Courses on common land

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Earlier this week, I took my permitted exercise walking round the Old Course at Walton Heath. It was a stimulating few hours, looking at the holes and architecture up close. The course has markers on the tee boxes used in the 1981 Ryder Cup - seeing how much further back the current competition tees are was food for thought.

Walking the course was possible because Walton Heath is common land, and lingering on fairways didn’t disturb any golfers.

So, a question - are there any more top-end courses on common land, or freely accessible to walkers? There are a few days of lockdown left, and walking another course would be a welcome change of scene.
 

IanM

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My immediate thought was that Old Course is closed on Sundays, so folk walk, picnic and kick footballs around all over it! :) On my first visit there, we arrived on a Sunday, so I headed straight for the Swilcan Bridge and The Road Hole to take photos... place was full of walkers and people kicking footballs around!

Plenty of others on Common land or with footpaths on them. As for "top end" that's a tougher question. I remember plenty of walkers on the cliff path at Sheringham. Westward Ho! similarly has folk and animals all over it! In Surrey, Hankley Common has paths across and close by, Guildford is on the Downs with many paths across it
 

BiMGuy

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Baildon just outside Bradford is mostly common land. A lovely place to walk on a nice clear day.
 
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I started playing as a junior on now departed Burbage Common where golf at weekends competed with the local model aircraft club for space on the 9th fairway. A shout of four left you ducking underneath a Lancaster. Hinckley GC now uses the old 1st, 2nd and 9th greans though only the second remains on common land.

Sutton Coldfield is a lovely heathland style course where the greens are fenced off to stop the cows trampling all over them.
 
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Earlier this week, I took my permitted exercise walking round the Old Course at Walton Heath. It was a stimulating few hours, looking at the holes and architecture up close. The course has markers on the tee boxes used in the 1981 Ryder Cup - seeing how much further back the current competition tees are was food for thought.

Walking the course was possible because Walton Heath is common land, and lingering on fairways didn’t disturb any golfers.

So, a question - are there any more top-end courses on common land, or freely accessible to walkers? There are a few days of lockdown left, and walking another course would be a welcome change of scene.
Every course in Scotland?
 
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My immediate thought was that Old Course is closed on Sundays, so folk walk, picnic and kick footballs around all over it! :) On my first visit there, we arrived on a Sunday, so I headed straight for the Swilcan Bridge and The Road Hole to take photos... place was full of walkers and people kicking footballs around!

Plenty of others on Common land or with footpaths on them. As for "top end" that's a tougher question. I remember plenty of walkers on the cliff path at Sheringham. Westward Ho! similarly has folk and animals all over it! In Surrey, Hankley Common has paths across and close by, Guildford is on the Downs with many paths across it
There is a public footpath across the 18th and 1st fairway at North Berwick. Not dissimilar to the Old Course. And often a lot of walkers on the beach to the right of the 1st couple of holes - where the beach is in play.

Quirk of the local rules are that you don't get a free drop off the path at NB. From memory it's a kind of rough gravel surface and members are definitely conscious to lay up short of it off the 1st tee.

I have played at Fort Augustus where sheep graze the land. This also happens at Brora and Cleeve Hill, but have been to neither.
 

Bo Golf

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Sunningdale GC is very accessible for walkers with several footpaths crossing the fairways. In addition to this lots of people are walking along the fairways during the lockdown.
 

DRW

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snip

Sutton Coldfield is a lovely heathland style course where the greens are fenced off to stop the cows trampling all over them.
Is that the course you can see on the edge of Sutton Park when you walk around ? course looks nice (we walk in the park sometimes)
 
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Even Muirfield?

I think legally there is a 'right to roam' in place. But obviously land owners can put up fences and ditches, should they wish.
Just wondering if I can in fact - if I so chose to do - wander about any golf course - even when open. I don't know if the law on 'right to roam' applies to all golf courses.
 

