18 Best British Golfers [Past and Present]

The UK is the birthplace of the sport, but which golfers from Britain have achieved the most success in the game of golf?

Here we take a look at some of the current and past best golfers from the UK.

Best British Golfers

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

Best Current British Golfers

Rory McIlroy

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The obvious place to start in a list of current British golfers is Rory McIlroy. Of course, he’d also make the all-time list of players, but he’s still very much in the prime of his career.

The man from Northern Ireland has achieved just about everything that can be achieved in the world of golf, including multiple major championships, a whole list of European Tour and PGA Tour wins, Ryder Cup triumphs and the number one spot in the world rankings.

If he decided to hang up the clubs right now, he’d still be regarded as one of the best golfers to ever play the game. But it’s safe to say the man from Holywood has plenty more to give to the game of golf.

Justin Rose

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Next on the list is another British major winner and one who would also make the list of all-time greats.

Justin Rose, a Hampshire lad like myself, has well over 20 wins on the PGA and European Tour, including the 2013 US Open Championship.

When he picked up the 2013 US Open victory he became the first English player to bag a major since Nick Faldo last did it in 1996.

As well as his multiple wins worldwide, Rose also has a gold medal to his name after finishing top at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Rose will always be regarded as one of the best British golfers to have played the game and the man who broke the English major drought.

Matt Fitzpatrick

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A multiple winner on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour, Matt Fitzpatrick is one of the best young British players in the game.

The Englishman is already a major champion having won the 2022 US Open at The Country Club at Brookline, his first victory on the PGA Tour.

Part of the successful Ryder Cup team in 2023, Fitzpatrick has one of the best putting games on tour and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t finish his career with a few more major golf championships to his name.

Tommy Fleetwood

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He’s yet to pick up a major or a win on the PGA Tour, but Tommy Fleetwood is certainly one of the best British talents in the game today.

Having turned pro in 2010, the man from Southport has come close to a major championship on multiple occasions including runner-up finishes at the 2019 Open Championship and 2018 US Open Championship.

Fleetwood is known for his excellent golf swing and fairly unique claw putting technique and is also one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour.

He’s also played a huge part in the success of the European Ryder Cup team in recent years, winning all four matches paired up with Francesco Molinari.

Tyrrell Hatton

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Whether you love him or find him a tough watch, Tyrrell Hatton is one best players in the world today.

Hatton has won some of the biggest events on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour including the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the BMW PGA Championship, and is a regular in the European Ryder Cup squad.

I love watching Tyrrell Hatton play golf because he’s like one of us when out on the golf course. He’s not afraid to have a moan about a bad shot and that’s so relatable for us amateurs.

He’s yet to win a major championship but with five top-10 major finishes to his name, he’s certinaly one of the UK’s best hopes in the coming years.

Charley Hull

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Charley Hull is one of the biggest talents in the women’s game today.

With wins on both the LET Tour and the LPGA Tour, Hull knows what it takes to compete at the highest level.

In 2023 she picked up a second-place finish in both the US Women’s Open and the Women’s British Open and looks set to keep growing in the women’s game.

Georgia Hall

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Hall is one of only five British female golfers to have won a major championship, with her win at the 2018 Women’s British Open.

With multiple wins on both the LPGA Tour and LET Tour, Hall has established herself as one of the best British golfers of her generation.

Best British Golfers Of All-Time

Sir Nick Faldo

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One of Europe’s greatest achieving golfers, Nick Faldo has the most number of majors in the modern era of any European player.

With six major titles to his name, Faldo was a dominant figure in the world of golf during the late 80s and 90s, winning 43 times worldwide.

His six majors include three Open Championships and three Masters, the last one coming in 1996.

He was also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 for his career in golf and became a Knight in the 2009 Birthday Honours for his services to the game.

It’s easy to see why Faldo is known as the greatest English golfer to play the game, having reached the top of the Official World Golf Ranking for 97 weeks during the 90s.

Laura Davies

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Dame Laura Davies is one of the most accomplished English female golfers to ever play the game, having won four major championships and numerous other tournaments worldwide.

A total of 87 professional wins includes a US Open, two PGA Championships and a du Maurier Classic, all of which means she’s the most successful British female golfer.

