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John Handley

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England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« on: June 01, 2023, 12:46:12 PM »
I put together regular trips to Scotland/Ireland for 8-12 of us. We've been doing it for 20+ years.   In 2024 we are going to do England for the first time.  Since I have never played golf in England, I thought I'd seek some advice from the group.  All golfers are single digit handicaps and experience/quality of courses are more important than cost.  That said, here is what I am thinking at this point:


Fly US to Manchester
Day 1 Royal Liverpool
Day 2 Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Day 3 Royal Birkdale
Day 4 Royal Lytham & St. Annes then have Sprinter Van drive to Sandwich
[/size]Day 5 Royal St. George's
[/size]Day 6 Swinley Forest
[/size]Day 7 Sunningdale New & Old
[/size]Day 8 St. George's Hill
[/size]Day 9 Fly to US
[/size]
[/size]So the biggest question, is that it's a 6 hr drive down to Sandwich.  We'd stay 2 nights and play RSG.  Are we missing out by not playing Deal?
[/size]
[/size]Or should we punt the Sandwich part and just stay in London area and add Walton Heath Old?

[/size]Any thoughts on the golf, places to stay, places to eat, etc. is appreciated.

[/size]John


John Mayhugh

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2023, 01:28:07 PM »
I put together regular trips to Scotland/Ireland for 8-12 of us. We've been doing it for 20+ years.   In 2024 we are going to do England for the first time.  Since I have never played golf in England, I thought I'd seek some advice from the group.  All golfers are single digit handicaps and experience/quality of courses are more important than cost.  That said, here is what I am thinking at this point:


Fly US to Manchester
Day 1 Royal Liverpool
Day 2 Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Day 3 Royal Birkdale
Day 4Royal Lytham & St. Annes then have Sprinter Van drive to Sandwich
Day 5 Royal St. George's
Day 6 Swinley Forest
Day 7 Sunningdale New & Old
Day 8 St. George's Hill
Day 9 Fly to US

So the biggest question, is that it's a 6 hr drive down to Sandwich.  We'd stay 2 nights and play RSG.  Are we missing out by not playing Deal?

Or should we punt the Sandwich part and just stay in London area and add Walton Heath Old?

Any thoughts on the golf, places to stay, places to eat, etc. is appreciated.

John
Your trip seems to be focused on playing the most notable courses in England (i.e. Open or major tournament hosts), but in doing so you probably miss the best part of visiting England - the incredible variety.

IMO, there are at least three trips to England needed:
London: Sunningdale, Swinley, St. Georges Hill, Walton Heath, Woking, Huntercombe, Berkshire

Kent: Sandwich, Deal, Rye, West Sussex, Princes (?)  - can mix in London courses, but first three shouldn't be missed

Southport/Manchester/Midlands etc.: this one has a lot of driving but in addition to the Rota courses, play Formby/Formby ladies, Ganton, Alwoodley, Notts, Brancaster, Woodhall Spa. Plenty of others to include.


If you skip "second tier" courses in England, you're making a huge mistake. And I didn't even list the more rustic places like Kington & Cleeve Hill, which will be every bit as memorable as a Rota course.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2023, 01:47:45 PM »
Stay in the London area. There are plenty of good courses there. It is a lot of driving to play Sandwich. Not sure why you want to play Lytham twice. There are plenty of good clubs on your way to London.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2023, 12:55:51 AM by Tommy Williamsen »
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Brett Meyer

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2023, 01:51:16 PM »
It sounds like given the number of trips you guys have done in the past, you'll probably get a chance to do other trips to England in the future. And if that's the case, you should split England up into a few trips. You could easily do a 10 day SE England trip, and it'd be terrific (but very expensive). You absolutely shouldn't miss West Sussex, Rye, and Deal and should also see several others including the 3 Ws (Woking, Worplesdon, West Hill) and Walton Heath. Plus, you could probably do that whole trip staying in just two hotel rooms. So it's much more travel efficient and you're probably sacrificing nothing with the quality of the courses.

