Why is North Devon a popular golf break destination?
North Devon is one of those regions that is blessed with a number of great golf courses in close proximity. It is also coastal meaning there is much to do off the course and in the summer can feel like a summer holiday as well as a golf break. The most famous courses in this region are Royal North Devon (oldest course in England) and Saunton (which is home to 2 top 100 courses).
The lively town of Barnstaple is also a great place to base yourself with hotels in the area being very familiar in dealing with golfing groups.
Want to find out more… read on!
North Devon is home to some seriously good courses… we mean seriously good!
From a course that has been talked about in the same breath as Royal Birkdale, Royal St Georges and Royal Troon, to the oldest golf course in England, the North Devon region of Barnstaple and surrounding towns is a must visit for your golf society or group!
The pride of Devon. Saunton East provides 18 holes rarely matched across the whole of the UK. This links has built up a formidable reputation over its 120-year history and it has been said that if the West Country was to host an Open Championship, Saunton East would be top of the list.
From the opening tee shot from a raised tee box to the uphill approach into the 18th green with the clubhouse providing the backdrop, Saunton East provides nothing but an unforgettable round of golf.
Proudly the oldest club in England, no other course in the country has a longer history! That said, it’s a fact unlikely to be on your mind as you take on the open and rolling links in the dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
Regarded as the “St Andrews of the South”. RND has been included in many prestigious lists and perhaps none more flattering than Golf World’s “Top 100 courses in the World that a golfer must play”.
Ilfracombe has a unique claim… you can see the sea from every tee!
Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Ilfracombe is one of the most spectacular places in the country to play golf. Situated on the rugged North Devon cliffs providing the views across to the Welsh coastline and the Atlantic Ocean.
Aside from the setting, Ilfracombe is an excellent golf course in its own right with a memorable layout and some unforgettable holes. It is also a truly year-round course welcoming visitors 12 months of the year.
Whilst Ilfracombe may not be as much of an instantly recognisable name as it’s famed neighbours, it certainly holds its own. Our clients regularly play Ilfracombe as part of a 4 round North Devon Atlantic golf tour and praise is always very high for the golf, facilities, service and of course the setting!
The younger brother of the East Course at Saunton, but certainly not in its shadow.
The West course at Saunton may well share characteristics of its older brother, however certainly has its own distinctions and feel. This course is in its own right a true test of golf and has been designed to a level which puts it right up there with the East, making Saunton a truly 2-course golfing destination.
Some even claim to prefer the West course at Saunton due to the variation on the back 9. The number of par 3, 4 and 5’s is shared equally meaning birdies are possible and scoring can be exciting. That said, as with any good golf course, trouble is all around and there are plenty of streams and bunkers strategically placed to try and ruin your card!
The quality of this links is validated in its new ranking of the 56th best course in England.
North Devon is a golf break hotspot for a number of reasons and one of those is certainly the accommodation options on offer. If you’re spending good money to play some of the best golf courses in the country, some will want to match the top courses with top hotels and some will want to save a little on the accommodation side. At Golf South West we have both options for our clients and everything else in between.
If you’re looking for luxury, then look no further than Saunton Sands Hotel. Located half a mile from Saunton Golf Club, it has beautiful views of the beach and almost turns a trip to Saunton into a stay and play. We must add here that a common mistake is believing the two entities to be linked. In fact the hotel is owned by the award winning Brend Hotel Group and the club completely independent of this. An easy mistake to make however and why many incorrectly refer to the club as “Saunton Sands Golf Club”.
The hotel is a top end 4* luxury hotel complete with spa, indoor and outdoor pools, fantastic food, and well appointed rooms, many with a sea view. A golf break including a stay at Saunton Sands Hotel is certainly an experience we would recommend, however it will bring the price of a package to the top level for a North Devon golf break.
Mid tier hotels
Many of our groups are looking for quality hotels without the price tag of the famous Saunton Sands. Fortunately Brend Hotels have a portfolio of hotels in the area to suit every requirement and pocket. The town of Barnstaple is 20 minutes drive from Saunton Golf Club has a number of hotel options which are perfect for golfers. A stay at any of the Barnstaple Brend Hotel’s comes with B&B, an option on dinner and free use of the leisure facilities at The Barnstaple Hotel.
The 4* options and closest alternatives to Saunton Sands Hotel are The Park and Imperial located within walking distance of the town of Barnstaple. Both are lovely hotels with different characteristics. The Imperial is more traditional in its decor whilst The Park is more contemporary. The Imperial is relatively central, whilst The Park is approximately 10 minutes walk from the town centre.
Right in the heart of the town is the most popular hotel for golfers, the Royal & Fortescue. This 3* hotel has good sized rooms, contemporary bar and excellent food in the restaurant. Golf break groups also receive 20% off their food bill as an added incentive to dine on site.
The final Brend Hotel option is that of The Royal Hotel in Bideford. Located just a few miles from Royal North Devon, the hotel has well appointed bedrooms, free parking and fine dining at the Regency Restaurant.
For those looking for some independence during their North Devon golf break, we have a couple of options which should hit the mark.
Corffe Cottages located a few miles south of Barnstaple is a wonderful place to retire after a day on the links. With a number of cottages accommodating between 2 and 10 people, an indoor pool, tennis court and BBQ in a central courtyard.
Up the coast from Saunton, self-catering accommodation is also available at Parkdean Ruda. This resort has much of what you need on site including indoor pool, bar and places to eat. It is close to the surfers beach at Croyde Bay. As it is located on the north side of this region, Ilfracombe or even Minehead could be included into the tour. The latter on the first or last day would be advised due to travel time.
To the South we can also offer accommodation at Ruda’s sister park, Bideford Bay. This Parkdean offers indoor and outdoor pools, bar, restaurant and even crazy golf! As Bideford Bay is on the South side of this area, you are in easy reach of Bude and can include the likes of Bude and Holsworthy golf clubs into a tour.
The Parkdean’s are ultimately family resorts, so we suggest avoiding during school holidays. There is a good mix of caravan and lodges, including those with hot tubs, so out of the school holidays, can provide a perfect base for a golf break and also bring down the price per person versus a hotel.