A Guide to Golf Breaks in North Devon

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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!

The courses

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!


Saunton (East) Golf Course

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.


Royal North Devon Golf Course

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 Golf Course

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!


Saunton (West) Golf Course

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.

The hotels

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.

Luxury accommodation

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.


Self-catering accommodation

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.



It’s not just North Devon. At Golf South West we are the West Country Golf Travel Specialists. Check out all of our tours across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Bristol.


The North Devon Golf Break - 2 Nights/3 Rounds

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The Devon Atlantic Coastline Golf Break - 3 Nights/4 Rounds

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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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