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What courses are on your British Isles Bucket List?

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What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Or what have we shamelessly left out (or over promoted..)!!

Played Lahinch in Ireland a couple years ago and it was awesome.

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For anyone going to Scotland I'd recommend Carnoustie.

One course I'd like to play there is Kingsbarns.

I missed out on Portrush by a whisker but I played the course next door,Rathmore which is the home course of Graeme Mcdowell.

Ballycastle has five woodland holes before crossing the road to the links part.Awsome views across the Irish sea and on a clear day you can see Scotland.

In England,if I had the chance I'd play Lytham.

I'd also like to play Turnberry just to walk up the 18th where Jack and Tom battled it out.

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I play the course next to Lytham, many of the people I speak to say mine is tougher! I played the Brabazon this weekend! Easily one of the best courses I've played in the England! And now I'm looking for 2 more venues for next years trip, it's looking like St. Andrews, and Celtic manor at the moment, but I need to get to wales again, some fantastic courses down there! we only want to play courses that have been a world stage for golfers at some point, which is a shame because I am in no doubt there are many courses equally as good, if not better, but have not had the infrastructure to hold such events! If your ever in the far northwest of England I can highly recommend Silloth on solway, and a bit lower down, west Lancashire golf course, and further to wales there's, vale of Langhollen, and not forgetting in wales there's Nefyn! All superb course I would definitely return to!

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Hi All - new boy to TST! Like most of you out there I've been lucky enough to go on quite a lot of golf tours with friends over the years and my most recent was to St Andrews and Kingsbarns. I won't pretend for one minute to be able to adequately describe The Old Course save to say it has a magical feel about it and, as the fourth course we'd played in 2 days, something in its spirit gave my sore muscles the strength to play well! Kingsbarns is sensationally beautiful and we were blessed with the hottest days I've ever known in Scotland. It's tough but aren't they all and I can easily see why it came out top of the list. I imagine it's seriously heavy going in the rain / bad weather but on a hot day it was a little like the Caribbean in certain parts, with a shimmering sea and lush, fertile woodland!

I love the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) Old Course in Surrey. Not championship as such but nestles in mature parkland, great views across the Surrey Hills and is generally stunning.

I know this is a UK topic but could I just say that northern France - Brittany region - has so many beautiful courses. The French have really got it right over the past 10 years or so and their courses are exquisite. Check out Val Andre, Saint Laurent and especially Chateau des Ormes with its original 18th Century chateau. Obviously they're not hugely famous as such but they're still challenging and a joy to play, set as they are in such beautiful countryside. And of course Le Golf National, just outside Paris, is tremendous; well tough and the 2018 Ryder Cup venue

Great post @mchase , and although very much not in the UK, golf in France does deserve a mention when it comes to the best in Europe. After all it is just a hop over (or under) The Channel for us Brits.... and has the added bonus of fantastic food and wine!!

Brittany has wonderful courses, but Dinard and Granville also deserve a mention, the latter being the only PURE links in France, and very close to attractions such as the Mont St Michel and D day beaches.

In Northern France, Le Touquet La Mer, Hardelot Les Pins and Belle Dune all have a links feel to them, and are very underrated in European rankings. In fact they are one of our top sellers, as the UK golfers know how good they are!

Then you have an array of fantastic courses around Paris, some easier to access than others. Visitors can play the likes of Fontainebleau, Golf de St Germain, and of course Golf National with its 2 courses amongst others. The best of the best in that area is Morfontaine, which regularly features in Continental Europe's top 5 , and Les Bordes (near Orleans), although both have very restricted access.

If you're thinking of bolting golf on before or after the Ryder Cup in 2018 ,there are plenty of options in Paris itself, Normandy, Brittany or Northern France.

A slight diversion to give continental Europe a shout, but now back to the UK...!  Guy

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I know Carnoustie is on the list for many people, but I was a little underwhelmed when I played it.  There's no question that its a really strong test of golf, but visually I didn't really love it.  It runs over relatively level land, with low dunes and/or ridges.  On the last few holes, where the Barry Burn winds through the holes and looks so great from the elevated cameras, you really don't see the shape of the burn from the ground.  The course is set off by itself, so there's no visuals of the town.  It didn't help that we had pissing down rain all day, the only bad weather in our 10-day visit.  I'd never tell anyone to avoid it, but it just wasn't my favorite.

I also wonder if I'm alone in my preference for older courses over relatively new ones.  I'm certain that Castle Stuart, Trump International, and Kingsbarns are excellent courses (I've only played at Kingsbarns), but for the money involved, I'd rather play the more historic (and substantially less expensive) courses.  I'd be interested to see the comments from others.

