Dr. Ma’s Choices of Three Golf Courses in the UK Every Golfer Should Play Once in Their Lives
Dr. Oscar John Ma reveals his three choices of the most unforgettable golf courses in the United Kingdom that every golfer should play at least once.
The Old Course at Sunningdale, Berkshire
For perfection in the golfing experience, Dr. Oscar John Ma says, visit the Old Course at Sunningdale in Berkshire.
The caddies are enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The staff are genuinely friendly. The course is slick, green heathland with extraordinary vistas. And at the halfway hut there are delicious sausages.
Berkshire and Surrey are famous for their courses built on heathland, between the beaches and fertile farmland in the interior. This kind of land abounds in Berkshire, home of some of Britain’s best golf courses.
Few places in Britain are as magical on a summer evening as the western coast of Scotland. And fewer still boast a magnificent golf course where you can enjoy the surroundings.
Turnbury in Ayrshire wasn’t always a golf course. Until 1951, it was an RAF base. It is one of the newest great golf courses in Britain, but what it lacks in age, it makes up for in quality.
Particularly challenging are the fourth through eleventh holes, strung out on the cliff tops abutting the coast with a view of the 99-acre island, Ailsa Craig. The vast, rolling sand dunes and the magnificent views lift every golfer’s soul as they thread their way through challenging holes.
St. Andrews Old Course, Fife
There is no better course in Britain, Dr. Oscar John Ma says, for golfing the “real thing.”
St. Andrews is the historic home of golf, a course where golf has been played for 600 years. Tiger Woods, who won two opens here, says “It is my favorite course. The history amazes every golfer. To win here is the ultimate experience in golf.”
Jack Nicklaus said, “For any golfer to be remembered, he must win at St. Andrews.” Nicklaus won in 1970 and 1978.
St. Andrews serves as home for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which even in the twenty-first century sets the rules of the game. St. Andrews originated the now-global standard course layout of 18 holes. In the early days of golf, courses could have any number of holes. St. Andrews itself once had 22, eleven running along the shore and 11 back. Golfers going in either direction putt into the same cups except on the 11th and 22nd holes.
After a long debate, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club decided that the first four holes (which were also the last four holes) were too short for challenging play. They were amalgamated into two holes.
Many of the features of St. Andrews are not duplicated anywhere else. St. Andrews has only two par-three holes and two par-fives, while most other courses have four of each. St. Andrews is also unique for its double greens, with a white flag designating the hole for golfers starting the course and a red flag designating the hold for golfers completing the course.