WELCOME TO GOLF WORLD’S TOP 100 GOLF COURSES ENGLAND: AN ESTABLISHED AND COMPREHENSIVE RANKING OF THE BEST GOLF COURSES IN ENGLAND.
To view our map, which highlights the best golf courses in England and where they are, click here
We have published a Top-100 England Golf Course ranking in print for many years, but this is the first time it has been available online. To create our new list of the best English golf courses, a panel of more than 30 passionate and knowledgeable golfers ranked each course out of 100 points. We gave every golf course marks for six different categories: design, setting, playability, presentation, memorability and consistency.
TOP 100 GOLF COURSES IN ENGLAND: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
This 2019 ranking of England’s best golf courses takes its lead from our most recent 2018 Top 100 Courses in Great Britain & Ireland. In the past, these two rankings have operated independently but we felt that made very little sense. It seemed odd that the highest ranked English course in our Top 100 GB&I wasn’t ranked No.1 in our Top 100 England. So going forward, unless there are extenuating circumstances – such as recent renovations – the two lists will align.
New golf course design projects in England are thin on the ground these days. That doesn’t mean, however, there is a lack of activity. Courses the length and breadth of the country are embarking on ambitious refurbishment and reshaping projects. It’s refreshing to see that clubs are beginning to understand the importance of continually refining their products. This level of activity is crucial for attracting new people into the game.
HOW POINTS ARE ALLOCATED
Golf World Top 100 Golf Course and Resorts loyalists will notice that we have slightly tweaked our method for reviewing golf courses in regard to the number of points given to each course. We remained mindful not to make wholesale changes, however.
The first change is the increased number of points allocated to ‘design’, – moving from a score out of 25 to a score out of 30 points. To make room for those additional five points, we reduced the points available for presentation from 20 to 15. This is not because the conditioning of a golf course now assumes less importance. It is more a reflection of the fact that condition is variable from year-to-year, month-to-month and day-to-day, even. We all saw at close hand during the summer of 2018 how extreme weather can rapidly affect the playability of a golf course. Likewise, we don’t want to excessively penalise clubs that lack the finances to present their layout in Augusta National-like fashion.
Of course, judging a golf course on the quality of its design, location, playability, conditioning, memorability and consistency is a highly subjective process. We know this because of the hundreds of emails we receive each time we publish a new Golf World Top 100. A hole or course that fits one person’s eye may jar another’s. A panel is the antidote to that subjectivity and takes the ego that plagues some other rankings out of the equation. This list is not one person’s view – it’s the combined work of more than 30 highly passionate and knowledgeable golfers.
The battle for the No.1 position in the Top 100 England ranking this year essentially became a shoot-out between three eminent courses.
A golf course that has the ability to mesmerise, enthrall and enchant, as well as tear your self-esteem into smithereens and leave you whimpering.
Perhaps the greatest skill in renovating a golf course is knowing where to draw the line.
Although the trees don’t encroach in quite the same way as on the Old, dense heather often lurks just a few yards away from the short grass
If aesthetics are not your thing, Lytham is as good as it gets. Its rippling fairways house some of the most penal bunkering found in the land
Its most dominant personality is heathland, although in several instances it assumes the personalities of a moorland while demonstrating links course synergies.
At less than 6,400 yards from the tips, it’s not a championship test but the trek across stunning heathland still poses plenty of questions.
Interestingly, opinion was split on this majestic heathland course, with as many panellists voting for a fall as for a rise in the rankings this time around.
Were it not for challenging logistics, Saunton would be more than capable of hosting The Open
A colourful and vibrant heathland that sweeps peerlessly through sumptuously undulating terrain courtesy of Harry Colt’s astute design
Not the most sparkling piece of linksland you’ll ever come across, but the turf is just sublime and the topography disguises some amazing holes
The best of a handful of top-notch courses that straddle the moors to the north of Leeds.
In our opinion, comfortably the best of the three ‘Ws’. The greens complexes are among the best anywhere… period.
With six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s, The Berkshire’s Red arguably presents the best scoring opportunities of any of the heathland elite.