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I know Carnoustie is on the list for many people, but I was a little underwhelmed when I played it.  There's no question that its a really strong test of golf, but visually I didn't really love it.  It runs over relatively level land, with low dunes and/or ridges.  On the last few holes, where the Barry Burn winds through the holes and looks so great from the elevated cameras, you really don't see the shape of the burn from the ground.  The course is set off by itself, so there's no visuals of the town.  It didn't help that we had pissing down rain all day, the only bad weather in our 10-day visit.  I'd never tell anyone to avoid it, but it just wasn't my favorite.

I also wonder if I'm alone in my preference for older courses over relatively new ones.  I'm certain that Castle Stuart, Trump International, and Kingsbarns are excellent courses (I've only played at Kingsbarns), but for the money involved, I'd rather play the more historic (and substantially less expensive) courses.  I'd be interested to see the comments from others.

There are for sure cheaper more traditional courses to play - Braid Hills in  Edinburgh, Royal Tarlair, Leven, Lundin links, Crail.  In fact there are too many to mention, and thats not even starting on the inland courses like Deeside, Ladybank, Downfield, Gleneagles etc.

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Go for North-East Scotland

Royal Aberdeen

Murcar

Trump International

Carnoustie

Cruden Bay

Castle Stuart

Nairn.

I defy anyone to beat that.

Hard to top that Doug.... would also throw a couple of bookends onto that at the very top and bottom of what would be a spectacular road trip. Royal Montrose, about an hour north of Carnoustie is the archetypal hidden gem. Golf has been played on the land there for 450 years, with the current course being a joint effort from Old Tom and Willie Park. Definitely worth a round if you're heading up that way.

Right at the other end don't forget about Brora, a truly wild James Braid link north of Dornoch. Well worth the extra effort to get up there... it has sheep grazing on the course and everything!

Richard

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reply to rcwkent:

We're on our way to Machrihanish in two weeks. We'll be playing both, plus Dunaverty and Carradale!


Kintyre is a fabulous corner of the golfing universe, isn't it??

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As I have said to rcwkent, we're going to Kintyre (Machrihanish - Old Tom Morris design and the GREATEST opening hole in golf!) in two weeks. Midges should all be dead and the weather should still be ok, if maybe a little bracing...

I'm lucky enough to live in the UK and out of all the courses I have played at/visited so far, these are my favourites (from S East via the S West, through Wales to the North):

West Course, Wentworth
Sunningdale Old

Bibury, Salisbury & South Wilts - for the 7th, especially: it's a 430 yard ribbon of downland challenge running alongside the racecourse. If you come off there with a Par 4, you have done really well! It's only a 9-hole course but has fabulous views over Salisbury and its Cathedral, as well as the newer Salisbury & South Wilts course. The Bibury is 128 years old, iirc.

St Enodoc, Cornwall

Marriott St Pierre, Chepstow, Wales

Montgomerie Course, Celtic Manor (I prefer it to the the 2010 course - prettier and less 'staged', imho)

Machynys, Llanelli, Wales

Pennant, Holywell, N Wales. Nine holes of relatively straightforward parkland and then up onto the hilltops, for fabulous views over the Dee Estuary and North Wales coast. Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "elevated tee"!

Mere, Cheshire

St Andrews Old
St Andrews New

Machrihanish
Machrihanish Dunes

Carradale (another 9-hole gem)

I would have had Turnberry on the list but I'll put it on the back burner for as long as Donald Trump owns it, I'm afraid...
There are loads - you could JUST do those in a fortnight, with the odd 36-hole day...

If I was really pushed to narrow it down to where I would spend my last week on Earth then I think it would be Kintyre, playing the two Machrihanish courses, along with Dunaverty and Carradale. But I would have to insist on good weather and absence of midges - so mid-April to mid-June and September to mid-October (living dangerously!).

Otherwise... Bibury & its big sister at Salisbury with the odd excursion to Rushmore and to St Pierre. With maybe an outing to Bowood.

Oh, Lord, why did you ask???

:)

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... Dinard and Granville also deserve a mention, the latter being the only PURE links in France..."

St Jean de Monts? and others down the Bay of Biscay - lots of sand, lots of beach, lots of ocean!

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I've never been to Scotland. Did a 10 day trip in Ireland a couple of years ago. My favorite is Old Head. My least favorite was Trailee although most of the locals and a lot of my buds that have played all over rank it close to or at #1 in Scotland/Ireland. The front 9 at Trailee was an older track and Arnold came in and added the back nine. Again, my opinion is in the minority but Old Head was like playing on another planet.

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@Acropo I love your eclectic mix of courses. All of them are a great shout, although I have not played a fair few of them. As mentioned, I am a bit fan of South West England, so good to see that St Enedoc got a mention. Saunton Sands is also a great course down in those parts.

You might all be interested to know the results of a survey that I ran in the office for the "best links courses in the world". Obviously a fair few of them are located in UK and Ireland, but the picks did also include a selection of worldwide courses. The top 15 are as follows... again, very subjective and based mainly on where the guys have played (so there are a few big omissions..)... but none the less they must have had a good time playing them..!

