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Top 100 Golf Courses "BiteSize" - September 2015

For those that are disinterested in golf in England you’ll need to skim read our September BiteSize update, which concludes our biennial English Best In County re-ranking process. The exercise has taken more than a year to complete and we’ve contacted every golf club in the country as part of this time-consuming initiative. If you live in England and are passionate about your local county golf courses and would like to become a Best In County contributor, please get in touch.

Incidentally, seventy of the world’s leading golf course architects gathered in South-East England earlier this month for their “To Heath & Links” 2015 Study Tour, which included an inspection of Harry Colt’s “Lost Holes” at Sunningdale.

Also in this edition, Javier Pintos, our correspondent in Argentina, shares a story about golf in Patagonia and a surprise was unearthed by Neil Laird of Scottish Golf History when he found that two Scottish Golf Societies are 100 years older than they previously thought.

Top 30 Golf Courses in Yorkshire 2015

Ganton is still our Yorkshire No.1 and there can be no doubt about the allure of this fabulous inland links/heathland layout, where James Braid, Alister MacKenzie and Tom Simpson have all had a hand in the design. Host to Walker Cup, Curtis Cup and Ryder Cup matches down the years, this formidable course is famed for its fearsome bunkers.

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Top 20 Golf Courses in Lancashire 2015

Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & St Annes remain at number 1 and number 2 in the new Top 20. And because both courses enjoy such a high profile in our World rankings, don’t expect to see either of them ousted from their current positions in the county chart anytime soon. The Open returns to Birkdale in 2017.

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Top 25 Golf Courses in Kent 2015

Royal St George’s comfortably holds onto the number 1 position in Kent. Host to fourteen Open competitions since 1894, it’s also the highest ranked course in our national Top 100 for England. This venerable old links layout moved one recent reviewer to write: “I would urge all serious golfers to play this course at least once, you will come away with memories that will last a lifetime.”

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Top 20 Golf Courses in Cheshire 2015

Royal Liverpool is still No.1 in Cheshire. Host to a dozen Open Championships since 1897, this world-class links is a demanding test, as intimated recently by one reviewer: “It can be flat at times with little definition to the holes. But that itself provides its own challenge. Depth perception is very difficult … strategy and trust to hit your lines is paramount”.

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Top 20 Golf Courses in Essex 2015

The courses occupying the top three spots in our recently revised Essex chart remain in exactly the same position as last time so Thorndon Park holds onto 1st place. This Harry Colt design from 1920 has been overlooked by serious golfers down the years and made it into our Top 100 chart for England in 2014 so it’s now earning the recognition that it richly deserves.

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Top 40 Golf Courses in Surrey 2015

At number 1 and 2 in the Surrey listings, we have the Old course and New course at Sunningdale where, as a combination, these layouts represent the finest 36 holes of golf on a single property in all of the British Isles. As one recent reviewer advises, “If you haven’t played here yet then do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a day here, fairly pricey but you won’t regret it.”

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Top 20 Golf Courses in Sussex 2015

The top three positions remain exactly as they were following our last update two years ago so the number 1 course in the county is still West Sussex, which Sir Guy Campbell and Major C.K. Hutchison laid out in 1930. Nothing much has changed with the layout of this heathland track in eighty-five years and the golfing world in general should be eternally grateful for that.

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Javier Pintos on golf in Patagonia

Together with fly fishing and delicious gastronomy, the land of the Gaucho is fast becoming one of the best tourist experiences on the planet. Llao Llao and Arelauquen have been the foundation stones, Chapelco Golf Resort arrived giving the destination a higher status and now El Desafío Mountain Resort will complete the equation to make Patagonia a must-play destination.

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Top 20 Golf Courses in Hampshire 2015

Liphook, which originated in 1922, is our number 1 layout and it certainly impressed a recent reviewer who posted this just the other day: “If you haven’t played Liphook before then you’re missing out. Take the time to play this wonderful venue.”  A current average review score of 5 ½ out of 6 tells its own story.

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Top 20 Golf Courses in Devon 2015

Herbert Fowler’s mighty East links at Saunton Golf Club heads the Devon listings, with its younger sibling, the West course, edged into 3rd place by the oldest course in England still utilising its original fairways, Royal North Devon, or “Westward Ho!” as it’s more affectionately known.

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Two Scottish golf societies age by 100 years

In August, in the space of 40 minutes, two previously unknown newspaper notices for Earlsferry Golf Society in 1787 and Fortrose Golf Society in 1793 were discovered. They were found in one search of the British Newspaper Archive at the National Library of Scotland in the Caledonian Mercury which published three times a week from 1720 to 1867.

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Golf Course Architects head “To Heath & Links”

Seventy of the world’s leading golf course architects gathered in Southeast England in September for their 2015 Study Tour. Organised by the European Institute of Golf Course Architects and supported by the Toro Company, the ‘To Heath & Links’ tour took in four of England’s greatest links and heathland golf courses.

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Top 10 Golf Courses in Cornwall 2015

We maintain a Top 10 for Cornwall and, since we introduced our regional rankings in 2012, the top four positions in our chart have remained the same. That unsurprisingly means the 18-hole Church layout at St Enodoc Golf Club retains the number 1 spot.

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Top 15 Golf Courses in Berkshire 2015

Following a period of consultation with clubs throughout the county, our Berkshire Top 15 chart has just been updated and so we now present the latest edition of these regional rankings. Holding onto the number 1 place at the top of the listings, we have Harry Colt’s masterpiece at Swinley Forest, his “least bad course” as he liked to call it. Photo by Andy Taylor.

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Top 10 Golf Courses in Buckinghamshire 2015

At number 1, Woburn’s Marquess course only opened in 2000 but it has since hosted two British Masters tournaments and the English Amateur Championship in 2011. Now matured way beyond its youthful years, the course has also been used for recent Final Open Qualifying and it’ll stage the British Masters again next month.

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Top 10 Golf Courses in Wiltshire 2015

Advancing one place to No.1 in the county chart is Bowood, an early 1990s Dave Thomas design and it edges out the Manor House from the top spot. Laid out within an enormous 200-acre wooded estate, Bowood has been described by one reviewer as “always in great condition, offering very quick greens and a variety of tees. Whilst it is clearly a ‘hotel’ course, the value this place offers cannot be sniffed at.”

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Top 10 Golf Courses in Dorset 2015

Broadstone holds onto the No.1 slot in the county, which is not entirely unexpected as it currently occupies a position in our Top 100 rankings for GBI. This lovely old heathland track has attracted a flurry of recent complimentary reviews, exemplified by: “the layout never fails to deliver a great round of golf in wonderful surroundings with superb views over the surrounding countryside”.

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Top 10 Golf Courses in Somerset 2015

Remaining at the number 1 position, the Championship links at Burnham & Berrow also rides high in both our England Top 100 and Great Britain & Ireland Top 100 listings. Herbert Fowler, Harry Colt and Alister MacKenzie all had a hand in fashioning this wonderful old course and it’s one that still presents a formidable challenge in the modern era.

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Top 10 Golf Courses in Gloucestershire 2015

Only one course remains in the same position within our Gloucestershire rankings and it’s Ross-on-Wye at No.1, which is the same spot this 18-hole layout has occupied since we first formulated our English county rankings in 2012. Founded in 1903, the club moved to its present location in the 1960s, when C.K. Cotton literally carved the fairways out of dense woodland.

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Recent Player Reviews

Have you played any Top Golf Courses recently?

If so, we’d love to hear from you, so why not post a review and share your experience? If you took a great photo during your visit, email it to info@top100golfcourses.co.uk and we’ll include it within your review. Don’t forget you can now have your own personalised Reviewers page on the Top 100 website.