Golfing Gems in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset

Our last blog provided a top 10 list of must play venues in the South West. The problem is, with so much quality across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, 10 just isn’t enough!

What about all the great courses that were not on that list? Courses you don’t hear about often or host big events.

Well we’ve gone ahead and selected out top 10 hidden gems of the West Country.

Now we know that your opinions may be different to ours, so here is how we’ve make our decisions:

  • Personal experiences
  • Value for money
  • Views
  • Condition
  • Facilities
  • Our clients reviews

Have we missed your favourite course? Make your case in the comments.

So… In no particular order, here is our list of the South West’s “hidden” gems.

Dartmouth Golf & Country Club

Dartmouth Golf & Country Club has become of the South West’s premiere golfing destinations in recent years. As a resort it is equipped to handle a variety of groups from a couple’s weekend getaways to large golfing societies and everything in between.

The Championship course at Dartmouth is quite a challenge and presented in fantastic condition year round. The course undulates through the natural terrain of the south Devon countryside, offering fantastic views of the local area.

The complex itself offers leisure facilities, restaurant, golfers bar, family/group lodges, hotel rooms and even an additional 9 hole short course. It is also ideally located for the coastal town of Dartmouth and can provide an ideal golf tour base for surrounding courses including Thurlestone, Churston and Elfordleigh.

 

Carlyon Bay Golf Resort

Carlyon Bay is one of the few venues in the UK that perfectly combines hotel luxury with a fantastic and unique golf course.

The golf course at Carlyon Bay is a recent edition to the famous Cornish festival and it is easy to see why. The mix of links and parkland across the 18 holes is a rare attribute and works perfectly in providing a unique experience to golfers.

As with many Cornish coastal venues the views on offer are breathtaking as you look over St Austell Bay and out to the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

 

Exeter Golf Club

Exeter Golf Course challenges all levels of golfer. For your long hitting, low handicappers the tight trees and clever dog legs force you to play less from the tee bringing into play strategically placed bunkers, leaving longer approaches.

Now the approach is where it’s made more difficult for the shorter hitters. Small greens leave hardly any room for error!

The general condition of the course is fantastic. Smooth greens and fairways with tidy semi rough. A smart parkland course and a must play if in the Exeter area.

The clubhouse looks like your dream home, fit for weddings and functions alike.

Mendip Spring Golf Club

Arguably the most underrated golf course in Somerset! I’ve been lucky enough to play this course on many occasions and I’ll do my best to substantiate my claim.

Mendip Spring is an easy walking course that finds character in an excellent layout and design. All the par 3’s vary in length and offer a differing challenge to players. Four par 5’s and 1 or 2 short par 4’s mean there are able birdie opportunities across the par 71, 6412 year course, and when have birdies failed to make a round enjoyable!

The 11th hole is arguably one of the best in the West. Take on two (or three) daunting shots around some great looking water hazards and trying to find a green tucked away on the right hand side of a right dogleg. See the video below!

When off the course you can stay in the newly refurbished accommodation. The bar and restaurant area has a brilliant atmosphere and even better food!

Mullion Golf Club

Honestly, It was hard to focus on the golf while being surrounded by those fabulous views. The most notable being the famous St Michael’s Mount!
Not too far north of the most southerly point in the UK.
Mullion Golf Club offers a great condition course suitable for every ability of golfer (as long as the wind stays calm).
Only 6053 yards, par 70, I believe this course has a great balance between tough and accessible golf holes.

Newquay Golf Club

Newquay Golf Club is one of those hidden gems that is somewhat under the radar due to nearby links of Trevose and St Enodoc. For many years the course played host to the famous Cornish Festival Golf Event alongside the two aforementioned golfing giants St Enodoc & Trevose.

With views across the famous Fistral Beach and out across the Atlantic Ocean, Newquay stays consistent with the Cornish style of fantastic courses accompanied by stunning vistas.

A modest 6141 yards from the blue tees, par 69, Newquay is playable all year on great greens and fast draining fairways. Newquay is often a favourite in the mid season of March, April or October due to its favourable rates and year round excellent condition.

Personal favoured hole is the par 4 12th. An opening tee shot leaves a mid length approach over a row of fairway bunkers into an elevated green, all in the shadow of the surrounding apartments, hotels and the Atlantic Ocean backdrop.

For the golfer that likes a social drink or two after their round, there isn’t many places better than the town of Newquay! Golf South West offer lots of accommodation options near this famous Cornish coastline with 4 hotels in the town, Perranporth Golf Club accommodation 10 miles south and Trevose’s lodges 20 minutes North.

 

Woodbury Park Golf Club

The Devon countryside has always been a fan favourite when it comes to golf courses. Woodbury Park is a brilliant combination of a hotel, golf course, spa, and corporate facilities.

Woodbury Park is used as a qualifying course for PGA members and was made famous by its association with World championship racing driver Nigel Mansell.

