One of the oldest sports in the world, golf has delighted enthusiasts for centuries. The British Isles birthed the sport, and many of the best courses in the world are located here. There are dozens of golf courses from which to choose, but we have selected our six favorite British golf courses to share with you.
“Golf… is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.” -P.G. Wodehouse
This links course is located in Northern Ireland and tops many “best of” lists. Golf writer Bernard Darwin wrote over 70 years ago that “to see Slieve Donard’s crest just emerging from a great sea of early mist is to taste one of the intenser joys of shaving on the morning of a workless day.” He added that the course was one of “big and glorious carries, nestling greens, entertainingly blind shots, local knowledge, and beautiful turf – the kind of golf that people play in their most ecstatic dreams.”
St. Andrews Links in Scotland calls itself “the Home of Golf.” The sport has been played on these lands for over 600 years. Jack Nicklaus, the Open Champion in 1970 and 1978, described the Old Course this way: “I fell in love with it the first day I played it. There’s just no other golf course that is even remotely close.”
Scotland is home to many of the best British golf courses, and Royal Dornoch is another favorite of golf enthusiasts. Founded in 1877, this links course is described as having a timeless setting. The beauty of its surroundings makes it a highly pleasurable place to spend time golfing. The gorse flowers bloom in the summertime, adding stunning color to the landscape. The links from the Dornoch Firth are divided by a fantastic pure white sandy beach. Visitors can enjoy the view as much as they enjoy the game at Royal Dornoch.
The Royal Portrush Golf Club has been described as having the most challenging golf courses in the entire world, namely the Dunluce Links and the Valley Links. Royal Portrush is the only club in Ireland to lay claim to having hosted The Open Championships. Set in 1951, the event was the first one held outside the mainland United Kingdom. Max Faulkner claimed the title with a final score of 285.
Located in England, no list of British golf courses would be complete without Royal St. George’s and its distinguished history. The club has hosted amateur and professional tournaments since the 1880s. Impressively, Royal St. George’s has been host to The Open Championship fourteen times. The event was last there in 2011 when Darren Clarke took home the glory. The 149th Open Championship will return to Royal St. George’s in 2020.
Lahinch Golf Club has been complimentarily described as the “St. Andrews of Ireland,” although locals bristle at this description. Those who know Lahinch well firmly believe that this links course does not need comparison with other world-class venues. Over the decades, the links have retained their old virtues, charms, and challenges. Lahinch can stand on its own merits. Golfers like the legendary Tom Morris found the place to be enjoyably challenging. The club recently commemorated its 125th anniversary.
How many of these six British golf courses have you played at? Which links would you add to this list?