Top 100 Links Courses of Britain and Ireland 2020

03 December 2019 Respond to this article

Top 100 Links Courses of Britain and Ireland 2020

Some of our regular readers may remember a Links news item published during the dark winter days from three years ago which generated quite a bit of feedback. Entitled Top 100 Links Courses of Britain and Ireland 2017, it featured what we considered to be the best one hundred links layouts around the shores of the British Isles.

We’ve now decided to revive the GB&I Links List and have taken it a stage further by creating a Top 100 that will be updated biennially, along with all the other listings that we revise on an ongoing basis. The latest list appears below but if you wish to see the complete chart details of the Top 100 Links Courses of Britain and Ireland then click the link.

When comparing the current standings to those of January 2017, it must be remembered that there have been two editions of national and GB&I updates published since 2017 so the chart movements indicated below reflect two ranking revisions.

Only three courses move upwards within the Top 20 and, although they’re only small improvements, things are so tight at the top that even the slightest change is actually seen as quite significant. The Dunluce at Royal Portrush (#4) and the West links at North Berwick (#12) both rise two places to their current positions, while the Balgownie at Royal Aberdeen eases up one spot to No.15.

North Berwick 16th hole "Gate"

North Berwick Golf Club

Looking at the remaining positions in the top half of the table, half a dozen 18-hole layouts make reasonable headway.

In England, both the century-old layouts at St Enodoc (Church) in Cornwall (up seven to #21) and Royal Cinque Ports in Kent (up six to #23) have lately found favour with our raters, along with the two modern Irish links at Trump International Ireland in County Clare (up thirteen to #28) and Sandy Hills at Rosapenna in Donegal (up six to #38). The Scottish courses at Gullane No. 1 in East Lothian (up five to #44), host venue for a couple of recent national Opens, and the newly renovated Machrie on Islay (up eight to #45), also progress in the right direction.

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

In the bottom half of the standings, there are a handful of top tracks which make double-digit advances.

The Old course at Moray in Lossiemouth (up thirteen to #58) and the Shore and Dunes nines at Prince’s in Sandwich (up eleven to #64) also now occupy positions in our mainstream GB&I Top 100 and they’re followed by the biggest climber on our links listings, the James Braid-designed Perranporth in Cornwall, which hurtles nineteen places up to No. 73. Two Scottish links with Braid connections make their mark a little further down the list, with Murcar Links in Aberdeenshire racing ten spots up to No. 80 and Panmure in Angus streaking thirteen rungs up the ladder to No. 86.

Perranporth Golf Club

Perranporth Golf Club

Five courses have been added to our Links Top 100.

The first of these is Elie in Fife (new at #85), which is an Old Tom Morris design, with Martin Ebert’s newly renovated King Robert the Bruce (formerly the Kintyre) course at Trump Turnberry (new at #90) also making the cut. The Corbie Hill course at Fraserburgh then concludes the contingent of Scottish newcomers at No. 91.

The Golf House Club, Elie

The Golf House Club, Elie

At the foot of the table, Tenby at No. 95 in Pembrokeshiire becomes the 7th links layout from Wales and Goswick in Northumberland completes the English complement of new entries at No. 98.

Tenby Golf Club

Tenby Golf Club

For those who might wonder which courses dropped out, four came from the northern side of Hadrian’s Wall: Archerfield (Direlton), Leven Links, Luffness New and Montrose (Medal), along with Royal Jersey from the Channel Islands. Courses that just missed out on a Top 100 berth this time include St Andrews (Jubilee), Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris) and West Cornwall.


Rank/ Course Move
1 Royal County Down (Championship) No change
2 Trump Turnberry (Ailsa) No change
3 St Andrews (Old) No change
4 Royal Portrush (Dunluce) Up 2
5 Royal Dornoch (Championship) Down 1
6 Muirfield Down 1
7 Ballybunion (Old) No change
8 Royal St George's No change
9 Carnoustie (Championship) No change
10 Lahinch (Old) No change
11 Royal Birkdale No change
12 North Berwick (West) Up 2
13 Kingsbarns Down 1
14 Portmarnock (Championship) Down 1
15 Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie) Up 1
16 Castle Stuart Down 1
17 Royal Lytham & St Annes No change
18 Trump International - Scotland No change
19 Royal Porthcawl No change
20 Cruden Bay (Championship) No change
21 St Enodoc (Church) Up 7
22 European Club Up 1
23 Royal Cinque Ports Up 6
24 Royal Troon (Old) Down 3
25 Waterville Down 3
26 Western Gailes Up 1
27 Prestwick Down 1
28 Trump International - Ireland Up 13
29 Royal Liverpool Down 5
30 Royal West Norfolk Up 3
31 Machrihanish (Championship) Down 1
32 Formby No change
33 Silloth-on-Solway Up 2
34 Saunton (East) Down 9
35 County Sligo (Championship) Up 4
36 The Island No change
37 Hillside Down 3
38 Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) Up 6
39 Ballyliffin (Glashedy) Up1
40 Rye (Old) Up 2
41 Nairn (Championship) Down 10
42 County Louth Down 5
43 Carne (Hackett) No change
44 Gullane (No.1) Up 5
45 Machrie Up 8
46 Renaissance Club Down 1
47 Enniscrone (Dunes) No change
48 Tralee Down 2
49 Burnham & Berrow (Championship) Down 11
50 Hunstanton Up 1
51 Pennard Up 3
52 Aberdovey Down 4
53 Portstewart (Strand) Up 5
54 Machrihanish Dunes Up 1
55 Skibo Castle Down 3
56 St Andrews (New) No change
57 Royal St David's Down 7
58 Moray (Old) Up 13
59 Brora Up 3
60 Dundonald Down 3
61 Southport & Ainsdale Down 1
62 West Lancashire Up 2
63 Castletown No change
64 Prince's (Shore & Dunes) Up 11
65 Ballyliffin (Old) Down 4
66 Castlerock (Mussenden) Down 1
67 Donegal Down 8
68 La Moye Down 2
69 Portmarnock Hotel Links Down 2
70 Royal North Devon Down 1
71 Saunton (West) Down 1
72 Portsalon Down 4
73 Perranporth Up 19
74 Lundin Up 6
75 Archerfield (Fidra) Up 2
76 Connemara (Championship) Up 7
77 Conwy Down 1
78 Royal Dublin Up 9
79 Ballybunion (Cashen) Down 5
80 Murcar Up 10
81 Wallasey No change
82 Hayling Up 4
83 Royal Portrush (Valley) Down 11
84 Dooks Down 2
85 Elie New entry
86 Panmure Up 13
87 Trevose (Championship) Down 8
88 Dunbar Down 16
89 Narin & Portnoo No change
90 Trump Turnberry (King Robert the Bruce) New entry
91 Fraserburgh (Corbie Hill) New entry
92 Littlestone (Championship) Up 2
93 Gullane (No.2) Up 2
94 Seaton Carew (Old) Down 3
95 Tenby New entry
96 Glasgow (Gailes Links) Down 12
97 Seacroft Down 1
98 Goswick New entry
99 Ashburnham Down 11
100 Southerness Down 22


To see the complete detailed list of the Top 100 Links Courses of Britain and Ireland click the link.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses