hole 6
Long Ashton is a lovely Hawtree/Taylor design just to the west of Bristol
(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)

Best Golf Courses in Bristol

The south-west of England is not quite so well-known for its championship courses or as a golfing destination, but there is still plenty to attract keen golfers from far and wide.

As with our best golf courses in London article, we have taken the city as a focal point and looked at driving times within an hour to discover a wide array of styles, setting and price. Bristol, Bath and the many rural villages in the area have a wide array of accommodation, and so working our way purely alphabetically around the area, the following selection of courses has something for everyone.

Bath

Bath Golf Club - Hole 14

The short fourteenth at Bath is played over an old, disused quarry

(Image credit: Bath Golf Club)
  • Location Bath
  • Founded 1880
  • Architect Harry Colt
  • GF £55 Mon-Thu, £65 Fri-Sun
  • Par 71, 6,464 yards
  • Contact Bath Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Located just outside the beautiful and historic city high up on Bathampton Down, the charming course at Sham Castle is something of a hybrid with elements of parkland and downland. It is blessed with a wonderfully peaceful setting and there are plenty of fine views. This is one of the best golf courses in Somerset and is also great fun from your initial blows up the gentle slope on the 1st all the way to the welcoming descent back down the 18th to the clubhouse. This is a very friendly club and was one of several in this guide that were in our best cheap golf courses list of 100 hidden gems.

Read full Bath Golf Club course review

Bowood

Bowood Golf Club - Hole 9 and 18

The ninth green at Bowood with the closing hole just beyond it

(Image credit: Phil Inglis)
  • Location Calne
  • Founded 1992
  • Architect Dave Thomas
  • GF £65-£85 all week
  • Par 72, 6,566 yards
  • Contact Bowood Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Celebrating its 30th birthday this year, Bowood in Wiltshire is a very fine parkland design that serves as the official PGA course in the area. It runs through gently rolling pastureland through mature specimen trees, covering part of an expansive estate where Capability Brown weaved his creative magic back in the 1760s. The site is spacious and very peaceful with plenty of room between holes, and from the back tees, all but one of the ten par 4s is 400 yards or more. Even from the yellows it exceeds 6,500 yards, and so driving is a key feature here. Choose the right tees and you are sure to have an enjoyable round.

Read Bowood Golf Club Stay and Play review

Bristol and Clifton

Bristol & Clifton - Hole 16

The short par-4 sixteenth at Bristol and Clifton is approached over an old quarry

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect CK Cotton
  • GF Round £55 Mon-Fri, £65 Weekend
  • Par 70, 6,413 yards
  • Contact Bristol & Clifton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Bristol & Clifton is home to a very appealing course that is undulating and has a number of unusual features. There is a tough par of 70, beginning with a strong set of five par 4s. These are followed by back-to-back par 3s, the first of which is of medium length and has a handful of bunkers protecting the left-hand side, while the 7th should be just a flick over a dip to another well-protected green. The 13th is another memorable par 3, played from an elevated tee, and the 15th is a short par 4 where you drive over an old drystone wall. This is a course that is blessed with just the right balance of challenge and fun.

Burnham and Berrow

Burnham and Berrow - Hole 17

The penultimate hole at Burnham and Berrow is a picturesque par 3 with the lighthouse beyond

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)
  • Location Burnham on Sea
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect Herbert Fowler, Harry Colt
  • GF £130 Mon-Thu, £145 Fri, £155 Weekend
  • Par 71, 6,475 yards
  • Contact Burnham and Berrow Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Generally credited to the genius of Harry Colt, this expansive and challenging Top 100 favourite has also benefited from the creative input of Herbert Fowler, Hugh Alison, Alister MacKenzie, and the first-ever editor of Golf Monthly, Harold Hilton. It opens with an attractive par 4 out towards the sea before you head north along the Bristol Channel for the next seven holes. The 5th is the first of a brilliant quartet of short holes, played over a valley dotted with all manner of humps and bumps to an inviting green nestling in the dunes. The 12th takes you up to a green by St. Mary’s Church which dates back to the 13th-century, and it closes with the sublime short 17th and a classic dogleg through the dunes back to the clubhouse. This is one of the best links courses in England and the only course in the vicinity to feature in the Golf Monthly Top 100 golf course rankings.

