Top 10 golf courses designed by James Braid

James Braid golf courses


We’ve got some fantastic golf courses for you today, all designed by a legend of the sport. James Braid – the gentleman golfer who notched five Open Championship wins in one decade – has his fingerprints over some of the best golf courses in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

From the mountains of the Scottish Highlands to the gentle Essex slopes, these courses have something for every golfer. Many of them feature the classic dogleg, something James Braid is often cited as inventing, but all of them are brilliant in their own way.

How do they rank? You’ll have to read on to find out. If you disagree with the choices or think I’ve missed off one of his best, let me know in the comments below!


Top 10 James Braid golf courses


10. Orsett Golf Club – England


Orsett Golf Club


Dating back to 1899, this 18-hole golf course is one of the most satisfying in all of Essex – but it’s challenging, too, getting increasingly trickier as you progress towards the last three holes.

There are plenty of trees, making for a pretty day out, but it’s not just those you’ll have to contend with. There are more than a sprinkling of bunkers, every one of them placed with precision, and you’ll have a challenging game no matter what your skill level.

You better be able to hit the ball nice and straight at Orsett. It has fast greens and more than enough bunkers to make things tricky if you don’t!

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9. Ipswich Golf Club – England




With Ipswich town centre a stone’s throw away, you could be forgiven for thinking Purdis Heath golf course would be more than a little noisy. But the way it’s designed makes for a beautifully peaceful game.

That doesn’t mean it’s not difficult, though. Braid designed this course in 1928, setting it out in two loops running in different directions. What this means is that, no matter where you are, there’s nowhere to hide from the elements!

This is a classic English course, which changes character throughout the year. Colourful and undulating, it feels timeless. A real treat.

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8. Forfar Golf Club – Scotland


Forfar golf


Originally created in 1871, James Braid changed this course up in 1926 and today it stands as a testament to his fantastic course design. It’s not on the coast, but there’s a links-like feel to the fairways, so it plays differently to how you’d first expect.

Etched in 40 acres of beautifully wooded estate land, it really is a treat. Keep your eyes peeled for the 15th hole, which is known as Braid’s Best. As you can probably guess, his signature dogleg makes an appearance, and the raised green makes it one to remember.

At Forfar, ten of the par 4s are pretty short – less than 400 yards, to be precise. This isn’t about how hard you can smash it, it’s all about finesse.

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7. Edzell Golf Club – Scotland


Edzell golf course Scotland


In the rolling foothills of the Angus Glens, James Braid turned Edzell Golf Club into one of the most stunning courses in all of Scotland. As you play through the moorland, you’ll have a backdrop of picturesque mountains distracting you from making your shot!

Much like some of the holes at Forfar, the best one here demands accuracy. Majuba is deceptively tricky par 3, and if you find yourself on the wrong position on the green, you’ll be spending a lot of time trying to catch up.

You can’t get much more stunning than this. If you’re looking to explore the Scottish Highlands, it would be a crime not to pop along for a round here.

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6. Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club – Scotland


Fortrose golf


With gorgeous views across the Moray Firth and close to the historic city of Inverness, Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club is a hidden gem. Split by a lighthouse, the links land here is always a joy to return to time and time again.

You better be able to avoid the bunkers, though, or you’ll soon find your game hampered. Once you’ve had your fill of fresh sea air, the course is perfectly placed for a bit of sightseeing around Royal Dornoch and Castle Stuart.

Evidence shows people playing golf around Chanonry Point as far back as 1702, and it’s easy to see why. A must, if you’re in the area – and worth travelling to if you’re not!

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5. Sherborne Golf Club – England


Essex golf course


Nestled near an old abbey town, this charming golf course was adapted to an 18-hole layout by Braid and remains one of the most enjoyable courses to play in the whole of Dorset, with Scots pine trees, oaks and silver birches lining the gently rolling fairways.

While some courses will have you straining over great distances even on a par 4, the focus here is on a proper, enjoyable game of golf, although you better be able to judge distances well. One of the shortest holes is across a valley, and if you fall short, your ball will be lost in the vegetation!

This isn’t a long course, but it’s one of the most enjoyable to play on this list. With views over Blackmore Vale and Glastonbury Tor, it’s a picture of tranquillity.

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4. Langland Bay Golf Club – Wales


Scottish golf course


Langland Bay, like all Braid’s courses, is well bunkered throughout, but the combination of fast greens, rough ground and water are equally challenging. This is never better displayed than in the signature hole: Death or Glory.

You get to play alongside the coastal path, right by the cliff, with spectacular views all around. Golf really doesn’t get much better than this. No photo could do it justice!

It’s the changes in elevation that make this course what it is, and when you combine that with the coastal winds, it becomes quite a challenge to avoid the tactically placed hazards!

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3. Alloa Golf Club – Scotland


Alloa golf


In the shadow of the Ochil Hills and 150 acres of parkland, Alloa has sweeping fairways and each hole is unique, with hills dipping in such a way that can often make your second shot one you’ll have to make without a view of the green.

Close to the beautiful city of Stirling, famed for the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where William Wallace helped defeat the English, this superb course is one you’ll always remember.

One of the finest courses in Scotland, it manages to be fun to play while still presenting enough of a challenge to cater for any player’s skill level.

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2. Kirkistown Castle Golf Club – Northern Ireland


Irish golf course


Sloping hills envelope the course at Kirkistown Castle Golf Club, with every hole getting maximum use out of the scenery to test your golfing skills to the limit. What’s more, as a links course, it’s playable all year round, and it’ll be a different game every time you go back.

Set in the driest region of Northern Ireland, the way James Braid designed the course ensures that you have to hit the ball in every direction. You better be prepared to deal with the wind – it can make even the simplest shot quite a bit trickier here!

Ever wanted to play golf around the ruins of a castle? Well that’s exactly what’s in store here. There’s a truly unique game to be had at Kirkistown.

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1. Gleneagles Trail – King’s Course – Scotland


Scottish golf courses 

Mountains, panoramic views of the tree-dotted moorland – there’s nothing not to like about the King’s Course, Gleneagles. Just an hour from Edinburgh, it has springy fairways and carefully distributed areas of rough, strewn with heather and gorse.

Many of the holes are surrounded by trees, creating a sense of peace and tranquillity – but if you want to get the most out of the course, you’ll have to play with courage, that’s for sure!

Like all the courses in this list, the views here are something to behold. People have been playing golf here since 1919, and if you haven’t joined them yet, you won’t be disappointed when you do!

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