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Trying to find the very best golf courses in the West Country?
Perhaps you are planning a golf break, society day or event and looking for the finest tracks in the region? Either way, as the West Country golf travel specialists, we felt it was our duty to bring you our top 10 courses to play in and around Bristol.
From 10 to 1 these courses showcase the very best in history, course design, prestige and enjoyment from golf, not only in the South West but indeed the UK.
Our top 10 Bristol course guide is full of venues situated at the gateway to the West Country and are a must visit for your tour to the South West. Our criteria for this list are courses with a BS postcode… we had to draw the line somewhere!
#10 Knowle Golf Club
In at 10 is the beautiful JH Taylor designed Knowle Golf Club. Located just 10 minutes from Bristol, this stunning parkland course is set in a tranquil area of the Gloucestershire countryside, while being just a short drive from the bright lights of the city centre.
The course makes full use of the topography to create challenging holes that twist their way through mature parkland and rolling countryside. From the white tees the course runs a challenging 6000 yards, full of unique holes that will challenge all aspects of your game. There are still many holes that offer birdie opportunities and these will need to be taken advantage of if you want to post a good score.
Holes to look out for include the par-4 14th, ranking as the hardest hole on the course. A tree-lined fairway means there is very little room for error from the tee, while bunkers dotted around the green make for an equally challenging approach shot, accuracy will be key to shoot a low score. The par-5 13th runs quite short at 500 yards, offering a fairly easy approach to the green after an accurate tee shot, and is definitely a hole where you want to be picking up a shot.
If you haven’t heard of this fantastic course before and are considering a golf trip to the Bristol area then we highly recommend you add this venue to your golf tour!
#9 Saltford Golf Club
Founded over 100 years ago, Saltford Golf Club recently benefited from large scale refurbishments and is now gaining a reputation as one of the premier golf courses in Somerset. A well kept and enjoyable to play course that is located within a naturally wooded setting on the rolling Somerset countryside. This challenging parkland course runs 6400 yards, with many holes enjoying stunning views of the surrounding countryside and large parts of Bath, especially from the 16th tee.
Holes to look out for include the tricky par-4 6th that ranks as the hardest hole on the course, a long uphill hole that leads to a postage stamp green, very little margin for error here. If you struggle at the 6th you may find some respite at the par-5 14th, running at just 476 yards, this hole has a stroke index of 16 and may be the easiest hole on the course to gain a shot or two.
Outside of the course Saltford offers fantastic facilities, including a large putting area, indoor and outdoor practice facilities, a brand new 6 hole academy course and an all weather driving range, everything you need to hone your game before heading out onto the course.
With it’s fantastic facilities and superb course, Saltford Golf Club definitely deserves to get a spot in the top 10.
#8 Chipping Sodbury Golf Club
This Fred Hawtree designed parkland course, a youngster compared to some courses on this list, opened for play in 1971. By far the longest course on this list so far, it runs a lengthy 6860 yards through mature woodland and stunning Gloucestershire countryside. Continued development and maturing of the grounds since it’s opening has allowed for the creation of a superb course that offers a challenge to golfers of all levels. Water hazards are a common feature throughout the course and while the greens are large, many of them are elevated from the surrounding terrain, making them seem smaller than they are.
Holes to look for include the par-4 11th, ranking as the third hardest hole on the course. This quite short par 4 runs just 398 yards but is made difficult by a river that runs across the fairway, and an approach shot that is littered with bunkers. The par-3 12th is a real feature on the course, a 169-yard hole that requires you to clear 2 bodies of water before getting to safety. The green is large but surrounded by 4 bunkers that flank the front and sides. Despite all this it plays as the 2nd easiest hole on the course and may be a birder opportunity given a good tee shot.
This meticulously designed and well kept course is an absolute delight to play and we highly recommend you visit this venue when in the Bristol area!
