For golfers both serious and casual, this is the time of year when you can finally get into full swing.
Dust off that driver and polish up your putter as you prepare to relish some of the finest courses in the country. Here’s ten of the best.
Royal County Down
With arguably the best front nine holes on the planet, this ideal golfing test is only made harder by being surrounded with spectacular scenery. How are you supposed to concentrate on some deceptively harsh par 3s when the Mourne Mountains are in sight?
A firm but fair course, the host of the 2013 British Open requires you to be on top of your game with every one of your clubs. No two holes are the same while some cleverly placed bunkers will assuredly lead you into sandy trouble.
With the island of Ailsa Craig and a spectacular lighthouse providing the backdrop, Turnberry is one of the most pleasurable places in the country to hang out with a caddy. Its greens are among the smoothest in the world.
Another British Open host, this provides a tough examination of every part of your game, with thick rough, tight fairways, and slick greens. A universally popular course which is attractive, strategic, robust and beguiling.
The legendary Bobby Jones once said that he wanted to create the Sunningdale feel in Augusta. Laden with gorse, bracken and heather, the course is beautiful rather than terrifying, a reminder that golf is there to be savoured rather than stressed over.
A relentlessly tough course for those who like it that way, and if you don’t hit the fairway time after time, you’re going to find yourself in heaps of trouble. That’s easier said than done, as this course has more dog-legs than Crufts.
Not the most pleasing course on the eye, but for a sheer test of your ability, few can beat it. The experts seem to agree that its 16th hole is possibly the toughest par 3 on the planet.
Don’t be out off by the unsightly industrial backdrop, this is tipped as the best course in Wales and does offer some lovely views of the Bristol Channel.
Royal Lytham and St Annes
Founded in 1886, this has hosted two Ryder Cups and has a unique ability of being a better course as it progresses. It may be one of the shortest of the top courses, but size clearly isn’t everything with even the finest players in the world having struggled to tame this beast.
Woodhall Spa Hotchkin
Beginners should beware of this 18-holer with bunkers described as ‘bomb craters’ which metaphorically twiddle their thumbs as they await your shots. This reserved part of Lincolnshire is actually something of a hotspot given the global appeal of this devilish course.
What’s the best course you’ve played on in the UK?
Image courtesy of Turnberry