Top 20 Golf Courses in Hampshire 2015
Hampshire Best in County rankings updated
Situated on the south coast of England, Hampshire has every right to glory in its proud maritime traditions, with the major ports of Southampton and Portsmouth playing a large part in the prosperity of this affluent county.
Inland, the New Forest and South Downs national parks account for almost half the land area of a region that’s also famed for its contribution to the world of literature as Jane Austin and Charles Dickens were both born in Hampshire.
On the sporting front, the footballing fortunes of Southampton and Portsmouth are poles apart these days whilst the county cricket ground at the Rose Bowl continues to flourish, hosting a couple of England Test matches in recent years.
As far as golf is concerned, there are more than sixty golf clubs scattered around the county – including eight on the Isle of Wight, which are affiliated to Hampshire’s male and female amateur golfing authorities – and we naturally include the region’s finest tracks in our Hampshire Top 20.
Looking at the latest edition of our newly updated table, the top six positions all remain the same – indeed, they’ve been in that order since we inaugurated our regional rankings four years ago so we like to think this lack of movement at the top of the chart is a sign that we’re ordering the very best courses correctly.
Liphook, which originated in 1922, is our number 1 layout and it certainly impressed a recent reviewer who posted this just the other day: “If you haven’t played Liphook before then you’re missing out. Take the time to play this wonderful venue.” A current average review score of 5 ½ out of 6 tells its own story.
In the runner up position in our new chart, the old links at Hayling dates back to 1883. Subsequently upgraded by J.H.Taylor then Tom Simpson, the course is as natural an 18-hole layout as you could ever hope to play, with fairways deftly routed around a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
At number 3, Blackmoor sits on the edge of the South Downs and it’s an old heathland course which celebrated its centenary in 2013. Set in two loops of nine, the layout retains sixteen of the original holes that were designed by architect Harry Colt.
North Hants is at number 4 and it’s where Justin Rose learned to play the game. Dating back to 1904, the course is one of James Braid’s earliest designs though Harry Colt, Tom Simpson and Donald Steel have subsequently modified it.
At number 5, Stoneham is another centurion layout, where Willie Park Jnr set out the fairways in 1908. Recently upgraded, the course is generally admired for its clever routing and its great use of the landscape with the par four holes (at 4, 11, 13 and 15, in particular) of special interest.
Brokenhurst Manor at number 6 is another course from the prolific Harry Colt portfolio and it first opened for play in 1919, four years after the club was founded. Rather unusually configured with three returning 6-hole circuits, it’s an underrated heathland layout which flies under the radar of many golfers.
A couple of courses make a prodigious leap up our Hampshire chart. The first one is Alresford (up seven to 9), established in 1890 as a 9-hole track with its current 18-hole layout only unveiled in 1993. The second big climber is the Army course in Aldershot (up ten to 10), where the fairways were laid out on an undulating, heavily wooded site in the 1960s.
Two 18-hole layouts also make their debut in our new listings: The parkland course at Rowlands Castle, yet another old Harry Colt design, enters at number 13 and Tylney Park, which was extensively renovated in 2004, comes in at number 16.
We’re grateful to all the clubs and professional golfers who helped with our re-ranking process for this county. To view details of all the courses in our Hampshire Top 20 rankings click the link. If you have extensive experience of playing across the south 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].
13 September 2015 Respond to this article