There are many reasons to consider England for a golf break or tour. Scotland’s links courses draw more attention but England is home to numerous seaside classics. England is also home to countless parkland gems and some of the best heathland courses in the world. With such a diverse array of top class golf on offer, it is easy to see why England is a top golf destination. Here is our A to Z of English Golf.
A) Arnaud Massy
It may seem strange to kick off our A to Z of English golf with a Frenchman however Massy was the first non-Briton to win the Open Championship. He won in 1907 and the tournament was hosted by Royal Liverpool. Oh…and Massy also married an English woman.
The three courses at the Belfry are among the best in England. Testament to the quality of The Belfry is the fact that it has hosted numerous European Tour events and more notably has been a happy hunting ground for the European Ryder Cup team. They have managed to beat the Americans on three separate occasions at the Belfry, most recently on the Brabazon Course in 2002. Team USA have also won a solitary Ryder Cup at the Belfry.
C) Colt, Harry Colt
Henry Shapland “Harry” Colt was a renowned golf course architect who designed 115 of his own courses and worked on a total of over 300 projects worldwide. He worked predominantly with Charles Alison, John Morrison, and Alistair MacKenzie, in 1928 forming Colt, Alison & Morrison Ltd. Colt and his cronies are responsible for dozens of golf’s classic layouts including Sunningdale, Wentworth West Course and Stoke Park. He was also responsible for extensive redesigns of famous Open Championship venues including Muirfield and Hoylake.
England is home to some of the most prestigious golf clubs in Europe but places like Sunningdale, Wentworth and Swinley Forest are not all that England has to offer. There are also dozens of amazing, albeit lesser known courses that should be at the top end of every golfers list of must play courses. Princes Golf Club, Trevose, Alwoodley and Seascale are just a handful of English hidden gems.
E) English Amateur Championship
The English Amateur is the national amateur match play golf championship of England and has been played annually (except during the wars) since 1925. Notable winners of this tournament include Mark James, Nick Faldo and back to back winner and current world number 9, Paul Casey.
Formby Golf Club is home to a superb course that is frequently selected to host top amateur tournaments, the most recent being the 2009 Amateur Championship. The course itself is an intriguing blend of woodland and links, and while it may not be a traditional seaside layout, the sandy turf is certainly reminiscent.
Augusta National in Georgia is famous for its exclusivity but England is home to a handful of courses that can rival the word famous Masters host in terms of gated entrance atmospheres. Swinley Forest, Queenwood and The Wisley are some of the most exclusive clubs in the world and are nigh on impossible to secure a tee time on…unless you happen to buddy up to an existing member. Good luck!
England is famous for its heathland golf courses the likes of which include Ganton, Woodhall Spa and Frilford Heath. Heathland is a phrase that describes a type of golf course that can be thought of as a sort of middle ground between links courses and parkland courses. A heathland course, like parkland courses, is an inland golf course however they do feature some links type characteristics.
Despite being home to many links classics, England is more famous for its grand parkland layouts that have been carved through towering pines and grand old English Oaks. Look out for Brocket Hall, Wentworth, Old Thorns and Sunningdale.
J) James Bond
It would be only a matter of time before James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming would inject his passion for golf into a 007 adventure, and in his seventh Bond novel, published in 1959, he had his hero face-off against a villain with the Midas touch.
In Goldfinger, Bond finds himself very much in the rough when playing against Auric Goldfinger, international jeweller, gold smuggler and golf cheat! The golf match between Bond and Goldfinger was shot at Stoke Park and so were snippets from the more recent Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies.
K) Kingly Courses
Truly one of the best tests of inland golf in England, Walton Heath also has the unique honour of being the only English Club to have had a reigning Monarch as Captain. The Prince of Wales became King during his Captaincy here in 1935/6. Who said golf was an exclusive sport?
M) Sir Michael Bonnallack
Sir Michael Francis Bonallack is an amateur golfer who was one of the leading administrators in world golf in the late 20th century. As a player he played in no less than nine Walker Cup teams and won the English Amateur Championship and the British Amateur Championship five times a piece. Not satisfied with such success on the course, Bonallack turned his sights on golf administration and has, at various times, been the chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 2000, President of the Golf Club Managers’ Association, Chairman of the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland, Chairman of the Golf Foundation and President of the English Golf Union.
