Best Golf Courses in the UK

Best Golf Courses in the UK

The 148th Open Championship was held in July at the Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. It served as a fitting reminder that the UK has some of the most spectacular golf courses in the world.

So it goes without saying that now is a good a time as ever to take a look at the country’s best and we’ll begin, naturally, with the beautiful Royal Portrush.

Royal Portrush (Northern Ireland)

Royal Portrus


Golf Digest named Royal Portrush as among the world’s best courses, and it has been that way for nearly a century. The grounds of Royal Portrush are described as “[a] natural a setting for golf,” with holes that are “menacing and majestic, beast and beauty.” Menacing and majestic is an apt description of Royal Portrush’s signature 4th hole — a 480-yard par 4 littered with several bunkers. Beast and beauty, on the other hand, best describes the 16th hole called Calamity Corner.

In 1930, Royal Portrush held its first golfing tournament of note: the Irish Open. Since then the course has hosted the event three more times (in 1937, 1947, and 2012). In 1951, Royal Portrush hosted its first major in the 80th Open Championship. The historic course has also hosted the Senior Open Championship six times (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2004).

St. Andrews Old Course (Scotland)



Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have paid the Old Course at St. Andrews the ultimate compliments. Nicklaus once said: “If a golfer is to be remembered, he must win the Open at St. Andrews.” Tiger, on the other hand, calls St. Andrews, his “favorite course.” After all, St. Andrews is truly iconic. It is the home of golf, having been around since the 15th century. Today, St. Andrews is known for its history, and its 112 individually named bunkers. Most popular is Road Bunker, found on St. Andrews’s signature par-4 17th hole. It is considered one of the hardest holes in all of golf, with hazards such as a tarmac roadway and an old stonewall.

St. Andrews is also one of The Open's homes. It has hosted The Open 29 times, with the first being in 1873 (won by Scotland’s own, Tom Kidd). The last time was in 2015, and it was notable for missing the then world number 1 and defending Open champion Rory McIlroy. One of sport’s most famous injuries is McIlroy’s ruptured ankle ligament, as it meant he couldn’t defend The Open title he won in 2014 at the Royal Liverpool. Had McIlroy played in that tournament, he could have joined a distinguished list of golf greats who have won The Open at St. Andrews. That list includes Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Woods, and Nicklaus. St. Andrews will next host The Open in 2021. Hopefully the sport’s best young stars — Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, and McIlroy, among others — will all play

Royal County Down (Northern Ireland)

Royal County Down


Royal County Down in Newcastle is breathtaking, with views of the Mourne Mountains to the south and Dundrum Bay to the east. It opened in 1889, with the course originally designed by Old Tom Morris. Since then Royal County Down has been given various facelifts. Among those who have helped redevelop the course are George Combe in 1900, Harry Vardon in 1908, and Harry Colt in 1926. But it was designer Donald Steel, who gave the final touches, tightening the 18th in 1997 and then redoing the 16th and 17th in 2003.

Currently, Royal County Down has two links courses — the Championship Course and the Amnesty Links. Of the two it is the Championship Course that has received the most acclaim. It is included in The 500 World's Greatest Golf Holes. In 2016, Royal County Down also topped an annual list of top golf courses commissioned by Golf Digest. It was 4th in 2015, and is consistently ranked among the best, likely due to its signature long par-4s (notably the 3rd, 9th, and 15th holes). The notable events the Royal County Down has hosted include the Irish Open (1928, 1935, 2015), the Amateur Championship (1970), and the Senior British Open Championship (2000–2002).

Sunningdale (Surrey)



Top 100 Golf Courses calls Sunningdale “one of the British Isles’ most aesthetically pleasing inland courses,” with its pine, birch, and oak trees. Sunningdale actually offers two courses: the Old Course and the New Course. But Sunningdale’s signature hole is no doubt the elevated 10th hole of the former. Then there's the exquisite 5th hole, also in the Old Course, as well as the 15th. It has hosted the European Open, and the Senior British Open, as well as the British Masters in the 1940s and 1950s. It has yet to host The Open.

Muirfield (Scotland)



Overlooking the Firth of Forth is the exclusive Muirfield golf course. Muirfield is as beautiful as it is challenging, and that's likely why it has hosted 11 Amateur Championships and 16 Open Championships. Every hole in this 7,245-yard course must be meticulously planned due to the course's unusual layout. The front and back nines of Muirfield are arranged in opposing loops, which means the direction of the wind is different on every tee. Its rolling hills are even reminiscent of those in Puerto Los Cabos, which happens to be one of the best golf courses in Cabo. And like Los Cabos, Muirfield also has lots of breathtaking views.

The heavily contoured par-4 1st is one of Muirfield's two signature holes. The other is the foreboding par-5 9th, where golfers often encounter heavy winds. Established in the 1700s, Muirfield has the great Jack Nicklaus as one of its ardent fans. The Golden Bear was so enamored with Muirfield that he named one of the courses he founded — Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio — after it.

AUTHOR BIO: Brionna Jeune is a sports analyst moonlighting as a freelance writer. She’s also into zumba, golf and wall climbing. She lives in a happy home with her 3 cats and one dog. 