1= Royal Dornoch
1= Royal County Down

3. Royal St Georges
4. Old Course St Andrews
5. Royal Portrush
6. Kinsbarns
7. Pebble Beach
8. Castle Stuart
9. BallyBunion
10. Turnberry, Ailsa
11. Tralee
12. Lahinch
13. Royal Cinque Ports
14. Old Head of Kinsale (although this may not be classed as a true links)
15. Trump Aberdeen

Other courses that did well in the survey and worth mentioning are: Muirfield, Carnoustie, Royal Melbourne, Royal Troon, Royal Birkdale, Kingston Heath, Bandon Dunes, Royal Portrush, Royal Aberdeen, North Berwick, The European, Saunton Sands (East), St Enedoc, Waterville and Kiawah (Ocean).

What are your thoughts? It is a fairly fine bucket list if you are a links purist... but I am sure could be improved!

Thanks, Guy

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Following up from yesterday, and talking of bucket list courses, I thought that I would let you know that our Scottish Golf Vacation sweepstakes is ending this Monday (14th).

It is, dare I say it myself, an truly amazing prize! The vacation up for grabs includes 7 nights and 7 rounds of golf for 4 people, with golf at Turnberry, Kingbarns, Carnoustie, Gleneagles and Fairmont St Andrews, and accommodation is 5-star throughout the trip. It is a fine line up of golfing royalty with a total prize value of over $10,000.

Therefore, if you fancy a shot at it you can enter here:  http://usa.golfbreaks.com/scotland-vacation-sweepstake

Good luck and please tell your friends. (Note that flights are not included but if you were to win and book your flights early then I am sure that you would get a good deal from the airlines!)

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Late to the topic but having played St Andrews, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, Turnberry, Troon, North Berwick, Lytham and Birkdale as well as Sunningdale I would suggest all of those. 

My own bucket list is now down to County Down, Portrush, Ballybunion, Lahinch, (Ireland), Dornoch, Machrihanish, Cruden Bay, Gleneagles Kings,  Prestwick, (Scotland) and Ganton in England.

In the USA it would be Bandon Dunes (all 4), Sand Hills, and Pinehurst.

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On 7/31/2015 at 6:11 PM, jamo said:

The Old Course and Carnoustie are at the top of the list. Next tier down would be Hoylake.

Just saw this thread got bumped and was about to post until I saw this. Still my top choices a year later, though I'd probably add more of the St. Andrews courses to the list as well. 

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On Friday, August 21, 2015 at 5:02 AM, DaveP043 said:

I know Carnoustie is on the list for many people, but I was a little underwhelmed when I played it.  There's no question that its a really strong test of golf, but visually I didn't really love it.  It runs over relatively level land, with low dunes and/or ridges.  On the last few holes, where the Barry Burn winds through the holes and looks so great from the elevated cameras, you really don't see the shape of the burn from the ground.  The course is set off by itself, so there's no visuals of the town.  It didn't help that we had pissing down rain all day, the only bad weather in our 10-day visit.  I'd never tell anyone to avoid it, but it just wasn't my favorite.

 

I also wonder if I'm alone in my preference for older courses over relatively new ones.  I'm certain that Castle Stuart, Trump International, and Kingsbarns are excellent courses (I've only played at Kingsbarns), but for the money involved, I'd rather play the more historic (and substantially less expensive) courses.  I'd be interested to see the comments from others.

It's true, Carnoustie isn't visually beautiful but it's one of my favorites for the history and a very memorable round I played there.

Also agree that the new courses, Kingsbarns, St Andrews Castle, Trump, etc., are overpriced with no history so I have no interest in playing them.  In fact, our group played 10 rounds in 6 days and I begged off Kingsbarns so that I could spend those 4 or 5 hours hanging around in St Andrews, seeing the Morris graves, souvenir shopping, etc.  Just had no desire to play it, although I know it's a fun course.  My friends raved about it but I never regretted my decision.

I'd like to get over there 4 more times and play the courses in these regions.  

1.  Western Scotland

2.  Northern Ireland

3.  East Lothian Scotland

4.  Northern Scotland

 

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On 10/2/2016 at 10:15 AM, Gunther said:

I'd like to get over there 4 more times and play the courses in these regions.  

1.  Western Scotland

2.  Northern Ireland

3.  East Lothian Scotland

4.  Northern Scotland

 

I went to the northwest of the Republic of Ireland (Counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo) this past June, and I'd highly recommend that area.  It was uncrowded, friendly, and has some outstanding golf courses.  I haven't been to Northern Ireland, but that's on my list.

I've been to Dornoch twice, Royal Dornoch is still my favorite golf course, of all I've played.  

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