The Best 36-Hole Golf Resorts in Great Britain and Ireland

The UK and Ireland are home to some of the best 36-hole golf resorts on the planet. Whether you head to Turnberry, the Belfry, or the K Club you will be greeted to not one but two world-class courses. With a ton of history, beautiful scenery, and mind-blowing golf, we look at the golf resort’s you need to be visiting.

Trump Turnberry (Scotland)

  • Trump Turnberry, long legendary for its iconic Edwardian luxury hotel overlooking its famous links golf courses.
  • The Ailsa Course - Named after the third Marquess of Ailsa, this par-71, 6, 7489-yard Championship course is one of golf's storied places.
  • The Ailsa Course - Set alongside the glorious Ayrshire coastline, with Arran and Ailsa Craig as a stunning backdrop, it is one of the finest golfing destinations in the world.
  • The Ailsa Course - All 18 holes have seen changes made with huge areas of turf moved between the various holes to complete the refurbishment.
  • King Robert The Bruce Course - Distinctive bunkering, visually attractive wetland areas and swathes of gorse all adds to the exciting challenges of this great links course.
  • King Robert The Bruce Course - This 18 hole course has a par of 72, and, has 5 par 3 holes, a characteristic shared with the new Ailsa Course.
  • King Robert The Bruce Course - Breathtaking vistas delight golfers, with spectacular views of Turnberry’s stunning coastline, castle ruins and the lighthouse.

 

The revered Open Championship layout at Turnberry, with its famous views over Ailsa Craig, is one of the most iconic courses in the game. The Ailsa course has received much acclaim since reopening last year. So much so that many are now positioning the Open Championship venue as the best golf course in the world.

The former Kintyre course has also been completely redesigned by Martin Ebert. He has completely transformed the layout, now known as King Robert the Bruce.

No more an inferior relative, the course has spectacular views of Turnberry’s stunning coastline, castle ruins and the lighthouse.

Breathtaking vistas from the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th of King Robert the Bruce are some of the most remarkable in the game.

Carton House Golf Club (Ireland)

  • This beautifully restored historic mansion in Kildare has been discreetly converted in to a modern 4 star luxury destination resort.
  • The Montgomerie Course - The course pays tribute to the traditions of the game and sets a challenge like no other.
  • The Montgomerie Course - Designed by Colin Montgomerie, it's a journey across sweeping fairways, cavernous bunkers and impeccable greens.
  • The Montgomerie Course - It's an adventure from first to last and is proud to have hosted the worlds finest golfers at the 2005 and 2006 Irish Opens.
  • The O'Meara Course - Designed by Mark O'Meara, this classic parkland course might lull you with its beauty but is still full of challenge.
  • The O'Meara Course - You'll find yourself skirting the banks of the river Rye then sending the ball soaring over its golden waters.
  • The O'Meara Course - It is a Par 73 parkland golf course which measures 7,165 yards from the blue championship tees.

 

Host to the 2005 Irish Open, Carton House is home to two of Ireland’s finest Parkland layouts. Just fifteen miles from Dublin City centre, the O’Meara is the senior layout at the resort dating back to 2002, while the Montgomery course opened for play a year later. ‘Monty’ was the brainchild behind both designs.

Despite opening within such quick succession, the two layouts contrast considerably. The O’Meara plays as a traditional parkland course, while the Montgomery, despite its inland setting, is set up as a traditional links.

Despite having a sculpted, modern look, the latter is certainly not pretentious, with the fescue and pot bunkers keeping you on your toes throughout.

The Montgomery is the finer of the two courses. Nonetheless, both are excellent layouts and golfers should be sure to take time to play both.

Woodhall Spa Golf Club (England)

  • The National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa, the Home of English Golf, invites you to experience our world-class golf courses and Academy, which is open to all.
  • The Hotchkin Course at the National Golf Centre, Woodhall Spa, is consistently rated among the world’s finest heathland golf experiences and a favourite destination for golf breaks.
  • The Hotchkin Course - The heathland course, famous for its natural beauty, dramatic bunkering and distinct tactical challenge.
  • The Hotchkin Course - The 18 holes are individually memorable, every drive and crisply struck iron shot from firm, heathland turf makes for an unforgettable experience.
  • The Bracken Course, has evolved into a course of exceptional finesse that is appreciated and enjoyed every day by golfers of all abilities.
  • The Bracken Course - A contrasting landscape of woodland and arable farmland, the fairways and greenside bunkers are more generous than those of The Hotchkin Course.
  • The Bracken Course - Welcoming greens are more approachable, yet require thought and touch to master the true-rolling putting surfaces.