Instantly Stop Overthinking Your Swing With This Simple Trick

Instantly Stop Overthinking Your Swing With This Simple Trick

Guest Post By Julian Mellor, Easiest Swing Golf Coach

Is overthinking ruining your golf swing? 

Don’t worry, it’s totally normal. Unfortunately, it's extremely damaging to your golf game. 

My name is Julian Mellor. I’m an Easiest Swing Golf Coach. For years, I believed the golf swing was a sequence of complicated, unnatural movements pieced together to enable me to propel the golf ball forward. 

How wrong I was!

I truly believe that the golf swing has been over complicated. The more it’s pulled to pieces and over analysed, the more complex it becomes. Golfers are now obsessed. 

  • What’s the degree? 

  • What’s the right angle of attack?

  • What’s my carry? 

  • What spin rate am I getting?

It’s no wonder so many golfers struggle with their swing.

I’ve recently posted a video on YouTube about this very topic. It’s about how one simple trick can help you instantly overcome the nightmare of over thinking your swing. 

The less complex your swing is, the more efficient and effective it becomes. Using this trick, you’ll be more relaxed, have more confidence, hit your ball more consistently and most of all, enjoy yourself!

Watch the video to discover this insanely effective golf hack.

Julian Mellor is a leading golf instructor in the UK. He teaches the 6 Principles of The Easiest Swing in Golf and is a Senior Golf Specialist. Learn more about Julian’s methods at

Master Weight Transfer For a Dynamite Swing With This Simple Drill

Master Weight Transfer For a Dynamite Swing With This Simple Drill

Guest Post By Mark Wood, PGA Advanced Golf Professional

The following golf tip really helps to get my clients moving correctly into their left side, improve their swing power, accuracy and consistency.

I see many people constantly struggle in getting into the left side in their downswing, They tend to make a nice backswing and then, start to spin out with their hips causing their weight to stay on the back foot.

The result of this is a severe deceleration of the club which, in turn, greatly reduces power. In addition it causes the client to go over the top and they block with their left knee.  The knee doesn't clear out the way and this creates a block preventing them to unwind and create the power that they need to get into the ball. The shot pattern that can result in this poor move can be anything from a pull, pull hook or the dreaded slice.

Simple Drill To Master Weight Transfer and Improve Your Swing

Mark Wood.png

A great little drill I've used with many of my clients, place a hoop and a towel on to the ground. Place your left foot onto the towel as you make your normal set up position. If you are left handed, simply use your right foot. From there, make your normal backswing. I want you to feel that you are then going to transfer the weight across to your left side by pushing down into the towel by doing this you can really feel that you are transferring the weight across to the left side. You can hit balls doing this hoop and towel drill and you will see you ball striking and accuracy massively improve. This will increase your clubhead speed into the golf ball which will therefore increase your distance.

Have you tried this drill or have another idea for weight transfer drills? Share your experience in the comments.

Guest Post By Mark Wood

Mark Wood is a PGA Advanced Professional, the Director of Instruction at Chichester Golf Club and author of ‘How to crush the ball 20 yards further’ and ‘Never shank again’.  With over 25 years of coaching experience, Mark has spent a lot of time analyzing the best drills and coaching methods to get great results for golfers of all abilities. 

Mark Wood Golf Academy
Chichester Golf Club 
07796 271661

New Standalone Mode for Apple Watch

New Standalone Mode for Apple Watch

Do I need to have my iPhone in my pocket when playing with Apple Watch?

Not anymore! By popular demand, Golf Pad just launched an exciting standalone mode for Apple Watch users. It’s perfect for golfers who want to get distances and track their game on the watch and don’t want to carry their iPhone.

“Golf Pad users asked for the option to use their smartwatch without needing to carry their phone around. We’re excited to deliver on that request, starting with Apple Watch. We’re also expanding this option to more watch models soon, including popular Samsung watches.” Konstantin Roslyakov, Golf Pad CEO

Standalone mode for Apple Watch

Starting with Golf Pad version 13.0, you can use GPS-equipped Apple Watch (series 2 or later) even when you don't carry iPhone in your pocket! Simply start the round on the iPhone and put it away. You'll see rangefinder distances and club recommendations right on the watch. You can change holes, track shots and more. Once the phone is back in range, the scores will be synced.

Read more about how to use the new Apple Watch standalone mode to track your golf game.

Why Tetherow is the Most Polarizing Course in Oregon

Why Tetherow is the Most Polarizing Course in Oregon

Guest post by Sean Ogle

When people hear about my quest and they hear that I’m from Oregon, one of the questions I’ve been asked a lot (after, the inevitable, have you played Bandon) is “have you played Tetherow?”

Why do people ask about Tetherow? Well aside from being a top 100 course, it’s one of the more polarizing courses in Oregon, if not the country.

Located in Bend, it was built in 2008 on land that was decimated from a forest fire right outside of Bend, and is distinctly different than any of the other top courses in the high desert of Central Oregon.

The first major distinction was the designer – David Mclay Kidd – who is obviously known for more Links style designs like Bandon and Nanea.

Fortunately for us, that’s pretty much what we got – a links style course in the high desert, that is unlike any course I’ve played.

