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Golf Survey Reveals The Best Golf Courses To Play & Visit

By: | Wed 29 Dec 2021 | Comments


The recent Golfshake Survey asked over 1000 golfers to list the best places that they have visited for golfing-related activities. There were plenty of responses from the community and therefore, the results are subjective and completely based on the individual’s experience and where each individual will have played during their golfing career. But, without further ado, we present the highly valued resorts that everyone should visit.

What Was The Best Course You Played in 2021?

Hankley Common

British golfers are very fortunate people, aren’t they? Away from America, how many countries can claim to have such a healthy and impressive array of golf courses right on their doorstep? With so many first-class golf complexes throughout the UK, it’s difficult to determine what is the greatest and that reflected in the voting process, with four clubs sharing the summit.

The Brabazon Course, at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, is a Ryder Cup course and typically, one of the coveted layouts that amateur golfers can experience. As you complete the front nine and traverse to the 10th tee you are left with a conundrum: do you drive the green or lay up and take your chance with a short approach? Whatever route you decide, you can purchase a photo that will commemorate the moment forever.

London Golf Club shares the same number of votes, but in terms of history, this facility only opened in the 1990s and thus, has created an impressive reputation for itself in quite a short amount of time. Obviously, being a European Tour (Now DP World Tour) host will have certainly augmented its appeal, but visually, this venue is sensational.

Another club with the same number of votes is Hankley Common, a golf club located in Farnham that originally opened in 1897 as a 9-hole layout. This tremendous heathland golf course has played host to two notable events: the 2009 Boys Home International and the 2021 Home Internationals.

Finally, Goswick Golf Club completes the four-way tie. Situated in Northumberland, this James Braid design should be experienced by everyone. Consistently ranked among the top 50 courses in England, the classic links experience is heightened when playing the historic Goswick Golf Club.

This particular category was based purely on golf courses played in 2021 and notable mentions most also go to; Celtic Manor - Twenty Ten, Woburn, St Mellion, Gleneagles - King's Course, Forest of Arden and East Sussex National.

Where Have You Had The Best Breakfast in The UK?

For those who have either experienced an early morning round or a society outing, then you would have trialled the breakfast menu from numerous clubs. Truth be told, a good breakfast can be the difference between a poor or good performance, so it’s important you are fuelling your body correctly for the impending, elongated exercise. Here’s the top three voted by the respondents to the Golfshake survey.

The Belfry Hotel & Resort takes the top spot (again) and probably not for the final time too. There is a collection of eateries on-site and with so many hubs, it’s impossible not to start your day with a hearty meal. Whether it is healthy or not is down to the discretion of the individual - but we highly recommend it is!

Gleneagles finished second, one vote behind The Belfry. The sheer number of eateries that are located on-site is very impressive and with such a healthy array of cuisine on offer, there truly is a dish for everyone when visiting Gleneagles.

St Andrews Links ranked third and with all three occupying the top spots being revered and well-established destinations - is it a coincidence? If you’re staying at Hotel du Vin, then you’ll be treated to a vast breakfast menu that features delicate pastries to a full English - yum!

Where is The Best Halfway Hut You Have Visited Anywhere?

Sunningdale

It is argued that the traditional halfway hut, the perfect location to rest momentarily and refuel for the back nine, is a dying breed. Not every golf club has the luxury of a halfway house and thus, not many golfers will experience them playing at their local course. If you visit the more prestigious venues, however, then you’ll soon be demanding that your club installs one immediately. Here’s the top three as voted by you.

Gleneagles has featured in successive categories but this time, they take the victory after many golfers voted it as the best halfway hut they had visited anywhere. This hub will serve golfers virtually everything, whether you’re popping in for a coffee, a light bite or an entire meal - Gleneagles has you covered.

Unsurprisingly, Sunningdale was voted into second place with a large share of the votes. What’s unique about this halfway hut is that it is not located midway through your round. No, you’ll be required to play one extra hole before your well-deserved hiatus. Another cool feature about this one is that there’s an unwritten rule that those who are playing the Old Course will sit to the left and those on the New Course to the right.

Turnberry finished third and the halfway house has been integrated into the iconic lighthouse that lies adjacent to the 9th green. The strength of the menu would indicate that this halfway hut could operate as a restaurant more so than a brief stop-off, but with incredible vistas wherever you look, food really is better with a view.

Where is The Best 19th Hole in The UK?

Even the most avid golfer would be lying if they said they weren’t looking forward to the most important hole of them all: the 19th. A good 19th hole is typically the difference between a bustling community and a non-existent social impact. It’s important that it’s done right and the top three on this list are among some of the greatest in the world, let alone the UK.

Topping the list is The Belfry and with several locations serving fine beer with views of the two of the thress golf courses, what more could you want?

St Andrews Links came second, and the 19th hole located on the Castle Course provides the best views of the majestic environment that St Andrews is surrounded by. We must warn you, however, that a ‘quick drink’ at the Castle Course does not exist!

Gleneagles finished third and having discussed the sheer number of eateries and refreshment hubs that are located on-site, it’s impossible to not have a view with your drink(s)!

Where is The Best 19th Hole in Europe?

Vilamoura

There are several fantastic 19th holes scattered across Britain but one thing these facilities cannot ensure is sublime weather that enables outside drinking. There are a number of countries in Europe that can offer the Mediterranean climate which, as we all know, results in endless sunshine - which is a favourable reason as to why we plan golf trips. Here’s the best three.

