Kington Golf Club Course Review

England’s highest 18-hole course is blessed with some of the finest golf views in the country

Kington Golf
Views across the 9th green at Kington
(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)

Kington Golf Club Course Review

GF From £22
Par 70, 5,961 yards
Slope 115
GM Verdict – A spectacular hilltop course delivering a unique golfing experience and captivating views
Favourite Hole – 18th A superb risk/reward par 4 to finish. It’s downhill and sloping left to right. A bold shot can reap rewards.

Kington Golf

The 1st green at Kington

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)

At 1,284 feet above sea level, Kington is the highest golf club in England. With panoramic views from the course, encompassing the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Black Mountains, the Radnorshire Hills, Hergest Ridge as well as the Malvern and Clee Hills, there are few more spectacular settings for golf anywhere in England.

Kington Golf

The 2nd green

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)

The layout has the playing characteristics of a links – firm and fast running fairways, heather and gorse and tricky undulating greens. This isn’t a long course and the key to success is keeping the ball in play. Many of the fairways feature slopes, humps and hollows and you must try to use the contours to your advantage.

The course was designed by Major Cecil Key Hutchinson who worked with James Braid at Gleneagles and Carnoustie. It’s a fine layout where the greens are known for being as true as they are quick. The 1st takes you up the hill and provides a relatively gentle opening, two tricky holes are followed by the challenging “O’er the top” which does what you might expect.

Kington Golf

The 7th

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)

Back-to-back long holes on the 7th and 8th provide contrasting tests – the former is a short par-5 where two committed strokes will get longer hitters home in two and offer a birdie chance, the 8th is a brutish par-4 often played into the wind. It’s one where par is an excellent score. The back nine offers some seriously fun holes with amazing views across the surrounding countryside. A number of blind and downhill shots require precise judgement – in the summer months, you often have to land approaches well short of the putting surfaces and trust the contours.

Kington Golf

The 12th

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis)

The downhill 14th is both an appealing and a daunting prospect with the full hole, and all the trouble, visible from the tee. The last is a real tempter – downhill and less than 300 yards, you either aim left and use the slopes to carry the ball back or you go for it and try to fly all the way to the green. The risk is – anything drifting right is potentially lost. Kington is a spectacular and supremely fun course offering incredible value for money and a hugely memorable round of golf.

Rob Smith On Kington Golf Club

Having written about Kington a couple of times in Golf Monthly, I have finally sorted out my photos which means I can now offer my views of this fabulous and relatively unheralded gem. The club was founded in 1925, and as you drive up Bradnor Hill to the charming clubhouse, you wonder whether this is going to be seriously hard work. Happily, it is more hilltop than hillside, and it’s the views at Kington Golf Club rather than the walking that takes your breath away.

The opening hole leads you up onto the hill and a plateau green

The first three holes head gently out and up onto the hill, and once you are up the path to the fourth tee, you are pretty much at the top. Despite the lack of sand and its modest length, the course is protected all the way by the need to approach its greens from exactly the right angle.

The third is typical of the natural green sites throughout the course

The 7th is the first and shortest of the three par 5s, and wind direction will be a factor here as two good blows could see you home to the green that backs onto the 10th.

The seventh green at Kington - standing on the top of the world

There is plenty of room between the holes at this furthest part of the course where you could be forgiven for thinking that you no-one else exists. In addition, the air is as pure and clean as you will find anywhere.

The green at thirteen - Hergest Ridge

There are no real signature holes at Kington, and none would win a design award on its own, but put them together in this location, and you have a course that will delight anyone with a love of the game.

Yet more far-reaching views from the fourteenth green

The 15th is a long par 3 that can be unreachable in the wind. Miss to the right and you might actually do well to salvage a four.

The tough but exciting par-3 fifteenth

The round closes with three short par 4s, but each has its own defences while offering various options.

The sixteenth green beside the seventeenth tee

The penultimate hole is the longest of the three, played to what is almost an infinity green with the valley falling away beyond.

The seventeenth hole - Home Straight

The 18th is a terrific risk and reward hole - should you go for the green or play up the left and rely on an accurate pitch or chip and run?!

An inviting drive at the closing hole

Its length and design mean that it isn’t a contender for a place in the Golf Monthly Top 100, but it was one of our Hidden Gems a while back and would be in my personal list of 100 places to play.

I will conclude by plagiarising myself - if that is possible - and repeat the final sentence of my 2014 Golfer’s Guide review. This was the 469th course I have played in England and I am happy to sum it up by saying that if there is an inland course with finer views anywhere in the country, I have yet to play it. That count has now risen by another 100, and I have still not changed my mind.

Another spellbinding view, due west from the ninth hole
Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

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

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