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More courses than Ireland, Scotland & Wales combined

The Courses

Royal Birkdale - #31 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

Royal Birkdale is one of Britain's finest golf clubs and host to two Ryder Cups, the Walker and Curtis Cups, the Women’s' British Open and the Men’s' Open Championship on 8 occasions. The Birkdale Golf Club was formed in 1889 with a change of address resulting in a move to "Birkdale Hills" (the current location) in 1897. In the 1920's the design company of Hawtree and Taylor remodeled the new course in the valleys between the sand hills rather than over them. This enabled Birkdale to gain the reputation of being one of the fairest championship courses.

The grand white clubhouse also dates back to 1935 and stands like a majestic ship overlooking the 18’Th green. The views from the enormous bay window in the "Mixed Lounge" give an impressive view over the course - on "Open Sunday" it's a very exciting place to be! Among the 8 Opens held here was Ian Baker-Finch's finest moment in July, 1991- he shot 64 on Saturday and then cruised around the front nine in 29 on the Sunday. Nobody got closer than two shots and he was chased home by Mike Harwood (!), Fred Couples and Mark O'Meara.

Royal Lytham & St Annes - #59 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

The golf club was founded in 1886 and the present course constructed in 1897. The clubhouse celebrated its centenary in 1998. It is one of the premier links in the world  and has been host to 10 Opens , two Ryder Cups and numerous other major tournaments including Women’s and Seniors Open championships .The layout of Royal Lytham has remained faithful to the original, created by the club’s first professional, George Lowe, over a century ago. The only significant changes were made in 1919 when the club asked Harry Colt, the preeminent course designer of the time, to make recommendations for improvement. Over the next 4 years he repositioned some of the greens and tees, added numerous bunkers and lengthened the course.

It is not a conventionally beautiful golf course surrounded as it is by suburban housing and flanked by a railway line , but it has a charm all its own . It is renowned as a course on which it is hard to scramble a good score – after all, there are 200 bunkers peppering the fairways and surrounding the greens. It may not be the longest of courses but it is one where careful thought and accurate shots are required.


Formby dates back to 1884 when the Club was founded with 9 holes. It was extended to 18 holes under the guidance of Willie Park at the turn of the 20th Century. Formby is unique in that there is a separate Ladies club established in 1896 on the estate. They have their own golf course and clubhouse. You will see the course in the middle of the men’s course and the clubhouse on your right as you pass to the 1st Tee.

The course is set amongst dune land, heath land and woodland in an estate of about 470 acres and is a site of special scientific interest. It is an area of great importance to nature conservationists. An ecology booklet was published in 2006 contained a hole by hole guide to its wildlife and conservation. In 1972, erosion of the shoreline required the creation of new holes at 7, 8 & 9 and a new 10th Tee playing to the existing 10th Green turning this into a short hole. These holes came into play in the early 80’s and were used for the 1984 Amateur. In recent years, to reflect the improvement in golfing equipment, there have been modifications to the course bringing back into play, for the low handicap golfer, most of the original drive-length bunkers.

Formby is recognised as a true amateurs’ course. It has held 4 Amateur Championships, numerous R & A Championships for Boys, Mid-Amateurs and Seniors and has hosted many EGU and County Championships. Formby is also a Local Final Qualifying course when the Open Championship is in the area.


“Hillside is separated from Birkdale by a footpath. Believe it or not, Birkdale got the rough end of the deal when it came to golfing terrain. The dunes at Hillside make those at Birkdale look like little grassy humps. In contrast to its big neighbour, the holes here also play over, not just between the dunes and provide the golfer with a thrilling journey. This is wonderful links country but you’ll also find a few things missing from most British links- including tall fir trees and a lake or 2.

The scoop on Hillside is that it’s the “best 9 hole course in the world”. Our own Greg Norman was sort of responsible for this back handed compliment when he touted that “the back 9 was the best in Britain”. Of course, that led everyone to believe that the front 9 was a letdown. Does the front 9 roll through the same exciting country as the back? No. However, there are good holes there (and no bad ones) as you prepare yourself for the fireworks that start at the turn. They maybe even peak straight away at the 11’th. This is a reachable par 5 that doglegs left away from the cathedral tee which overlooks the holes of Hillside and its 2 neighbours. I don’t know of any better golf view in England. Every hole to the house made me smile as I twisted my Strokesaver to the left and right to work out the best way through, over or around the mountainous dunes.”

Southport & Ainsdale

Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club is a true championship links course, with first class facilities to match.  The course is set amongst the dunes on the North West coastline and is another of course designer, James Braid’s great creations. The golf club was founded in 1886 and the present course constructed in 1897. The clubhouse celebrated its centenary in 1998. S&A (as it is widely and affectionately known), was part of the great golf boom around the turn of the 20th century. Inevitably the passing of so many years has brought about changes to the course, but the traditional feel of a championship links has been retained.