Woodbury is a two course, 27 hole venue. The oaks course is the 18 hole stretching over 6568 yards, par 72. The Acorns course is a short, nicely contoured 9 hole with 18 tees. Reaching only 4609 yards, par 65.

When it comes to a stay and play golf breaks, Woodbury Park’s Hotel is a 4 Star gem. Offering luxury rooms or even self-catering lodges. They are even open on Christmas!

If you are looking for a great value, high quality golfing get away in 2018, you could do far worse than Woodbury Park.

West Cornwall Golf Club

The oldest course in Kernow!

Stretching out at only 5850 yards, Par 69, but length is not this course’s defence! Challenging, blind tee shots and a whipping cross wind cause problems at all sides of the course at West Cornwall.

Views across the Hayle Estuary, St Ives Bay and the Atlantic Ocean are a pure delight. This course will test you throughout, especially with the mid-long irons. This is a not a course to pull out the big gun on every hole!

West Cornwall Golf Club offers great value for money year round including favourable society rates.

Perhaps a golf break to St Ives will be on the cards for your group in 2018?

Churston Golf Club

Seaside views from a very tidy parkland course.

Churston is a tight, tree lined course set on the south east Devon coast. Having played this course in February I assure you that condition is very good year round. Not many parkland courses can make this claim!

Again, not the longest course in the World at 6270 yards, par 70, however, lots of elevation changes and side slopes keeps the low handicapper humble. The course sss is 1 above par, not what you would normally expect from a course of this length. However factor in the small greens and typical high winds, 36 points round here is quite the achievement.

Think about teaming this course with Dartmouth and Thurlestone for a fantastic south Devon golf tour.

Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club

Recently voted 75th in a list of Britain’s best golf courses under £100.

Much like Newquay Golf Club, Bude Golf Club is situated in the heart of the town making it a favourite with golf break parties.

The early holes take you right out to the beach and the 4th, an extremely well protected par 3, turns you back towards the clubhouse.

Golf has been played here since 1891 and was in the early days for exclusive use of the officer class, with an exception only made for a Mr Harry Vardon in 1905. On his final visit in 1909 Vardon when on to post a course record 65, beating the previous record of 69… also held by him!

The course designer needs a good pat on the back. They’ve managed to do a brilliant job making an enjoyable course with very little space to do so. The skilled golfer will be tested with tight lights, uneven fairways and quick greens.

Bude is certainly one of those courses which falls into the “under-rated” category. However with an ideal setting, great layout and warm welcome on offer, Bude should be considered as part of a North Cornwall tour or perhaps a first or final day stopover course during a trip south.

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General FAQs

  • Who are Golf South West?

    Founded in 2015, we are first and foremost the West Country golf travel specialists. We provide our clients with bespoke golf tours and stay & play golf packages for small groups and golf societies alike.

    We are both a domestic golf tour operator working directly for our clients and regional golf DMC who act as an agent for international outbound operators hoping to have their clients experience the beautiful West Country and it’s golfing delights!

    We work closely with our venues to ensure our customers receive the best value and service available for golf travel within the region.

    In 2023 we welcomed 2 new brands into the GSW family. Golf South East and Golf North West. Both offering the same expert service which our clients have come to expect from Golf South West, with experts in each respective region.

  • Which regions are covered by Golf South West?

    Golf South West is the West Country’s premier golf tour operator covering the regions of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Dorset, South Wales and Hampshire.

    We also work with selected, popular golf resorts across the UK including those under the management of Marriott, plus 4 time Ryder Cup host The Belfry, Celtic Manor and many more.

    If you are planning a golf break, we are the only call you need to make.

  • What is the best way to get in touch?

    We are available by phone 0117 256 5966 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm), WhatsApp, email, enquiry form or via social media channels.

  • Why choose Golf South West as your tour operator?

    GSW is run by golfers and endorsed by golf professionals across the South West of the UK.

    We are a fully insured, experienced and recommended golf tour operator, who are insured by an ABTOT bond, meaning your money is secure and safe.

    We offer tours to a largely exclusive and unrivalled selection of venues across the Southwest of England and Wales, including some courses which can be tricky to access.

    We are also proud members of Golf Tourism England and IAGTO, who only work with only the best and most reputable companies in the industry.

    You can rest assured that as a client of Golf South West you will not only receive the best service, advice and choice, but you will also find the best value golf breaks in available in the West Country.

  • Who are ABTOT?

    A name and logo you will very likely recognise if you have taken a holiday in the UK. ABTOT insure non-flight inclusive package travel.

    ABTOT is an approved body (approved by Department for Business and Trade) which oversees the bonding process to ensure that ABTOT Members financial protection are at an adequate level to meet their insolvency requirements in the event of their financial failure as defined by The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018.

    In plain English, ABTOT work closely with their members to ensure that we as a tour operator are keeping your money (as our client) money is safe and secure in the event of any solvency issues.

    The rules for membership acceptance are stringent so you can rest assured that any tour operator displaying the ABTOT logo is a trusted company in their sector.