Read full Burnham and Berrow Golf Club course review

Chipping Sodbury

Chipping Sodbury - Hole 12

The par-3 twelfth at Chipping Sodbury is protected by both water and sand

(Image credit: Chipping Sodbury Golf Club)
  • Location Chipping Sodbury
  • Founded 1905
  • Architect FG Hawtree
  • GF Round £40 Mon-Thu, £45 Fri & Sun, £56 Sat
  • Par 72, 6,657 yards
  • Contact Chipping Sodbury Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Chipping Sodbury is now based in its fourth location, and the design is benefiting from some more recent improvements which have seen the introduction of lakes, waterways and new sculpting. This is a very enjoyable place to play with several excellent holes. It is the par 4s that really make the course and you will need to drive well to score well. A further pleasure for golfers, though perhaps not from a greenkeeping perspective, is the abundant waterfowl on the course!

Cleeve Hill

Cleeve Hill - Hole 16

The scenic sixteenth at Cleeve Hill is the second of back-to-back par 3s

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Cheltenham
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect Old Tom Morris
  • GF Round £35 Mon-Fri, £40 Weekend
  • Par 71, 6,400 yards
  • Contact Cleeve Hill Golf Club (opens in new tab)

If far-reaching and unspoilt views are your thing, Cleeve Hill will tick all the boxes. This is the very epitome of natural golf, running as it does up hill and down dale at the highest point in the beautiful Cotswolds. Way back, the land was quarried for its stone, the result being a rumpled carpet of golfing fun. Recently saved from the brink of extinction, there is every hope that this idyllically-situated course now has a long-term, healthy and happy future. With its Old Tom Morris design, Cleeve Hill delivers a history lesson in golf course architecture, and with the kites circling above and sheep grazing in the rough, it’s a fabulous place for golf.

Read full Cleeve Hill Golf Club course review

Clevedon

Clevedon Golf Club - Hole 5

Far Corner is the fifth hole at Clevedon, the longest of just three par 3s

(Image credit: Clevedon Golf Club)
  • Location Clevedon
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect JH Taylor
  • GF £60 Mon-Fri, £70 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,557 yards
  • Contact Clevedon Golf Club (opens in new tab)

High up on the hills in the north of Somerset, Clevedon is another very friendly members’ club with an eclectic mix of quite undulating holes that change the nature and style of the course as you work your way around. The 2nd green is the highest point on the course before a handful of secluded holes on the sheltered side of Castle Hill lead you to the club’s signature hole, the 8th, a short dogleg right from a very elevated tee. The back nine heads along the ridge overlooking the Severn Estuary, and you reach a lovely drop hole at the 14th before a tough two-shotter back up again. All in all, an unusual and interesting mix of holes which, coupled with the welcome in the clubhouse, make for a very enjoyable visit.

Read full Clevedon Golf Club course review

Cotswold Hills

Cotswold Hills - Hole 3

Stroke index three, the third at Cotswold Hills is one of the most demanding holes on the course

(Image credit: Cotswold Hills Golf Club)
  • Location Cheltenham
  • Founded 1902
  • Architect Morris Little
  • GF Round £45 Mon-Fri, £55 Weekend
  • Par 72, 6,557 yards
  • Contact Cotswold Hills Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Cotswold Hills began life as Cheltenham Town Golf Club in 1902, before changing to its current name just two years later. For the first seventy-plus years of its life, it used the course that is now enjoyed as Cleeve Hill. Concerns over grazing animals and public rights of way led to a move in the mid-1970s to a new site on the southern side of the town, and to a more modern course designed by one of its members. Its undulating site runs between fast-maturing woodland and the course is kept in fine condition, especially the greens.

The Kendleshire

Kendleshire Golf - Aerial

Water is a significant presence at The Kendleshire

(Image credit: The Kendleshire Golf Club)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1997
  • Architect Adrian Stiff, Peter McEvoy
  • GF Round £52 Mon-Thu, £60 Fri-Sun
  • Hollows Par 36, 3,252 yards
  • Ruffet Par 35, 3,347 yards
  • Badminton Par 34, 3,029 yards
  • Contact The Kendleshire Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The original two loops here - Hollows and Ruffet - were designed by local architect Adrian Stiff and offer an extremely enjoyable mix; part parkland, part modern-American with plenty of water. The 9th should be just a flick over the pond, and probably the most photogenic hole is the scary 11th with its island green. The Badminton course is a walk beyond the other 18, but once you are there, it provides a very attractive and entertaining test.

