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Top 100 Golf Courses of Britain & Ireland 2014

16 December, 2013

Top 100 Golf Courses of Britain & Ireland 2014

Our latest Britain & Ireland Top 100 ranking list is unveiled

16th December 2013

We are thrilled to announce our latest 2014 Britain & Ireland Top 100 rankings. We’ve actually whittled our shortlist down this time round because it was taking far too long to research more than 500 courses, the majority of which were never serious contenders for this stellar chart.

The top of the table has hardly changed at all and the top six remain in exactly the same positions as 2012. In total, nine courses in our Top 20 remain in the same spots as last time – this is in complete contrast to 2012 when no fewer than seventeen courses in the Top 20 moved position.

The skirl of bagpipes at the unveiling of Trump International Golf Links back in July 2012 is now a dim and distant wail. We featured this high profile course on the Top 100 website soon after it opened, but inevitably our biggest challenge focused on where to rank this new kid on the block alongside two favourite classics: Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie) and Cruden Bay.

I’ve already gone on record and expressed my utter surprise at a UK golf magazine that claims “definitive rankings by the people who know”. In a moment of excitement they decided to rank Trump’s new Scottish debutant at position eight in their 2012 Britain & Ireland chart – the highest new entry in the magazine’s Top 100 history. Where they ranked the course does not concern me, the fact they ranked it two months before it opened for play caused my eyebrows to involuntarily raise. Anyway, eighteen months later I can tell you that Trump Golf Links is also our highest new entry, straight in at 31st. It is possible that if the playing surfaces at Trump Golf Links firm up, it could be the highest climber in our 2016 rankings.

The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle narrowly missed out in 2012, so we’re pleased to welcome another Scottish links to our 2014 Britain & Ireland chart. Straight in at 61st, Skibo now offers limited tee times on special request. Hats off to Tom Mackenzie (Mackenzie & Ebert) and David Thomson (Skibo’s Director of Golf) who turned this course around. According to one reviewer: “The shift from 2006 to 2008 and then to the current day is dramatic. Where as in 2005 (when I first visited) Skibo was a magnificent Highland hospitality experience with an interesting golf course as a sideshow, the course now stands up in its own right.”

There’s a third and final Scottish new entry, straight in at 84th, and you won’t be surprised to hear it’s another links. We first played The Renaissance Club in April 2008, shortly after it opened and our Editor and Scottish Correspondent, Jim McCann, commented: “Doak’s understated touch is a real joy to behold and it raises the bar of golfing excellence along this [East Lothian] coastline yet another notch higher.”

There’s a happy return to our 2014 Britain & Ireland Top 100 for Remedy Oak and Moortown, but it gives me great pleasure to announce one more brand new entry, this time from the Emerald Isle. Please raise a glass of Guinness and let’s hear it for Ballyliffin’s Old course. Many golfers believe that Ballyliffin is Ireland’s premier 36-hole complex. The wonderful Glashedy course is knocking on a Top 50 place in Britain & Ireland and with the Old course debuting at position 100, who would argue? According to one reviewer: “Out of the two superb courses at Ballyliffin this [the Old] just nudges it for me. There’s something about the more traditional linksy feel with its numerous bumps and hollows that bring a smile to the face on every hole.”

In general terms, Scottish courses fared well in our new rankings, with Duke's St Andrews climbing nine. However, English courses found the going rather more challenging. Irish courses held firm but Welsh courses dropped back a little, compounded by Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten dropping off the list. A few English courses however made significant upward moves, including Alwoodley (up 12), Hankley Common (up 17) and Broadstone (up 10). The Marquess and Duke’s courses at Woburn both go up nine places. In Ireland the dramatic Old Head may divide opinion but its upward move of thirteen places is, in my humble view, deserved. Lough Erne in the north also makes a positive upward move of nine places.

We always welcome feedback, so please feel free to let us know what you think of our latest 2014 Britain & Ireland Top 100. We won’t claim to be “definitive” but we do like to think that we’re the most “informed” and considered golf course rankings in the business. If you’ve played any of our featured courses, we’d love to know what you think, so why not post a course review or two?

