One of the greatest things about playing golf in the UK and Ireland is the ability to tee it up on almost all of the very best golf courses, with all of our top 100 golf courses available to play.
All Open Championship venues welcome visitors and barring the 10 or so most exclusive golf clubs, all of the top courses take green fee payers throughout the week or at certain times at least.
However, despite golfers having the chances to play these world class golf courses, some may never get to experience them due to the high costs required to tee it up. Green fees certainly continue to rise as the years go by and a number of the very best courses in the UK now require £250-£300+ to play during peak times.
Green fees are very much driven by supply and demand and the fact that many of the top clubs have sold out of all their visitor tee times for 2022 (and in some cases 2023) shows that there are enough golfers out there who are prepared to spend big to play the top courses
Below, we take a look at the 10 most expensive green fees in the UK and Ireland and offer some advice on how to get them a little cheaper. The cheaper rates might suggests worse conditions but luckily the best courses, and especially links courses like the ones that feature heavily here, remain in playable condition all year round.
HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £425
Trump Turnberry’s Ailsa Course is indeed one of the best golf courses in Scotland but golfers need to get out their wallets in order to play the four-time Open venue at peak times. This rate is from 1st June-30th Sep between Friday and Sunday but luckily golfers can still play the course for less than half that in off-season. A Mon-Thu rate during November costs just £175 (£200 Fri-Sun) although try and play before 11th November as that’s the date when mats are required on all low cut turf.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £374
Another Scottish golfing great, Kingsbarns, features in second place with the highest green fee coming in £51 shy of Turnberry’s – although note this is the 2023 fee between May and November. The price tag here reflects the exceptional golf course, conditions and views but also its proximity to St Andrews and the famous Old Course. Kingsbarns of course features in the Dunhill Links and will be on plenty of golfing tourists’ bucket lists and hit lists to tick off when in and around St Andrews. Kingsbarns doesn’t appear to be the place to get a hugely discounted green fee, unfortunately, with the March-April 2023 offering of £315 looking the best.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: €430
Adare Manor is Europe’s answer to Augusta National and it’s one of the best golf courses in Ireland, and also the country’s most expensive green fee. The stunning parkland, host of the JP McManus Pro-Am, welcomes the Ryder Cup in 2027 and is a one-in-a-lifetime experience for most golfers. Its peak green fee for 2023 of €430 converts to around £365 at the time of writing so it is right up there amongst the most expensive in the UK&I. The price goes up around €100 also as caddies (€95 per round) are required, unless you take a cart for €60 then a forecaddie is allowed. Cheaper rates can be accessed if you stay at the resort or go for a December tee time at €320.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £325
The stunning Martin Hawtree modern links offers up a unique and testing experience, and it can be yours for £325 during peak times. Save yourself £150 and play it for just £175 during November if the peak green fee is slightly out of range.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £325
We’re starting to see a bit of a pattern here that golf at the very best courses in Scotland doesn’t come cheap, at least during peak times for non-hotel residents and tourists. When it comes to the best courses in Scotland, there’s absolutely no denying that Muirfield is right up the top. In fact, it’s one of the best courses in the world. A trip round the famed 16-time Open venue will cost as much as £325 in 2023, but it can be played for just £125 (£200 off summer rate!) between November and December. Bargain. The course only takes visitors on Tuesdays and Thursdays so book your day off now and enjoy playing a legendary golf course.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £315
Tackle one of the world’s most famous golf holes, the Postage Stamp, at the legendary Royal Troon – home of nine Open Championships including the iconic Stenson vs Mickelson battle last time out in 2016. The stunning Ayrshire Links, next door to the likes of Prestwick, Western Gailes, Dundonald and plenty more great links courses, will cost up to £315 to get a tee time in 2023. There are still some 2022 bookings available but you must go through the office. Your best option for next year would be the £360 day ticket to play the famous Old Course as well as Troon’s other course, the Portland.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £305
The most expensive green fee in England, and one of the best golf courses in England too, comes at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The testing, bunker-filled links has one of the country’s grandest clubhouses and an 11-time Open Championship-hosting course to match. A peak green fee of £305 certainly isn’t cheap although you could get on the course for just £160 between November 2021 and the end of February 2022, with 22-23 prices not yet showing on the website.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £300
Sunningdale is home to two of the best inland golf courses in the UK, in fact they are the two best, and the price is reflective of the quality on offer. Both the Old and the New are £300 each to play but the best, and only in our opinion, way to play them is to do both in one day for a reduced £500 price. It sounds a lot, and it is, but nothing comes close to a day at Sunningdale. Please note that October is the only month available for this year due to demand.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £300
Another English course to boast a £300 highest green fee is Royal Birkdale, home to Jordan Spieth’s dramatic 2017 Open triumph and a total of ten Open Championships altogether. The Lancashire links is arguably the best golf course in the country and is fully booked for the peak season, so luckily the £300 green fee doesn’t apply here. Golfers looking to test their games at this stunning venue can pay £185 between November and February, and that even includes soup and sandwiches.
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HIGHEST GREEN FEE: £300
Last and by no means least, as it tops our UK&I top 100 rankings, is the exceptional Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. The beautiful and dramatic links is not only one of the best golf courses in Northern Ireland but one of the world’s very best too. It’s £300 on Sunday afternoons during peak season but can be played for as little as £150 between November and February, and then £170 in March and £195 in April. It’s one of the world’s most incredible golf courses so if you haven’t done it yet, do it!
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Of course, we are living through a cost of living crisis so even if some of the reduced green fees are out of your budget take a look at our best cheap golf courses list, which features 100 hidden gems across the UK and Ireland that all offer up something special at a more affordable price. If you’re looking for a top 100 bargain, make sure to check out the 10 cheapest top 100 green fees in the UK.