HomerJSimpson

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Just wondering if I can in fact - if I so chose to do - wander about any golf course - even when open. I don't know if the law on 'right to roam' applies to all golf courses.
I would seriously doubt it. We are on Crown Land so definitely private. There are paths through part of the estate where people can walk and ride horses but as far as I'm aware the golf course is deemed private property. I would think that applies to many places, not just on crown land especially if someone own the club and the land it is built on
 

IanG

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Just wondering if I can in fact - if I so chose to do - wander about any golf course - even when open. I don't know if the law on 'right to roam' applies to all golf courses.
The Scottish Outdoor Access code says:

'You can only exercise access rights to cross over a golf course and in doing so, you must keep off golf greens at all times and not interfere with any golf games or damage the playing surface. Golf courses are intensively used and managed, and there can be hazards such as where golfers are playing 'blind' shots. In exercising access rights:

  • allow players to play their shot before crossing a fairway
  • be still when close to a player about to play
  • follow paths where they exist, and
  • keep your dog on a short lead
To avoid damaging the playing surface, cyclists and horse-riders need to keep to paths at all times and not on any other part of a golf course.'

So you can cross any golf course in Scotland (including Muirfield) subject to behaving yourself. You cannot wander the fairways for self guided tour of the course.
 
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I would seriously doubt it. We are on Crown Land so definitely private. There are paths through part of the estate where people can walk and ride horses but as far as I'm aware the golf course is deemed private property. I would think that applies to many places, not just on crown land especially if someone own the club and the land it is built on
meant in Scotland...sorry
 
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The Scottish Outdoor Access code says:

'You can only exercise access rights to cross over a golf course and in doing so, you must keep off golf greens at all times and not interfere with any golf games or damage the playing surface. Golf courses are intensively used and managed, and there can be hazards such as where golfers are playing 'blind' shots. In exercising access rights:

  • allow players to play their shot before crossing a fairway
  • be still when close to a player about to play
  • follow paths where they exist, and
  • keep your dog on a short lead
To avoid damaging the playing surface, cyclists and horse-riders need to keep to paths at all times and not on any other part of a golf course.'

So you can cross any golf course in Scotland (including Muirfield) subject to behaving yourself. You cannot wander the fairways for self guided tour of the course.
Not sure thats the case. The legislation only specifically excludes access rights over golf greens (rather than the whole course) - the remaining provisos are that access is subject to whether the land is actually being used, and whether the access rights actually impede the use of the land for its intended purpose. So provided that you keep off the greens, and dont get in anyones way, the legislation seems to allow you to tour the course if you choose to? The Access Code phrases it differently, but then, the Code isnt the actually law?
 

IanG

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Not sure thats the case. The legislation only specifically excludes access rights over golf greens (rather than the whole course) - the remaining provisos are that access is subject to whether the land is actually being used, and whether the access rights actually impede the use of the land for its intended purpose. So provided that you keep off the greens, and dont get in anyones way, the legislation seems to allow you to tour the course if you choose to? The Access Code phrases it differently, but then, the Code isnt the actually law?
Hi, I'm not a lawyer and find the Access Code much more approachable than the Act itself - so you might be right. A quick google lead me to this

https://www.lawscot.org.uk/members/journal/issues/vol-58-issue-11/golf-and-the-right-to-roam/

which was interesting but ultimately not conclusive either.

In practice if you keep your wits about you and don't interfere with play or cause any damage you are very unlikely to get any hassle on 99% of Scottish courses in my experience. Just don't try and enter Muirfield via the front gate ;)
 

Robster59

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There is a public footpath across the 18th and 1st fairway at North Berwick. Not dissimilar to the Old Course. And often a lot of walkers on the beach to the right of the 1st couple of holes - where the beach is in play.

Quirk of the local rules are that you don't get a free drop off the path at NB. From memory it's a kind of rough gravel surface and members are definitely conscious to lay up short of it off the 1st tee.

I have played at Fort Augustus where sheep graze the land. This also happens at Brora and Cleeve Hill, but have been to neither.
Well to be fair, we have the occassional sheep makes a foray onto our course. :ROFLMAO: Very good for keeping the long grass on the sides of the tees down.
 
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I started playing as a junior on now departed Burbage Common where golf at weekends competed with the local model aircraft club for space on the 9th fairway. A shout of four left you ducking underneath a Lancaster. Hinckley GC now uses the old 1st, 2nd and 9th greans though only the second remains on common land.

Sutton Coldfield is a lovely heathland style course where the greens are fenced off to stop the cows trampling all over them.
Sutton Coldfield is underrated, the only thing that spoils it for me is the bunching of the par 5's on the front 9.
 
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