Best Golf Courses In Suffolk

With the best golf courses in Suffolk, it is quality rather than quantity that defines the county’s unique offering

Aldeburgh Golf Club - Aerial - Best Golf Courses in Suffolk
The par-4 12th hole on the excellent championship course at Aldeburgh with the Suffolk coast beyond
(Image credit: Aldeburgh Golf Club)

Although it is one of England’s larger counties geographically, Suffolk is also delightfully rural and undeveloped with only in the region of thirty affiliated clubs. Despite this restriction, there is real strength in terms of both the quality on offer and the range of style; from classic links to heathland to modern parkland.

Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh Golf Club - Hole 4

A sleepered bunker snakes its way around the entire approach to the par-3 fourth at Aldeburgh

(Image credit: Aldeburgh Golf Club)
  • Location Aldeburgh
  • Founded 1884
  • Architect John Thomson & Willie Fernie, Willie Park Jnr & JH Taylor, Harry Colt & Hugh Alison
  • GF £125 Sun-Fri, £150 Sat
  • Par 68, 6,610 yards
  • Contact Aldeburgh Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Aldeburgh is in the Top 100 courses of the UK&I and something of a timeless classic, characterised by what seems at times to be almost unavoidable gorse. Happily, much has been done more recently to make it more golfer-friendly but without removing any of its genuine golfing examination. With an exacting par of just 68 and no par 5s, it is a stern test indeed. From the back tees there are no fewer than twelve holes over 400 yards, so it helps to be both long and straight. The attractive par 3s offer some respite, but no matter how you play, you cannot help but be impressed by the design and the conditioning, especially the greens. The 9-hole River Course is also great fun and very pretty.

Read full Aldeburgh Golf Club course review

Ipswich (Purdis Heath)

Ipswich Golf Club - Hole 17

The penultimate hole at Ipswich in the setting sun with the closing hole and clubhouse waiting beyond

(Image credit: Joe Simpson)
  • Location Ipswich
  • Founded 1895
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF Round £95, Day £135 (weekdays only)
  • Par 71, 6,439 yards
  • Contact Ipswich Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Although the club dates back a further 33 years, it was not until 1928 that the excellent James Braid heathland design officially opened for play. Prior to this, the club played over nearby Rushmere Heath. Beginning with a gentle par 4 and a reachable-for-some par 5, the course really takes off as you change direction and play to a peach of a short hole over heather and a green surrounded by bunkers. There are many more very excellent holes including the seventh which is protected by a pair of unwelcoming bunkers, as well as risk and reward holes such as the drive and pitch ninth which has the narrowest of entrances. The home hole is another real tester with an approach over a wide bunker with an island of rough to a long, narrow green. The course would not look out of place on the Surrey/Berkshire borders and is an equal of many of the big names there. It is one of the best heathland golf courses in the UK.

Royal Worlington and Newmarket

Royal Worlington and Newmarket - Hole 8

The eighth at Royal Worlington & Newmarket is a very tough two-shotter of 461 yards

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Bernard Darwin billed this traditional and very peaceful course as the Sacred Nine, and it is rated by many to be the finest 9-holer in England. Harry Colt played here with Cambridge University and later made some improvements to the original Tom Dunn design. Little has changed since, and this is almost an inland links where the bump-and-run is often the wise option. There are tee shots over previous greens, and streams and heather to avoid. The course is the only 9-holer in the Golf Monthly Next 100 courses of the UK&I. More recently, the clubhouse has benefited from a very tasteful upgrade.

Bungay and Waveney

Bungay & Waveney - Hole 1

Looking back over the green to the fairway on the tough par-4 eleventh at Bungay & Waveney

(Image credit: Bungay and Waveney Golf Club)
  • Location Bungay
  • Founded 1889
  • Architect Willie Fernie, James Braid
  • GF £40wd, £50we
  • Par 69, 6,055 yards
  • Contact Bungay & Waveney Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Located in the peaceful Waveney Valley, this course began life like so many other courses as a 9-holer. After just two years, James Braid came in to revise those holes and add a new nine, and the resulting heathland design is largely unchanged since. There are four short holes, none of them reaching 180 yards, and a solitary par 5 at the 17th. The greens are relatively small, but there is great charm and originality in places making this a delightful course to play.

Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds - Hole 18

The closing hole at Bury St Edmunds with the clubhouse beyond

(Image credit: Bury St Edmunds Golf Club)
  • Location Bury St Edmunds
  • Founded 1924
  • Architect Ted Ray, Frank Pennink
  • GF £70wd, £80we
  • Par 72, 6,643 yards
  • Contact Bury St Edmunds Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Looking forward to its centenary in a couple of years, the friendly and popular club at Bury St Edmunds has an interesting and challenging full-length course as well as a 9-holer that is great value for money. Despite the appealing and unusual par 5-3-5 start, the very playable main course has two well balanced nines with a pair of 3s and 5s on each. The holes on the southern side of the course are well separated by mature woodland and there is much to enjoy here.

Felixstowe Ferry

Felixstowe Ferry - Hole 14

A Martello Tower sits back by the tee on the fourteenth hole at Felixstowe Ferry

(Image credit: Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club)
  • Location Felixstowe
  • Founded 1880
  • Architect Guy Campbell & Henry Cotton
  • GF £75wd, £85we afternoons
  • Par 72, 6,422 yards
  • Contact Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club (opens in new tab)

The main course at Felixstowe Ferry is the fifth-oldest in England. The Martello is named after one of the many towers that dot the coastline, one of which sits between the 14th tee and the penultimate green, and it is an easy-walking links with all four par 5s sandwiched between holes 2 and 10. A good test of golf when the wind is up, as it frequently is here, it also sports a most unusual short hole at the 12th where you have to play over the old Ferry Road to a green up by the clubhouse. The 17th is a superb par 4 that plays to an undulating green, and the course is always a sporty test and fun.

Flempton

Flempton - Hole 5

Looking back over the green on the short fifth at Flempton

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Bury St Edmunds
  • Founded 1895
  • Architect JH Taylor
  • GF Round (18 holes) £65, Day £75
  • Par 35, 3,081 yards
  • Contact Flempton Golf Club (opens in new tab)

There is a lot to be said for 9-hole golf and Flempton has exactly the course to make this even more fun with its JH Taylor design dating back to 1906. Taylor designed some of the best golf courses in England, and here there are effectively three loops of three holes with the 1st, 4th and 7th tees all just a short stroll from the charming, pavilion-style clubhouse. Each three contains two par 4s, with the lone par 5 coming at the 3rd, and the two short holes at the 5th and 9th. The course is easy walking and there are a couple of ditches that will catch a top or under-hit tee shot on the first par 3. Other than that, the bunkering is attractive and distinctive, and this is a delightful and relaxing place to play.

Haverhill

Haverhill - Hole 13

The thirteenth at Haverhill is a tough, tree-lined par 4

(Image credit: Haverhill Golf Club)
  • Location Haverhill
  • Founded 1976
  • Architect Charles Laurie, Philip Pilgrem
  • GF Round £35wd, £40we
  • Par 70, 6,085 yards
  • Contact Haverhill Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Straddling the border between Suffolk and Essex, Haverhill is very much a course of two halves and all the more enjoyable as a result. The par 70 design is laid out over two valleys, with the front nine played over undulating ground to the east. The back nine runs through a shallow bowl that has the River Stour cutting across it and which comes into play from time to time, particularly at the 15th and 17th. This is a lovely course in a peaceful, rural location that offers very good value for money.

Rushmere

Rushmere Golf Club - Hole 9

The front nine at Rushmere concludes with a par 5 back to the clubhouse

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Ipswich
  • Founded 1927
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF Round £35
  • Par 70, 6,265 yards
  • Contact Rushmere Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Rushmere golfers play over the same course that was originally the home of Ipswich Golf Club back in 1895. At their closest points, the two are less than half a mile apart. This traditional heathland design covers a large acreage with many of the holes separated by woodland or gorse. There are some attractive short holes such as the 6th which is played through the trees to a sunken green, and an unusual hidden, almost punchbowl green at the penultimate hole. This is a friendly club and the green fee represents great value.

