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Top 20 Golf Courses in Essex 2015

18 September, 2015

Top 20 Golf Courses in Essex 2015

Essex Best in County rankings updated

For a county situated so close to such a busy capital city as London, Essex is a lot more rustic than you might imagine, with rolling countryside, back roads and quaint little towns and villages that are all just waiting to be discovered.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, where large industrial-scale developments such as Stansted airport and the port of Tilbury predominate, but in the main, Essex is a county that’s deeply rooted in the countryside, with golf an important part of its sporting fabric.

We maintain a Top 20 chart for the county, which represents a little less than a quarter of the total number of golf courses in the region, and we think this listing is a fair reflection of the best that Essex has to offer by way of its golf facilities.

The courses occupying the top three spots in our recently revised chart remain in exactly the same position as last time so Thorndon Park holds onto its coveted number 1 ranking. A Harry Colt design from 1920 which has somehow been overlooked by serious golfers down the years, Thorndon Park made it into our Top 100 chart for England in 2014 so some would say it’s now earning the recognition that it richly deserves.

At number 2 in the county, the pleasantly undulating heathland course at Orsett was extended to an 18-hole layout by James Braid in 1929 and, apart from the reinstatement of some holes lost to the war effort in the early 1940s, the course remains much the same now as it was when it was laid out by its respected architect eighty-five years ago.

Chelmsford stays at number 3 in our Essex standings and it’s another Harry Colt course, dating back to 1924. Measuring just a shade less than 6,000 yards from the medal tees, it’s not the longest of courses but a look at the scorecard reveals a standard scratch score of 69 against a par of 68, which lets you know it’s a track that’s more than capable of delivering a decent test of golf.

Three courses make significant upward moves in our revised standings: Chigwell (up six to 7) is an old Fred Hawtree and J.H Taylor design from 1925, Colchester (up five to 9) is a James Braid revision from 1908 which he also extended to 18-holes thirty years later, and Toot Hill (up seven to 13), where Martin Gillett set out this modern parkland track in 1991.

Two new entries make it into the new Essex Top 20. The first course to debut is Upminster at number 17 and it’s yet another old Harry Colt layout which has par threes at the 1st and 18th, with the River Ingrebourne flanking several of the holes. The other newcomer to the county listings is the Channels course at the 27-hole Channels Golf Club, where the fairways of this 1970s design are creatively routed around a number of glistening lakes.

We’re grateful to everybody in the county who helped with our re-ranking process for Essex. To view details of all the courses in our Essex Top 20 rankings click the link. If you have extensive experience of playing across the south east region of England and would like to contribute to our next re-ranking exercise then please email Editor-in-Chief Keith Baxter at [email protected].

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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