For many of the panel, Formby is the best course on England’s Golf Coast – a mighty impressive accolade given the competitive portfolio.
This proper, workmanlike links – built over a fairly narrow tract of land – asks a lot of very tough questions.
After a fairly sedate opener, it’s a non-stop whirlwind of great holes, stunning location, and some magic stretches of golf
After a couple of well-publicised redesign miscues, the latest refresh by European Golf Design has brought the West back to its very best
An historic links overflowing with charm and charisma – and that’s just a description of the par 3s!
Hankley’s sprawling site and open vistas inevitably evoke comparisons with Walton Heath, but just falls short in variety and charm.
A hard-working but occasionally bleak and barren front nine paves the way for an epic journey through the dunes coming home
An honest, no frills, traditionally stern links. It perhaps lacks the visual appeal and eclectic mix of features of nearby Royal West Norfolk
A fixture in our Top 100 England ranking for several decades, the Duke’s is our personal favourite of the grand trio of courses at Woburn Golf Club
Boasts one of the most nerve-wracking opening tee shots in golf – a 200-yard par 3 over heather in front of the clubhouse terrace
Has enough about it to give the finest Surrey and Berkshire heathland layouts a good run for their money
The heathland setting is arguably more interesting and aesthetically pleasing than that found on the West. It won’t beat you up as badly, either
Somehow dropped a few places in our last Top 100 England ranking, but we’ve addressed that faux pas here
Immaculate greens combine with pine trees, heather and springy, sandy turf to create an immensely pleasurable golf experience
Colt’s dramatic diagonal bunkering and delicious heather-banked run-offs are among the many delightful features
An engaging mix of holes over varied heathland is further embellished by interesting changes in elevation, lakes and mature pines
Widley regarded as the toughest of the famous three ‘Ws’ in the area, thanks largely to a par of 69
One of Surrey’s finest and most secretive, New Zealand oozes 1930s charm and subtle sophistication.
Adding the Marquess’ to the Duke’s and Duchess was like adding the PGA Centenary to the King’s and Queen’s at Gleneagles
Such is the level of seclusion, it’s difficult to imagine you’re a relatively short drive from the centre of London
Doesn’t quite reach the heights of its more prestigious sibling, but it plays alongside the Old over a very similar piece of majestic open heathland
Liphook is charming and quaint but has more than its fair share of bite. Beautiful sandy turf is framed by heather, pine and birch trees.
A touch one-dimensional in terms of terrain, but you can overlook that when the holes are as sophisticated and well-conceived as these
The recent gorse-clearing programme has helped accentuate the finer points of this long, tough seaside track
A little quirky in places, but the setting and terrain are just pristine. If you like tree-lined heathland courses, this will be your idea of heaven
A steep drop from 35th in the 2017 rankings, but in hindsight we probably overrated the course in 2017
If vistas and setting were not an important factor in our ranking, Seaton would slot nicely into the top 30
American-style fare with narrow, sculpted fairways, spectator mounding, multi-tiered greens and spectacular bunkering
Very different in design/setting to the other Dorset courses in this list, but a strong woodland layout that’s always in good condition
Playing across two tiers of dunes, this classic out-and-back links strings one strong hole after another
Underrated Midlands classic that’s slowly gaining the reputation it deserves. Cramped in places, but still a hugely enjoyable experience
As we’ve said before, the Brabazon is respected as a golf course more than it is loved or cherished
An underrated links that just keeps getting better. Just enough blind drives and semi-blind approaches to engage without being irritating
Built on rolling moorland with heathland accents, Lindrick is known for fast-running fairways and year-round playability
Adjacent to and, at times, enclosed by the main Formby course, the Ladies Club is a fun yet challenging test for every level of golfer.
A strong, thoroughbred links that’s worth inclusion during any visit to England’s Golf Coast. Fast-running fairways traverse large dunes.
