Best golf courses: England - South East

Golf on the Kent coast: A short distance north of the White Cliffs of Dover you’ll find three close neighbours that have all hosted the Open Championship. Royal St George’s (still on the Open roster), Royal Cinque Ports and Prince’s sit cheek by jowl on a dune-filled stretch of Kent coast between the towns of Sandwich and Deal.
Royal Cinque Ports and Royal St George’s are two of nineteen English golf clubs with a Royal prefix conferred by the sovereign. The oldest of England’s “Royals” is Royal Blackheath near London. Established in 1608 it lays claim to being the world’s oldest golf club, while Royal North Devon in Westward Ho! is England’s oldest golf course. All three courses are standard bearers for English links golf.

Make the most out of your golf trip to the Kent Coast. Look up the location of the golf courses on the map; it will help you with your planning to play the best during your holidays. To each golf course visited we have applied a rating. The scale, 5 (highest) to 2 (lowest), attempts to provide an indication of the golfing experience you can expect at each rated course. Hover your on-screen mouse pointer above the rating key hereafter to read our definitions.

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Taylor, J.H.

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

Course designed by J.H. Taylor in 1907, when the club moved to its current Blatchington location.

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Steel, Donald

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

Donald Steel

4-PLUS: Must play course - excellent standard; worthy of 4½ stars.
Weekdays only
Dover
Hunter & Braid

Visitors?

Weekdays only

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Original 9-holes laid out by Henry Hunter (1892), and extended to 18 (1896). Layout redesigned by James Braid (1919). Sir Guy Campbell restored the course after WWII, substantially retaining the earlier Hunter/Braid routing.

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Thurs only
London
Braid, James

Visitors?

Thurs only

Nearest city

London

Designer

Original design by an unknown professional golfer (1890); significant modifications by James Braid (1929).

5-PLUS: In the world’s elite - has few peers; one of our top-rated 5s!
Weekdays only
Dover
Purves, Dr Laidlaw

Visitors?

Weekdays only

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Original design by Dr Laidlaw Purves (1887); later revisions by Dr Alister MacKenzie (1924).

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Woosnam, Ian

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

The Dale Hill course (also known as the "Old course") dates from 1976. The "Woosnam course" was designed by Ian Woosnam (1997).

4-PLUS: Must play course - excellent standard; worthy of 4½ stars.
On application
Dover
Colt, Harry

Visitors?

On application

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Original design by English course architect Harry Colt and Scottish professional Douglas Rolland. Later revisions by Tom Simpson (1932), Sir Guy Campbell (1938), Major H.C. "Charles" Tippet (1947).

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Dover
Colt, Harry

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Current design by English course architect Harry Colt (1927).

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Guildford
Taylor, J.H.

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Guildford

Designer

J.H. Taylor

3-star: Good course – an enjoyable test for your game.
Rsrt guests only
Crawley
Williams, David

Visitors?

Rsrt guests only

Nearest city

Crawley

Designer

David Williams

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Crawley
MacKenzie, Dr Alister

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Crawley

Designer

Original designer unknown. Dr Alister MacKenzie was commissioned to make substantial design improvements in the 1920s.

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Cupp, Bob

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

American course architect Robert E. "Bob" Cupp designed the East and West courses.

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Dover
Purves, Dr Laidlaw

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Original design by Dr Laidlaw Purves (1888); later revisions by James Braid and Dr Alister MacKenzie (1924).

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Crawley
Nicholson, Peter

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Crawley

Designer

Peter Nicholson

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Cupp, Bob

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

American course architect Robert E. "Bob" Cupp designed the East and West courses.

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Weekdays only
London
Way, Paul

Visitors?

Weekdays only

Nearest city

London

Designer

Paul Way

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Rowe, Jack

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

Original design by Royal Ashdown GC professional Jack Rowe (1904). Later revisions by J.H. Taylor, Frank Pennink and club member Philip Russell-Vick.