Keith Baxter

Rank Course Move
1 Royal County Down No Change
2 St Andrews (Old) No Change
3 Muirfield No Change
4 Royal Dornoch (Championship) No Change
5 Royal Portrush (Dunluce) No Change
6 Turnberry (Ailsa) No Change
7 Royal St George's Up 1
8 Ballybunion (Old) Down 1
9 Sunningdale (Old) Up 1
10 Royal Birkdale Down 1
11 Carnoustie (Championship) No Change
12 Lahinch (Old) Up 2
13 Kingsbarns Down 1
14 Portmarnock (Old) Up 2
15 Sunningdale (New) Up 3
16 Royal Lytham & St Annes Down 1
17 North Berwick Up 6
18 Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin) Down 5
19 Waterville No Change
20 Royal Troon (Old) No Change
21 Castle Stuart Up 9
22 Walton Heath (Old) Up 4
23 Ganton Down 6
24 Loch Lomond Down 3
25 Royal Aberdeen No Change
26 European Club Down 4
27 Royal Liverpool Up 1
28 Royal Porthcawl Down 4
29 Swinley Forest Down 2
30 Cruden Bay Down 1
31 Trump International NEW
32 St George's Hill Up 3
33 Wentworth (West) Down 1
34 Prestwick Up 6
35 Saunton (East) Down 4
36 Western Gailes Up 1
37 Machrihanish Up 2
38 St Enodoc (Church) Up 3
39 Gleneagles (King's) Down 3
40 Alwoodley Up 12
41 Royal Cinque Ports Up 3
42 Hillside Up 8
43 Formby Up 4
44 Nairn Down 10
45 Royal West Norfolk Down 12
46 Tralee Down 1
47 West Sussex Up 8
48 Notts Down 10
49 Royal St David's Down 3
50 County Sligo (Championship) Down 8
51 Berkshire (Red) Up 5
52 Burnham & Berrow Down 9
53 Queenwood Up 4
54 County Louth Down 6
55 Ballyliffin (Glashedy) Down 4
56 Rye (Old) Down 7
57 Silloth-on-Solway Down 3
58 Island Up 6
59 Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Down 6
60 Enniscrone (Dunes) No Change
61 Skibo Castle NEW
62 Carne Up 3
63 Doonbeg Down 2
64 Aberdovey Up 3
65 Hankley Common Up 17
66 Berkshire (Blue) Up 3
67 Old Head Up 13
68 Gullane (No.1) Down 6
69 St Andrews (New) Up 3
70 Walton Heath (New) Down 7
71 St Andrews (Castle) Down 13
72 Hunstanton Down 13
73 Machrie No Change
74 Woburn (Marquess) Up 9
75 Pennard Down 5
76 Dundonald Down 8
77 Blairgowrie (Rosemount) Down 11
78 Wentworth (East) Up 15
79 Machrihanish Dunes UP 6
80 Addington Down 9
81 Woking Up 6
82 Worplesdon Down 5
83 Adare Manor Down 7
84 Renaissance Club NEW
85 Woburn (Duke's) Up 9
86 Druids Glen Down 7
87 Duke's St Andrews Up 9
88 Lough Erne Up 9
89 Mount Juliet Down 11
90 Broadstone Up 10
91 West Hill Down 5
92 Portstewart (Strand) Down 11
93 Donegal Up 5
94 Belfry (Brabazon) Down 19
95 Remedy Oak NEW
96 Bearwood Lakes Down 1
97 Moortown NEW
98 Gleneagles (Queen's) Down 10
99 Little Aston Down 10
100 Ballyliffin (Old) NEW

Click to explore in detail our new 2014 Britain & Ireland Top 100

For those interested, the six courses that made way for the new are: Trevose (Championship), Chart Hills, Celtic Manor (Twenty Ten), Lindrick, Panmure and New Zealand.


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