Best of 2018: Hidden gems of Great Britain & Ireland

We looked at golfer reviews to find the best affordable courses that fly under the radar
The 10th at Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club is a short, potentially drivable par 4.

As our userbase continues to grow internationally, we thought we would check in on the UK and Ireland to see which courses are receiving excellent reviews so far at Golf Advisor.

We looked back at reviews from 2018 to determine the best unsung courses of Great Britain & Ireland. To determine them, we looked for courses that can be played under £100 (in most cases, they cost far less). we took a combination of their overall star rating average and combined subcategory averages. Courses needed at least two reviews in 2018 and 10 since we began tracking reviews in 2014. 711 courses that received a review in 2018 have at least 10 reviews all time.

Our user base for golf course reviews in the U.K. and Ireland are predominantly of golfers from within these parts, and are in many cases paying society or local green fees compared to U.S. golfers paying a full visitors rate.

There are many courses in the U.K. that offer an excellent experience that don't get the publicity that many of the top medal links and historic Open Championship clubs receive. We hope this list helps point you towards some pleasant alternatives.

  1. Edzell Golf Club

    Angus, Scotland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £60-80
    What they're saying: "Lovely course, good condition, greens very nice. Clubhouse food and set up was great. Loved it!" - RichieAnderson

  2. Ardglass Golf Club
    The first hole at Ardglass Golf Club plays uphill around the sea and is one of Northern Ireland's finest.

    County Down, Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £65-125
    What they're saying: "Absolutely amazing from start to finish. The views are spectacular, and I believe you can see the coast from every tee and green - truly a wonder to be hold!" - RyanAdams18

  3. Hessle Golf Club

    East Riding of Yorkshire, England | Read reviews
    Green fees: £40-50
    What they're saying: "Had a fantastic round at Hessle. Course in fantastic condition. Great course layout with some fiendishly challenging greens." - t223630101

  4. Ashburnham Golf Club
    Testing green on the 16th hole at Ashburnham Golf Club

    Carmarthenshire, Wales | Read reviews
    Green fees: £50-60
    What they're saying: "Ashburnham is a true links course with a real eclectic mix of golf holes." - u388306712

  5. Powfoot Golf Club

    Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £40-56
    What they're saying: "Played as a four ball on our way back from Carnoustie. Very good links course, quite challenging especially into the wind, the course was in very good condition." -t582156893

  6. Portsalon Golf Club

    County Donegal, Ireland
    Green fees: €50-90
    What they're saying: "I had heard good things about portsalon GC but it definitely exceeded expectations ... The standout feature of the course to me was the green complexes and surrounds." - Pointbroken

  7. Kirkistown Castle

    County Down, Northern Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £52-74
    What they're saying: "This is a proper test of links golf. Recent weather has the fairways a Coffee colour and running faster than Linford Christie. Greens are superb."

  8. Dunmurry Golf Club

    County Antrim, Northern Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £35-45
    What they're saying: "This parkland course has greatly matured within the past few years and in excellent condition for October’18 with improvements to the 15th green most noticeable." - LeeWilldridge

  9. Torrance at Fairmont St. Andrews

    Fife, Scotland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £70-95
    What they're saying: " Course in wonderful condition and a real test of links golf in the wind. Views stunning and a great round of golf." - erinrohan

  10. Church Stretton Golf Club

    Shropshire, England | Read reviews
    Green fees: £30
    What they're saying: "If you haven’t played at Church Stretton, book a round now. Probably the most characterful course in England." - J7MILLER

  11. Faldo Course at Lough Erne

    Enniskillen, Northern Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £85-95
    What they're saying: The Course is easily the best parkland course in the country that I have played with every hole well designed for enjoyment even for a 18 handicapper like myself." - Gavin8104192

  12. International Course at London Golf Club

    Kent, England | Read reviews
    Green fees: £70-95
    What they're saying: "The clubhouse, practice facilities and service are all top notch and we were made to fell at home. The course itself is really fun with some great Par 5's, (risk reward) and some picturesque Par 3's." - aajr1983

  13. Elsham Golf Club

    Linconshire, England | Read reviews
    Green fees: £40-50
    What they're saying: "Top quality course challenging good course layout. Well kept fairways and greens lush green considering the sun storm we have had. This is a top quality venue with excellent facilities clubhouse and pro shop." - GParmar

  14. Greenore Golf Club

    County Louth, Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: €35-55
    What they're saying: "Green ore is a great links style golf course just outside Dundalk County Louth. Has a nice variety of holes." - uncleandygolf

  15. Machrihanish Dunes

    Argyll, Scotland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £35-75
    What they're saying: " Loved the large hilly greens which are in perfect condition, enjoyed the different holes with hidden greens & really had to think about which shot to attempt rather than just smashing the ball as far as i could." - Davybhoy

  16. Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links

    County Dublin, Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: €55-165
    What they're saying: "Greens were the best of any of the courses I played on the trip. Rumors were that the Irish Open may be at this course in the coming years, which I think it is worthy." - Azalea13

  17. The Astbury

    Shropshire, England | Read reviews
    What they're saying: "The Astbury was in excellent condition, lovely fairways, quickish greens that held a good approach, rough can be punishing but not so bad that you lose your ball." - t2075754367
    *The course closed at the end of 2018 season for an extensive development project and will reopen in 2020.

  18. The Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course

    Roxburghshire, Scotland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £65
    What they're saying: "racking mix of holes, with some excellent par 3s especially, and a good variety off tees to suit all levels of golfer." - statto1980

  19. Bingley St. Ives Golf Club

    Yorkshire, England | Read reviews
    Green fees: £25-30
    What they're saying: "The course starts gently but once up in the moorlands the heather tightens everything up. Greens were in excellent condition and the final hole is a great way to finish." - EverydayGolfersUK

  20. Prestatyn Golf Club

    Denbigshire, Wales | Read reviews
    Green fees: £25
    What they're saying: "A really stunning course with excellent greens. A real test of links golf. Immaculately kept. Recommended." - u000003634878

  21. Machrihanish Golf Club

    Argyll, Scotland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £45-75
    What they're saying: "Distant as it is, Machrihanish is perhaps my favorite Scottish Links course. Always available, nicely priced, quick pace of play, challenging conditions." - mcgrutherk

  22. Concra Wood Golf Club

    County Monaghan, Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: €60-80
    What they're saying: "it's probably one of the best courses I've Played, it's got everything to suit all types of player, loved the design and considering the weather we've had over the past months it was in great condition, will definitely be back." - golfyball

  23. North Wales
    17th at North Wales GC

    Llandudno, Wales | Read reviews
    Green fees: £40-60
    What they're saying: "My wife and I had a lovely holiday round of links golf at North WAles GC. Course brown hard and fast!" - 1459

  24. Dufferin Course at Clandeboye Golf Club

    County Down, Northern Ireland | Read reviews
    Green fees: £55-65
    What they're saying: "Fast and true. Always a tricky test of golf requiring accuracy throughout." - u461333662

  25. Pike Fold Golf Club

    Bury, England | Read reviews
    Green fees: £15-25
    What they're saying: "Course was in great condition with a good mix of holes and strategically placed bunkers ready to catch you out plus a few water hazards." - Martin4711970

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Best of 2018: Hidden gems of Great Britain & Ireland