I'd also highly recommend a Southwest England + Wales trip, which I did in 2016. Starting west from London, you can do Cleeve Hill and the Cotswold courses, Royal Porthcawl, Pennard, then turn south and do Burnham & Berrow down to Perranporth. I just came back from Ireland where I did everything from Dublin (Portmarnock) to Donegal (Narin & Portnoo) and honestly, with the exception of Royal County Down and Royal Portrush, I preferred the Southwest England + Wales courses (they were also much cheaper).

David_Tepper

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2023, 01:56:17 PM »
My suggestion would be to play/stay along the Lancashire coastline. Play Birkdale, Lytham St. Annes, Liverpool and add Formby, Hillside, West Lancs & Southport Ainsdale. That is 7 quality links courses. I am sure you will want to play some of those courses more than once. Stay in or near Southport and your driving will be kept to a minimum.

p.s. Add Wallasey to the list!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2023, 09:02:48 AM by David_Tepper »

Pete Lavallee

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2023, 02:43:11 PM »
I would also suggest two separate trips; one for the northwest and one for the South which could include Kent and the London area courses.


We did a northwest trip that included:


Royal Lytham St. Anneís, stay at the Dormie House a great experience
Royal Birkdale
Formby and Formby Ladies
Royal Liverpool
Wallasy
Delamere Forest, superb inland design by Fowler
St. Anneís Old Links, the keenest of all the links courses we played


« Last Edit: June 01, 2023, 03:02:58 PM by Pete Lavallee »
"...one inoculated with the virus must swing a golf-club or perish."  Robert Hunter

Jeff Schley

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2023, 02:46:26 PM »
My suggestion would be to play/stay along the Lancashire coastline. Play Birkdale, Lytham St. Annes, Liverpool and add Formby, Hillside, West Lancs & Southport Ainsdale. That is 8 quality links courses. I am sure you will want to play some of those courses more than once. Stay in or near Southport and your driving will be kept to a minimum.
This trip would be great. Fly into Manchester and you are an hour or so away from the coast. The cost of hotels will be much cheaper than London certainly as a benefit as well. I love the heathland London courses (Sunningdale, Walton Heath, St. George's Hill), however for the links experience it is either this NW trip or go down to Deal in the Southeast which would be enjoyable as well. I hope your group is flexible in playing when it rains, as with a larger group it would be a downer to have 1-2 guys complaining the whole time.
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2023, 02:51:38 PM »
Not for this trip, but southwest England and Wales are my favorite places to play. Wales is like Ireland was thirty years ago. There is an embarrassment of riches, and the scenery along the craggy coast is nothing short of stunning.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Ira Fishman

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2023, 04:33:49 PM »
My advice would be to look at the Scottish and Irish courses that your group has most enjoyed over the past 20 years. Whatever is most comparable in England is what they probably will enjoy. I doubt that venturing far off the beaten path will work even if doing so might offer great rewards. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks especially when you are the organizer.


Ira

MKrohn

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2023, 12:14:08 AM »
Sometimes I look at these itineraries and figure I would need a week off when I got home.


I rate the trip we did around Southport as one of my favourites, so much good golf*, I like the seaside towns, additionally I am a big fan of double plays rather than rushing all over the country.......guess its each to his/her own on that.






*The guy that organised our trip managed to get us a game at Formby Hall Resort, was a nice day off, the desparates played.

David Kelly

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2023, 12:27:31 AM »
I would also suggest two separate trips; one for the northwest and one for the South which could include Kent and the London area courses.


We did a northwest trip that included:


Royal Lytham St. Anneís, stay at the Dormie House a great experience
Royal Birkdale
Formby and Formby Ladies
Royal Liverpool
Wallasy
Delamere Forest, superb inland design by Fowler
St. Anneís Old Links, the keenest of all the links courses we played


Pete, I'm doing that exact same trip in August, minus Birkdale, which I've played, and adding S&A and a few courses in north Wales. 
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

David Kelly

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2023, 12:44:36 AM »
I put together regular trips to Scotland/Ireland for 8-12 of us. We've been doing it for 20+ years.   In 2024 we are going to do England for the first time.  Since I have never played golf in England, I thought I'd seek some advice from the group.  All golfers are single digit handicaps and experience/quality of courses are more important than cost.  That said, here is what I am thinking at this point:


Fly US to Manchester
Day 1 Royal Liverpool
Day 2 Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Day 3 Royal Birkdale
Day 4Royal Lytham & St. Annes then have Sprinter Van drive to Sandwich Day 5 Royal St. George's
Day 6 Swinley Forest
Day 7 Sunningdale New & Old
Day 8 St. George's Hill
Day 9 Fly to US

So the biggest question, is that it's a 6 hr drive down to Sandwich.  We'd stay 2 nights and play RSG.  Are we missing out by not playing Deal?