 

Woodhall Spa is home to two exceptional heathland layouts. The rural Lincolnshire venue also houses the headquarters of England Golf. As a result, the venue has played host to some of the country’s most prestigious championships.

The Hotchkin course is one of the best inland courses in the British Isles. Ranking alongside the likes of Sunningdale and Wentworth, the course is a formidable test of golf.  Weaving its way through pines, birch, and bracken, the course is punctuated by some of the deepest bunkers you’re ever likely to encounter outside of a traditional links.

The Bracken lives somewhat in the shadow of its illustrious neighbour but is an exceptional layout in its own right. While the Hotchkin is an out and out heathland set-up, its sister course plays its way through woodland, and since opening in the 1990’s has provided the ideal partner for the original Harry Colt design.

Lough Erne Resort (Northern Ireland)

  • Lough Erne Resort is renowned as one of the finest 5 Star hotels Northern Ireland has to offer.
  • The Faldo Course - Designed by six time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo, provides superb all year round playing conditions.
  • The links-like fairways, perfectly true greens and spectacular Fermanagh Lakelands setting provides a stunning backdrop to the course.
  • There are spectacular views from every vantage point and the waters of the Lough come into play on 11 of the 18 holes.
  • Castle Hume Course - Championship course parkland course surrounded by Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne which is over 6,800 yards long.
  • Castle Hume Course - Featuring stunning views, manicured fairways and well contoured greens, over seven thousand trees and thirty bunkers.
  • Castle Hume Course - A testing yet enjoyable challenge over the manicured and contoured greens combined with numerous bunkers and water hazards.

 

It doesn’t get much better than Lough Erne. With 5* luxury accommodation and two exceptional golf course the Northern Irish venue has joined the elite strata of British golf resorts since opening its doors in 2009.

The crown jewel is the Nick Faldo designed championship course which plays its way along the banks of the Castle Hume Lough. The 7,000-yard layout has been tipped as a future European Tour host and has all the hallmarks of a top-class championship course. The highlight of your round is the 16th hole, aptly named ‘Faldo’s Turn’, which offers sweeping views of the estate.

Nestled in Enniskillen County Fermanagh, the resort’s second layout, Castle Hume, is a picturesque parkland course with stunning views, manicured fairways, and well-contoured greens.

The K Club Golf Resort (Ireland)

  • The luxury 5 star hotel at the K Club is located in Kildare, just outside Dublin in the heart of Ireland.
  • The Ryder Cup Course - Ranked regularly in the top 3 parkland golf courses in Ireland.
  • The Ryder Cup Course - Host of the Ryder Cup in 2006, the 2016 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and 11 European Opens.
  • The Ryder Cup Course - It charms, it entices and invariably, brings out the very best in your game.
  • The course has many dramatic landscapes with dune style mounding throughout.
  • The Smurfit Course - A true Championship Golf Course with many vantage points for spectators to view golf professionals at work.
  • The Smurfit Course - The best way to describe the Arnold Palmer designed Smurfit Course at The K Club is that of an inland links course.

 

The K Club is best-known for playing host to the 2006 Ryder Cup, an emotionally charged event which would see Europe storm to a comfortable victory. It is the site of one of Ireland’s most exclusive and luxurious golf resorts.

There are two courses on site, the Palmer and the Smurfit, both of which were designed by Arnold Palmer’s team.

The Palmer layout is the centrepiece of the resort. It is also an incredibly challenging course. The result was plenty of entertainment at the Ryder Cup but it does mean players should be sure to bring their A-game. Either way, it is an aesthetically pleasing design, set amid the beautiful Kildare countryside, with water featuring heavily throughout.

Meanwhile. the Smurfit course brings plenty of entertainment of its own. It more closely resembles an American style course than something usually encountered on the Emerald Isle, with extensive mounding, plenty of water, and clever bunkering.

