Many people in the UK like to get away from the stresses of day to day life by heading off to the golf course. This great enthusiasm for the sport has resulted in many courses being opened across the land as people strive to be the next Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam.
Mark Twain unfairly labelled golf as a “good walk spoiled” for there is great enjoyment and exercise to be had playing an 18-hole course. The skill required finding the fairway with your tee shot and then chipping the ball on to a relatively small green is only gained with much practice. Let’s not forget judging the greens and putting the ball, which can frustrate and thrill in equal measures.
The oldest style of courses are the links located around coastal areas of the UK, although they are more commonly found in Scotland with the most famous being St Andrews. They can be very challenging with few trees to protect the course from the elements as well as large sand bunkers.
St Andrews is a championship course and there are others in the UK that the public can play, including Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent and Royal Lytham and St Annes in Lancashire. Wales also has some lovely championships courses and will be hosting the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor near Newport.
Golfers can also enjoy the beauty of the numerous parklands courses across the country, which offer hills, trees, water hazards, bunkers and many other surprises. These can be found in all parts of the UK such as Newcastle in the North East of England, County Antrim in Northern Ireland and Gleneagles in Scotland.
If you need to practice your swing, tee shots or putting there are many driving ranges and putting greens located in towns and villages across the UK. These are desirable if you don’t quite have the time for a full round of golf, although there are many 9-hole courses too.
If you are taking the family out for the day and an 18-hole round of golf is not to their taste then why not try a game of miniature golf. This can be terrific fun for people of all ages and also a great leveller in terms of ability. Trying to hit the ball through a hole in a windmill or up a copper tube pipe can be just as challenging as finding your way out of a bunker or the rough at St Andrews.