The Top 10 Golf Courses in South West England

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The best of the south west

Trying to find the very best golf courses in the West Country?

Perhaps you are planning a golf break, society day or event and looking for the finest tracks in the region? Either way, as the West Country golf travel specialists, we felt it was our duty to bring you our top 10 courses to play in the South West (Devon, Cornwall & Somerset).

From 10 to 1 these courses showcase the very best in history, course design, prestige and enjoyment from golf, not only in the South West but indeed the UK and World golf.

Our top 10 South West golf course guide starts in the gateway to the West Country, Somerset…


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#10 Thurlestone Golf Club

In at 10 and giving an indication of how strong this top 10 is. Thurlestone Golf Club is a cliff top links with views across the dramatic South East Devon coastline. Thurlestone Rock can be seen to the East and the beautiful Avon Estuary and Burgh Island to the West.

This England top 100 venue offers an exhilarating golfing experience and a good variety of holes to keep you engrossed for the 4 hour round.

From the moment you tee off downhill towards the drivable but heavily bunkered first, this course will keep you on your toes. It can change dramatically with the wind meaning two visits here can give very different results.

This Harry Colt design is really something quite special, the first 12 holes go right out along the headland affording some spectacular views. As you turn for home you play 2 par 3’s, 3 par 5’s and a right angle dogleg par 4. Scoring opportunity a plenty, these holes are seriously memorable and leave many wanting more. It’s no wonder so many return year after year to this stunning links.

The Pebble Beach of Devon a Mr Alliss once said…

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Thurlestone Golf Course Views 061012

#9 Perranporth Golf Club

Cornwall’s hidden gem and probably one of the South West’s most underrated golf courses.

Number 9 on this list certainly does not suggest we’ve underrated this fine links. Perranporth is a GSW favourite and one of our most popular venues.

You will find marker posts on no less than 16 holes as you navigate your way across the links.

Perranporth Golf Club’s location on Budnic Hill affords you spectacular views across the beautiful beach, Atlantic Ocean and busy town of Perranporth. It also makes for a truly year-round experience of quick draining, fast running greens and fairways.

You will want to take a moment on the 5th and 14th tees to soak in your location. The views here are quite simply breathtaking and only add to an incredibly well designed, unique and memorable links course.

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#8 East Devon Golf Club

Few courses provide such a dramatic and memorable setting for a round of golf.

This cliff top heathland course has been carved through a profusion of heather and gorse and serves up fast-running links-style fairways which allow for play year round.

East Devon Golf Course is very much making a name for itself nationally as one of the top golfing destinations. This has been recently backed by Top 100 who have placed East Devon in the top 60 courses in England.

Peter Alliss is a big fan of East Devon and was quoted as stating that the 16th tee provides players with the “best view in golf”.

Certainly, not the longest golf course at a little over 6300 yards, East Devon is the defining proof that a course does not need length to prove quality. However when a course is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, what do you expect!

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#7 Royal North Devon Golf Club

Royal North Devon is where it all began for English golf. The “St Andrews” of England opened for play in 1864 and lies between the Estuary, Atlantic Ocean and Westward Ho!.

This traditional links is still grazed by sheep creating fast running, mounded fairways across the course.

The biggest protection here is the wind. The course is relatively flat and open to the elements. A high, spinning ball flight here will do little to tame this 7,000+ yard links.

RND is not only a great course but one of real historical importance.

A visit to the clubs museum is worth some of your time in its own right. Honours boards show famous amateur and professional names from throughout the games long history.

The club is also well versed in awards. Golf World named RND as one of the top 100 courses in the World that true golfers must play. The course has also hosted numerous events, most recently the prestigious West of England Championship.

Some tough decisions have been made compiling this list. Placing RND into this top 10 certainly was not one of them!

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#6 Saunton Golf Club (West)

The younger brother of the East course at this fine venue finds its way onto our list at a very respectable number 6.

Opened for play in its current incarnation in 1973, despite being an idea first conceived pre WW2. Saunton West provides a fine challenge and is certainly not just an accompanying track to the East.

Stretching out to a par 71 and 6,600 yards, this course demands solid tee shot placement and the greens, full commitment and respect. 4 of its 5 par 3’s stretch out to over 190 yards and with the usual links breeze can play any number of distances.

The West may play second fiddle to the East course in many minds, however, remember that its older brother is talked of as a possible Open host. In its own right, the West is a fantastic golf course; Saunton is truly a 2-course venue and both rightfully appear in this list.

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#5 Trevose Golf Club (Championship)

Trevose Country Club is possibly the biggest golfing name in the South West.

Another of Colts famous designs, The Championship Course reaches out across 7,079 yards of rugged links.

Host to the Legend Links Championship, a European Seniors Tour (StaySure Tour) event.

Standing on the raised 1st tee, you are provided with one of the best views in golf. The Atlantic Ocean will blow you away (if the links wind doesn’t get there first). The course is made up of two 9 hole loops, typical of a Colt design. The front 9 holes offers beautiful views of the Atlantic, tight to the sea front. The back 9 holes pulls you more inland, but no less exciting, a real test of golf all the way to the clubhouse.

