10 of the best hotels for golfers

Get into the swing of things at grand country houses and cosy inns

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The Independent Travel

From English seaside clubs to a Scottish island mansion with its own course, golfers are spoiled for choice in the UK and Ireland. 

The Good Hotel Guide features some great hotels for golfers – here’s a selection of their recommendations.

BUDOCK VEAN, MAWNAN SMITH, CORNWALL

The Barlow family’s 18th-century manor house, resort and spa hotel stands in parkland that slopes down to the Helford River. Its own nine-hole, 18-tee golf course was designed by James Braid, five times Open winner, working with the lie of the land. Guests pay no green fees, while summer specials include play at up to two local courses. Putter off to Falmouth, to Truro, or to Mullion on the cliffs, where A A Milne used to play. When it’s time for a little something, return to the hotel for a Cornish cream tea.

B&B £73–£141 per person (01326 252100; budockvean.co.uk)

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Budock Vean

THE WHITE HORSE, BRANCASTER STAITHE, NORFOLK

The views are of salt marsh and North Sea from the Nye family’s delightful inn, handy for the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, commonly known as Brancaster. Visitors are warmly welcomed – in limited numbers. The course is subject to wind and tides. Only two balls are permitted, so play is fast. The lay-out retains much of Holcombe Ingleby’s original design. The bright and breezy, feel-good atmosphere is shared by hotel and golf course. 

B&B doubles £100–£190 (01485 210262; whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk)

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Marsh views from the White Horse

STAR CASTLE, ST MARY’S, ISLES OF SCILLY

Guests at the Francis family’s star-shaped 16th-century garrison and characterful hotel have use of England’s most south-westerly golf course at the Isles of Scilly club. It’s a challenging nine-green, 18-tee course with great views across the islands. All are welcome in the friendly clubhouse with panoramic vistas from the balcony. Sleep in a castle bedroom or in chalet-style accommodation. Start the day with a spectacular hotel breakfast.

B&B singles £75-£127 (01720 422317; star-castle.co.uk)

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Star Castle

TREFEDDIAN HOTEL, ABERDYFI, GWYNNED

You can practise your putting on the immaculate nine-hole green at this traditional, family-friendly hotel, where the lounge overlooks Cardigan Bay and Aberdyfi Golf Club. The Aberdyfi course has come a long way since the 1880s, when one Colonel Ruck planted nine flowerpots for holes. The rolling links are so beautifully situated between the Dovey estuary and the Cambrian Mountains, even a bad golf day is a good day.

B&B per person from £65; two-night minimum stay preferred (01654 767213; trefwales.com)

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Trefeddian Hotel

CASTLE COTTAGE, HARLECH, GWYNNED

In the shadow of the 13th-century castle, this restaurant with rooms occupies two of Harlech’s oldest buildings. Expect contemporary décor and great modern food within a beamed interior. Below is Royal St David’s, one of the world’s finest traditional links golf courses, with a variety of tees to suit all abilities, superb practice facilities, and tuition for novices. There are spectacular views of Snowdonia – and a 10 per cent discount for hotel guests.

B&B doubles £130–£175 (01766 780479; castlecottageharlech.co.uk)

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Castle Cottage

COUL HOUSE, CONTIN, HIGHLANDS

A single-track road lead to this Georgian country house built for a baronet, now a traditional family-run hotel. Two- and three-day golfing breaks include use of several hidden gem courses such as Strathpeffer, Fortrose, Muir of Ord. Or upgrade to one of the more famous courses – Royal Dornoch, Tain and Nairn. Choose your course and tee time and they’ll make the arrangements. Ask for a bedroom with mountain views; eat modern cooking in a showpiece octagonal dining room.

B&B single £95–£105, double £175–£325 (01997 421487; coulhousehotel.com)

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Coul House

ISLE OF ERISKA HOTEL, ERISKA, ARGYLL AND BUTE

You cross a bridge at the mouth of Loch Creran to reach this Victorian baronial mansion turned spa hotel, which has a Michelin-starred restaurant and its own golf facility. What began in 1994 as a three-hole pitch-and-putt is today a six-hole par-22 course, on its way to becoming a nine-hole, par-35 course. All abilities are welcome to play the course and use the driving range. Golf academy weekends include group lessons, or one-to-one tuition.

B&B doubles £350–£480; two-night minimum stay (01631 720371; eriska-hotel.co.uk)

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Bunkers with a view at Eriska

STELLA MARIS, BALLYCASTLE, CO MAYO

On the Wild Atlantic Way, on Ireland’s rugged West Coast, this 19th-century former coast guards’ HQ turned convent is now run as a welcoming and comfortable hotel, filled with paintings and antiques. A long conservatory looks out over Bunatrahir Bay. Drive 40 minutes to Enniscrone golf course, stunningly situated on a promontory jutting out into Killalla Bay. Or choose the wild and beautiful dune-scape of Carne, the last design of the late great Irish course architect Eddie Hackett. 

B&B per person from €75 (00 353 96 43322; stellamarisireland.com)

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Stella Maris

RATHSALLAGH HOUSE, DUNLAVIN, CO WICKLOW

The O’Flynn family’s country house, in converted Queen Anne stables, sits surrounded by Rathsallagh Golf Club on the Wicklow/Kildare border. Described as “Augusta without the azaleas”, this “true championship course” is laid out over 270 acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and some of Ireland’s best bunkering. Golf club and hotel are separate operations, but the hotel team are happy to help you to book tee time. Bedrooms are terrific, and the cooking is modern.

B&B doubles €160–€200 (00 353 45 403112; rathsallagh.com)

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The course at Rathsallagh

ROMNEY BAY HOUSE, NEW ROMNEY, KENT

Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper planned to create an English Le Touquet here on the wild, evocative Kent marshes. It was never to be, and the house that Clough Williams-Ellis built for Hopper – now run as a smart but friendly hotel – stands in glorious isolation between the English Channel and Littlestone Golf Club. Choose the Championship Links, or Littlestone Warren for a shorter, less demanding game. It’s pay and play, and all are welcome. Rye Golf Club is just up the road, but tee time is much sought after. Back at the hotel enjoy a superb no-choice dinner; sleep in a four-poster bed.

B&B doubles £95–£164 (01797 364747; romneybayhousehotel.co.uk)

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Romney Bay House

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