The closest comparison for me was actually Diamante Dunes in Cabo – you know, minus the ocean.

At Tetherow you’ll find rolling mounds and elevation changes abound, fescue turf everywhere, and the greens, well we’ll get into that in a second.

When playing the course you have to play with a forecaddie if you’re not a member, and since I was playing by myself, my forecaddie decided just to play with me.

If you’re not used to having a caddie or forecaddie play with you, trust me, this is a good thing at Tetherow. The greens can be extremely hard to read, and the best path to the green off the tee is not always perfectly clear.

I was even more fortunate in that my guy Rusty, had been around Tetherow since day one, and not only knew the course extremely well, he was a blast to play with.

I was really excited to play Tetherow for a couple reasons. The first is that I don’t think I’ve found a more polarizing course (with the possible exception of Tobacco Road). People either absolutely loved it, or absolutely hated it. I didn’t understand how one course could draw such different responses from both amateurs and more accomplished golfers.

That is, until I played it.

Off the tee, Tetherow is one of my favorite courses I’ve played. You have a variety of options, elevation changes, blind shots – to put it simply, every single hole has interesting and unique features – even more so than some place like Pronghorn which is a little bit more out in front of you.

A good example of this, is the 10th,  a short par 4 where my three wood almost drove the green. This left me in that nefarious position where I was putting up a very steep ridge that could end in disaster if I hit it too hard or soft.

10th hole at Tetherow

10th hole at Tetherow

I over compensate and blast it up the ridge, through the green and back down the other side.

This wouldn’t be the only time.

The best way I can describe the greens at Tetherow would be that they took 4 elephants on almost every hole, buried them, put grass on top – and called it a green.

At it’s best, they were some of the most fun putts I’ve ever had. Occasionally even reminiscent of my favorite hole at Bandon Trails, the par 3 5th. Lots of subtle (and not so subtle) ridges and backstops to give you multiple options on your putts.

At it’s worst it was 3 putts galore through a grassy field of giant boulders.

Often a perfect approach would result in rolling off the green or into a deep swale leaving a you the choice of putting from off the green or chipping from an extremely tight lie.

If you’re a pro, you’ll love the tight fescue fairways. If you’re a high handicapper who isn’t used to such tight lies – you’ll struggle to adjust.

Overall it’s extremely easy to see why Tetherow is ranked as one of the Greatest 100 Public courses in the country – but it’s also not hard to see why it isn’t ranked a little bit higher.

At its, best it rivals any course in the country, at its worst it can feel a little gimmicky at times and the greens can prove to be frustratingly sloped.

So while I don’t think it’s quite as good of a true test of golf as Pronghorn or Crosswater, I don’t think it would be tough to make the argument saying it’s the most fun golf course in Central Oregon.

It’s one of the most scenic courses I’ve ever played, and it passed the true test of a good course in my book: It made me want to run right back out and play another 18.


All distances from Tan tees.

Favorite Par 3 (Hole 3, 146 yards)

From the moment you step on to the teebox at #3 something about it just feels unique. It could be the shrubs and brush built into the teebox, or the water carry, but I really liked this hole.

The bunker in front of the green really forced me to think about my club selection – more so than any of the other short holes on the course.

Hole 3 at Tetherow

Hole 3 at Tetherow

Close second (17th Hole, 174 Yards)

The original green on 17, was tiny but a few years back the enlarged it. Depending on the pin location you can have one of the most fun tee shots on the course.

If you hit up to the hill on the back left, you’ll watch it roll all the way back down to the green. Gotta love those backstops 

17 also has without a doubt one of the most scenic views from the tee of any course I’ve played.

17th hole at Tetherow (the hole has been redesigned a bit since this photo was taken)

17th hole at Tetherow (the hole has been redesigned a bit since this photo was taken)

Favorite Par 4 (6th Hole, 379 Yards)

This is not only my favorite par 4 at Tetherow, but it’s one of my favorites anywhere. 

From the tee you see two distinct fairways, one upper and one lower.

The lower fairway has a shorter approach and more clear view of the green, but it brings the water into play.

6th hole from the lower fairway at Tetherow

6th hole from the lower fairway at Tetherow

6th hole from the tee

6th hole from the tee

6th hole from the upper fairway

6th hole from the upper fairway

The upper fairway will leave you with a longer, blind approach – so it really forces you to make a smart choice.

6th hole behind the green.

6th hole behind the green.

Favorite Par 5 (2nd Hole, 514 Yards)

The first par 5 on the course is my favorite because of the options it provides. If you really bash a tee shot over the ridge on the left, you’re going to get a ton of roll making a birdie or even eagle a legit possibility.

Strategically placed grass bunkers in the middle of either side of the fairway make placing your second shot in the right spot really important.

Looking back at hole 2.

Looking back at hole 2.

Hole 2

Hole 2


  • Par 3 Course – They can convert the driving range to a 9 hole par 3 course, that actually looks like it would be a ton of fun to play.

  • The 19th Hole – Rumor has it that hitting from the 15th green back on to the 13th green makes for an excellent, half island 19th hole 

  • I ranked Tetherow #68 in 2018 on my annual list of my personal favorite top 100 courses in the world.