Knowle

Knowle Golf Club - Hole 17

The penultimate hole at Knowle is a very attractive par 4 played up to a raised green

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1905
  • Architect FG Hawtree & JH Taylor
  • GF Round £42 Mon-Fri, Sat from 15:30, Sun from 14:30
  • Par 70, 6,047 yards
  • Contact Knowle Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Tucked away in the leafy suburbs to the south-east of Bristol, Knowle is a delightful parkland layout that is distinguished by a raised ridge that runs through the middle of the course. This adds perfectly both to its strategic demands and to the lovely views on offer internally and beyond. Accuracy rather than brute force is the key to success here. The five short holes are particularly appealing, and the raised approaches to the 1st, 4th and penultimate greens will call for perfect club selection. This is feelgood golf with fun very much to the fore.

Long Ashton

Long Ashton - Hole 2

The second at Long Ashton is the shortest hole on the course and played down into an old quarry

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)
  • Location Bristol
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect FG Hawtree & JH Taylor
  • GF Round £50 Mon-Fri, £65 Weekend
  • Par 71, 6,368 yards
  • Contact Long Ashton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Just to the west of Bristol, Long Ashton has a beautifully varied course that runs either side of Providence Lane. Various changes have been made since its foundation, but it’s the Hawtree and Taylor work from 1937 that has defined the course in play today. Feature holes include the short 2nd and the risk/reward driveable par-4 8th. There are far-reaching views both over Bristol, and to the south and west towards Somerset. Former Golf Monthly playing editor and Ryder Cupper Chris Wood learnt his golf as a junior member here and still has links with the club.

Read full Long Asthon Golf Club course review

The Manor House

Manor House - Hole 18

The closing hole at The Manor House is a lovely par 4 played to a very well protected green

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)
  • Location Castle Combe
  • Founded 1992
  • Architect Peter Alliss & Clive Clark
  • GF From £75 Mon-Thu, from £85 Fri-Sun
  • Par 72, 6,500 yards
  • Contact The Manor House Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This extremely pretty Alliss design, again with Clive Clark who has recently received great acclaim for Dumbarnie Links, opened for play in 1992. It is situated just outside Castle Combe, a picture-postcard village in leafy Wiltshire, and is well suited to buggy play as it covers a vast acreage of verdant and at times undulating terrain. There are two gorgeous par 3s at the 2nd and 17th, and plenty of visual delight all the way. The lovely par-5 12th, Doolittle, is another real highlight, with the river, a lake, and a battery of bunkers.

The Mendip

The Mendip - Hole 5

There are excellent far-reaching views at The Mendip, such as here on the short par-4 fifth

(Image credit: The Mendip Golf Club)
  • Location Shepton Mallet
  • Founded 1908
  • Architect Harry Vardon, Frank Pennink
  • GF £45 Mon-Fri, £50 Weekend
  • Par 71, 6,383 yards
  • Contact The Mendip Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The Mendip is high up in the hills to the south of Bath and it is blessed with panoramic views of seven counties, Glastonbury Tor and over to Exmoor. Originally a 9-holer, it was extended in 1965 and offers a varied test with some real birdie chances at the start and end, some tough par 4s such as the 7th, 10th and 16th, and some very pretty scenery. Two of the stars of the show are the par-3 12th which is played up to a two-tier green, and the par-4 15th with an eye-catching pond on the left, strategic bunkering on the right, and a gentle rise to a sloping green.

Minchinhampton

Minchinhampton - Old - Hole 16

The Old Course at Minchinhampton is one of the most natural golf courses you will find anywhere

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)
  • Location Stroud
  • Founded 1889
  • Architect Old Tom Morris, Fred and Martin Hawtree
  • GF New £80 Mon-Fri, £90 Weekend
  • GF Old £30 Mon-Fri, £35 Weekend
  • Avening Par 70, 6,320 yards
  • Cherington Par 71, 6,459 yards
  • Old Par 71, 6,088 yards
  • Contact Minchinhampton New Golf Club (opens in new tab)
  • Contact Minchinhampton Old Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Minchinhampton is most unusual in that it has three, full-length 18-hole courses… in two quite different locations. The Old is up on the common and is packed with natural charm, while the Cherington and Avening are a couple of miles away to the east of the village. They are the work of father and son with Fred Hawtree designing the first new course in 1975. Martin used this as the basis for a second fine parkland course about 20 years later.