Southwold

Southwold Golf Club - Hole 5

A water tower dominates the skyline on the left-to-right dogleg par-4 fifth at Southwold

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Southwold
  • Founded 1884
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF Round (18 holes) £42
  • Par 70, 6,067 yards
  • Contact Southwold Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Unusually in a Best Of county guide, Southwold is the third of three 9-holers in Suffolk to make the list. Perhaps it is because there are relatively few courses in the region that the shorter format does so well here, but whatever the reason, the variety and originality on offer at Southwold more than warrant its inclusion. Unusually, again, it both starts and finishes with a short hole, each of which is either side of the clubhouse. Elsewhere, the 2nd is a par 5, the next three are nicely bunkered and come back towards the clubhouse then out to the water tower, and the sandless 6th to the 8th are over the road and on lower ground closer to the coast. This is natural, unfussy golf that’s also great fun.

Stowmarket

Stowmarket Golf Club - Hole 1

Looking over the opening green at Stowmarket towards the par-3 second at Stowmarket

(Image credit: Stowmarket Golf Club)
  • Location Stowmarket
  • Founded 1902
  • Architect Charles Grayston & FW Hawtree
  • GF Round £55wd, £65we
  • Par 69, 6,108 yards
  • Contact Stowmarket Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Despite dating back to 1902, it was not until the 1960s that Stowmarket Golf Club moved to its current home a couple of miles to the west of the town. Its very pretty woodland course twists and turns all the way with changes in direction on just about every tee. Both nines conclude with a short hole, and there are five such holes here with that at the 4th a whopping 242 yards from the yellow tees. This popular members’ club is well worth a visit and there are several memorable holes that should keep a smile on your face.

Thorpeness

Thorpeness Golf Club - Hole 7

A pond protects the green on the very pretty par-3 seventh hole at Thorpeness

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Thorpeness
  • Founded 1922
  • Architect James Braid
  • GF Round £70
  • Par 72, 6,311 yards
  • Contact Thorpeness Golf Club (opens in new tab)

As at Purdis Heath, this is the work of James Braid. Its two pairs of nine holes run either side of a road, with each defined by crisp turf, gorse and heather. Plenty of strategic bunkering will keep you on your toes. Despite being a hotel course and intended for recreational golf, this is still a genuine challenge whilst at the same time offering plenty of variety and charm. The two par 5s may look reachable, but each curls round to the left meaning that the tee shot has to be carefully positioned. While there is a timeless feel, recent bunker renovations have kept the course firmly in the present.

Read full Thorpeness Golf Club course review

Woodbridge

Woodbridge Golf Club - Hole 15

The final par 3 on the Heath Course at Woodbridge - the fifteenth - is a real beauty

(Image credit: Rob Smith)
  • Location Woodbridge
  • Founded 1893
  • Architect Davie Grant, James Braid
  • GF Round £100am, £80pm, Day £120
  • Par 70, 6,299 yards
  • Contact Woodbridge Golf Club (opens in new tab)

Braid’s influence is again evident at our final offering as he made significant changes to the original course which had opened in 1893. The Heath Course is the main 18, and it has some terrific holes such as the lovely 2nd which calls for a careful tee shot before an approach over a pond, the demanding 14th played to a two-tier well-protected green, and the glorious par-3 15th over a sea of heather to a target seemingly surrounded by sand. The 9-hole Forest Course was opened following the hurricane in the late 1980s and is also well worth a game. It also makes Woodbridge a perfect society or two-round venue. In 2022, the course was featured as one of Golf Monthly’s 100 Hidden Gem golf courses of the UK&I.

Read full Woodbridge Golf Club course review

As with the best golf courses in Norfolk, Suffolk is a county that appeals to those seeking a more peaceful and idyllic setting for their travels. Its natural beauty and perhaps quieter pace of life are a great draw for those looking to play somewhere not so well-known for its golf but where there is still plenty of appealing and diverse golf on offer. As well as the lovely courses featured here, there are sure to be plenty of other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.