Guest post by Sean Ogle
Sean Ogle is on a quest to visit the Top 100 golf courses in the world and documents his travels at Breaking Eighty. He's also the Founder of the Eighty Club, a golf society for private club members all over the world.

How I Used My Golf Pad Stats To Reduce My Handicap By 4 Over The Summer

How I Used My Golf Pad Stats To Reduce My Handicap By 4 Over The Summer

I’ve been playing golf since I was 35 and now I am 72; I never took it seriously but now I’m retired and want to do better. I found practicing is great but I can only go so far at my age and 5'-6" and 190 lbs.

However, I found being smarter can seriously improve your score.

By tracking my game on Golf Pad GPS and checking stats like Strokes Gained , it clearly shows me [and my coach} where my strengths and weaknesses are so I know where to work to improve my game. Like most, I fantasized how far I could hit a club if I hit it pure.

With distance tracking I found I was actually hitting about 10-15 years shorter on average. Because of Golf Pad GPS I now pick a club to the back side or over the green. At 35, I was a 23-25 HC best at 40 at 17 HC now at 72 carry about 14-15 HC peak of season and got below 80 twice last summer for the first time ever.

I only hit my drives about 195 [now out to 220] so practice was driver, driver, driver. I see most folks on the range are making the same mistake. Driver, driver, driver.

My coach looked at my stats on Golf Pad and noted since he cleaned up my terrible slice, I hit fairways 65% of time and with par 3s actually better. I often hit 14-16 fairways so my coach explained short and in the middle is OK [especially for seniors]. I needed to concentrate on second shots.

This, and proper club selection dropped, my HC by 3-4 last summer. My coach says I will be 12-13 by summer's end if I concentrate on curable weaknesses which is not trying to hit drives 250+ yards.

— Wayne Foley, Golf Pad user

Muni with a Million Dollar View: Dyker Beach Golf Course

Muni with a Million Dollar View: Dyker Beach Golf Course

Well groomed fairways, manicured greens, reasonable rates, and gorgeous, million dollar views of the Verrazano Bridge make Dyker Beach one of the most played golf courses in the world.

The Basics

Dyker Beach View.jpg

Located in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn N.Y. the 18-hole championship Dyker Beach G.C. has served local golfers for over 120 years now. The course plays from three sets of tees - blue (Pro), white (Middle or Amateur), and red (Ladies). Moderately long at 6438/6176/5366 yards, respectively, Dyker comes in at about average on the difficulty scale with slope ratings of 118/116/117, as well. Dyker Beach plays as a par 71 from the blue and white tees, and par 72 from the reds.

Course Conditions


Like most courses in the Northeast, conditions vary depending on the time of year, and even from week to week. As long as there's no snow on the ground though, you should be able to scratch your golf itch, regardless of weather, as the course remains open year-round. In season, groundskeepers do a pretty good job of providing well defined first and second cuts. The greens are usually well maintained from mid-April through mid-October, as well. In season, when the trees are full and the fairways green, Dyker feels more like a Country Club than a municipal course, especially with views of the Verrazano Bridge from several holes.  

Pace of Play

Much depends on the weather but, most weekdays you'll be okay. If you must golf on the weekend (and who doesn’t want to?), go early and always make a tee time. They send out eight foursomes per hour, so there isn't much room for error. Getting out early will lessen the effects of any delays that may come up. Typically though, after a five to ten-minute wait at the second hole, the course opens up and play moves nicely.   


Dyker Beach Golf Course.jpg

Dyker defends itself with a combination of length, trees, raised greens, and difficult par threes. Most holes have reasonably wide fairways. If you're somewhat straight off the tee, hitting driver won't be an issue. Just be sure to mind the trees. The course has no water hazards and only seven fairway bunkers. It all sounds easy enough until you meet the four par threes (or par sixes as the regulars call them). All require a good measure of length and accuracy, and a soft landing, to boot. Of the ten par fours, only three come in at under 350 yards, while four exceed the 400-yard mark. The three par fives offer a bit of relief, all with yardages under 500, and relatively large greens. Overall, Dyker Beach won't challenge your decision-making process or test your ball shaping skills but, it will test your distance and accuracy.

Amenities/Service/Special Events

The pro shop at Dyker is on the small side. They carry the basic necessities - balls, gloves, shirts, pullovers, and a handful of drivers. There's also a fridge with soft drinks and an ATM. Adjacent to the pro shop, the bar and grille at Dyker has a cozy feel and serves up surprisingly good fare.

Visitors to Dyker often comment on the excellent customer service from the staff. It’s often used as a venue for special events, weddings, corporate events, bridal showers and more. The course’s website boasts, “Dyker is a premier wedding venue with two banquet rooms that can accommodate up to 600 guests, a 5,000-square-foot patio with enchanting views of the golf course, and a specially designed wedding ceremony site.” Many of the 700+ customer reviews support this claim.


Whether you're a scratch golfer or just starting out, Dyker Beach offers a fair challenge, at reasonable rates, in an amazingly beautiful setting. Enjoying it all, well that's up to you.  

