"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."
Top 20 Under 6,000 Yard Golf Courses of the United Kingdom
The golf ball is travelling too far. As a direct result golf courses are getting longer and subsequently rounds are taking up too much time.
These are not new problems for golf but in the fast-paced modern society that we live in nowadays it has become a serious issue. Existing layouts are being undermined because of modern equipment, certainly at the elite level, whilst others are being stretched to within an inch of their life thanks to the constant need to add new tees.
Erin Hills broke new ground at the 2017 US Open with a yardage of 7,800 and there are already 'future proofed' golf courses in existence that exceed 8,000 yards. Most of the recognised top golf courses in the United Kingdom have 'championship' tees over the 7,000 yard mark and whilst there are forward tees for daily play the length of golf courses is only going one way. Rant over!
Golf is not all about length though. There are many wonderful shorter golf courses in Great Britain where creativity, course management and shot-making trump the distance a person is able to hit the ball. They are no less enjoyable either, in fact they tend to be a lot more fun. Plus, I think most of us would rather be making birdies than bogeys anyway.
Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played extensively throughout the United Kingdom and below he gives his personal top 20 golf courses under 6,000 yards.
The criteria was simple. If it is possible to play any given golf course from tees measuring 6,000 yards or more it was excluded from consideration.
We also only include 18-hole golf courses in the list. That may seem harsh on the many fine nine-holers under this yardage but we already have a dedicated section for the best nine-hole golf courses.
To help compile the list Golfshake.com very kindly assisted by providing data to help us identify golf courses under 6,000 yards. Without their help it would have been an onerous task and this feature may well not have even been completed.
Many of the venues also have an attached golf course review. If there is no review it means the course was played pre-2013.
If you know any courses that play no more than 6,000 yards we'd love to hear your recommendations.
Top 20 Under 6,000 Yard Golf Courses of the United Kingdom
2. Royal County Down (Annesley) (4,594)
"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."
3. Boat of Garten (5,876)
"With around 3,000 golf clubs in the UK it’s inevitable that courses will get bracketed by style and character. Whether it be parkland, heathland or links it’s usually quite easy to compare one similar type of course to another. Not at Boat of Garten! This is one of the most unique golf courses I have ever played. "
4. Crail (5,861)
"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."
5. Dunaverty Golf Club (4,799)
"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."
6. Kington (5,961)
"There’s something quite remarkable about Kington. It has what I call the “Double Q” factor; Quirk and Quality. It has a similar eccentric personality to many other hilltop layouts as well as good turf, natural contours, kooky features and plenty of undulation."
7. Cavendish (5,721)
"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."
8. Appleby (5,998)
"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."
9. Windermere (5,122)
"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."
10. Kilspindie (5,502)
"The 18 holes at Kilspindie are such an enjoyable place to play links golf. You won’t find championship standard golf here but that’s not to say the course doesn’t present plenty of challenges, it does, and you will have much fun rising and perhaps falling to them."
11. Reay (5,854)
"A minibus of American golfers is not the first thing I expected to see on arrival at Reay Golf Club; the most northerly 18 hole links on mainland Scotland! To our surprise there were around a dozen Yanks milling around the clubhouse, some on the putting green, others just paying their green-fee."
12. Inverallochy (5,436)
"Firstly, a confession. We only added Inverallochy to our recent Scotland trip itinerary because of its close proximity to Fraserburgh, located just a few miles down the coast. However, we’re so glad that we did because it’s a lovely links golf course and one I will remember with much fondness."
13. Gullane (No.3) (5,259)
"The No.3 course has a certain charm and character to it. Not that the other two don’t but this, the shortest of the three, has a few more eccentric holes. The greens are smaller and even though you are often going in with a short iron they are still tricky to find and as equally well bunkered as the other two courses."
14. Strathlene Buckie (5,977)
"Strathlene was the final Scottish golf course I played that features in the True Links book by George Peper and Malcolm Campbell – a publication that details all the genuine links golf courses in the world."
15. West Cornwall (5,850)
"Established in 1889 West Cornwall Golf Club at Lelant is the oldest in the peninsula county, it is also one of the finest. The course benefits from a splendid location close to the Hayle Estuary with superb views out to St. Ives Bay but also serves up an exciting and true test of golf."
16. Formby Ladies (5,374)
"Formby Ladies is a uniquely special golf course where the 18 holes flow seamlessly over a varied landscape spawning an enjoyable and memorable experience. Although not a pure links course it has many playing characteristics of true linksland resulting in a wonderful array of shots required."
17. Welshpool (5,846)
"The guy behind the bar who I handed my £12 twilight green-fee to simply laughed after he asked if I had played the course before and I replied, “No”. I tend to get that quite often due to the nature of courses I visit and I therefore immediately knew I was going to have a fun round."
18. Llandrindod Wells (5,762)
"Atop a large hill in Mid Wales above the Victorian spa town of Llandrindod Wells lays a topsy-turvy, rough-and-tumble, bags-of-fun golf course. It was originally laid out by six-times Open Champion Harry Vardon then subsequently altered by the prolific course designer James Braid (who only managed to win The Open on five occasions) and gives us a glimpse into how golf was played a century ago."
19. Bamburgh Castle (5,645)
"Bamburgh Castle most definitely falls into the ‘odd sock drawer’ of golf courses… and that’s a good thing! Sporty in nature this entertaining course was in fantastic condition towards the end of February 2015. Sporty in nature this entertaining course was in fantastic condition towards the end of February 2015."
20. Grantown-on-Spey (5,710)
"Established in 1890 Grantown-on-Spey Golf Club is a picturesque and varied course situated in the heart of the beautiful Cairngorm National Park. The 5,710-yard course, which owes its well draining nature to its gravel base, is easily split into three distinct sections."
Close, but no Cigar!
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.