North Wilts

North Wilts - Hole 5

Beautiful panoramic views are a strong feature at North Wilts

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Devizes
  • Founded 1890
  • Architect Harry Colt, CK Cotton & Charles Lawrie
  • GF £50 Mon-Fri, £60 Weekend
  • Par 71, 6,362 yards
  • Contact North Wilts Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Scenery and variety are extremely important for many golfers, and both are here in abundance at North Wilts whose lovely course offers a hugely enjoyable game of two halves. Holes one to ten are across the road from the clubhouse, and these run gently up and down the slopes offering terrific views of the rolling hills all around. As you rise up to the top, the vistas get ever better and the elevation changes make club selection tricky. There is more of a parkland feel on the back eight which begins with two of the longer par 4s, and together this mixture of very attractive holes makes for a hugely enjoyable round.

Read full North Wilts Golf Club (opens in new tab) course review

Painswick

Painswick Golf Club - Aerial

Painswick in Gloucestershire is packed with charm, originality and glorious views

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • Location Painswick
  • Founded 1891
  • Architect David Brown
  • GF Round £20 Mon-Fri, £27.50 Weekend
  • Par 67, 4,831 yards
  • Contact Painswick Golf Club (opens in new tab)

This quite remarkable course is less than 5,000 yards and at one point features a hat-trick of short holes followed by a pair of par 5s. The reason for this design restriction, some might say eccentricity, is that it runs along Painswick Beacon. This is a narrow and extremely scenic ridge that is home to an iron age hill fort and is, in an entirely good way, one of the quirkiest courses in the UK&I. There are frequent crossovers, driveable par 4s and some very small greens. Golf here is all about embracing and enjoying the magical setting. It will never host The Open, and you may need to watch out for walkers, but for any lover of scenery, setting and originality, Painswick has a huge amount to offer.

The Players Club

Players Club - Hole 16

The par-3 sixteenth on the Codrington Course at the Players Club is 155 yards over water

(Image credit: The Players Club)
  • Location Chipping Sodbury
  • Founded 2002
  • Architect Adrian Stiff
  • GF Codrington £54 Mon-Thu, £60 Fri-Sun
  • GF Stranahan £28 Mon-Thu, £30 Fri-Sun
  • Codrington Par 72, 6,575 yards
  • Stranahan Par 68, 5,340 yards
  • Contact The Players Club (opens in new tab)

The Codrington is one of the best courses in the area and presents both a terrific test of golf and a feast for the eyes. Starting with a demanding par 4, there is light relief at the bunkerless short second before the pleasure and pain of the signature hole - Island - a spectacular two-shotter where both the drive and the approach must carry the lake. Later highlights include the superb 15th, an epic hole that seems to go on forever, and the picturesque par 3 that follows, played from an elevated tee back down to the lake that you might hope you had already left behind!

Stinchcombe Hill

Stinchcombe Hill - Hole 9

Stinchcombe Hill has elevated views which include the River Severn from the tee on the par-3 ninth

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)
  • Location Dursley
  • Founded 1899
  • Architect FG Hawtree & JH Taylor, James Braid
  • GF Round £36 Mon-Fri, £40 Weekend
  • Par 68, 5,809 yards
  • Contact Stinchcombe Hill Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Probably best described as downland, this attractive course is still surprisingly easy walking. Situated on a hilltop to the east of the Severn Valley, there are far-reaching views down over the river and across into Wales. A short par 4 takes you to the edge of the ridge, which you then follow for the next 5 holes. The trio from the 4th are particularly interesting; a long par 3 into the breeze, a fine par 4 to a green cut into the slope, and an uphill tiddler right along the edge to a well-bunkered green. There are panoramic views from each, and there is still plenty to come including the short par-4 16th which is played to an elevated green.

Wells

Wells Golf Club - Hole 10

You can go straight or feed it in from the right on the par-3 tenth at Wells

(Image credit: Wells Golf Club)
  • Location Wells
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect Unknown
  • GF £35 Mon-Fri, £45 Sat, £30 Sun
  • Par 70, 6,009 yards
  • Contact Wells Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The parkland course at Wells offers up a game of two quite different halves. Its expansion from 9 to 18 holes in the mid-1980s means you now head up on to higher ground from the 2nd hole round to the 11th, with the course just stretching to 6,000 yards from the very back. The sloping nature of some of the holes means you have to choose your target carefully, and the reward for the upward climb is scenic views from a number of points.

As with our guide to the best golf courses in Gloucestershire, this is an area that in general appeals to those seeking a more peaceful and idyllic setting for their golfing travels. Variety and value reward any travel required to play in the Bristol area, and this is a part of the country which greatly rewards the exploring golfer.