Nicholas Shemkovitz: Warming Up And Taking Your Range Game To The Course

Nicholas Shemkovitz: Warming Up And Taking Your Range Game To The Course

Stretching out and warming up: Take your A game from the range to the course

Have you ever walked off the first tee box after hitting a poor opening shot thinking to yourself, “But, I was hitting them so pure on the range…”

Well, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many players find it difficult to transfer that easy, consistent swing they had on the practice range over to the course.


The question is why?

Part of the answer rests in your pre-round warm-up and stretch which yields not only benefits to your health but also to your game.

Nicholas Shemkovitz, an instructor at Caves Valley in Maryland and Quail Valley in Florida, says no matter if you’re playing 18 holes, nine holes, or simply getting in some practice that proper stretching and warm-up are critical. But he is quick to add that there are differences between “stretching” and “warming up.”

“Stretching is preparing the body and its motor functions to perform a task,” Shemkovitz says, “warming up is using the muscles that are already stretched and increasing their mobility. When you stretch you are simply trying to allow blood flow throughout the body and sending a message to the brain that these are primary muscles that will be used. Once stretched out, then the warm up of increased range of motion becomes important because it sends a message to the brain of the motor patterns that will be used.”

Simple steps toward putting this thought process into practice could include the following:

  • A routine featuring a variety of stretches to increase mobility and prevent injuries which can be accomplished in the locker room before you even step outside.

  • After a good stretch, a warm-up routine on the practice range in which you slowly increase the speed and length of your swings.

“From a performance perspective, both the stretching routine and warm-up session give your mind and body a jump start,” Shemkovitz explains. “If you allow yourself time to stretch, not only will your warm up will be more productive, but your round or practice session will too.”

This brings up the question of time. Many amateur players do not usually have the luxury of the proper amount of time to stretch or warm up before they hit the first tee. In fact, many players are literally running from their cars to the tee box.

If you are short on time and have say 15 minutes before you tee off, Shemkovitz offers four tips which focus on a solid stretch and warm up with the understanding that you will not have time to spend on the range.

The tips are outlined here:

Stretching: 5 minutes

Focus your stretching on the larger muscle groups, or your injury prone area. Separation of the lower and upper body helps to engage the large muscles to be activated.

Stretch 1 Leg Sweeps (Side to Side/Front to Back)

  • (Side to Side) – Stand on one foot and use a club for balance. With your free leg swing it from side to side 5 times, then switch and perform the same motion on the other leg.

  • (Front to Back) – Stand on one foot and use a club for balance. With your free leg swing it front to back 5 times, then switch and perform the same motion on the other leg.

Stretch 2 (Lower back & Torso Rotations)

  • 2x each side (Lower back) – Separate your legs just past shoulder width apart and bend down to each side (left side then right side) feeling a stretch in your lower back.

  • 3x each side (Torso Rotations) – With your feet shoulder width apart, stabilize your lower body and make upper body rotations (as far to left as you can rotate and as far to the right as you can rotate. (Tip: if you complete this in your golf posture it is even more effective).

Warming up: 10 minutes

You’re as stretched out as you can be for the amount of time you have, now warm up the muscles you have just stretched.

Warm up 1 - Pace for Putts

  • Take two balls to the putting green with the primary focus of understanding the speed of the greens. Start from five feet and work your way back to 15 and begin to develop a feel for those length putts.

Warm up 2 - Double Club Swings

  • Either before you head to the first tee or while you are on the first tee box, take two clubs that are similar in length (8 iron and 7 iron for example) and place one in each hand. Make five golf swings slowly increasing in length and speed while trying to maintain separation between both clubs and hands. This is going to warm up the leverage systems in your hands as well as your body rotation.

Do nerves play a role in a golfer’s inability to take a solid warm-up swing over to the course and if so, how much?


Shemkovitz says that while nerves are natural and always present, the issue deals more with timing and pace.

As players, particularly amateurs, work themselves into a groove on the range, they typically take very little time in between shots – and that includes both good and bad shots. Out on the course, there might be anywhere from 2-5 minutes between shots. If you add the amount of time it takes to go from the range to the first tee and actually hit a shot, it is natural that a player has lost that rhythm and pace they had warming up.

“In order to break that cycle, touring professionals and instructors have determined that time is your friend while warming up on the practice tee,” Shemkovitz says. “I challenge you for your next warm up to take at a minimum one minute between each shot. You will soon realize how long one minute really is when all you want to do it hit another shot. As you are waiting that one minute out, clean your club, check your target yardage, then reset and proceed to hitting the next ball.”

And when you do arrive on that first tee box, Shemkovitz says embrace the nervousness.

“Nerves on the first tee or first few shots will always be present. It’s your minds way of telling your body that you care about this shot, which you do, and you should! But, don’t put so much emphasis on one particular shot. A first tee shot is just the same as all the other tee shots you will be hitting.”


Image credit:

Time to plan your spring golf getaway  Destination: Phoenix

Time to plan your spring golf getaway Destination: Phoenix

Ah spring.

