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A Guide to Golf Courses in the U.K.

Courses

Golf has a long and fascinating history in the U.K., which has led to the creation of many extremely beautiful, yet challenging courses in the world.

The U.K. also has a reputation for being one of the best places to play golf, which is why it is one of the number one choices for championships and masters tournaments. With courses packed full of character and golfing accomplishments, it is easy to see why professionals and novices alike choose to play here.

The Scottish Highlands has much to offer in the way of golfing experiences, particularly as it actually originated from a game played on the eastern coast. Golf has since been a prominent part of the country’s heritage; most notably during the 15th century when the game was banned by King James II due to troops neglecting their military training in favor of playing the sport. Undeterred, the Scots continued to play and by 1880, there were 42 golf courses around the country.

Today, there are 578 courses to choose from, which is no mean feat given that they all have their own individual appeal. But, while the classic courses of St. Andrews and the Royal Dornoch reign supreme on the golfer’s first-choice list, it is the first nine holes of the Royal Aberdeen that are regarded by many as being some of the finest in the country.

Running through sand dunes parallel to the shore the first part of the course offers a challenging play that tests the limits of experienced players. The brutal par four of the finishing hole also presents its own set of trials, which means players continually to return in attempts to master this difficult course.

Surrey has the most Top 100 courses

From Bletchingley to Sunningdale, the home county of Surrey has more golf courses in the U.K. Top 100 than any other country and is positively overflowing with premiere courses to choose from. But if you’re looking for a more relaxed Sunday play, one of the lesser-known gems in the area is Wentworth East.

An intimate and charming course, it was originally created in 1924 by Harry Colt and features a lowly par of 68, which will make playing to handicap a serious challenge. Although there is only one par five, there are five par fours measuring in excess of 400 yards, making it one of the best collections of short holes in the area.

Sometimes visiting a course with a prestigious reputation can leave golfers feeling somewhat underwhelmed, however, this is never going to be the case with a visit to Royal St. George’s. A course coveted by golfers around the world, this is a spectacularly unique location that is heavily steeped in history. Having opened in 1887, the site was so well-respected that it hosted its first of 14 Open Championships after only seven years of being in play.

The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) became club captain in 1902 and the club was granted royal patronage. With its distinguishing features, such as the U.K.’s tallest and deepest bunker, the peaceful Elysian fields, and stunning views over Pegwell Bay and the white cliffs of Dover, it is no wonder that golfers flock to the classic appeal of this course time and time again.

An European Tour venue

Of course, no visit to the U.K. would be complete without checking into Close House: the official venue of the 2017 British Masters on the European Tour. Located between the ancient remains of Hadrian’s Wall and the banks of the River Tyne, the beautiful estate grounds of this stunning 18th-century mansion is a pure indulgence for golfers of all skill levels to play on.

Featuring two 18-hole Lee Westwood Championship Colt and Filly courses and a nine-hole Yearling course, the variety of challenges on offer in this sumptuous setting secured the club’s position on the U.K. Top 100 Courses as soon as it opened in May 2011.

The Colt course, in particular, features a thoroughly engaging layout that incorporates a Roman Fort, an ancient woodland, and an Ice Lake. Attached Tour Professional Lee Westwood regularly sings the praises of Close House’s capabilities as a major tournament venue, so after he was announced as the tournament host for the 2017 British Masters, it came as no surprise when he selected the Colt course as the location.

If not for the setting, then perhaps the opportunity to soak up the skills of current Masters favorite on BetStars Sergio Garcia should convince you of this course’s appeal.