10 of the Best Golf Resorts Near Racecourses
MOST of us who play golf enjoy a little flutter on the outcome, whether we are playing in our regular weekend fourball or a singles match against a friend. It adds a little spice to proceedings and gives us some bragging rights in the clubhouse.
And let’s be honest, we all like to beat the odds when we can. It should come as little surprise, therefore, to discover that increasing numbers of golfers are incorporating a trip to the races with their golf break.
It is a fun way to spend a day, or evening. Quite apart from backing the horses, with the chance of winning a few pounds, there is always decent food and drink available. What better way of spending some time with a group of like-minded friends?
Here, we look at 10 golf resorts located close to racecourses - ideal for doubling up. If you can’t win on the course, maybe you will be able to back the odd winner or two away from it, while having a great day out into the bargain.
It may be stating the obvious, but make sure that you work out how much you can afford to lose before you get there - and don’t try to win it all back if things go pear-shaped early on.
Resort, Dalmahoy Golf and Country Club; racetrack, Musselburgh
Dalmahoy, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, boasts two fabulous tree-lined golf courses that will test players of all abilities. It also features fabulous accommodation, with the absolute highlight being the full Scottish breakfast. The resort is set in 1,000 acres of parkland with a luxurious hotel that offers a range of dining experiences. The Pentland Restaurant provides Scottish-themed food and overlooks the courses and grounds, while the Douglas Lounge is more relaxed, as is the Brasserie, where children eat for free. The James Braid Bar, with a vast range of single malt whisky, is the ideal place to unwind and in the summer you can enjoy a barbecue on the terrace. Facilities include floodlit tennis courts, a swimming pool, gym and fitness studio and walking, jogging and nature trails. Nearby Musselburgh is one of the most delightful racetracks in Britain and if you are going to take a trip there then you should also find the time to play golf at Musselburgh, one of the oldest golf courses in the world, as well as spending some time wandering around the historic streets of Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.
Resort, Tewkesbury Park; racetrack, Cheltenham
The magnificent hotel at Tewkesbury Park dates back to the late 18th Century, having been built by John ands Mary Brilliania Wall and it remained in the family until 1973. The parkland course at Tewkesbury Park measures 6,579 yards and is a par 73. It was designed by Frank Pennink, opened for play in 1976 and is located on the site of the Battle of Tewkesbury, which was fought in 1471. It is a gem, featuring superb putting surfaces and although there are several water hazards to negotiate, the fairways are pretty generous, especially on the back nine, which is where a good score will be made. The signature hole is the par-three fifth, where the tee shot is played over a lake to a small green. There is a six-hole Academy course, six driving bays and a short-game area. When you have finished your round, have a drink and a snack in the Spike Bar, which affords spectacular views of the course, the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds. The hotel has 93 bedrooms and has excellent leisure facilities, including a hot tub and a sun deck providing view of the surrounding countryside. And not far away sits Cheltenham, home of the world-famous Cheltenham Festival. If golf and horse racing are your thing, this is the place to be.
Resort, The Belfry; racetrack, Stratford-upon-Avon
If you have ever picked up a golf club then you will have heard of The Belfry, which is where the PGA are based. The world-famous Brabazon course was designed by Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss and hosted the Ryder Cup on several occasions, most famously in 1985 when Sam Torrance holed the winning putt for Europe and in 2002 when Paul McGinley achieved the same feat and then ended up in the lake beside the 18th green. Anybody who plays here will want to have a flash at driving the par-four 10th hole, made famous when Seve Ballesteros became the first professional to find the putting surface. The hotel is on a par with the very best, offering luxurious accommodation, great food and a host of leisure activities. There are two racetracks within easy reach, Wolverhampton and Stratford-upon-Avon, and if you don’t fancy losing your shirt at Stratford-upon-Avon, you can always just take a wander round what is one of the most beautiful and historic towns in England.
Resort, Lakeside Lodge; racetrack, Newmarket
There are few golf resorts better geared up to cater for groups of golfers than Lakeside Lodge. There is a wide range of accommodation on site but the resort’s lodges are ideal for groups - play golf, enjoy a meal and a pint in the clubhouse and then head back to one of the lodges and unwind with a few drinks or take a stroll outside and stand by the huge pond, which is full of carp that will feed from your hand. It features an attractive golf course, lined with trees and a few water hazards, a good test for golfers of all abilities, as well as a decent nine-hole course. There is also a pool table and, unusually, a bowling alley. And not far away lies Newmarket, the home of racing and the venue for a series of wonderful Friday-night race meetings which feature some of the best horse flesh in the land, with proceedings brought to a climax by a concert from some of Britain’s leading groups and singers. A great night out.