 The Belfry Hotel and Resort (England)

  • Settle in and experience the world-class luxury of the award-winning Belfry Hotel & Resort, from the iconic greens to the sumptuous bedrooms.
  • The Brabazon - The majestic fairways and carpet-smooth greens of The Brabazon form a world-famous stage on which some of golf's most exhilarating dramas have played out.
  • The Brabazon - Its meticulous design involves tight fairways, perilous bunkers, lakes and fast undulating greens.
  • The Brabazon - It's a challenging golf course, but a must-play for anyone who's serious about the sport as it was the host of 4 Ryder Cups.
  • The Derby - It is a parkland course with far-reaching views across the Warwickshire countryside.
  • The Derby - Strategically placed bunkers, water hazards, it offers well-designed risk and reward holes.
  • The Derby - Also designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas the course demands accuracy right from the 1st tee.
  • PGA National - With its inland links appearance, this championship golf course presents a unique challenge.
  • PGA National - With hard and fast running fairways, undulating greens, severe run-offs and its 70 strategically placed cavernous bunkers.
  • PGA National - Having hosted two European Tour events, is one of the West Midlands finest golf courses.

 

The spiritual home of the Ryder Cup, The Belfry has hosted the event more times than any other venue in the world.

Having welcomed the world’s best for three consecutive home Ryder Cups in succession, the Brabazon is a must-play for all golf fans. Designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas, the course is the site of some of the most memorable moments in the game.

Once an uninspiring piece of farmland, the course is now a mecca for all golf fans. The crowds may not be there to accompany you but attempting to drive par-4 10th is still likely to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. There are two other courses at the resort, the Derby and PGA National. The Derby course was unveiled at the same time as the Brabazon in 1977 and is a fabulous supporting cast member.

The PGA National opened for play two decades later and is also an American-style course, with wide fairways and plenty of water hazards.

Fairmont St Andrews (Scotland)

  • The 520 acre five star Fairmont St Andrews resort encapsulates luxury, elegance and truly breathtaking surroundings in the ‘Home of Golf’.
  • The Kittocks Course - Designed by Bruce Devlin, a notable course architect of many famous courses including the Kings Course at Gleneagles.
  • The Kittocks Course - It is a long and challenging course requiring nerves of steel to navigate its many holes running alongside the coastline.
  • The Kittocks Course - It is a Par 72 course and is 7191 yards long from the back tees.
  • The Torrance Course - Designed by former Ryder Cup and golfing legend Sam Torrance, Its marked by its deep revetted bunkers, large greens and links design.
  • The Torrance Course - The Torrance has hosted the Seniors European Tour Event six times.
  • The Torrance Course - It is a Par 72 course and is 7320 yards long from the back tees.

 

It’s hard to find a more idyllic place to play golf than Fairmont St Andrews. The 520-acre five-star resort is blessed with a breathtaking clifftop setting. There are two courses, the Kittocks and the Torrance, both of which offer unparalleled views of St Andrews and the North Sea.

The venue has received a host of accolades over the years. A recent Conde Nast Traveler reader’s poll placed the resort 18th in its poll of “The World’s Top Golf Resorts”.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find two eighteen-hole course that pose more questions of your game.

Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort (Ireland)

  • Located on the edge of the picturesque Sheephaven Bay, Rosapenna is the proud home to two of the finest links in the world.
  • Old Tom Morris Links - Old Tom was quick to see the golfing potential of this fine stretch of coast line and before returning to the home of golf he had staked-out the first Rosapenna Links.
  • Old Tom Morris Links - In September 2009 the new Strand Nine opened at Rosapenna to replace the original back nine which played across the main road on a number of holes.
  • Old Tom Morris Links - The original back nine of the Old Links known as the "Coastguard Holes" are now played as a separate nine hole course.
  • Sandy Hills Links - Opened for play in June 2003 and has matured into one of Ireland’s finest modern links courses.
  • Sandy Hills Links - Each hole is spectacular and the views across the Old Tom Morris Links toward the beautiful Sheephaven Bay will salve any wounds inflicted by this incredible golf course.
  • Sandy Hills Links - Intended for the serious golfer, its narrow fairways appear constricting from the tee, but the landing areas sculpted from the dunes are deceptively wide.

