The ultimate list for the discerning golfer

Most Underrated English Courses

By Colin Sheehan
Colin Sheehan is senior editor of The Golfer.
A past member of the Yale golf team, he has made
more than 20 golf trips to Great Britain and Ireland
and has played over 300 courses around the world.

On the north Cumbrian coast, in England's remote northwest, Silloth is an exceptional links blessed by the design hands of Willie Park, Jr., and later Alister MacKenzie.

Hankley Common:
After the club cleared more than 90 acres of forest under the leadership of course manager Ian MacMillian, it became the purest heathland specimen in Britain and breathed new life into an amazing Harry Colt design.


An especially dry and brittle links on the English Channel overshadowed by regional neighbors Rye, Royal Cinque Ports and Royal St. George’s, its six best holes stand equal to any in England.

Saunton (West):
While Saunton’s East course is commonly considered the best links course not on the Open rota, its little heralded sibling, the West, completed by Frank Pennink in 1974, is a superb layout in its own right.

A marvelous downland course along the cliffs of the Norfolk coast, it offers the kind of sweeping panoramas so rare in English golf.

Walton Heath (New):
Ever since the members voted to lengthened a half dozen holes, they now consider the stretch from Nos. 5 through 14 on the New, which originally dates to 1907, equal to the best parts of their world famous Old course.


One of the best courses in East Anglia, the par may be only 68, but the profusion of gorse, and the coastal breezes make this J. H. Taylor design, just a mile from the coast, as tough as they come.

An elevated links on the sloping seaside cliffs of Cornwall’s north coast, it remains virtually unchanged—with more than a dozen blind drives—from when it was designed by five-time Open Champion James Braid in 1927.

Delamere Forest:
From Herbert Fowler’s limited but impressive repertoire, the course can only blame its low-key location in Cheshire for its lack of attention. If it were in Surrey it would be on every golfer’s must-play list.

Hayling Island:
On the coast of Hampshire, next to the Isle of Wight, Hayling is a special links touched up by Tom Simpson after World War II that deserves far more credit for its unusual holes.

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