Or should we punt the Sandwich part and just stay in London area and add Walton Heath Old?

Any thoughts on the golf, places to stay, places to eat, etc. is appreciated.

John
Your trip seems to be focused on playing the most notable courses in England (i.e. Open or major tournament hosts), but in doing so you probably miss the best part of visiting England - the incredible variety.

IMO, there are at least three trips to England needed:
London: Sunningdale, Swinley, St. Georges Hill, Walton Heath, Woking, Huntercombe, Berkshire

Kent: Sandwich, Deal, Rye, West Sussex, Princes (?)  - can mix in London courses, but first three shouldn't be missed

Southport/Manchester/Midlands etc.: this one has a lot of driving but in addition to the Rota courses, play Formby/Formby ladies, Ganton, Alwoodley, Notts, Brancaster, Woodhall Spa. Plenty of others to include.


If you skip "second tier" courses in England, you're making a huge mistake. And I didn't even list the more rustic places like Kington & Cleeve Hill, which will be every bit as memorable as a Rota course.

Well if you don't plan on getting back to England for a long time or ever than I would go with your itinerary because it is all the cream of the crop. 


However, as England is my favorite place to travel to play golf I can tell you that as John said, you would do better to really explore one area at a time because you will be encountering gem after gem and if you go on future trips, which you probably will want to do once you've been there, you will be spending a lot of time doubling back to hit some courses you've missed before. 


If you take Pete Lavallee's itinerary and add Southport & Ainsdale, Hillside and West Lancashire then maybe Fairhaven and even Conwy at the very top of Wales, then you would have "done" northwest England.


Then on your next trip you can hit Surrey, Berkshire and Sussex where there are at the very least 20+ courses you'll want to play.


That said, Sunningdale is one of my favorite places on earth so it is hard to tell someone to skip it.
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

Mark Pearce

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2023, 08:21:05 AM »
If I ate in 3* Michelin restaurants every night for a week I'd be sick of it after three nights and miserable at the end of the week.  I can't see how you can possibly really appreciate all these courses without a bit more variety.  Difficult to point to better courses you're missing but I find myself looking at that itinerary and thinking "that doesn't look like much fun".  And fun is why I play golf.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

jeffwarne

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2023, 08:37:08 AM »
[


If you skip "second tier" courses in England, you're making a huge mistake. And I didn't even list the more rustic places like Kington & Cleeve Hill, which will be every bit as memorable as a Rota course.


This
especially for someone who goes every year
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Dan_Callahan

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2023, 09:18:16 AM »
Until reading this thread I had no idea greens fees in Wales were so inexpensive. And now I know where Iíll be going on my next international golf trip Ö

Niall C

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2023, 09:28:28 AM »
John


You've had a lot of sage advice from some very knowledgeable people on here however my advice is to just go with what you fancy. That's what inspired you in the first place so just go with that. Hopefully there will be future trips where you can maybe reflect on what you liked and didn't like about the first trip and in doing so take on some of the advice and recommendations you'll get on here.


Niall

mike_malone

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2023, 11:04:31 AM »
My suggestion would be to play/stay along the Lancashire coastline. Play Birkdale, Lytham St. Annes, Liverpool and add Formby, Hillside, West Lancs & Southport Ainsdale. That is 7 quality links courses. I am sure you will want to play some of those courses more than once. Stay in or near Southport and your driving will be kept to a minimum.

p.s. Add Wallasey to the list!


I did a trip last year almost identical to Davidís suggestion. It was one of the best ever because of the pleasant Southport and the limited driving to a great set of courses.
AKA Mayday

Alex Miller

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2023, 04:08:47 PM »
I did 6 rounds in 4 days around Liverpool in early April. Would say that Lytham, Liverpool, Birkdale, Formby, and Wallasey are all can't miss.

