Links vs Resort: Which Come Out on Top in the UK?
When heading out on a golfing getaway, it can often be difficult to decide what sort of golf you want to play. Many golfers play parkland style golf so don’t get the opportunity to test themselves on a classic links course. However, many golfers find they get more enjoyment from playing resort style golf when on a trip away.
Here are three of the best areas for links golf and the best resort venues in the UK, but which come out on top?
Where better to start than St Andrews - the home of golf. There are seven courses to choose from so where better to head for a links golfing getaway? You can take in the rich history of past Open Championships on the Old Course or take on newer courses such as the award winning Castle Course.
No matter which course or courses you play at St Andrews, you are guaranteed a fantastic round, with all courses presented at the highest level all year round. However, the Old Course certainly should be top of your list. This course brings in visitors from all over the world. You will have an experience like no other on this course as you walk the fairways of golf’s greatest players, take in the views and maybe even have a photo on the famous Swilken Bridge.
Some people say this course is too easy now that golf, and more so clubs, have advanced over the years, however it will be hard not to feel goosebumps as you stand on the first tee.
Southport is the home of England’s famous North West golf coast. In fact, this area has been named the “Golfing Capital of England” thanks to the vast amount of golf courses situated here. Cut between the sand dunes of the Lancashire coastline lie the Royal Trio of Birkdale, Liverpool and Lytham & St Annes, which should be at the top of your list to play.
However, there are many other championship standard links courses in the area to choose from that are just as rewarding and enjoyable as the Open venues. For example, Hillside Golf Club is a must for the keen golfer as it has been dubbed “the best course never to host The Open". The course is sandwiched between Royal Birkdale and Southport & Ainsdale, which could be described as a golfers heaven.
Trevose Golf & Country Club
Trevose is the home of one of the UK’s finest links golf courses, as well as two further challenging layouts. Although technically you could class this under the resorts section, it is very rare that you find true links layouts in such resorts.
Offering a unique links experience, Trevose has a proud history of hosting The Brabazon Trophy (2008), The McGregor Trophy (2012) and the English Men’s County Finals (2017). The front nine hugs to the sand dunes and the coastline, while the back nine offers a just as demanding inland test.
For the less experienced golfer, the Peter Alliss designed Headland Course provides a great test and is an ideal nine hole alternative. Finally, the Short Course, is the perfect par 3 courses to practice shot shaping, or alternatively hold a play off if your mini tournament with your friends has ended in a tie.
Situated just a 30-minute drive outside of Newcastle City Centre lies Q Hotels offering of Slaley Hall. The hotel is set in 1,000 acres of Northumberland countryside with two championship golf courses to choose from in the Hunting and Priestman courses.
The Hunting Course is often referred to as the “Augusta of the North” and the “Gleneagles of the South” due to its pacey, undulating greens and tree-lined fairways. The Priestman course may not be quite as challenging as the Hunting, but it still has a fantastic layout and will challenge many different aspects of your game.
All rooms are located in the new modern building attached to the main hall, with many of them overlooking the golf courses. All rooms have an elegant design and you will certainly have a comfortable stay here. Best of all, you can almost fall out of bed onto the first tee. If you’re looking for a play and stay in the North East, look no further than Slaley Hall.
Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa
Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa is one of the leading resorts in the North West of England, with 27 holes of golf available at your disposal. The hotel is set in 200 acres of parkland in the heart of England’s aforementioned Golf Coast, and offers 62 individually designed contemporary bedrooms, a luxury spa and outstanding leisure facilities on top of the 27 holes of golf.
The Championship Old Course is a parkland course with a links feel. The course measures at 7,000 yards off the back tees, although the real challenge comes in the links style pot bunkers, wooded areas and water hazards that provide definition and character. This course has previously hosted the European Seniors, Challenge Tour and Euro-Pro Tours.
The nine hole Woodhey Dunes Course offers its own challenges with strategically placed riveted pot bunkers and large, fast undulating greens. Although only 1,359 yards off the white tees, the presence of water hazards and the seaside breeze offer a stern test for even the best golfers.
Celtic Manor Resort
With three golf courses and several accommodation options to choose from, Celtic Manor is by far one of the leaders in the UK in terms of resort golf. The stand out course here is of course the Twenty Ten Course – home of the 2010 Ryder Cup – however, the Roman Road and Montgomerie courses all offer their own respective tests.
The Twenty Ten course was built specifically for the Ryder Cup, which Europe won, and is perfect for those looking to play a matchplay format against their friends. The Roman Road course overlooks the Severn Estuary and was the home of the 2015 Wales Senior Open. This challenging course features some long open fairways but also a number of twists and turns through trees and across streams. Designed by Colin Montgomerie, the Montgomerie course offers a spectacular challenge where the Ryder Cup winning captain has drawn on his Scottish roots to create a traditional feel enhanced by deep and penal pot bunkers.
The Resort Hotel overlooks the Roman Road and Montgomerie courses and offers superior & deluxe rooms, family rooms, presidential & deluxe suites and Celtic Manor’s Signature Collection rooms. These rooms are all designed to enhance comfort to make sure you have a relaxing, luxurious stay. For those golfing in Wales, and don’t want to travel far from hotel to tee, then this is the place for you.
For me, there is nothing better than true links golf and it is a shame that many of the best links courses don’t come accompanied by a hotel, or as part of a resort. The two combined would be absolute perfection. Imagine waking up and rolling out of bed onto one of the UK’s best links golf courses?