Top 100 Courses of England 2022
This is the third biennial chart release for countries in Britain and Ireland that we've published in recent days. We’ve reported on Northern Ireland and Wales and now it’s the turn of England, where we actually feature more than 500 courses across thirty-six regional listings. The 100 layouts ranked below represent the crème de la crème of a very strong golfing nation which extends to more than 1800 golf courses.
Royal St George’s
There’s very little movement within the top fifteen spots in our new English standings. The top three places remain unchanged, which means the links at Royal St George’s in Sandwich retains its Number 1 status for the sixth consecutive edition, having taken over from Royal Birkdale at the top in 2012. Host venue for fifteen Opens, including last year’s event, the course is one of the most iconic layouts in all of golf.
Review comments from the last 12 months describe the course as “perpetually interesting and always challenging… the definition of exceptional golf… just perfection from start to finish… stunningly beautiful and perfectly maintained… a real tough challenge even in a moderate wind… a brute and very tough especially in linksy conditions… absolutely outstanding, best I’ve ever played on!”
The Old course at Rye in East Sussex gains significant traction in the listings, moving seven places forward to number 17. Since 2010 the course has held a position in the English rankings between #20 and #27 but its 2008 position of #13 shows it’s certainly capable of better. Designed by Harry Colt in 1895 and subsequently revised by Tom Simpson and Guy Campbell between the wars, the course at Rye is something of a step back in time.
Recent review excerpts include: “Rye may only be a par-68 but that and the relatively easy opening hole should not fool anyone. With the wind blowing off the English Channel, it is very tough to score well… Golf clubs do not come much more charming than Rye. The clubhouse is eerily quiet and the course is most likely empty… weaves its way around and over dunes and is laid out to perfection.”
Further down the table, four courses make remarkable double digit upward moves.
At number 41, rising thirteen places, the course at New Zealand in Addlestone was founded in 1895 then modified in the early 1930s (after long-term secretary Samuel “Mure” Fergusson’s death) by Tom Simpson and Philip Mackenzie Ross. Not much changed in almost ninety years until Frank Pont was brought in several years ago to begin a bunker restoration project and oversee a comprehensive woodland management programme.
This year we’ve received the following review comments: “New Zealand is my idea of a perfect inland course, huge pine trees lining most of the fairways with heather ready to scoop you up if you stray off the fairways… the course was a pleasure to play, shorter than most but by no means a pushover… very narrow tee shots with short spaces between fairway and punishing heather are the norm.”
The New Zealand image above from David Cannon was kindly supplied by the club.
The 18-hole layout at Tandridge in Surrey dropped down the pecking order in our last chart update but it has more than recovered lost ground with an 18-place leap up to number 74, the highest position it has occupied since a #76 listing in 2008 – and there’s still room for further improvement. Frank Pont conducted a decade-long restoration exercise at the club, starting in 2009, and Tim Lobb's design firm has since made further changes to an old Colt classic which celebrates its centenary in 2024.
“A great traditional course and very accessible from London,” is what one reviewer wrote about Tandridge last year. “The course is well-treed, less hilly at first, but the back nine dips and rolls with the lovely countryside.” Another person posted: “Very welcoming club with an outstanding layout with a superb mix of challenges (and) lovely views over the Downs.”
Since 2012, the course at Blackwell in Bromsgrove has lingered between #85 and #90 across five chart iterations but it now shoots up twelve places to number 76 in our latest standings. Frank Pont is again the man spearheading the course’s revival as he leads a multi-phase restoration project to revitalize this old Tom Simpson/Herbert Fowler design which reaches its 100th year in just over six months from now.
Reviewers last year said of Blackwell: “An old and great course and club. The layout is stunning and the bunkering is special… it’s got charm in abundance, keeps your attention through eighteen holes and spreads out its quality holes… it almost makes Swinley appear modern (and) I mean that in a nice way because it is a lovely place with quintessential old world charm and understated appeal.”
The Duchess course at Woburn in Buckinghamshire lies in the shadow of both the Marquess and Duke’s at the golf club. However, while those two higher regarded layouts take a little tumble in our latest chart revision, the Duchess rises a commendable ten places to number 86, regaining much of the ground lost last time around when it fell from #79 to #96. Many may have thought it was heading out of the national listings but it’s made a wonderful about turn in its ranking fortunes.