The final 3 holes always play difficult, a long par 3 16th, followed by the par 4, 17th which has a narrow drive and well protected green. The 18th hole play long, gradually up the hill back to the clubhouse, out of bounds looming down the left, fairway sloping right to left.

With accommodation onsite, 4/5-Star apartments and lodges, this is one of the most popular courses in the South West and even in the UK.

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#4 St Mellion Golf Club (Nicklaus)

In our minds, the finest parkland course in the South West and one of the highest rated in England.

Quite simply St Mellion is one of Jack Nicklaus’s finest creations and his genius is evident as you make your way through 18 holes of uninterrupted brilliance.

A course where picking a driver from the tee on each par 4 and 5 simply won’t do. Jack has designed a course for the golfer’s mindset. Placement is key and this starts from the 2nd (par 5) tee where a long iron/wood will be the only option to set up the hole.

There is not a weak hole on this golf course and one certainly does not tire of playing here.

The final hole is a dogleg right par 4 where your second shot, into an undulating and water protected green, is played in the shadow of the grandstand style luxury hotel.

With the imposing structure of the hotel beside you, it is hard not to get a sense of the feelings winners here must have had such as Langer, Olazabal and a guy called Seve.

In all St Mellion has played host to 12 European Tour events and the Amateur Championship. Few courses in the Country boast this kind of pedigree and certainly, no other course in the South West gets near to this record.

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#3 Burnham & Berrow Golf Club (Championship)

Burnham is the most northerly venue of the Atlantic Links network. This Somerset club has played host to many a prestigious professional and amateur championship over its history and famous winners names litter the leaderboard; including that of Mr J Rose!

Burnham and Berrow is a traditional links layout which will take you 9 holes out along the coastline and 9 back slightly further inland towards the clubhouse.

There is no let up across this course which twists and turns its way through changing elevations, bunkers and mounds to form Somerset’s best layout.

Par is a hugely respected score here for any scratch player. The undulating greens mean this course can be set up to play a number of ways, and this is especially true of the par 3’s. Miss in the wrong place and you will no doubt be scrambling just for the bogey!

Hands down one of our most popular venues.

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Burnham Golf 6

#2 Saunton Golf Club (East)

If the Open Championship was ever to head to the south-west, it is widely accepted that Saunton East would be in prime position to host.

Saunton East a wonderfully designed links set on the North Devon coastline and is widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest courses.

Saunton has a fine history of hosting fantastic events including that of the Amateur Championship and Ladies Amateur. Winners here include a host of famous names, including that of Sergio Garcia!

The East Course is ranked No.32 in the Golf World “Top 100 Courses”. And there is only one Club with 2 better on-site links courses in the whole country and that is St Andrews! Quite the accolade.

From the opening tee shot off the elevated tee to the approach up the hill towards to clubhouse, Saunton will provide a full 18 holes of memories.

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#1 St Enodoc Golf Club (Church)

Fending off strong competition to our number 1 spot is not only one of England’s top courses, but the World’s!

St Enodoc is consistently the talking point for any of our returning clients and it is easy to see why.

St Enodoc is simply an unbelievable links course set in the beautiful town of Rock, overlooking the Camel Estuary and the famous fishing town of Padstow.

You will be genuinely hard pushed to find a golf course so consistently in year round, perfect condition.

One of the features of this course is the famous Himalaya bunker on the 6th hole. Rest assured forward is not an option from here!

The James Braid designed links winds its way around, through and over the dunes. Wispy links rough stands ideally placed ready to gobble up any errant shot and fast running fairways make sure any shot on a bad line is directed towards the troublesome bunkers.

The greens are undulating and nothing shy of pristine. You will not find a bobble on this course and a well struck, online putt will find its way to the bottom of the cup. Be confident in walking it in if it looks good!

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General FAQs

  • Who are Golf South West?

    Founded in 2015, we are 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 available for golf travel within the West Country.

    Our expert team are on hand to ensure you receive the very best service, choice and advice when planning your next golf break. We are proud to announce our nomination for Best Inbound Golf Tour Operator for England at the 2022 World Golf Awards.

  • 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 backed by Protected Trust Services, meaning your booking is secured and safe. We offer tours to an exclusive and unrivalled selection of venues across the South West 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 Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and many more!

  • What is Protected Trust Services?

    Protected Trust Services Limited (PTS) provides security for client and consumer funds through market-leading software and innovative management. PTS prides itself on customer service, flexible thinking and cost-effective solutions for its members.

    PTS offers a unique and comprehensive solution for businesses to trade through a secure trust account using a performance-enhancing software system developed by PTS.

    Protected Trust Services guarantee 100% financial protection to the consumer, ensuring total consumer confidence.

    Any bookings made via Golf South West Ltd from the 1st July 2021 are protected under the PTS Trust. Bookings made before this date will continue to be processed through our original system. If you have booked with us before, please ensure you have the up-to-date bank details to make your payments. If you are unsure, please speak to your Golf South West representative.

    View the PTS brochure for more information on the protection this affords you as a client of Golf South West.

  • 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.

    The money for your golf break is paid into a trust account run by an independent partner, so you have peace of mind that no matter what happens, your money is being looked after.

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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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 every trip AND run an exclusive voucher scheme for our stay and play client bookings.

    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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