Relatively flat, but a decent challenge when the wind gets up. Rewards quality ball-striking off often hard, dry turf
Not much to dislike about this expansive modern course. Nice variation in scenery and always in top condition
Rugged dunes, great turf, views and incredible holes. Its isolated location means it’s not as lauded as it should be
A thrill-a-minute golf course with, perhaps, the best views in this list. Grand dunes, incredible greens complexes and lots of undulations
A grand example of golf in its most natural, rugged, minimalistic and, at times, infuritating form, the Old Tom Morris-crafted Royal North Devon
Fun heathland layout set in a nature reserve overlooking the Solent and Poole Harbour. It’s well worth a visit for the views alone
Don’t let the word “forest” fool you into thinking this is regular woodland fare. Has much more of a downland/heathland vibe
A pretty and engaging course that somehow manages to perennially fly under the radar
A perennial favourite among the GW review panel because of its classy, jaw-dropping terrain, gorgeous views and heather-lined fairways
With narrow, tree-lined fairways, dog-legs aplenty and tiny greens, the Duchess values positional play over brute strength
Frank Pont’s astute refresh of this Harry Colt classic included restoring the boldness of the original bunkering. Front nine is gentle, but back nine plays across severe slopes
On a warm summer’s day with the low, late afternoon sun streaming through the pines, it’s difficult to imagine a more delightful and tranquil place to sneak in nine holes
Tucked into a compact 100-acre parcel of land on the Cumbrian coastline and boasting views of the Isle of Man and inland to the Lakeland Hills.
A quality experience from first hole to last. Bearwood’s major strength is its consistency – it really is difficult to identify a weak hole
An amiable and straightforward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get links that complements the sterner challenge presented by its more prestigious and illustrious neighbour
A little taste of Augusta in the Surrey countryside courtesy of sparingly placed azaleas and rhododendrons, and some grand short holes
A classy heathland Harry Colt design located on the southern end of the sandbelt that intersects with Surrey and Berkshire
Another classic parkland with a heathland twist from the county that just keeps on giving. A good, fun test of golf across undulating terrain
Tom Mackenzie’s refresh of this Colt course has seen improvements made to more than half the holes, including remodeled bunkers and run-off areas
Stoke Park has always had class. It now has strong aesthetics thanks to a bold renovation that saw its previously low-key bunkering given a dose of steroids
Solid, no-frills heathland track with plenty of changes in elevation and scenery to hold your interest. Tight, sandy turf and firm, fast greens
Modern American-style course with plenty of charm. Risk/reward holes, imposing water hazards, plentiful bunkering and immaculate presentation are the key themes
We’ve always been a fan of this Harry Colt classic perched atop the North Downs. Built on fast-draining chalky soil, it delivers some spectacular views
A solid, but not sensational, modern venue with USGA-spec greens it has climbed the rankings since its 2015 debut
Come for the stunning front-nine sea views and leave enchanted by generous fairways, quirky railway holes and the ever-changing mix of challenges
Dr Alister MacKenzie’s swansong in the UK. The Peak District’s challenging terrain is blunted by a design that uses clever angles and savvy bunkering
As a clubhouse, the 17th century mansion that forms the centerpiece of the property is as impressive as it gets, and sets the tone for a sublime golf experience
Not a grain of sand to be seen on the course but heather, dykes, narrow fairways and a strong set of par 3s are ample defence for this engaging heathland layout
Has been a conspicuous absentee from the list for too long. Tough and narrow, the course is comparable in quality to its neighbour Coombe Hill
An intense desire to continually improve sees this underrated tree-lined Surrey gem continue to rise in the rankings
Hosted European Tour events over three decades, so has a strong tournament pedigree. A woodland/heathland hybrid
Some laud its design chops while others say it has too many bland holes and that the setting lacks atmosphere. Nevertheless, it’s a strong strategic challenge from Sir Nick Faldo
Less grandiose in scale and challenge than its ‘big sister’, but still a fun, solid test of ball-striking and patience
A well-loved classic, but the exceptional facilities at the progressive club grab more headlines these days
Entered the Top 100 in 2017 and maintains its place… just! A good course with thrills and magnificent holes after opening with a tough par 3