If you live in one of the colder parts of the country, you have grown weary from all the shoveling. And if you live in a spot with milder winters, well you must at least be tired from sweeping your sidewalk…

No matter where you reside, spring also brings along with it the eagerly anticipated chance to plan a golf trip. But with so many options, where to go?

Today, we are going have a look at the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Boasting more than 300 sunshine-filled days, moderate winter temperatures, and more golf courses than you can shake a 7-iron at, the Phoenix area is truly a golfer’s mecca.

It’s not known as the “Valley of the Sun” for nothing.

So, let’s jump in. And while by no means exhaustive, this list will have you on your way to planning a great trip to Phoenix.

The Must Play

Troon North Golf Club


Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Phoenix golf getaways begin with a visit to North Scottsdale and Troon North. If you are looking for the quintessential “desert” golf experience, Troon offers that and more as it takes you on a journey through the Sonoran Desert along picturesque vistas, ravines, and foothills all under the watchful eye of Pinnacle Peak. Perhaps the golf itself is only matched or surpassed by the incredible service the staff at Troon provides in essence making each guest feel like a VIP.

The two immaculately-kept 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed championship courses at Troon include the Monument and the Pinnacle.

Offering a tricky, yet thoroughly enjoyable target golf experience, the Monument Course stretches out to more than 7,000 yards from the tips playing to a par of 72. While the track will undoubtedly test you, it encourages and even welcomes creativity and ingenuity. The par-72 Pinnacle Course also reaches over 7,000 yards from the back tees and will not only treat your golf game but also your senses with incredible views, natural flora, and towering saguaros.  

Should Definitely Be On Your List

Papago Golf Course

Papago Golf Course

Papago Golf Course (par 72, 7,333 yards): A parkland-style course not too far from Tempe featuring pristine conditioning and the amazing Papago Buttes as a backdrop. Papago is the new home of the Arizona State golf teams.

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club (Saguaro-par 71, 6,966 yards; Cholla-par 72, 7,225 yards): Two incredible award-winning courses sitting on Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation land each offering a refreshing sense of seclusion in a natural desert setting.

SunRidge Canyon Golf Club

SunRidge Canyon Golf Club

SunRidge Canyon Golf Club (par 71, 6,823 yards): Just down the road in Fountain Hills at the feet of the McDowell Mountains sits this picturesque desert course featuring dramatic elevation changes and the diabolical “Wicked 6,” a stretch of six challenging finishing holes that includes two par-5’s, two par-4’s, and two par-3’s – all playing uphill.

Quintero Golf Club

Quintero Golf Club

Quintero Golf Club (par 72, 7,250 yards): This semi-private course in nearby Peoria, earmarked by lush desert scenery and a rolling terrain, offers a great experience for players of all abilities with its unique and flexible tee system.

Where to Stay

Arizona Grand Resort & Spa

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

The Phoenician

Hotel Valley Ho

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John Sonski On Putting: Key Mistakes To Avoid

John Sonski On Putting: Key Mistakes To Avoid

When it comes to putting – practice, practice, practice

You’ve all heard the adage, “Drive for show, putt for dough.”

Well, it’s for good reason as the putter is arguably the most important thing in your bag.

Even so, it’s not uncommon to see golfers who spend hours and hours a week on the range working to master each club in their bag but lack the same devotion and attention to their putter – the one club they will use on every single hole (unless they hole out or chip in of course).

But my driving range doesn’t have a putting green.

If your local range doesn’t have a putting green, just check around with some of your area golf courses and you’re certain to find a place to practice.

To gain a better understanding of just how critical confidence with the putter is to your overall game, we chatted with John Sonski, assistant pro at Ridgewood Country Club in Connecticut.

Ridgewood Country Club

Ridgewood Country Club

How much attention do you think the average amateur gives to the practice of putting?

Sonski: Not nearly enough. If I were to give a beginner any one piece of advice, it would be to stop spending each practice session out on the practice range hitting the driver and instead drop a few balls on the practice green and challenge yourself with the flat stick. Your goal should be to develop a feel for how the golf ball interacts with your putter and try to pick up on any tendencies that may come about with your stroke. Once these steps are accomplished, start to challenge yourself and see how you perform under pressure. This will make the putts that count on the golf course far less nerve-racking.

What are some practice drills you suggest players use to improve their overall putting?


Sonski: A good drill for beginner golfers (and golfers of any skill level really) is the putting circle drill. You may know this drill from golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. The object of this drill is to take no less than four golf balls and surround a hole on the practice green, placing all balls on opposite ends of each other. The goal is to make each putt from the spot you place your ball. Start by placing each ball surrounding the hole from 2-3 feet away. Continue to push the distance from the hole away by a foot or two only when each ball is holed from the particular distance. This drill gives each putt a purpose and helps you to interpret breaking putts by surrounding the hole from all angles. After incorporating this drill into your practice sessions, you will be draining putts on the course in no time!

Are putting strokes as personal as they seem, unique to each golfer, or does everyone really fall into certain styles or methods?

