Whether it's inland gems or coastal links courses as in our Golf Monthly Top 100, England is blessed with some of the best places for a weekend golfing stay-and-play break. And, while it is nice to go sun seeking, with so many top-class courses in the UK it is never a bad idea to look a little closer to home
Surrey has a fine selection of heathland courses and championship layouts.
Not many, however, can boast 54 holes, which makes Foxhills well worth dedicating a couple of days to.
In fact, you’d do well to block off a long weekend, stay in the luxurious hotel and make use of the wide range of activities, which have been boosted by the arrival of The Pavilion, a magnificent new £7 million facility.
The two championship 18-hole layouts are of the highest standard. Surrounded by scots pines, beech and silver birch, the Longcross places a premium on accuracy, while the Bernard Hunt is another tree-lined beauty that plays a fraction longer, although is more forgiving off the tee.
If you want to whip round – or if you’re a beginner – you can tackle the nine-hole, par-3 Manor. Great fun, especially if you want to involve the whole family.
The Pavilion cements Foxhills’ place as a family club. It features indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a creche, art studio, playroom and a multitude of workout activities.
At the award-winning spa, meanwhile, you’ll discover an endless list of high-quality treatments, from manicures and pedicures to sports therapy, acupuncture and reflexology.
Bowood, in Wiltshire, is set within a beautifully landscaped English country estate. A monster from the back tees, but there are options to cater for golfers of all standards. A boutique-style hotel sits at the heart of the venue, and there are numerous places to relax – although the infinity pool might be the best place to unwind.
The great Jack Nicklaus has left his mark in Cornwall at St Mellion. His Signature course offers high drama, especially with the Golden Bear creating his own version of Amen Corner with the 10th, 11th and 12th holes. The Kernow, meanwhile, is typified by wide fairways and large greens: a perfect foil for its tougher and more illustrious neighbour.
For those who have a preference for links golf, the south-east serves up plenty of options. Head to Prince’s and enjoy 27 holes on the Kent coast while soaking up the unique experience offered by the venue’s illustrious history. Considerable investment has been made in recent years, with new holes and dramatic re-styling making the three nines across the Shire, Dunes and Himalayas an absolute must.
The north-west coast has its linksland gems, but the north-east is home to some prestigious venues, one of which is Rockcliffe Hall. In addition to a wonderful layout, its luxurious five-star hotel, spa and superb cuisine all make for a wonderful experience.
Close House is home to Lee Westwood’s Filly and Colt courses. No incentive should be needed to visit this stunning estate, but factor in luxury courtyard accommodation, the No. 19 restaurant and PGA Golf Academy, and you have more than enough reasons to make a trip.
Slaley Hall’s Hunting course is often referred to as the ‘Augusta of the North’ and Dave Thomas’ design does deliver a certain wow factor. With three excellent restaurants on site, there is no need to head anywhere else, especially when you can retire to the Whisky Snug.
If you are looking for a more central location, the world-famous Belfry ticks a lot of boxes. Given its affiliation with some of the greatest Ryder Cup moments, the Brabazon is a must-play for those looking to follow in such illustrious footsteps, but with the leisure club, spa and restaurants, this is more than just a golf resort.
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The Forest of Arden, located in the heart of the Midlands, is not a million miles away. The Arden course – designed by Donald Steel in 1992 – is surrounded by ancient woodlands and natural lakes, and has played host to a number of international tournaments. Meanwhile, the Aylesford is a little shorter than its sister course and gives you more of an opportunity to post a good score.
With its 36 holes, Woodhall Spa, in Lincolnshire, is up there with the very best. The Hotchkin is heathland golf at its finest and has consistently been voted as one of the UK's best inland tracks, while the adjacent Bracken is more parkland. Stay at the luxurious Petwood Hotel and you will be well looked after.
Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.
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