The Best Links Golf Courses to Play This Winter
There is no doubt that playing golf in winter can be unappealing to many people, but it does offer special experiences if you know exactly where to look.
Wet conditions can render many courses unplayable during this time of year, but that's gratefully where the seaside comes in to save the day. Links golf is a refuge for those who wish to play on dry fairways and smooth greens throughout winter.
The UK & Ireland is famed for the purest form of the game and this winter could be the ideal opportunity for you to enjoy some of the finest layouts on the planet.
Our travel partners Golfbreaks have a range of packages ready for you to visit courses that may have long been a feature in your dreams!
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club
Considered by many to be the finest links in Wales, Royal Porthcawl hosted the Senior Open in 2023 and that championship stature is more than deserved. Staying at the Mercure Hotel in Swansea, you can play two rounds at Porthcawl and the superb Ashburnham.
Golfshake Rating: 4.93
Review Comment: "Amazing course. It has its reputation for a reason, the views, the setting and the quality of the fairways and immaculate greens."
Gullane Golf Club
Part of Scotland's Golf Coast in East Lothian, Gullane is a historic club with three courses that has been showcased in several Scottish Opens. Staying for two nights at the Marine Hotel in North Berwick, you can play Gullane No. 2, Longniddry and The Glen.
Golfshake Rating: 4.92
Review Comment: "An amazing golfing experience. Gullane is one of the every best in the UK. All three courses should be played by everyone."
Royal Dublin Golf Club
Located near to the heart of the city, Royal Dublin is one of Ireland's jewels and you can play two rounds on this brilliant layout while spending a memorable night at the Hilton Dublin.
Golfshake Rating: Not Yet Rated
The West Lancashire Golf Club
Stay at the Waterfront Southport Hotel and play rounds at two of the finest links found in the North West of England, West Lancashire and the outstanding Southport & Ainsdale.
Golfshake Rating: 4.97
Review Comment: "West Lancashire GC is a great course and I very much look forward to playing there again. Links golf at its finest."
Royal St George's Golf Club
One of England's most storied championship venues, you can walk the famous fairways at Royal St George's and the 1932 Open host Prince's Golf Club while spending the night at the exquisite Bell Hotel.
Golfshake Rating: 4.88
Review Comment: "I absolutely loved the history and immaculate condition of this course. It lived up to all my expectations of an Open venue. The greens were exceptional, and everything was well-tended. I definitely need to play here a few more times to really appreciate it!"
Panmure Golf Club
Famously, Panmure is where the great Ben Hogan practiced ahead of his winning Open appearance at nearby Carnoustie in 1953. Stay at the Best Western Woodlands and play this wonderful layout in addition to the fantastic Medal Course at Monifieth.
Golfshake Rating: 4.89
Review Comment: "Thought it was a pretty good layout with some spectacular holes once you get through the first few. Great history with Hogan, and clubhouse is very cute with good catering."
Stay in the fabulous lodges at Dundonald Links and play two memorable rounds at its superb golf course that has welcomed both the Men's and Women's Scottish Opens.
Golfshake Rating: 4.94
Review Comment: "The starter was very pleasant taking time to explain to all snippets of info. The course itself lives up to its reputation, excellent condition from tee to green. Even if your round not the best just admire the views."
Home to the celebrated Ailsa Course and underrated King Robert The Bruce Course, Turnberry has much to offer golfers, with packages starting from £265pp that offer one night and two rounds of golf.
Golfshake Rating: 4.95
Review Comment: "Excellent round on the King Robert The Bruce Course at Turnberry. Highly recommend it for anyone."
Conwy Golf Club
Positioned in North Wales, Conwy is an unforgettable links that you can play in a sensational package alongside Porthmadog with a comfortable stay at the Quay Hotel.
Golfshake Rating: 4.56
Review Comment: "This course can be a real challenge, but is always in great condition. The natural beauty here is amazing, and the greens are brilliant. The food in the clubhouse is also really nice. The staff are friendly and the whole experience is outstanding."
Pennard Golf Club
One of the most dramatic golf courses in Wales, you can play Pennard in addition to Fairwood Park while staying at the The Dragon Hotel.
Golfshake Rating: 4.85
Review Comment: "If you want a challenge yet at the same time some of the finest views you’re likely to find on a course then Pennard is the one for you. Great mix of holes, fantastic greens, very natural layout and some heavenly views! I for one will be back here."
Ashburnham Golf Club
We mentioned this earlier, but if Ashburnham is on your list, then the Mercure Swansea package with Royal Porthcawl is surely impossible to beat.
Golfshake Rating: 4.19
Review Comment: "One of my favourite courses and a good test of your game. Greens always in superb condition."
County Louth Golf Club
Unforgettably, this is where Shane Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009. You can play this rustic links while staying at the Bracken Court Hotel and enjoying a second round at Seapoint Golf Course.
Golfshake Rating: 4.88
Review Comment: "Great golf course, one of the best on the East Coast of Ireland. The greens had been hollow tinned when I played it but the rest of the course was really good. They have recently done some super work on the course including adding in grass paths and up-grading the runoffs on a number of greens."
Portmarnock Resort & Jameson Golf Links
The mesmerising Jameson Links has been rebranded and revamped to offer a truly breathtaking experience visitors at the Portmarnock Resort. You can see what the hype is all about by sampling it for yourself.
Golfshake Rating: 4.11
Review Comment: "The course has undergone some layout changes since I last played which are generally for the better. Overall the course was in great condition and was an enjoyable challenge in the stiff breeze that was blowing the day I played."
Enniscrone Golf Club
One of Ireland's quintessential links challenges, you can play the magnificent Enniscrone alongside the equally brilliant Carne in a package that will make lasting memories!
Golfshake Rating: 4.88
Review Comment: "Where do I start, not a course to take lightly. I loved it but it was difficult. It feels like you are playing on your own because the dunes are so high, the fairways are undulating and disappear over the horizon. Will play it again next year, just to try and find some of my lost balls, the course and clubhouse are fabulous."
Ardglass Golf Club
Moving to Northern Ireland, Ardglass is a true gem of a course and you can discover it for yourself by staying at the Hastings Europa and playing a second round at Royal Belfast.
Golfshake Rating: 4.17
Review Comment: "Ardglass was a great experience. The pro shop was very welcoming and helpful, caddies are available if you want one but we didn't find it necessary after purchasing the course guide. The course is typical links, punishing if you are not straight, the odd unlucky bounce and lost ball if you are too wide. Every aspect of the course was in excellent condition."
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Stay at the Hilton Liverpool and play two of England's most legendary courses - Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham & St Annes!
Golfshake Rating: 4.93
Review Comment: "You're in for a treat when you play here. The fairways and greens are always in top condition, and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. It's a historic course, so you can expect a lot of character."
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