Resort, Barnham Broom; racetrack, Yarmouth or Fakenham
Barnham Broom is a four-star resort boasting two excellent golf courses - and is probably the most popular destination in East Anglia. The hotel, which has recently been refurbished, has 46 bedrooms and an award-winning restaurant and two comfortable, spacious bars, as well as snooker tables. It also now features a luxury spa, and fully-equipped health and fitness centre. There are two courses, The Hill and The Valley, and both feature plenty of undulations - the clue is in the title. There are lots of trees on both, so accuracy from the tee is at a premium. Barnham Broom can get quite busy, but on-course marshals ensure that there is no slow play, and a refreshment buggy patrols the courses too. The courses feature some beautiful par threes and well-kept greens that are tricky to read, as well as spectacular views of the surrounding Norfolk countryside - if anybody tells you that Norfolk is flat, they haven’t a clue what they are talking about. For racing enthusiasts, there is a choice of either Yarmouthracetrack, which is located in one of the region’s busiest holiday resorts, or Fakenham, which is rather more traditional.
Resort, Formby Hall, racetrack, Aintree
Formby Hall is a golfing paradise. Located between Liverpool and Southport, it is surrounded by a host of world-class courses and boasts its own fabulous par 72, 18-hole layout, along with a par-three links-style course that has been described as one of the best in England. High praise indeed. It is also home to a PGA Academy with state-of-the-art practice facilities, including a 26-bay driving range and dedicated short-game area with five greens and seven bunkers. The four-star hotel has 76 bedrooms and is one of the best for miles around and also on site are a series of leisure facilities, including a health club, spa, swimming pool, sauna, ice fountain and steam room. And if you time your trip correctly, you can jump on the train and head off to Aintree racecourse and take in the Grand National, the world’s most famous steeplechase. Or you can head up the East Lancs Road to Haydock Park.
Resort, Donnington Grove; racetrack, Ascot
Donnington Grove lies within 500 acres of beautiful Berkshire countryside. The golf course, which is overlooked by Donnington Castle, was designed by Dave Thomas, the former Ryder Cup golfer who was also responsible for The Belfry. It is a spectacular parkland layout, with the River Lambourn meandering throughout its 18 holes, and has hosted Euro Pro Tour events. The three-star country-house hotel is more than 250 years old and oozes character, style and charm. Unusually, it features hand-painted wallpaper, tapestries, historic paintings and plenty of antique furniture. Among those who have stayed here are Beau Brummell and the British historian James Petit Andrews. Nearby you will find Ascot racetrack, so make sure that you pack your best bib and tucker for a trip to what is generally regarded as the most stylish of all British racetracks.
Resort, Owston Hall; racetrack, Doncaster
Owston Hall Golf Resort and Spa is located within 200 acres and offers 60 rooms, each and every one of them entirely individual. There are 14 rooms in the old hall, which dates back to the 17th Century, and a further 32 rooms in what were once the old stables. Leisure facilities include a wonderful spa and gymnasium. And there is, of course, an 18-hole championship golf course. It measures 6,937 yards and is a par 72, with many fairways framed by mature oak trees. There are also plenty of water hazards. The signature hole is the par-four 10th. It only measures 284 yards but calls for an accurate drive over two ponds to a green overlooked from the conservatory at Owston Hall. The nearest racetrack is Doncaster, home of the St Leger, and one of the most iconic locations for racing anywhere in Europe.
Resort, Close House; racetrack, Newcastle
Close House came to prominence when it hosted the 2017 British Masters, hosted by Lee Westwood. Former world No 1 Westwood is attached to the club and has had a hand in its preparation - and it shows. There are lots of trees, some huge changes in elevation and a host of water hazards. There are also some jaw-dropping views across the surrounding countryside. It is a wonderful place to play golf. There are actually two courses, The Colt and The Filly, which is pretty appropriate if you are going to be heading to the races at Newcastle. The No19 clubhouse is among the best you will ever set foot in. And the resort’s 12 Courtyard rooms and four Terrace rooms provide luxurious accommodation. Each of the bedrooms is named after a course designed by Harry Colt, who is responsible for the golf courses at Close House. Incredibly, he was responsible for designing more than 300 layouts. A word to the wise - if you are attending the races at Newcastle, you need to be aware that the locals will expect you to have a good time!
Resort, Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel; racetrack, York
Aldwark Manor was originally built in 1865 by Lord Walshingham as a wedding present for his oldest daughter and now sits at the heart of this delightful golf resort in the Vale of York. The parkland course may be relatively flat and only measure 6,187 yards, but don’t be fooled. The River Ure meanders through the course and comes into play on several holes, along with several other water hazards. Accuracy from the tee is at a premium, especially on the early holes. You cross the River Ure to play holes five through to 13 for a stretch of holes that feature wider fairways before a tough finishing stretch on the other side of the river. Alwark Manor sits in 120 acres of parkland between Harrogate and York. It has 54 bedrooms, split between the original Manor House and a more modern wing, with all rooms providing terrific views of the surrounding countryside. The hotel has a state-of-the-art fitness centre and a spa, and food can be enjoyed in The Terrace or at The Squadron Bar. And right on your doorstep is the magnificent York racecourse. For those of your party who may not want to back the horses, York is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Britain and is well worth a visit.
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