#7 Clevedon Golf Club
Clevedon will be celebrating its 130th birthday next year and in that time it has earned itself a reputation as one of the premier courses in Somerset. Golf has been played on the current site since 1898 and since the 90s has enjoyed major changes including 5 new holes and the installation of 18 U.S.G.A specification greens. The course winds through beautiful natural woodland and across rolling Somerset countryside, providing stunning views, especially from the 8th tee, which sits 200 feet above the fairway in the shadow of Clevedon Castle, boasting stunning views of the surrounding countryside and out towards the Severn Estuary.
The course runs 6557 yards and uses the natural contours of the land to create a variety of unique and challenging holes that will test golfers of all skill levels. Holes to look out for include the par-5 4th which runs 572 yards and is ranked as the 4th most challenging hole on the course, long and accurate shots will be needed from tee and fairway to ensure a good score. There are many holes where you can pickup shots and the par-4 13th is one of them, a short 300 yard hole with an index of 17, where many golfers fancy their chances of driving the green.
Clevedon is a fantastic venue with over 100 years of history, and offers a fantastic round of golf that should be enjoyed by everyone.
#6 Mendip Spring Golf Club
Mendip Spring is quickly becoming one of the must play venues in the South West, situated in beautiful North Somerset countryside, this well designed course boasts a challenging par-71, providing a thorough test of any golfer with its fast immaculate greens that are kept in excellent condition all year round. The 18-hole Brinsea course features many water hazards, a number of long par-5s and a variety of challenging par-3s and 4s, all the time enjoying the beautiful natural woodland and surrounding Somerset countryside.
The back nine on the Brinsea Course is particularly challenging and a few holes to look out for include the par-4 11th, a tough hole with OOB on the right and water hazards on both side of the fairway, leading to a small well-guarded green that is a tough target to hit even in good weather. A tough par-5 comes in the shape of the 13th hole, running 579yrds with a difficult dogleg and no less than 5 bunkers to avoid on the approach shot.
Mendip is a well kept course that is always a delight to play, and it’s fantastic design will delight and challenge golfers of all standards.
#5 Weston-Super-Mare Golf Club
Established in 1892, Weston-super-Mare golf club is an all year round course that offers golfers a true links golf test with long rolling fairways and challenging wind conditions. This venue is ideally located a short distance from the town centre, running along the coast and enjoying sea facing views from many holes. Designed by the famous course designer Alistair Mackenzie, the course is renowned for its superbly kept greens and long rolling fairways.
Hole to look out for include the par-4 15th, named Road Hole after it’s famous namesake at St Andrews. The hole runs a testing 458yrds, requiring a long accurate tee shot, followed by an approach shot that is made difficult by the green position and the bunkers waiting for any stray balls. Another interesting and challenging hole is the par-3 11th, the longest of the short holes stretches 199yrds and requires a tee shot that clears the deep bunkers at the front of the green.
Weston-super-Mare is a fantastic course with a great reputation. The first and only links course on our list is a great addition if you want to add some variety to your Bristol tour.
#4 Bristol & Clifton Golf Club
Regularly hosting both English Golf Union and English Women’s Golf Association events, Bristol & Clifton Golf Club is a course that has built a reputation as one of the finest in the region. The club is over 120 years old and has developed into a mature and beautifully designed parkland course that measures 6413 yards. The design of the course uses the natural undulations of the countryside to create stunning holes that will challenge golfers of all skill levels, and due to it’s excellent natural drainage it remains playable all year round.
Some noteworthy holes are the formidable 3rd hole and the 6th, par 3. The 3rd, which is ranked as the hardest hole on the course, is a 460yrd par-4 which features a tough right dogleg and no less than 7 bunkers between tee and green. Two very accurate shots are required to give yourself a chance of par. The first of the courses par-3’s (6th) is often made tough due to the possible cross-winds and offers golfers a narrow shot while avoiding the half dozen bunkers surrounding the green. Once on the green an undulating putting surface poses a further challenge.
Bristol & Clifton offers a highly enjoyable and challenging round of golf amongst tranquil settings, if you need a venue that will help you unwind then look no further.