Mark Chaplin

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2023, 05:52:51 PM »
London and the south east coast is the best accessible golf trip on the planet due to variation of golf, quality of courses and ease of travel. Do it justice and donít mix it with another area.
Cave Nil Vino

Pete Lavallee

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2023, 06:37:01 PM »
I agree with Mark; once you sample the joys of English golf you will want to return. Save the northwest for your second trip and concentrate on Kent and the London area first. By missing the northwest you can include some real gems and save the driving time. Please try and include:


West Sussex
The Addington
Woking
Walton Heath Old and New
Royal Ashdown Forest
« Last Edit: June 03, 2023, 06:41:05 PM by Pete Lavallee »
"...one inoculated with the virus must swing a golf-club or perish."  Robert Hunter

Daryl David

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2023, 07:49:12 PM »
I know so many Scotland golf trip aficionados that after their first England trip convert. My all time favorite golf has been played in England. I wish I had split my first 6 trips to the UK half and half England and Scotland instead of all Scotland. Better late than never I guess.

Sean_A

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2023, 05:24:12 AM »
I put together regular trips to Scotland/Ireland for 8-12 of us. We've been doing it for 20+ years.   In 2024 we are going to do England for the first time.  Since I have never played golf in England, I thought I'd seek some advice from the group.  All golfers are single digit handicaps and experience/quality of courses are more important than cost.  That said, here is what I am thinking at this point:


Fly US to Manchester
Day 1 Royal Liverpool
Day 2 Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Day 3 Royal Birkdale
Day 4 Royal Lytham & St. Annes then have Sprinter Van drive to Sandwich
Day 5 Royal St. George's
Day 6 Swinley Forest
Day 7 Sunningdale New & Old
Day 8 St. George's Hill
Day 9 Fly to US

So the biggest question, is that it's a 6 hr drive down to Sandwich.  We'd stay 2 nights and play RSG.  Are we missing out by not playing Deal?

Or should we punt the Sandwich part and just stay in London area and add Walton Heath Old?

Any thoughts on the golf, places to stay, places to eat, etc. is appreciated.

John


I would suggest saving Sandwich for another trip and add Walton Heath Old as you indicated. If any of your London choices don't work out consider Woking, Worplesdon, Addington or possibly Pulborough if you don't mind the drive. I would also suggest parking the second game at Lytham and play Formby.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Clyne

Kevin Pallier

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2023, 08:21:17 AM »
I put together regular trips to Scotland/Ireland for 8-12 of us. We've been doing it for 20+ years.   In 2024 we are going to do England for the first time.  Since I have never played golf in England, I thought I'd seek some advice from the group.  All golfers are single digit handicaps and experience/quality of courses are more important than cost.  That said, here is what I am thinking at this point:


John


Based on what you said I think it's a great trip. What time of year are you going as you could potentially do more Summer?


The only thing I would skip is Royal Lytham twice as your already heading to Sandwich - I would try and squeeze Deal (20mins away) or Princes (next door)

John Handley

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2023, 07:08:47 PM »
Thanks guys for all the replies.  A lot of good information to digest but the most compelling takeaway is that there is plenty of great golf in England.  Having been to Scotland and Ireland about 5x each, I am truly excited for this trip and it sounds like it's going to take 2, 3 or 4 trips to England to really see many of the great courses.


I appreciate the feedback.  We are staying at Dormie House at Lytham & St Anne's and that's why we are playing it twice.  And we don't mind the ride down to London as we'll be in a Sprinter van drinking, gambling and having fun.  Some of the best laughs we've had on these trips have been on the drives. With 12 Texans, it doesn't lack for good times.  :)

Mark Pearce

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Re: England Golf Trip...Thoughts
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2023, 04:35:22 AM »
We are staying at Dormie House at Lytham & St Anne's and that's why we are playing it twice. 
Great choice.  Big Dormie house, normally quite full, a fun evening can be had.  And I really like Lytham, playing it twice should be fun.  It's tough, though!
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

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