THE TOP 100 COURSES IN THE UK & IRELAND
Black denotes course played by BigLittleBirdie
Flag represents course attached to hotel / resort
Cup denotes course on the Open Rota
35 top 100 courses played to date*
(Golf: 26/ GM: 33 / GW: 28 / NCG: 29 / TOP100: 28)
The Top 100 By the Numbers
There are 133 golf courses in the UK & Ireland that can claim to be ranked in the top 100. That's because there are five publications: Golf Monthly, Golf World, National Club Golfer, Top 100 Golf Courses and now Golf each with their own list. Note Golf Monthly's approach differs from the others as it excludes courses which aren't accessible sans a member invite. Unlike some other parts of the world, this approach only excludes a handful of courses.
We couldn't make a decision which list to go with (and are somewhat optimistic about our chances) so are currently attempting to complete all five lists. Don't be surprised if we get less ambitious.
Thankfully there is significant overlap. 75 courses appear on all five lists. 16 courses feature on four lists. 7 are on three lists and 5 are on two lists. This leaves (as some Kumonsters might have already worked out), 30 courses which are unique to one list. Note Golf Monthly has the highest number of unique courses at 13.
England and London in particular is a pretty good base to tackle this challenge. Approximately half of the courses with at least one top 100 ranking are based in England (64/133). Surrey is home to 12 top courses - 2x more any other county. Coupled with the shires of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire, there are a total of 22 top ranked courses within a 90 minute drive of central London.
But Scotland dominates the top. Half of the top 10 is based on courses located in Scotland (4/5 lists).
Some well planned trips can cross off a bunch of courses in a flurry. Nine clubs are home to 20 top-rated courses. St. Andrews and Woburn are the leaders with 3 top rated courses - albeit Woburn only appears on Golf Monthly's list. Three counties - Ayrshire (Scotland), East Lothian (Scotland Golf Coast) and Merseyside (England) - are each home to 6 top-ranked courses.
Britain's most prestigious tournament is played on Britain's most prestigious courses. All ten courses on the Open Rota appear on each top 100 list. Perhaps surprisingly, the Non-Royals (Turnberry, St. Andrews, Muirfield, Carnoustie) trump the Royals (Portrush, St. George's, Birkdale, Lytham, Troon and Liverpool) when it comes to ranking.
The same can't be said about Ryder Cup venues. The last three GB&I hosts, fail to make any list. Fun fact. The King's course (Gleneagles) served as the driving range during the Ryder Cup and is on the top 100 list. Its sister course (the Queen's) is also ranked in the top 100. The course the event was played on (PGA Centenary) is not.
And in case you are wondering, we plan on taking the risk of each list changing. Our goal is to finish playing the top 100 rated courses at the time of completion.
GOLF = Golf (2022)
GM = Golf Monthly (2021 / 2022)
GW = Golf World (2020 / 2021)
NCG = National Club Golfer (2020)
TOP = Top100 Golf Courses (2022)
Average calculated only for courses appearing on all 5 top 100 lists. For sorting purposes, course assigned rank of 1,000 if not otherwise provide ranking.