Top 10 Heathland Golf Courses UK

What golfers do you know that like nothing more than to be out on the fairway? Heathland is a term used for describing an environment found in the British Isles. Heathland is able to support both grasses and heathers, which are low growing shrubs of subarctic climates.

Heathland can also consist of gorse bushes, woody brush, bracken ferns, fungi and other low-growing vegetation. Heathlands have clearly defined seasons with spring being wetter than autumn. This means that waterlogging will occur during winter months leaving the area unable to support most forms of wildlife besides birds and invertebrates such as molluscs, beetles and spiders.

Heathland courses are not only located within  the British Isles, but also in northern Europe where they are found near coastal regions. Heathlands play a vital role in supporting and attracting migrating birds and wildlife and therefore need to be preserved and protected.

Heathland golf courses generally consist of coastal courses around the south coast of Britain which experience sea breezes providing relief from warmer conditions inland.

Our top 10 Heathland Courses are:

“Hollinwell” Golf Club 

six thousand acres / Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria: Designed by Dave Thomas with Ailsa Craig stone walls surrounding the area taking you through this beautifully landscaped parkland course that contains many interlinked ponds within its fairways.

This 18-hole championship heathland course plays to a par score of 71 and measures at 6622  yards. The club has state-of-the-art golf facilities with a fantastic restaurant which looks out onto the course. The Lakeland Heathland Golf Association (LHGA) used to host an annual Heathlands championship at this golf club before it was stopped due to lack of funding in 2012.

The “Hollinwell” Heathland course is also known as one of the most picturesque courses in England, if not Europe!

Burnham & Berrow Golf Club

five hundred acres / Somerset: Designed by James Braid this 18 hole heathland course located within Burnham and Berrow Golf Club provides panoramic views over the West Somerset Coast.

This par 71 championship course measures 6 ,733 yards with a standard scratch score of 73.

Wentworth Golf Course 

six hundred acres / Virginia Water, Surrey: Designed by Howard Stupp it is one of the most famous courses in Europe having hosted many major tournaments including the

European Open and the PGA Championship. It was also winner for Best Heathland course at the 2010

Heathland Design Awards.

The Wentworth Heathland golf course has 18 holes measuring 6712 yards, par 70 and 5th ranked Heathland course in Britain (Golf Monthly Magazine).

Bovey Castle & Estate 

3250 acres / North Bovey, Devon: This heathland golf club which hosts 3 championship courses all designed by different people has for many years been the favourite Heathland golf club amongst Heathland enthusiasts.

The three courses are; “The Castle Course” designed by Dave Thomas, “The Moor Course” designed by George Lowe and “The Heathland Golf Club” designed by Howard Stupp. All three 18 hole championship Heathland courses have a par of 72 and measure from 5,852 to 7,091 yards in length.

Royal North Devon Golf Club

473 acres/ Westward Ho! Devon: This Heathland course located near Exmoor is part of a world heritage site boasting magnificent views over the Bristol Channel. Designed by Alister MacKenzie this 18-hole Heathland golf course scores a par 71  and measures 6,560 yards.

Royal Northumberland Golf Club

935 acres/ Alnmouth, Northumberland: Heathland course designed by James Braid that has 18 holes measuring 6,589 yards and par 68.  He thought that the area was an ideal location to create a Heathland golf course due to its close proximity to the sea which acts as a natural defence against high winds while also making it an ideal location for migrating birds passing through in autumn.

The club is situated within the heart of England’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Southerndown Golf Club 

840 acres/ Bridgend, South Wales: Heathland Course  designed by Fred Hawtree and partner with Bob Henning after the Second World War. Heathland golf club has a course length of 6428 yards and measures a par 69.

The Heathland course location is significant as it contains one of the best mature dune systems in South Wales, a rarity because originally most Heathlands were ploughed up during the post Medieval period to provide arable land for cereal crops.

Ryder Cup Course (Gleneagles)

twenty seven hundred acres / Gleneagles, Perthshire: Designed by Jack Nicklaus this Heathland golf course also known as “Poppies” because its main feature was fields of poppies between holes five and six which were planted by local working on the construction project that took 2 years to complete. Heathland course has an impressive 73 par and 6,560 yards in length measuring .

Bobby Jones Course 

five hundred twenty acres/ Virginia Water Surrey: Heathland Course designed by Jack Nicklaus this Heathland golf course is one of the most popular courses at Wentworth Club. Heathland course with 18 holes measures 6712 yards, with a par of 70. This Heathland Golf club hosts The Ryder Cup in 2014.

Rattan PGA West Midlands Senior Open Championship Course 

six hundred acres / Worcestershire: His success as a senior golfer winning numerous championships including the Ben Hogan Award for leading money winner on the European Seniors circuit amongst others  led to Heathland golf course being named after him. Heathland course has an impressive par of 69 and measures 6,550 to 7,040 yards in length.

Want to hear some interesting facts?

Heathlands are areas of low lying, poor draining soils that form part of the British Isles’ coastal regions such as dunes and cliffs. They were once used for grazing animals such as sheep and geese but now many Heathlands have been turned into golf courses to increase financial revenue from tourism due to their unique landscape and rich biodiversity found within Heathlands.

Heathlands were historically grazed by livestock which helps to improve and maintain open heath land and provide nutrients for wild flowers and other herbaceous plants; however, these activities can be detrimental for some  Heathland plants. Heathlands are naturally developed habitats of which Heathland golf courses are created.

Heathland Golf course is a British term for what Americans would call links golf

Heathland golf clubs were built following World War II when resources were limited but the desire to play on open heath land remained

Heathlands provide habitats that support many plant and animal species, however, some Heathland plants are protected including Autumn Gentian,  Common Spotted Orchid, Heath Milkwort and Silver-Studded Blue butterflies.

AONB stands for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; it is defined as “an area considered to be of Outstanding Natural Beauty by virtue of its having an aesthetic.

We hope you enjoyed our article on top 10 heathland golf courses, we will be soon writing an article for links golf courses too!