Sonski: Just like the full swing, each golfer has their own traits that are incorporated into the putting stroke. While there may be several methods to grip the putter and address the ball, each putting stroke requires basic fundamentals to be effective. Light grip pressure, keeping your head steady, and having solid rhythm are traits found in all successful putters. That being said, there are several ways to personalize your putting stroke and there are several different types of putting strokes. Anything from a drastic arc with the putting stroke to a straight back-straight through putting stroke. Every method is equally effective. The key is to develop a stroke that consistently produces contact with the center of a square clubface. I recommend taking some time to practice with a variety of putters and discover which model feels most comfortable to you. One of the biggest keys to making more putts is feeling comfortable and confident with the club in your hands.

A major hurdle for amateurs when they are standing over a long putt is that their “regular” stroke goes out the window as they try to “will” the ball to the hole. Is this purely a mental manifestation? Physical?


Sonski: Both. I would say it starts with the mental aspect of confronting what seems like an impossible putt and then transitions into the physical aspect of tension and lack of fundamentals in your stroke. Just remember, when facing a putt of distance just focus on making a solid stroke with the putter and give yourself an opportunity for a short second putt. The mistakes happen when we become too aggressive over longer putts and make it more difficult to sink the returning putt if we miss. If amateur golfers look at longer putts in that fashion, they will surely reduce their scores.

With so much pressure to play faster these days, do you feel amateurs are at somewhat of a disadvantage on the course in that they feel pressure to move it along when perhaps they should be taking a bit more time over a putt? How can they overcome this?

Sonski: Pace of play definitely plays a factor in all of our games, especially for beginner and amateur golfers. With golf being a mental game, it is important to play the game at a decent pace while also giving yourself enough time to prepare and go through your pre-shot routine. Solution: during your practice sessions, challenge yourself to spend no more than 30 seconds in between shots. This will help you develop a solid routine leading up to your shot while also increasing your pace of play on the golf course.

Many amateurs seem to select a putter based on who uses it on Tour or how it looks as opposed to if it’s the best one for them. What role does having the right putter for you have on overall performance?


Sonski: We live in a great era for golf. Not too long ago, golf equipment manufacturers would produce putters with very limited options when it came to fitting a particular putter to an array of golfers and their style of putting. With an emergence of the importance and accessibility to club fitting today, these same golf equipment manufacturers are now producing putters with a variety of grips and neck options that cater to each golfer. Gone are the days where you visit your local golf shop and the only options are your standard blade putters with lengths ranging between 33 and 35 inches. With so many styles, weights, profiles, grips, and compositions of putters today, it isn’t hard to find a putter that will fit your game. Feel free to try as many different putters and configurations as you can. However, if you would like to start sinking more putts, I recommend making an appointment with your local club fitter and get the putter fit properly to your game.

What are some mistakes you see golfers making on the putting green when practicing?

Sonski: One aspect of putting practice I notice when it comes to amateur golfers is that no one takes the time to read the putt or go through their pre-shot routine. These are two very important aspects when it comes to sinking putts in competition. If we can simulate a pressure putt while spending time on the practice green, the result will be becoming more confident and comfortable when standing over those actual pressure putts on the course.

Particularly for the amateur golfer, what importance does lag putting play? What are some practice tips and techniques to help players become better?

Sonski: Being a solid lag putter, in many cases, is the difference between being a single-digit and a double-digit handicap golfer. You are more likely to shave strokes off your game practicing your lag putting rather than hitting your driver on the practice range. I personally keep my full swing practice to a minimum and spend more time around the practice green. Having that extra time around the green allows you to develop the feel necessary to judge how the golf ball will react on the putting service and, in turn, allow you to get the ball closer to the hole. Do not fall into the trap of attempting to sink every putt you are faced with. The important thing to remember is that even the best golfers in the world miss putts, especially from long distance. The worst thing any golfer can do when faced with a putt of distance is to abandon your normal putting stroke and try to force the ball to the hole. Instead, shift your focus to making a fundamentally sound stroke on the ball and look for solid contact. Remember that distance control is the most important aspect to becoming a solid lag putter.

Escape the Cold, Golf in Cabo: Your Guide to the Best Golf Courses in Cabo

Escape the Cold, Golf in Cabo: Your Guide to the Best Golf Courses in Cabo

Your Guide to the Best Golf Courses in Cabo

If you're looking to escape the cold, head to Cabo for some golfing. Where should you golf? Read on to learn about the best golf courses in Cabo.

Cabo is a favorite travel destination for golfers. 

We've seen travel to Cabo rise to the highest rates in nearly a decade. This may be because of its ease of access and luxury accommodations. Or maybe golfers come to enjoy the climate and beautiful landscapes.

See what you've been missing. Check out the best golf courses in Cabo to start planning your trip. 

Puerto Los Cabos

Puerto Los Cabos 800.jpg

When you are on a golf vacation, you want to be golfing, not driving (in the car that is!). This course is in an ideal location, just a 10-minute drive from the historic city of San Jose Del Cabo. And the views will take your breath away! The Marina nine hole course is surrounded by rolling hills and expansive ocean views. You’ll enjoy a beautiful desert landscape with distant mountains on the Mission nine hole course. According to the Puerto Los Cabos website, the Sea of Cortez is visible from 70% of the course. Talk about stunning!