The club has hosted two Ryder Cup matches in 1933 and 1937 and a number of other prestigious championships including The British Ladies Open and The British Amateur. It remains a final qualifying course for The Open Championship and it has been voted among the top 50 courses in Great Britain. The course is a magnificent test of golf, especially with the sea breeze, profusion of heather and gorse combining to provide you with a challenging and immensely enjoyable experience. The recently refurbished clubhouse also provides a splendid setting for unwinding after your round. The main lounge and patio to the front of the clubhouse provide stunning views across the course, including the 18th green and 1st tee.

Royal Liverpool - #69 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

“Hoylake, blown upon by mighty winds, breeder of mighty champions” (Bernard Darwin) .The Hoylake links can be beautiful, uplifting, awe inspiring and, on occasion, soul destroying. They were created to be a demanding test of golf and remain so – they lie at the very heart of the history and development of golf in Great Britain.

Built in 1869 on what was then the racecourse of the Liverpool Hunt club, Hoylake is the oldest of all the English seaside courses with the exception of Westward Ho! in Devon. Robert Chambers and George Morris were commissioned to lay out the original Hoylake course which was extended to 18 holes in 1871. This was also the year in which the club was granted its Royal designation thanks to the patronage of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Connaught.

Hoylake has been the venue for 11 Opens. In 1930 it hosted Bobby Jones’ win – a victory that would become the second leg of his Grand Slam. Peter Thompson won in 1956 as did Roberto de Vincenzo in 1967- the last Open played here before Tiger’s triumphant return in 2006. 


Set on the South Coast of England in the village of Sandwich, Prince's Golf Club is one of the most recognized golf courses in Europe and is steeped in history and traditions of the game. Considered one of the finest of its kind, the treasured, links-style golf course hosted the Open Championship in 1932 (won by Gene Sarazen) and has since welcomed some of Europe’s leading golf events.  The three nine-hole loops called the Shore, Dunes and Himalayas, combine to offer the most authentic, classic links course you will find. Naturally sculpted with deep bunkers, undulating fairways and tricky greens combine to make the Prince's golf course one of the most complete and true tests of golf anywhere in the world.

After a significant refurbishment, Prince’s Golf Club was host to the final qualifying round for the 2011 Open at neighboring Royal St. Georges Golf Club. Prince’s will also be hosting The Amateur Championship in 2013. Other Championships played at Prince's include the Curtis Cup in 1956, British Ladies in 1922 and 1995 an 4 Satellite and Challenge Tour events for 1989 to 1997. Peter Alliss won both the Schweppes PGA Championship and the Piccadilly Medal at Prince's.

Royal Cinque Ports

 “How can a club that has hosted 2 Opens (1909 & 1920) be classed a hidden gem? A lack of self-promotion, a prettier sister next door, an unfair reputation as the world’s best ugly course and its less than perfect grooming are probably the main reasons. Deal, as this club is often known, is 90 minutes from London and a relatively close neighbour of Rye, Prince's and Royal St George's. Make no mistake; this is a tough golf course with fiery fairways bordered by waist-high seaside grasses as well as deep pot and riveted face bunkers. It is a traditional out & back layout where the last 7 holes plough straight back into the prevailing wind. 

Interestingly, Deal was to host the 1949 Open but the course was flooded by a breach in the sea wall that runs along the right hand side of most of the front nine. The worst kept secret at the club these days is that they are talking to the R & A about hosting the 2018 event. New tees are being considered on top of, below and beyond that sea wall that was broached 60 years ago.   If the Open returns to Deal after almost 100 years it will give a great account of itself and make us all wonder why it took so long. Tiger and his mates will find everything you could ask for in a round of links golf- drive-able par 4’s (the 6th), burns, roads and some incredible green complexes (including dells, punchbowls and a wonderful fortress at the tumbling par 5 16th).


Royal St Georges - #29 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

The host of 12 Open Championships was founded in 1887 and is one of the most famous and most difficult golf courses in the world - it provides a great test of true links golf. Highlights from those 12 Opens include:

1894 - The first time the Open was played south of the Scottish border! The field included names now embedded in the mythology of golf - Harry Vardon , James Braid, JH Taylor & Willie Park Jr. Taylor won .

1993 - One of the great Opens with the most thrilling last day imaginable. Greg Norman had a narrow lead over Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer at the start of the final round. They traded birdies with Norman holding a 2 shot lead until the 17th where he missed a putt of less than 12 inches! A safe 4 down the 18th produced a round of 64, the best ever final round to win an Open Championship.

Swinley Forest

Swinley Forest was founded in 1909 and laid out by the renowned Harry Colt. Interestingly he referred to it as “the least bad course” he had ever built! This is a short course with a par of 69. Fairways are wide, the forced carries are not cruel but there’s heather wherever there is not grass.

