Top 20 Most Fun Courses In Great Britain & Ireland

August 09, 2012

Lahinch is No. 2 on our Great Britain and Ireland list.

1. St. Andrews Links (Old)


The original: What's not fun about playing the oldest and best golf course in the world?

2. Lahinch G.C. (Old)


The wild and wind-swept links course has been lengthened over the years, but it's still hugely enjoyable. It's hard to imagine a more fun par 3 than the blind 154-yard Dell hole.

3. North Berwick G.C.


Founded in 1832 and full of flair: shots over stone walls, devilish burns and the beach; blind shots; wild greens; the original Redan hole; and a bunkerless, 277-yard par 4 to end your round on a high.

4. Crail Golfing Society (Balcomie Links)


The Old Tom Morris-designed Balcomie Links at the seventh-oldest club in the world--founded in 1786--is short (six par 3s), firm, fast and fun.

5. St. Enodoc G.C. (Church)


Sublime James Braid-designed golf among the high dunes--and allegedly the biggest bunker in Europe--on the north Cornwall coast.

6. Machrihanish G.C.


From the stirring opening tee shot across a corner of the Atlantic Ocean to the last putt, this has remained just as pure and natural a golf experience as it was when Old Tom Morris extended the course to 18 holes in 1879.

7. Dooks G.C.


A charming, beautiful throwback, one of the 10 oldest golf clubs in Ireland, less crowded and perhaps more fun than famous neighbors like Ballybunion and Waterville.

8. Askernish G.C.


Classic links on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1891, abandoned in the 1920s, then rediscovered and brought back to life in 2008. All natural, no artificial ingredients.

9. Royal Worlington & Newmarket G.C.


A museum piece beloved and made famous by Bernard Darwin and Henry Longhurst from their days at nearby Cambridge University. Many regard it as the best nine-hole course in the world.

10. The Island G.C.


Timeless golf at its best among some of the tallest dunes in the land, bordered by sea on three sides, and just 15 minutes from the Dublin airport.

11. Shiskine G. & Tennis Club


The best 12-hole course in the world, on the west side of the Isle of Arran, full of blind shots, odd bounces and vertiginous vistas.

12. The Machrie G. Links


A sacred place on the utterly remote Isle of Islay that looks like the links that time forgot. Playing here is more than just golf--it's a pilgrimage.

13. Bamburgh Castle G.C.


With backdrops of the Cheviot Hills, Lindisfarne, the Farne Islands and, of course, Bamburgh Castle, this short course has six par 3s.

14. Cullen G.C.


Extremely quirky 4,597-yard, par-63 course dating to 1870 and first laid out by Old Tom Morris.

15. Brora G.C.


Dornoch is vastly more famous--and challenging--but this classic, short old links, even farther north, feels like it has been here forever and is not to be missed. Home of the James Braid Golfing Society. And many sheep.

16. Golspie G.C.


Another short gem north of Dornoch. They've been playing on this land since the 1880s.

17. Nefyn & District G.C.


Bracing sea views from every hole on the Llyn Peninsula. The teetering back-nine holes along The Point are unforgettable.

18. Cruit Island G.C.


Tucked in the way-up-north of desolate Donegal, this cliff-top classic is one of the most memorable, scenic and quirky nine-holers you'll ever play.

19. Isle of Harris G.C.


A beautiful setting for this sporty, wild nine-holer in the Outer Hebrides, 4,944 yards if you go around twice.

20. The Ladies Putting Club (The Himalayas)


The true spirit of golf lives in this two-acre, everyone-welcome, laugh-a-minute mini-links beside the second tee of St. Andrews' Old Course.

Course descriptions by John Barton, Peter Finch, Matt Ginella, and Ron Whitten.