As if all of that wasn’t enough to get you packing, plans are currently in the works for another nine-hole course at Puerto Los Cabos.

Palmilla Golf Club

Palmilla Ocean #3.jpg

At Palmilla you can play your choice of nine holes from the 27 available. Palmilla boasts the first Jack Nicklaus Signature design in Latin America. The best part of destination golf is amazing views. A favorite at Palmilla is the Ocean Course. You won’t get tired of these views! In the first six holes alone, the elevation changes 600 feet. 

You can also golf with the canyon backdrop of the Arroyo Course, or the steep rocky views of the Mountain Course. On the Mountain Course you'll be lead uphill at hole 3 to overlook the beautiful water reservoir at holes 4 and 5.

Cabo Real

Cabo Real Golf Course

This is the only course in Cabo to host two different PGA Senior Grand Slam events, in 1996 and 1999. in 1996, camera crews caught whales breaching the ocean water in the background, which helped bring attention to the majestic scenery of Cabo.

At Cabo Real, the first nine is somewhat light in comparison to the more demanding back nine. On the more difficult holes, be sure you have all your tools available to play your best game. And if you're golfing with someone else here are some gift ideas to help them out. 



All of the courses reviewed so far are open to the public. Quivira, however, is exclusive to residents and guests of the Pueblo Bonito Resorts and Spas.

This course has some of the most truly stunning scenery you'll find anywhere. It’s famous for its spectacular views. Some holes are placed on cliffs overlooking the stunning Pacific Ocean. Other holes weave through unique rock walls and sand ridges.

Diamante's Dunes Course

Reserved for guests of the Diamante Resort and club members, the Dunes Course combines holes fitted between massive sand dunes with beautiful coastal views.

dunes course.JPG

The 12th holes is a stunning par 5, located oceanside. It becomes a memorable course for finishing on a fairly challenging par 5 as well.

During your stay at Diamante you'll also want to take advantage of their other exclusive course, El Cardonal. Featured in places like ESPN, this course is the first designed by Tiger Woods. 

Getting the Most from the Best Golf Courses in Cabo

Use this list to start exploring the best golf courses in Cabo. Whether you book your stay for a weekend or the full week, make sure you get the most out of it.

Try Golf Pad TAGS to automatically track your stats and improve your golf game. With tags linked to your phone, you can easily track your score, distances, accuracy, and more.

User Spotlight: Peter Aisthorpe-Buckley

User Spotlight: Peter Aisthorpe-Buckley

Golf Pad, the popular free golf GPS and scorecard app. Golfers have played over 6,000,000 rounds with Golf Pad. Users around the world use the golf app to easily track their score, club distances and other important game statistics.


Peter Aisthorpe-Buckley is an avid golfer from Dorset, England. He’s been using Golf Pad to track and improve his golf game for going on three years. Peter plays at least once a week. He’s fortunate there are seventeen clubs to play both at his home and away.

Peter grew up watching golf on television. He thought the game required skills he didn’t have. When he was twelve, he was trying to hit a golf ball and kept missing it or hitting the ground first. Then he finally made solid contact it flew in a different direction than he wanted it to go.....straight through next door's kitchen window. So that was the end of his early golf career. He made himself content watching the likes of Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino and of course Jacklin.

In the mid 90’s, Peter moved down from Saddleworth, West Riding of Yorkshire. His wife bought him some golf lessons at a local golf club, Crane Valley. Finally, his shots on the driving range flew high and straight. The golf bug bit and Peter’s been playing ever since.

Beloved Golf Course

His favorite golf course is the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, UK near his home. It was owned by Enid Blyton, a writer of children books, in the 1950’s when she and her husband bought it for £1. Given the current popularity of the course, it seems like the purchase turned out to be a wise investment.

Rushmore Golf Course is the local club Peter plays most. It’s unique in that it spans two counties. Holes 1 to 3 and 13 to 18 are in the County of Wiltshire while the other holes are in Dorset County. The course is built on a private estate and the drive from the main road stretches about a mile. Peter says it’s peaceful on the course. There is no sound of traffic, just the sound of nature, the sound of a ball being hit and of course the odd expletive when said ball doesn't do what the golfer wanted it to.

Point of Pride

In 2017, Peter beat an eight handicap golfer in a scratch competition. It’s a personal golf accomplishment he’s very proud of.

“It was nip & tuck all the way round. I played off of 15. He was a bit brassed off to say the least!!!” Peter A.

Favorite Golf Pad Features

Some years ago, Peter discovered an app on Android that used the GPS network to give approximate distances to flags. He used it for a while and then discovered Golf Pad GPS. It had everything he wanted: a scorecard, a course map and distances to the front, middle and back of the green. He loves using the yardages and GPS features of Golf Pad. He especially appreciates how accurate club distances and recommendations have helped him fine tune his club selection.

Off the Course

When he’s not improving his golf game, Peter teaches people of all ages to drive (cars, not clubs). He’s the owner/operator of Wessex One to One School of Motoring, which he started in 2001. Besides golf, Peter enjoys Motorsport, Chasing DX on the 10 Metre Band and mobile on the 2m VHF & 70cm UHF Bands.

Thanks for sharing your story Peter!


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