Swinley Forest is arguably the most private of all English golf clubs…and that’s quite a statement. The membership list reads like a who’s who of British society as well as royalty. It is a club distinguished as much by what you will not find here as what you will. The club has no captain, logo, crest, tie, history or suggestion book. It is only in the last 20 years that a par for the course was established and a scorecard printed. The club plays only 2 events per year. This is a unique golf club.

Sunningdale (Old) - #39 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

The Old course, opened in 1901, was laid out by Willie Park Jr. It is pure enchantment that characterizes Sunningdale Old. Virtually every hole is played in splendid and beautiful isolation, and in harmony with nature. There is subtlety here, a measure of drama, and a wealth of that one indispensable ingredient, pleasurable excitement. No wonder it may be the most beloved inland course in the British Isles.

Sir Michael Bonallack commented: "All that one would hope to find in the ideal golf club is in abundance at Sunningdale. Two magnificently conditioned courses of superb design and so pleasing to the eye, a clubhouse which provides members and visitors with an unforgettable experience of pampered comfort, accompanied by exceptional food and wine, a staff that anticipates and provides for the members' wishes, no matter how eccentric they may be, a first class professional's shop and competent instruction on hand, the most knowledgeable caddies in the game and the finest halfway house I know".

Sunningdale (New)

Opened in 1923, the New Course is built right alongside the Old Course but has its own distinctive character. The Old is heavily bunkered with a majestic collection of mature pine, oak and birch lining its fairways, while the New Course has fewer bunkers but is a more exacting test from the tee with longer carries and tighter fairways lined by a more intimidating cover of heather. Colt’s green sites are also less forgiving. The New Course is built across an open and uniformly undulating landscape with deep, punishing bunkers and greens that are more demanding on your approach play, many being built up with false fronts and subtle tiers. The heart of this course is exceptional, starting with the excellent right-bending 4th and then along through a series of attractive short holes and demanding par fours which are set through thick heather and relentless on those inaccurate from the tee. The strategic simplicity of gorgeous holes like the 7th and 12th and the heavier undulations of the 8th and 9th among the highlights.

Situated on a fabulous property, Sunningdale is a one of the world’s premier golf clubs and among the most impressive 36-hole venues anywhere. Whether you prefer Old or New, there is no denying that each is outstanding and a round on both is a pretty special day’s golf.

St George's Hill

Eminent commentator Bernard Darwin mused: “By a merciful dispensation of Providence, fir trees, sand and heather which are beautiful things in themselves, are the ingredients from which inland golf courses should be made. The prettiest courses are also the best, and certainly one of the prettiest is St George’s Hill.” St George’s Hill remains a golfing gem. Each hole, of which there are three loops of nine, is memorable and individual in character, with heather, silver birch and stately Scots pine - the fairways are undulating and follow the natural contours of the land. The original concept of the course and estate was unique. It was the first development of a golf course being constructed with the intention of building luxury houses adjacent to the fairways. W G Tarrant, a local builder, had the foresight to see an opportunity when the land became available in 1911. Having acquired it, he enlisted the services of Harry Colt, the most prolific golf architect of his generation, to design the course. And so St George’s Hill, the first “Golf Course Housing Estate”, was born.

Undoubtedly Colt was a genius, one of the greatest golf architects of all time and it has been suggested that St George’s Hill is his masterpiece. A year or 2 later he assisted with the design of Pine Valley and many golfers see similarities between the 2 in the vigorously rolling terrain, the isolation of each hole in a tree-framed alley, the sweep and spaciousness of the fairways, the contouring of the vast greens, the boldness of the bunkering and the appealing naturalness of it all. The Clubhouse stands on the highest point of the course affording wonderful panoramic views of the opening and closing holes, and no doubt providing every golfer with a lasting memory of this magnificent course.

Walton Heath - #80 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100

Walton Heath Golf Club was founded in 1903 and the two championship courses were designed by Herbert Fowler, a leading amateur golfer and designer who worked both in the British Isles and overseas. It is a tribute to his genius that between 1902 and 1904, he created one of the finest examples of heathland golf from a jungle of heather, gorse and bracken.

Having hosted over 60 major championships in its illustrious history, Walton Heath has been graced by the 1981 Ryder Cup, 5 European Open Tournaments, 23 "News of the World" Match play Championships as well as such prestigious amateur events as the Senior Open, English Amateur, Brabazon Trophy and the British Ladies Amateur.

Walton Heath also has the unique distinction of being the only club in England to have had a reigning monarch as its Captain, when the Prince of Wales became King Edward VIII during his 1935/6 Captaincy. Situated 20 miles south of London, within 10 minutes of the M25, and close to both Heathrow and Gatwick International Airports, it is ideally situated to welcome visitors from all over the world and yet the club nestles in the heart of open and peaceful countryside.