#3 Long Ashton Golf Club
Set within over 200 acres of mature natural woodland, Long Ashton Golf Club is a meticulously designed, well maintained and beautifully presented course. The course is designed to offer a variety of challenges with no two holes playing the same. Long Ashton runs at a length of 6378yrds, winding it’s way through mature natural woodland and stunning countryside, creating a peaceful environment in which to enjoy your round. Outside of the course this venue also boasts great practice facilities, including an 8-bay driving range, a short game area and an excellent putting green.
Holes to look out for include the par-4th 7th hole. A tee shot over water is followed by a sharp dogleg to the right while water hugs the left hand side of the fairway, a raised green and bunkers on each side make the approach shot a tough one.
Another memorable hole is the 2nd, indexed as the easiest on the course. This par-3 plays at only 126yrds into a island green, set below what feels looks like a cliff face. Make no mistake, this “easy” hole has ruined the card of many so very early on!
Long Ashton is a course with a fantastic reputation and offers challenging golf on a meticulously designed course. It is also home of Ryder Cup star Chris Wood and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
#2 Kendleshire Golf Club (Hollows & Ruffet)
Kendleshire Golf Club boasts 3 stunning 9-hole courses in the shape of the Hollows, Ruffet & Badminton, all of which can be interchangeably combined to create a unique golfing experience. Combining the Hollows & Ruffet courses creates Kendleshire’s most interesting challenge, both 9-hole courses have been designed by Adrian Stiff and opened simultaneously in May 1997. When played together the course runs at 6600yrds and is designed to test every aspect of a golfers game, with numerous bodies of water, tree lines fairways and difficult approach shots, the course is both challenging and beautiful. The course is very well maintained with immaculately kept greens and great drainage that allows the course to remain playable to the highest standard all year round.
Holes to look out for include the relatively straightforward par-5 3rd, the first real birdie opportunity on the course can be taken advantage of by big hitters or those who can hit an accurate tee shot, just beware the bunkers on the approach to the green. One of the more challenging holes at Kendleshire is the long par-3 6th, playing at just over 200 yrds from the white tees, it requires an accurate tee shot to avoid a quick bogey.
Kendleshire is one of the finest golf courses in the region and really should be on the bucket list of any keen golfers, with its meticulous design, unique holes and stunning surroundings it really is a venue not be missed.
#1 The Players Club (Coddrington)
Riding the border between Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, The Players Club is a premier golfing venue that boasts two 18-hole course that were designed by Adrian Stiff, responsible for Kendleshire Golf Club sitting at #2, and has hosted numerous events. The Codrington is the premier course at the venue, with 15 of its holes being used as part of the Championship Course that incorporates holes from both the Stranahan and the original course layout. The Codrington runs at a lengthy and challenging 7100yrds, boasting long short holes and even longer par-5s, completed by a variety of challenging and unique par-4s. The course makes use of contours and characteristics of the surrounding countryside, creating a unique feel and challenging shots on almost every hole.
Particular holes to look out for would be the par-4 6th, a tough dogleg left that demands accuracy and is indexed as the toughest on the course. A thin fairway with bunkers on either side require a highly accurate tee shot, before approaching a tired green that is well guarded by bunkers and run offs. An interesting par-3 on the course is the 10th, a tough 200yrd hole that features a long lake that must be cleared to reach the raised green, nerves of steel and an accurate shot will be needed as you tee off in the shadow of the club house.
The Players Club is one of the finest courses in Gloucestershire and the South West, offering a tour level challenge to those brave enough to take it on. The club has recently increased its on site accommodation capacity to include 15 rooms, making this one of Bristol’s few true stay and play resorts. A memorable experience awaits at this fantastic venue, so make a note and plan a visit.
Unfortunately we could only fit 10 courses into this list. Bristol is blessed with a large number of great courses and some which are worth considering for your tour are mentioned below:
Filton Golf Club
Henbury Golf Club
Stockwood Vale Golf Club
Shirehampton Golf Club
Woodspring Golf Club
Woodlands Golf Club
Thornbury Golf Club
Tickenham Golf Club
Burnham & Berrow Golf Club (TA postcode)
Lansdown Golf Club (BA postcode)