  • How do GSW keep money safe?

    We are extremely proud of the service we provide and a large part of this is ensuring our client’s money is safe. Our practices comply with the 2018 package travel directive meaning that your money is safe with both ourselves and the venues your choose to visit.

    Our bond is provided under our ABTOT membership. The ability to display this recognisable and trusted logo does not come easily and only the most trusted tour operators pass the application. We are proud to be members of ABTOT and by booking with an ABTOT member you can rest assured that you are dealing with the industries finest and most trusted tour companies.

  • What happens if we can’t go on our planned trip?

    Holding deposits are non-refundable, but they are transferable* to a new date or break. We aim to be as flexible as possible and will treat each situation on a case by case basis. Full deposits are non-refundable so please only commit and pay for those in the party who are definitely able to attend the trip.

     

    * Some venue restrictions apply. Terms vary depending on the venue and cancellation term booked. Phone GSW consultant can advise you of this.

  • Can we make changes to our break?

    Managing a group can be a thankless task and changes to the group leading up to your break are an accepted element. We make changes as stress free as possible (just see our reviews for evidence of this!). Changes can be made up to 6 weeks prior to your break. Some changes are unavoidable so for legitimate reasons we will endeavour to make last minute changes after this period, but as we would have paid our venues at this point, this would be at the discretion of the venue(s) you are visiting. Please note a £25 admin fee will be applied for changes inside 6 weeks.

  • Why book with a tour operator?

    Good question, could you not do this all yourself? The answer is yes you could. You are able to locate the ideal hotel with the accessibility you need to the clubs you plan to play. You could go back and forth with your target venues and line up the tee times.  You could also contact each venue individually to advise them of group number changes and requests during the build up to your trip.

    Alternatively you could;

    – Talk to us about the trip you are planning.

    – Receive quotes for perfectly crafted package meeting your ideal requirements.

    – Secure the booking with small deposits staged in a way to make your life easier as an organiser.

    – Have your funds fully insured and independently held by PTS, our client trust provider.

    – Have changes made to whole tours with just one call or email.

    – Receive exclusive extras such as free places.

    – Pay less with our packages than going direct to venues.

    Why can we do this?

    Quite simply we have spent years (since 2015) forging strong relationships with hotel, golf club and golf resort venues across the South West. We are the expert tour operator for the region and are know for our high quality and personal service to our clients (just see our Google and TrustPilot reviews).

  • Who uses Golf South West?

    The majority of our clients are UK based domestic travellers. We deal with groups of any size, from single travellers and couples, to large golf societies.

    We also are the favoured golf DMC for the South West of England and preferred regional partner of Golf Tourism England. We regularly work with tour operators from Europe, America and elsewhere to provide bespoke tour packages allowing overseas travellers to experience the beautiful West Country.

  • How are package prices displayed on our website?

    Prices on our our website are displayed in two ways. The first is on our Resort pages where pricing tables show the from prices for low, mid and high season golf stay and play package rates at golf resort venues.

    The second is on our example tour package pages. There are often 4 prices shown here, two for low season and two for high season. The struck through price typically shows the highest price the tour can be and is often active over weekends in that season. The offer price is typically a mid week price.

    Every tour quote we offer is bespoke and will vary based on a number of factors including the date, availability, group size, room type, time of day for the tee time, etc… Our package pricing is a guide to the cost of the package and is not a firm price. Please enquire for an exact cost.

    We aim to provide as accurate a price as possible and therefore try to avoid using shoulder/mid season pricing or twilight green fee rates when displaying rates. You may find an intermediate price for breaks in months of April & October at certain venues.

  • Why are golf resort prices the same as elsewhere?

    Put simply, all tour operators work from the same contracted rate card when it comes to stay and play golf resort packages. When it comes to golf tours, that is a different matter, but golf resorts are a level playing field.

    If you find a vastly different price, it’s likely you’ve been misquoted and usually this does come back to bite.

    The question this poses is why book a stay and play golf break with Golf South West if you can book direct or with one of the large operators and receive the same price?

    Benjamin Franklin once said “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after
    the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

    We have a small team so booking through us means you receive a personal service. You are more than just a number to us, we are a tour operator where you will likely get to deal with the same contact throughout the process, who will get to know you and your group and respond efficiently to your queries.

    We know our venues and the people who work there. This ensures a smooth process from initial enquiry to the end of your stay.

    Financially you have an extra layer of protection as your money is securely stored in an independent trust account and is fully insured when it is released to the venue(s) you are visiting.

    We are fortunate to have some exclusive “extras” with selected venues across the South West. We offer 1 in 16 free on most trips AND run an exclusive credit system to reward repeat bookers.

    We often feel we add further value to our clients when it comes to our bespoke golf tour packages, but you can rest assured that when making a stay and play golf resort booking, Golf South West will offer you an extremely high level of service, financial protection and may even offer you a saving or an exclusive extra!

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