4-PLUS: Must play course - excellent standard; worthy of 4½ stars.
Visitors welcome
London
Abercromby, John

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

London

Designer

John Frederick "Aber" Abercromby.

4-PLUS: Must play course - excellent standard; worthy of 4½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Dover
Campbell & Morrison

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Original course designed by Charles Hutchings & Percy Montagu Lucas (1906). Current 27-hole layout resulted from a significant post-war redesign by Sir Guy Campbell & John Morrison (1950).

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Dover
Faldo & Smyers

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Nick Faldo & Steve Smyers

3-PLUS: Good course - several memorable features; worthy of 3½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Brighton
Hutchinson, Horace

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

Original nine-hole course designed by Horace G. Hutchinson and Charles Mayhewe (1887). Later extended and modified by unknown others.

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Rsrt guests only
Brighton
Braid, James

Visitors?

Rsrt guests only

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

James Braid

3-star: Good course – an enjoyable test for your game.
Visitors welcome
Dover
Braid, James

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Original design by James Braid. Restored and re-opened in 1948 after WWII (when the course was covered in barbed wire and defensive positions). Extended and improved by John Lawrie (1960s).

3-star: Good course – an enjoyable test for your game.
Visitors welcome
Dover
Fowler & Simpson

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Dover

Designer

Herbert Fowler & Tom Simpson (1913).

4-star: Above average course - well worth a visit.
Visitors welcome
Rochester, Kent
Alison; Steel

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Rochester, Kent

Designer

Original design by Charles "Hugh" Alison of Colt, MacKenzie & Alison (1920s). Significant redesign and incorporation of seven new holes by Donald Steel (1997).

4-PLUS: Must play course - excellent standard; worthy of 4½ stars.
Wkends restrictd
Brighton
Hutchison, Campbell & Hotchkin

Visitors?

Wkends restrictd

Nearest city

Brighton

Designer

Original design by the firm Ferigna (Cecil K. Hutchison, Sir Guy Campbell & Col. Stafford V. Hotchkin).

4-PLUS: Must play course - excellent standard; worthy of 4½ stars.
Visitors welcome
Crawley
Scott, Archdeacon

Visitors?

Visitors welcome

Nearest city

Crawley

Designer

Original design by brothers and founding members William R. and Francis A. Lee; some input from the two other founding members: Robert Birch and Rev A.T. "Archdeacon" Scott. Later modifications made by Harry Hunter and longstanding Ashdown professional Jack Rowe (1897); final significant changes made by Jack Rowe (1922).

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Tournaments

124th US Open: the No.2 Course at Pinehurst once again plays host to this most illustrious championship (June 13-16). Wyndham Clark defends his title, having won at Los Angeles CC in 2023.

79th Women’s US Open: the second women’s major championship of the season gets underway at Lancaster CC in Pennsylvania. It’s the second time the championship has been held here.
(May 30-June 2).

Who's Who

Nelly Korda: won the Mizuho Americas Open (May 16-19) at Liberty National GC, continuing her extraordinary form in LPGA events. This was her sixth win in seven starts in 2024.

Xander Schauffele: recorded his first major championship win, and second record-equalling low score of 62 in a major. Only he, Branden Grace, Rickie Fowler and Shane Lowry have achieved this feat in a men’s major championship.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club: With a clubhouse that might befit a Roman Emperor, and a golf course to match, you can be sure of a memorable outing at Rome's most talked about golf facility.

Jim Fazio's original layout was much changed to create a modern Ryder Cup course ... now one of the Eternal City's (and Italy's) most revered.

Prince's Golf Club, Kent (UK)

Here at Prince’s Golf Club you'll find 27 excellent holes of links golf. Just over the fence and sharing similar terrain is Royal St George’s; but Prince’s is far from overshadowed by its venerable neighbour. The three nine-hole loops at Prince's, laid out over gently undulating terrain, are sure to bring a smile of satisfaction to all lovers of links golf.

Stay&Play at Prince's: excellent onsite Lodge accommodation available

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