“Always in amazing condition all year round,“ wrote a reviewer last year. “Very tight fairways on this course but if miss the fairway and hit your ball into the trees you quite often get a lucky bounce back onto the fairway!” Another person said: “I’d easily have the Marquess as the best but would have Duchess and Dukes MUCH closer in the rankings… members here are very lucky to have three lovely courses to choose from.”
The Alister MacKenzie-designed course at Cavendish in Buxton is the first of five new entries, appearing at number 88. Architect Jonathan Gaunt has been a member here for more than a decade and he’s currently involved in a renovation project to remodel greens, restyle bunkers and implement a woodland management plan, with the intention of having all the work completed in time for the club’s centenary in 2025.
Two reviews in recent months sing the praises of Cavendish: “settings and views were second to none, the beauty surrounding the course is breath taking… what a pleasure it was to play so many MacKenzie greens again… renovation and improvement work on the bunkers is exemplary (with) white, top-quality sand being used and the bunkers remodelled. These stand out on each hole.”
Dropping out of the listings to make way for the newcomers are Beaconsfield, Fairhaven, Prince’s (Himalayas), Centurion Club and Stoke Park (Colt & Alison) – but expect at least one of these courses to re-appear when we next revise the English standings following renovation work that’s currently under way at Stoke Park. In a similar vein, Prestbury will also come into contention when upgrade work is finished on the course.
|1||Royal St George's||No change|
|2||Sunningdale (Old)||No change|
|3||Royal Birkdale||No change|
|4||Swinley Forest||Up 1|
|5||Sunningdale (New)||Down 1|
|6||Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)||Up 1|
|7||Royal Lytham & St Annes||Down 1|
|9||St George's Hill (Red & Blue)||Down 1|
|10||St Enodoc (Church)||No change|
|11||Royal Cinque Ports||Up 1|
|12||West Sussex||Down 1|
|14||Walton Heath (Old)||No change|
|15||Royal Liverpool||Up 1|
|16||Royal West Norfolk||Up 1|
|17||Rye (Old)||Up 7|
|20||Wentworth (West)||Down 7|
|21||Berkshire (Red)||Up 1|
|24||Saunton (East)||Down 3|
|25||Hankley Common||Up 4|
|26||Burnham & Berrow (Championship)||No change|
|32||West Hill||Up 1|
|33||Berkshire (Blue)||Up 3|
|34||Prince’s (Shore & Dunes)||Up 11|
|35||West Lancashire||Up 6|
|38||Walton Heath (New)||Down 1|
|41||New Zealand||Up 13|
|42||Delamere Forest||Down 2|
|43||Southport & Ainsdale||Down 5|
|45||Wentworth (East)||Down 10|
|46||Royal Ashdown Forest (Old)||Down 7|
|47||Aldeburgh (Championship)||Up 3|
|48||Woburn (Marquess)||Down 5|
|49||Ferndown (Old)||Up 2|
|50||Ipswich (Purdis Heath)||Down 2|
|51||Woburn (Duke's)||Down 2|
|52||Beau Desert||Up 3|
|53||Sherwood Forest||Up 3|
|54||Little Aston||Down 8|
|55||Bearwood Lakes||Down 3|
||Remedy Oak||Down 9|
|57||Saunton (West)||Up 4|
|59||Royal North Devon||Up 1|
|60||Coombe Hill||Down 3|
|62||Wisley (Church & Garden)||Up 1|
|66||Trevose (Championship)||No change|
|67||Littlestone (Championship)||No change|
|70||East Devon||Up 2|
|72||Seaton Carew (Old)||Down 4|
|75||St Mellion (Nicklaus)||Down 5|
|77||The Grove||Up 1|
|78||Royal Wimbledon||Up 4|
|79||Camberley Heath||Up 1|
|80||Belfry (Brabazon)||Down 4|
|82||North Hants||Down 1|
|84||Hadley Wood||No change|
|85||Isle of Purbeck (Purbeck)
|86||Woburn (Duchess)||Up 10|
|89||Knole Park||No change|
|91||Crowborough Beacon||Down 5|
|92||Northamptonshire County||Up 1|
|93||Woodbridge (Heath)||Down 3|
|94||Chart Hills||New entry|
||Thorndon Park||Down 4|
|96||Moor Park (High)||New entry|
|97||Royal Worlington & Newmarket||Down 3|
|98||Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)||New entry|
To view the complete detailed list of our new Top 100 Golf Courses of England chart click the link.
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Top 100 Golf Courses