"Before I even begin to tell you how good this golf course is I want to let you know just how perfect the entire set-up at West Sussex is. The golf course is almost perfect. West Sussex, on the edge of the South Downs, is quite simply a wonderful place and a magnificent location to golf."
Top Sub-Par 70 Golf Courses of the United Kingdom
Par-fives are overrated. Think about it, of all the great holes in golf how many of them are par-fives?
The answer is not many. Generally speaking they are the least interesting type of hole. However, the majority of golf courses in the world will generally have at least three (often four) par-fives on their scorecard along with four or five par-threes to balance the books and give an overall par of somewhere between 70 and 72, with most leaning towards the higher end of this scale.
There are of course exceptions to this and if you look closely there are some fantastic golf courses which have a par under 70. In fact when we started going through all the courses which are sub-par 70 we were astonished to see so many of our favourites. Generally par is less because there are fewer par-fives as opposed to an increased number of short holes.
We only include 18-hole golf courses in the list. That may seem harsh on the many fine nine-holers under this par but we already have a dedicated section for the best nine-hole golf courses.
Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played extensively throughout the United Kingdom and below he gives his personal top 20 golf courses which are sub-par 70.
All of the venues also have an attached golf course review.
If you know any par 69 golf courses (or less) we'd love to hear your own recommendations.
Top Sub-Par 70 Golf Courses of the United Kingdom
"It’s safe to say there’s a lot more to Rye Golf Club than the actual golf course. It’s an idiosyncratic club with a distinguished history and fully deserves its place as a special component in the rich tapestry of English golf. Here is a place where you will find that the respect for the traditional aspects of the game are very much still at the forefront."
"Except for the undeniable beauty of the 12th hole there’s nothing truly outstanding at Southerness. Please note that this isn’t meant with negative connotations though because everything about this true links course is of a consistently high standard and is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s sleeping gems."
St. Enodoc (Church) (69)
"St. Enodoc Golf Club, sitting proudly above the affluent village of Rock on the North Cornish coast, is a much revered and cherished place to play golf. It is held in extremely high regard by a number of notable golfing personnel, institutions and publications."
Swinley Forest (68)
"Swinley Forest is a delectably English golf club set in the heart of the Berkshire sand-belt on a secluded parcel of land boasting beautiful heather, gorse and pines. It’s not only one of the most charming courses, in an area blessed with a plethora of wonderful heathland venues, but also one of the best."
"I recently took advantage of the 3-round ticket that the Carnoustie Golf Links offers. For the sum of £200 this entitled me to one round on each of the three courses. The focal point of the trip was of course the main championship course, a notoriously testing links that has hosted The Open Championship on seven occasions."
Royal St. David's (68)
"Royal St. David’s is regarded as one of the best links courses in Wales and has a reputation for being a fearsome test of golf. The numbers certainly back that claim up. The par of 69 from the championship blue markers has an SSS of 73 and the maximum yardage of 6,629 includes a number of brutish par fours; seven of them over the 430 yard mark!"
"I’m not really bothered if you’ve crossed an ocean, a sea or just the Irish border to make it to Royal County Down but missing a quick spin on their relief course would be a mistake. It’s a wee course full of character, contains some exceptionally good golf and is played over the same joyous terrain as its big brother."
"I played Blackmoor on a beautiful summer evening, paid just £35 for a twilight green-fee and had virtually the entire property all to myself. I drove away in disbelief wondering why people weren’t queuing up to play this fabulous golf course situated just minutes off the A3 in Hampshire."
New Zealand (68)
"New Zealand Golf Club is one of the least heralded golf courses on the Surrey sandbelt yet it is one of the most fascinating and maximises its relatively flat terrain to great effect. I suspect The Club are quite happy that their course often goes under the radar and certainly doesn’t seek the attention that others crave."
West Hill (69)
"In an area drenched with a bountiful number of the country’s elite courses West Hill stands proud as one of Surrey's oldest and most respected. The alluring venue is consistently cited as a firm favourite for many a travelling golfer and there’s an undeniable charm to whacking your ball around this fabulous and tranquil parcel of heath."
"If you succumb to the notion of par then Aldeburgh is as tough as old boots. Its par of 68 versus a SSS of 73 is testament to that. Playing over 6,600 yards from the back markers there are a dozen par fours that exceed the 400 yard mark (seven greater than 425) and you won’t find a par five in sight."
Gleneagles (Queen's) (68)
"It’s possible, and most likely probable, that the Queen’s at Gleneagles is the best golf course under 6,000 yards. Not just in Scotland but anywhere. Yet don’t be fooled into thinking this is a short layout which can be overpowered or that it’s a fiddly little thing lacking any real substance."
"I heard the squelch first. The gentle sinking sensation soon followed. However, it was a few seconds before I felt the warm, moist trickling sensation around my ankle. The smell came shortly afterwards."
"Prestwick St. Nicholas is one of those links courses that you just cannot fail to fall in love with. Even before you reach the car park you catch a glimpse of the course and its humpy-bumpy linksland. As it transpires these are the 17th and 18th holes so you must wait a little bit longer to enjoy these, but it is worth the wait and the journey to get there is just as enjoyable."
The Addington (69)
"The Addington is a golf course that divides opinion. Some say it is one of England's finest courses. Others regard it amongst the World's best!"
Wentworth (East) (68)
"The East at Wentworth is almost certainly the most fun and scoreable of the three on the estate. Many also argue it is the architecturally superior of the trio."
"Of all the links golf courses around the Fife Coast the Balcomie Links at Crail must be the most picturesque of them all. The view of the rocky coastline from the elevated, modern clubhouse is panoramically majestic and the scenery to feast on as you golf over the links is just about unrivalled in this part of the world."
Kirkistown Castle (69)
"Kirkistown Castle is a true links golf course near Cloughy on the Eastern shore of the Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland. The present day layout of this no-nonsense, old-school, authentic links is attributed to James Braid."
"Piltdown, founded in 1904, is a quaint heathland golf course tucked away in a sleepy corner of leafy Sussex. There’s a lovely feeling and atmosphere around the clubhouse and cozy proshop which are situated on the other side of a country round to the actual golf course."
"I’m easily pleased. All I ask for is good turf, natural movement in the land and engaging greens. Simply give me all of those on a golf course and I’m a happy bunny. Sadly most courses don’t offer any of the above. A relatively small number have one of the trio whilst the saying ‘two out of three ain’t bad’ can be applied to even fewer venues. However, at Appleby it’s a case of tick, tick, tick."
"At just 5,700 yards Cavendish may be on the short side in terms of length but there is nothing lacking in the amount of fun that can be had at this Derbyshire delight. Here you will find some of wickedest and most interesting putting surfaces in the UK and a handful of wonderful green complexes."
"Located in the very heart of the Lake District, Windermere Golf Club must be one of the most adventurous golf courses I know and I make no apology for loving bamboozling layouts like this."
"Edgbaston is a highly impressive private members golf club laid out on a rolling, albeit compact, parcel of parkland just one mile from the centre of Birmingham."
Reddish Vale (69)
"The golf course at Reddish Vale is one I would advise anybody to play. Not only is it one of the best value venues in the North West it is also one of the most interesting and entertaining."
We would love to hear if you agree or disagree with our selections. You can do so in the comments box below or tweet us.