 

Golf may have arrived at Rosapenna before the turn of the nineteenth century, but it was the addition of a new layout in 2003 that really set the golfing world alight.

There is still plenty of history to be enjoyed at the County Donegal venue. Three of the most famous names in golfing history Old Tom Morris, James Braid, and Harry Vardon, were the masterminds behind the traditional links layout which runs alongside towering dunes.

It is the later edition, Sandy Hills, which carves its way directly through the lunar landscape that is considered the most spectacular of the two courses. The inspired Pat Ruddy design is now quickly rising to become of Ireland’s top-ranked golf courses.

With the Old Tom Morris layout also receiving a recent makeover by Ruddy, the club is now home to two truly exceptional courses.

In 2012, Rosapenna acquired St. Patrick’s Golf Links to become the second biggest links golf destination after Saint Andrews.

Gleneagles

  • Gleneagles includes a five-star luxury hotel, three championship golf courses, an award-winning spa, and the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars.
  • The King's Course - Opened in 1919, it is a masterpiece of golf course design, which has tested the aristocracy of golf, both professional and amateur.
  • The King's Course - James Braid's plan for the King's Course was to test even the best players' shot-making skills over the eighteen holes.
  • The King's Course - Selecting the right club for each approach shot is the secret on the King's.
  • The Queen's Course - The fairway swings round to the left and slopes towards the trees, and there are a couple of cunningly placed bunkers testing your approach into the miniscule green.
  • The Queen's Course - Offers lovely woodland settings, lochans and ditches as water hazards, as well as many moorland characteristics.
  • The Queen's Course - The beautiful settings and the challenge of the golf course have attracted such top golfers as Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson.
  • PGA Centenary - Created by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary Course was venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup.
  • PGA Centenary - Unique in its challenge, a golf course in the modern design ethos that at its fullest stretch tests the greatest players.
  • PGA Centenary - The tees are graded at each hole in five stages, including a challenging 6,815 yards from the white markers down to 5,322 from the red.

 

Gleneagles has become one of the most iconic resorts in golf. After all, where else can you find three top-class championship courses at the same venue?

Golfers and non-golfers alike will be spoilt for choice at the Perthshire resort, which is set to host the 2019 Solheim Cup.

While golfing legend James Braid would design the original two layouts, Jack Nicklaus would be the man behind the most recent PGA Centenary course. As a result, golfers will find three unique and contrasting tests.  The PGA Centenary, which provided a stunning backdrop to the 2014 Ryder Cup, has a distinctly American feel. Meanwhile, the Kings Course is considered the best moorland layout in Britain. The picturesque Queens Course completes the trio and is a charming track that should not be overlooked.

Prince’s

  • Situated at the entrance of Prince’s, The Lodge has 12 bedrooms across two floors, each with club storage and tea making facilities as well as a further two doubled bedded suites.
  • The Shore - As its name implies, the clockwise loop of nine holes initially follows the Shoreline south towards the Lodge at the entrance to the course.
  • The Dunes - Forms an anticlockwise loop of nine holes five out in a southerly direction to the boundary of Royal St. Georges and four back.
  • The Himalayas - The members favourite nine which affords a swift return to the Clubhouse after seven holes as well as nine.
  • Prince's Golf Club is in collaboration with Royal Saint George's Golf Club and Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, as they are just next to each other. They form a total of 63 playable holes.
  • Royal Saint George's Golf Club - One of the world’s great sporting events will return to the south east of England in 2020 when The 149th Open is played at Royal St George’s.
  • Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club is a Members' Club with an 18 hole Championship Links golf course,regarded by many as one of the finest in the world.

 

Prince’s forms part of a majestic trio of courses that occupy one of the greatest stretches of golfing coastline in Britain. Despite playing host to the Open Championship, the links is one of the UK’s best-kept secrets.

Bordering Royal St George’s, the 27-hole layout is sometimes overshadowed by its illustrious neighbour. Nonetheless, the historic venue is an exceptional course, with recent improvements only enhancing Prince’s reputation as one of England’s most exciting layouts.

A traditional links, with pot bunkers and surprises aplenty, the Kent course would welcome the world’s best in 1932, when Gene Sarazen, the first golfer to win all four majors, would lift the Claret Jug.

 

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