Vilamoura was voted the most popular 19th hole destination throughout the European options, which should come as little surprise considering the complex is stretched across 2,000 hectares of land! There are six outstanding golf courses attached to the resort, meaning that wherever you pop in for your 19th hole treat, you’re guaranteed panoramic views of the expansive greenery.

Real Club Valderrama was the second most popular European destination for a drink and quiet reflection - or acceptance - of your round. Valderrama has been available for play since 1974 and with such an extensive history that involves hosting rights of the Volvo Masters, World Golf Championships and the most iconic of them all, the 1997 Ryder Cup, you’ll be playing a course with immense character. 

Staying in Spain and Marbella Golf & Country Club received a substantial share of the votes. The facility’s championship golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr, which has undoubtedly enticed people to the premises. With open terraces, restaurants and bars all located on-site, you won’t be walking far from the 18th tee before the best hole of the day can begin.

Where is The Best Accommodation You Have Had in The UK?

The Belfry

Of course, when we are planning a golf trip, the quality of the golf course takes rightful precedence. However, what separates the best resorts from the rest is their unrivalled hospitality service, which can be a highlight of any short getaway. Here are the top three accommodation options in the UK, as voted by you.

The top three are all well-established and incredibly popular resorts but that was to be expected when we are fortunate enough to have several world-class facilities literally on our doorstep.

First of the top three was Celtic Manor. You would not exactly associate Newport as one of the greatest sporting hubs in the country, but south Wales is certainly the place to go if you’re looking for a stay & play for 2022.

Travelling slightly north and The Belfry features again. In addition to the three popular golf courses, the accommodation options are luxurious and with restaurants and shops on-site, there really is no need to ever leave the complex - unless you want to.

Gleneagles finishes our top three, and the Scottish resort continues to improve its reputation on an annual basis. The extraordinary Gleneagles Hotel is set at the foot of the Scottish Highlands and all 232 guestrooms are as luxurious as they come. What truly allows Gleneagles to shine is the food that is served there, with numerous restaurants located conveniently.

What is The Best Accommodation You Have Had in Europe?

Whilst the UK-based resorts are fantastic and we are fortunate to have access to them, European resorts can typically offer an additional bonus: relentless sunshine. There is no better time to play golf than in the sun on a warm day surrounded by your best pals. If you’re looking to recreate that feeling, then here’s three excellent recommendations.

Having previously noted the size of the complex at Vilamoura, it was always going to come out on top again. There are a whole host of facilities that are located on-site, and these include six golf courses, a bowling club, a tennis centre, a sports club, a shooting club, night clubs and a casino. Couple in all that entertainment with first-class hospitality and you have yourself quite the holiday.

La Manga Club, situated in Murcia, Spain, is next up in the top thress. In 2019, the complex was voted ‘Europe’s Leading Sports Resort’ and there are three championship-standard golf courses that are associated with the venue. The 5* resort rating tells you everything you need to know about not only the quality of the accommodation options but the services that come as part of the overall package.

Pestana Golf & Resort is located in Portugal and the accommodation options are a collection of townhouses and villas, offering something different from your typical resort getaway. The two golf courses ooze class and whether you tackle the Pinta or the Gramacho, a stern challenge awaits. Due to its location, the nearby village of Carvoeiro is accessed conveniently, offering an array of night-time activities.

What is The Best Accommodation You Have Had Anywhere in The World?

Gleneagles

Perhaps the biggest question of them all, these are inarguably the best resorts available to golfers on the planet. You may be surprised to find out that 66% of the top three are actually located in Britain, which speaks volumes about the strength of facilities available to British golfers. Without further ado, we present the greatest resorts on the globe.

The stand out venue as voted for by the respondents of the survey was St Andrews and it’s only right that the home of golf takes the glory. It may be impossible to find a single person who did not have a positive experience at St Andrews. With world-renowned golf courses, tremendous facilities and an area that is steeped in some of the richest history the sport can offer, St Andrews is the definition of world-class.

Staying in Scotland and Gleneagles was next up in our top three for the best places to stay. All of the guestrooms boast modern and stylish interior, in addition to offering a wealth of leisure facilities and activities. From 2011-2014, Gleneagles was awarded the ‘Best Golf Resort in the World’ by the Daily Telegraph UltraTravel Awards and that is sufficient evidence that Gleneagles deserves this position.

Finally, Sun City is the definition of Paradise, located on the edge of Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. There are two golf courses that reside on the resort’s territory, the Gary Player Course and the Lost City Course. The two accommodation options, The Cascades Hotel and the Palace of the Lost City, are unsurprisingly 5* rated, boasting some of the most visually appealing rooms available within the country. With over 550+ bedrooms available, expect to visit a thriving resort that epitomises the greatest aspect of golf: discovery.

So, there you go. A full round-up from the the recent Golfshake Survey focusing on the places golfers rate highly for simply playing or staying and playing.  The above not only lists some of the stand out locations to play golf but may also provide some ideas for you next trip or golf break.  Let us know where you recommend or where you play to play in the comments below!

Finally, this article also kick starts a new series rounding up the full results for the places you recommend visiting.  Check back over the coming weeks for further insights, suggestions and ideas for where to play golf next.


Related Content

What Makes a Golf Course Memorable?

The Golf Courses That Golfers Recommended to Others

The Golf Courses You Should Have Played in 2021

The Best Golf Course You Have Played


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