Suffolk is a golfer’s paradise. With courses to suit everyone from beginners to pros, all set within swathes of lush countryside and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this tranquil county is an ideal place to play 18 holes, and then 18 more. If you’re ready to tee off on your next golfing adventure, find your inspiration in 8 of the best golf courses in Suffolk.
FELIXSTOWE FERRY GOLF CLUB
As a golfer with a busy life, there’s no better feeling than having a few precious hours of focus and peace on the golf course, especially if that course is surrounded by stunning views. That much can be said of Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club’s Martello Course: perched on the edge of the Suffolk Coast in the shadow of a historic Martello tower (originally erected as part of a chain of battlements to ward off an impending Napoleonic invasion), the course gives you views over shimmering sea and unspoilt coastline. The 18-hole course itself is similarly historic, being the 5th oldest in the country, and the only links course in Suffolk. Visitors are welcome alongside members, and the club’s testing 9-hole Kingsfleet Course is open seven days a week for pay-and-play rounds. Tee off with the dew sweepers, and you’ll see a Suffolk sunrise in all its glory.
THORPENESS HOTEL & GOLF CLUB
Any golfer with a keen interest in golf course design will know the name James Braid. As well as winning the The Open Championship five times, the Scottish professional golfer designed over 200 golf courses in England and Scotland, and is widely considered one of the best golf course architects of all time. In 1922 he designed the 18-hole championship golf course at Thorpeness Hotel & Golf Club, which winds through silver birch, pine trees, gorse and heather, a landscape reminiscent of glorious inland courses like Sunningdale. The famous House in the Clouds peeks above the trees, and a light coastal breeze brings with it the smell of the sea.
When you’re not golfing or relaxing back at the hotel, you could be exploring magical Thorpeness village. Originally created by a Scottish barrister as a private fantasy village for his family and friends, Thorpeness has a Peter Pan-inspired boating lake, mock Tudor houses, a country club and a gorgeous beach. And just as Peter Pan never wanted to grow up, you’ll never want to go home.
18th hole at Thorpeness Golf Club with the House in the Clouds
FYNN VALLEY GOLF CLUB
When it comes to the complete golfing experience, Fynn Valley Golf Club near Ipswich has it all. The challenging 18-hole course boasts picturesque valley views, tree-lined fairways, contoured greens and just under 100 bunkers to keep you occupied. Then there’s the 9-hole course, which provides a great test for juniors, beginners, and those wishing to perfect their short game. You can work on your swing at the floodlit driving range, hone your putting skills on the practice greens, take golf lessons, rent clubs and stock up on kit at the club’s golf shop, and when all is said and done, retire to one of Fynn Valley’s luxury self-catering cottages. What more could a golfer want?
UFFORD PARK HOTEL, GOLF CLUB & SPA
Ufford Park’s championship 18-hole golf course in Woodbridge stays open throughout the year, thanks to excellent natural drainage and groundskeeping, and was recently voted a Top 10 Winter Course by Today’s Golfer. With water featuring at 12 of the holes, and a risk versus reward debate that keeps discerning golfers on their toes, the course provides an entertaining challenge even to those at the top of their game. And after a day’s golf, Ufford Park provides the perfect R&R: you can take afternoon tea on the terrace, enjoy a Sunday roast or an award-winning breakfast, have a drink in the bar, or treat yourself to a pampering in the hotel’s spa.
HINTLESHAM GOLF CLUB
Set within 150 acres of tranquil countryside near Ipswich and just off the A12, Hintlesham Golf Club is in an ideal location for visiting golfers from London and the southeast. The 18-hole course unfolds beside the historic Hintlesham Hall Hotel and Home Wood landscaped gardens, with water coming into play on the 17th and 18th holes for a challenging finish, and a 200-yard 4th hole that is often described as the hardest hole in Suffolk. Despite the challenges, Hintlesham Hall’s course provides a fair and fun test for all abilities, best rounded off with a bite to eat in the award-winning clubhouse.
STOKE BY NAYLAND HOTEL, GOLF & SPA
Stoke by Nayland boasts not one but two championship courses in the heart of Constable Country, a stretch of countryside famous for being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the subject of works by two great masters of English landscape painting: John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. Constable and Gainsborough lend their names to Stoke by Nayland’s two courses, which offer golfers undulating greens, natural water hazards, stunning scenery and one of the most outstanding holes in East Anglia, as voted by the PGA. With a luxury hotel and private apartments on site, not to mention an indulgent spa, Stoke by Nayland is a golf course tailored to longer golf breaks, giving you enough time to not just play both courses, but master them.
Have a short break at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa
ROYAL WORLINGTON & NEWMARKET GOLF CLUB
Situated close to the historic towns of Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds, the Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club’s 9-hole course is often numbered among the 100 best golf courses in the UK & Ireland by Golf Monthly, and has even been called the best 9-hole golf course in the world. In the words of Fine Golf reviewer Lorne Smith, “there is so much golf to be had here that it seems scarcely possible that it amounts to a mere nine holes.” The Royal Worlington and Newmarket course is a fantastic course to play all year round, although visitors must book in advance with the club secretary, and have an up-to-date handicap certificate.
ALDEBURGH GOLF CLUB
Established in 1884, Aldeburgh Golf Course boasts a championship course ranked 31st in the country by Golf World, and the 9-hole River Course which overlooks the tranquil River Alde. While the River Course is open to all visitors regardless of handicap, a handicap certificate is required for the Championship Course, which unfurls across maritime heathland, with rugged, gorse-lined fairways and wide-open views of the river and the North Sea. Sandy, fast-draining soils make Aldeburgh’s courses ideal for winter play, with special rates for foursomes and lower green fees across the board in off-season.