She has been a dominant figure in women’s golf and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.

Davies was always known for not using a tee for her driver, instead making a tee with a mound of turf. An iconic move and one that I still use when I’m out on the course and the wind is into my face.

Harry Vardon

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You can’t have a list of top British golfers without including the great Harry Vardon, who still stands as the player with the most major wins from the UK and Europe.

Between 1896–1914 Vardon claimed a US Open and six Open Championships, as well as 41 other tournament victories.

Vardon will always live on as one of the best golfers to play the game and his legacy can be seen via the Vardon Trophy and the Harry Vardon Trophy, awards given out to top players on the PGA Tour and European Tour respectively.

Lee Westwood

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Lee Westwood has had one of the best careers from a British golfer, having played in the most Ryder Cups and held number one in the world for a total of 23 weeks in 2020/2011.

His career includes 44 professional victories, including 25 on the European Tour and two on the PGA Tour.

Despite plenty of worldwide wins, he’ll always be known as one of the best players to never win a major championship having finished in the top 10 of a major 19 times.

Ian Woosnam

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Ian Woosnam is the best player to come out of Wales, having been known most notably for his win at the 1991 Masters Tournament and spending 50 weeks at world number one during the same period.

The Welshman claimed 52 professional tournament wins, including 29 on the European Tour, but he’ll also be remembered for starting the final round of the 2001 Open Championship with 15 clubs, receiving a two-stroke penalty and finishing tied third.

Tony Jacklin

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Two-time major winner and Hall of Famer, Englishman Tony Jacklin, is known for revitalising British golf in the 20th century.

When Jacklin won The Open Championship in 1969, he was the first British golfer to win a major for 15 years. He also followed up with a US Open win the following year.

29 professional wins and a CBE to his name, Jacklin is an icon of British golf.

Henry Cotton

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Henry Cotton was a golfer who elevated British golf during the 1930s and 40s, winning The Open Championship three times in that period.

He also managed to pick up 17 top 10s at The Open during his playing career and is regarded as having a huge influence on British golf.

His record score of 65 during the 1934 Open Championship, led to the production of the Dunlop 65 golf balls, which is regarded as one of the most iconic golf balls ever.

Cotton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980 and later became a Knight in 1988 after he died in 1987.

Sandy Lyle

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One of the best golfers in the modern era to come out of Scotland, Sandy Lyle is regarded as one of the best British golfers of all time.

Winner of The Open Championship in 1985 and the 1988 Masters, Lyle had picked up all 18 of his European Tour wins by the age of 34.

167 weeks inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings and a Hall of Fame career cemented Sandy Lyle as one of the best golfers to come out of the UK.

Colin Montgomerie

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Colin Montgomerie is undoubtedly the best golfer ever to play the game, never to win a major championship.

The Scotsman managed 31 wins on the European Tour, which included eight Order of Merit titles, the most of any player.

Despite never actually winning a major, he came agonisingly close on multiple occasions including five runner-up finishes.

Monty was a dominant force on the European Tour throughout most of the 90s and will always be regarded as one of the best players to ever play on the tour.

Luke Donald

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Luke Donald was always my favourite golfer growing up. A silky smooth golf swing and world-class short game meant that Donald was able to reach the pinnacle of the men’s game in 2011 and spend a total of 56 weeks at the top.

His 17 worldwide wins include a World Golf Championship and two BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth.

Luke has also played a massive part in Europe’s Ryder Cup in recent years, winning all four of the events he’s played in. He also captained the team to a victory in 2023.

Catriona Matthew

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Catriona Matthew has been a prominent figure in women’s golf since turning professional in 1995, with her most notable win being the 2009 Women’s British Open.

Her career also included 11 worldwide victories and 18 top-10 finishes in major championships.

She has also played a key role in the Solheim Cup for Team Europe, captaining the team to victories in 2019 and 2021.

Other Notable Players

  • Graeme McDowell – 2010 U.S. Open champion and key player in Ryder Cup matches.
  • Darren Clarke – 2011 Open Champion and a prominent figure in the Ryder Cup.
  • Danny Willett – Winner of The Masters in 2016.
  • Paul Lawrie – Winner of The Open Championship in 1999.
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