N) Nick Faldo
This list could not be completed without a mention for England’s most successful golfer. Nick Faldo enjoyed a glittering playing career that saw him win a total of six major championships including three US Masters titles and three Open Championships. He also reigned at the top of the world rankings for a total of 98 weeks and was the most successful golfer in high profile tournaments during the late 80’s and early 90’s. At the time Faldo said of his success, “The run doesn’t have to end. If someone is going to beat me then I’m going to make sure they’ve worked for their victory. Let them come and get it from me.” Tiger Woods duly obliged.
O) Open Championship Venues
The Open Championship or British Open is one of the four major tournaments and is in many people’s eyes, the most important. Scotland is home to many of the high profile venues for the oldest major of them all but England can boast an equally impressive list of Open Championship and Open Qualifying venues. These include the likes of Hoylake, Royal St George’s and Royal Birkdale.
P) Peter Alliss
Alliss quit school at the age of 14 and began his career as a professional golfer in 1947, at the age of 16. In his 27 years of playing, he won three British PGA Championships, was semi-finalist in the British PGA Matchplay Championship, played on eight Ryder Cup teams, and finished in the top ten at The Open on no less than five occasions. Alliss is better known however for his work with the BBC where has become affectionately known as ‘The Voice of Golf’. Alliss fans have grown particularly fond of his witty ramblings and seemingly irrelevant anecdotes that are a far cry from more traditional commentary styles…long may he continue!
With countless classic inland courses like Sunningdale, Wentworth and Swinley Forest; numerous courses in the grounds of old English estates such as Stapleford Park and Brocket Hall and no less than six Open Championship venues, there is no doubting the quality of the courses on offer in England.
The Royals have left an indelible mark on the game of golf. Only a handful of courses have received the ultimate accolade of a Royal patronage and England is home to some of the very best. These include Royal Birkdale, Royal St Georges, Royal Lytham and St Anne’s and Royal North Devon.
S) Stately Homes
England’s Stately homes and Manor houses are unlike any others around the world and can be adapted to serve as the perfect luxury golf hotels and clubhouses. Some of the very best in England are Stapleford Park, Brocket Hall, The Grove and The Manor House at Castle Combe.
English golf hasn’t enjoyed the same level of success on a professional level as other golfing heavyweights like the USA and South Africa but on current form, there are plenty of players who have the opportunity to change that. Currently there are five Englishmen in the top 50 in the world and an impressive three players in the top ten. Luke Donald recently moved into second in the rankings and Lee Westwood has enjoyed a sustained period of form that saw him wrestle the number one spot from Tiger Woods following his unprecedented stint at the top of the game. Surely it won’t be long before we see another major champion from England.
U) Undeniable Value
England is home to some of the very best courses in Europe and you can play them for less than you may think. Your Golf Travel offers golfers countless, exclusive stay and play packages at some of the finest courses and hotels in the country form as little as £49!
V) Vardon, Harry Vardon
Harry Vardon was a professional golfer from Jersey and one third of the fabled Great Triumvirate of the sport in his day, along with John Henry Taylor and legendary course designer James Braid. Vardon was a winner of the Open Championship a record six times and also added the US Open to his major haul.
Wentworth is one of the most prestigious and expensive golf clubs in the UK and the famous West Course has played host to a whole host of professional tournaments including the BMW PGA Championship, the HSBC World Matchplay Championship and the 1953 Ryder Cup. The headquarters of the PGA European Tour are also based on the Wentworth Estate.
X) X Marks the Spot
The geographical centre of the UK is in England. The closest and therefore most central golf clubs to this area include Purley Chase Golf Club and Hinckley Golf Club.
Y) Young Blood
As well as the wealth of English talent at the top of the game there are also many young players who are set to make their mark in the future. David Horsey and Danny Willett are just two of the growing list of names who are trying to make their mark on world golf. Danny Willett recently made an appearance in the top 100 and is now ranked 103rd in world golf.
Any golf tour in England is bound to leave a golfer weary at the end of a long day on the fairways. With so many great courses golfers can play until they drop on a golf break in England. Luckily there are dozens of top class hotels that have their own course which provide the perfect place to rest and unwind after a day of golf. The Grove, Brocket Hall and Stapleford Park are to name but a few.
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