The stereotypical “Essex Girl” and the political “Essex Man” have nothing in common and, from a golf course perspective, those who think that Essex is flat have never teed it up at Chelmsford or Boyce Hill. The reality is that Essex is not only diverse topographically, but also an important and historical golfing county.

In 1896, James Braid became the professional at Romford Golf Club and the five-time Open Champion should take much credit for popularising golf and designing many fine Essex courses. Sir Henry Cotton designed numerous courses in his lifetime too, but his first and last legacies are here in Essex. Incredibly, two members of Thorpe Hall Golf Club, Sir Michael Bonallack (perhaps England’s finest amateur) and Peter Dawson became secretary of the R&A.

The Essex Golf Union was inaugurated in 1924 with twenty-three founding clubs. Today, there are 80 golf clubs affiliated to the Essex union, playing over approximately 90 golf courses. Essex won the Boys County Championship in 1997 and then tied with Yorkshire in 2004. In 2009, Essex won the English Men’s County Championship.

Essex Ladies’ County Golf Association celebrated its centenary in 2000, so it was looking after the interests of female golfers in the county some twenty-four years before the men’s Union was formed. Nowadays, the association runs a number of competitions throughout the year, including the Silver Shield, Bronze Shield, Silver Trophy and Munroe Foresomes. Inter club matches are played in the Harris Bowl leagues and the ECGA operates very active Senior and Junior sections.

Our Essex Best in County golf course rankings were updated in 2015. Click here to read the story.

Top 100 Golf Courses - Essex

Thorndon Park

1st Essex - Best in Area

Many of the holes at Thorndon Park Golf Club are surrounded by mature oaks, some of which are more than 500 years old.


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2nd Essex - Best in Area

Orsett Golf Club is unique... a heathland course in Essex. Designed by James Braid in 1929, Orsett is an Open Championship Regional Qualifying course that's full of charm and variety.


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3rd Essex - Best in Area

Although Chelmsford Golf Club was founded in 1893, today’s course at Widford dates from 1924 and is largely the handiwork of Harry Colt. The holes are routed cleverly across a valley, which is a constant threat both going out and coming home.


4th Essex - Best in Area

Founded in 1964, Abridge Golf & Country Club was Henry Cotton's inaugural design. Today, the golf course hosts Open Championship Regional Qualifying and Abridge facilities are amongst the finest in Essex.


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West Essex

5th Essex - Best in Area

Founded in 1900 and affectionately known as “The West”, West Essex Golf Club is a challenging 6,289-yard parkland course that James Braid routed through the glorious Epping Forest.


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Frinton (Havers)

6th Essex - Best in Area

Founded in 1895, Frinton Golf Club is a venerable Essex seaside course, designed by Willie Park Jnr. and later improved by Harry Colt. The course was recently renamed in honour of Arthur Havers who was the 1923 Open Champion and Frinton club professional.


7th Essex - Best in Area

F.G. Hawtree and J.H. Taylor designed the course at Chigwell Golf Club in 1924 and little has changed since then. The 6,296-yard course is routed across undulating parkland… it’s a thoroughly engaging experience.


8th Essex - Best in Area

Romford Golf Club was founded in 1894 and James Braid, who was also the club professional, designed the course. Recently used for Open Championship Regional Qualifying and once described by Bernard Darwin as “neither short nor easy”.


9th Essex - Best in Area

Colchester Golf Club was founded in 1907 and the gently undulating parkland course at Braiswick is the handiwork of the prolific James Braid. Measuring 6,350 yards from the back tees, Colchester is a solid test for golfers of all abilities.


10th Essex - Best in Area

Located in a delightful rural setting, Braintree Golf Club was founded in 1891. Despite being the third oldest club in Essex, the course in play today was laid out by Hawtree & Son in 1971 when the club relocated to Stisted.