June 8th, 2010

5 reasons to stay in England and play

by Don

An avid golf player will often go to great lengths to find a challenging and interesting course. In search of the ideal golf challenge, many consider travelling abroad. However, it is not always necessary to travel and when considering golf breaks UK courses have a great deal to offer. Clearly, there is considerable debate as to which golf course is the best in England, so here is a look at 5 of the contenders.

Royal West, Norfolk

Royal West in Norfolk is a coastal golf course, where players have to cross a beach just to get between the course and the club house. Although by no means the most challenging course in England, the Royal West is still worth considering for golf breaks UK wise. Here, golfers can have an experience quite unlike other global courses; the unique setting of this course and the feeling of seclusion and isolation when playing the Royal West is unparalleled. This is a prime example of a completely natural links course with tidal marshes and large bunkers, framed by wooden sleepers. Holes 8 and

9 carry over tidal water. Rapidly changing conditions and fast coastal winds add to the challenges at Royal West and make this a golf course UK players would do well to consider.

The Belfry

Hidden in the countryside in north Warwickshire, The Belfry has three golf courses, of varying levels of difficulty, but the Brabazon is the course of choice for keen golfers. The Belfry is the only PGA course in England and hosts the PGA National. Brabazon is considered the spiritual home of the Ryder Cup. Brabazon has a couple of notably challenging holes. It has been redesigned and is currently in superb condition. If you have played the Brabazon course before, the recent improvements are worth exploring. If PGA and Ryder Cup standard courses sound a little daunting, then there is always the Derby, an all round course that is engaging for players at every level of ability.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake is considered a classic links course with a good record for holding tournaments at the professional level. The Royal Liverpool is a challenging course, with the tricky conditions common to all links courses. The wind has a strong presence around Royal Liverpool, which makes for an interesting challenge. The wind-swept flat expanse in front of the club house, navigating between dunes and consistently superb views of the Dee estuary mean that there is a lot to like about Royal Liverpool. The Royal Liverpool is the second oldest links course in England and also hosts the largest collection of golf memorabilia outside of St Andrews. When planning golf breaks UK based players will find that the Royal Liverpool is more than just a course for players as fans of the sport will find the collection fascinating.

Royal Birkdale

The Royal Birkdale golf course used to be known simply as Birkdale until 1951, when the Royal Charter was granted to the club. Royal Birkdale is certainly one of the top English Golf courses. Ideal for golf breaks UK players will find that the exhilarating coastal setting adds extra excitement as well as coastal winds to address. One of the distinguishing features of the Royal Birkdale course is the art deco clubhouse. Engulfed by the surrounding sand dunes, the Royal Birkdale golf course demands skilful reading of the greens. There are numerous high tees with clear views and well framed holes that allow players to appreciate the challenges of each.

Hotchkin

The Hotchkin golf course at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire is widely considered to be the top golf course in England. There are many distinguishing features that make the Hotchkin course tricky but also extremely rewarding to play. The infamous deep, intimidating bunkers of Hotchkin are only part of the challenge that faces players. Gorse and heather define the course; and the pine and birch trees that surround the Hotchkin enclose golfers in an attractive setting. When considering golf breaks UK parties with players and non-players alike will appreciate the presence of a spa here.

Before spending vast sums on travelling abroad in search of interesting and challenging golf experiences, it is worth remembering that the sport of golf is alive and well in England. Whatever it says on your handicap card, there should be a suitable course within easy reach. When choosing golf breaks UK players and other members of the party should find much to entertain, with so many courses located in fascinating historical locations and others within easy reach of spas, leisure facilities and the coast.

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