We asked top blogger, Peter Finch, to join us on a golfing break and share with you his favourite places to play golf in the UK.
Golf vlogger, blogger, journalist and golf coach Peter Finch is the go-to for golf tips, golf drills and advice on how to improve everything from your putt to your par. Take note of all his tips as he takes to the famous Celtic Manor golf course and shares his favourite golf courses across the UK.
As golfers we are, at times, blissfully unaware how blessed we are in the UK.
Yes, the weather can be changeable! At times, winter stretches its icy grip onto our courses when spring really should be waking but even on the dankest December morning, our land offers up an abundance of locations ready for golfers to experience.
Sitting on a low wooden bench outside the world-famous Ty Coch Inn it struck me - not only are the courses themselves fantastic but the surrounding areas can offer other experiences, such as a beach, a beer and good company. It’s here I start my recommendations into where golfers should look to stay and play, on the beach overlooking cliffs, mountains, sea birds and of course the incredible peninsula at Nefyn.
North Wales may not instantly jump out from a map and scream GOLF HERE IS BRILLIANT!! But then again nothing does, there are probably rules against it. However, the courses available, especially those hugging the dramatic coastline are sublime. From Conwy, Bull Bay, Nefyn and District, Royal St David’s to Aberdovey - this ancient land is scattered with gems.
Wales as a country is beautiful. The green hills constantly roll into each other only punctuated by rivers, lakes and forests. Nature laps incessantly into the small towns and communities scattering the coastline and this is where the best golf can be found.
Royal St David’s for example is situated in Harlech, a town dominated by its medieval castle with stunning views across the bay to Snowdonia. Below the stern castle turrets and perched on a rocky outcrop, this incredible golf course sits. Once a seabed, it’s now regarded as one of the best links courses in the world. Challenging but fair, fast but true, testing but rewarding. Royal St David’s should be hosting top level professional events.
Further north around the coast Nefyn and District features one of golf’s most dramatic challenges. Hitting out onto the peninsula, wind battering the cliffs your senses stand on end! Royal St David’s is a tough test of golf, Nefyn is balm for the soul. And below the cliffs upon which the course sits there is the Ty Coch Inn, a pub which you MUST put on your to-drink-at list.
During my most recent stay in Wales I based myself at the Premier Inn around Conwy and Llandudno, an hour north east of Nefyn and Harlech. Llandudno in the sun is beautiful, shining hotels and a sweeping beach broken by its long stretching pier reaching into the ocean and only a few miles away sits Conwy.
Conwy is one of the world’s best preserved walled medieval towns with a stunning castle dominating the town’s main entrance, which you can pass beneath when heading to Conwy Golf Club. This course utterly beat me up!! The wind was howling, with my cap constantly flying into the air. I was knee deep in rough, hacking from bunkers and forcing all my willpower to stay strong! But then standing in the evening sunset, overlooking the sea and mountains I felt utterly at peace. The wind was still blowing but it helped my worries drift out to sea. The horizon was shimmering and the sun’s last rays beat against surrounding slopes and dunes, where else would I rather be?
Imagine a drop of ink falling into water. First it explodes, silently, fragmenting and swirling into long strands near to where it impacted the surface. Then it dilutes spending throughout the host liquid until everything is a shade different. The world is the water, the ink drop golf and the source, Scotland. To think that many golfers obsessed with the game haven't even visited its birthplace is crazy. Golf in Scotland is different, it’s authentic and a lot of that authenticity can be found in East Lothian. Just east of Edinburgh (a city you must also visit) the lush lowland countryside pushes up to the coastline where a plethora of incredible golf courses await. Gullane, North Berwich, Craigielaw, Archerfield and of course Muirfield. And don’t for a second believe that's it, there are dozens of courses nearby all offering a brilliant high calibre of links.
This may be a curve ball for many golfers, THE LAKE DISTRICT! As a northerner, I cannot overestimate my love for the Lakes. My heart sits most content whilst by the Lakeland fells but as an alternative golfing retreat this area is underestimated. The courses, with the exception of Silloth on Solway, will never hold big tournaments but they are undervalued and offer the chance to play golf in some truly stunning scenery. Windermere Golf Club for example, on a still summer evening will strike you silent, panoramic views from atop Ulverston will leave you spinning and the mental nature of Silverdale smiling. Cumbria and the Lakes is always worth a visit, but this time throw your clubs into the car as well.
In Surrey, there is grouping of courses which would never, ever, get boring to play. For example, if you were to stay in Woking you could get to West Hill, St Georges Hill, The Berkshire, Sunningdale and Wentworth within 30 minutes! And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Heathland and parkland splendour await the travelling golfer. These courses do come with a price tag (it’s Surrey after all) but their quality and history cannot be denied. Save your pennies and head to Surrey for some awesome golf!
There are so many different locations to choose from when trying to recommend people to go play. The golf coast in England’s North West is incredible as is the golf around Aberdeen. There are dozens of other areas prime to explore but one often overlooked is just north of Leeds. Within a 15-minute drive of each other, lie such gems as Open Qualifying Venue - Moortown, Moor Allerton and Alwoodley. All are brilliant venues with superb facilities. Of course, being a Lancastrian I feel duty bound to warn you about Yorkshire folk, but they've always been lovely to me!