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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…
#10 Weston-super-Mare Golf Club
In at 10 and giving an indication of how strong this top 10 is. Weston Super Mare Golf Club is a traditional links set behind the dunes on the south side of Weston.
The protection from the wind afforded by the dunes for the first 6 holes gives a false sense of calm. However rest assured that the wind is likely swirling above, ready to knock any ball from its intended flight path!
Host to the 2016 Somerset County Championship, Weston is a relatively flat, easy walking links which will test your accuracy, short game and creativity. Littered with pot bunkers, tight fairways and undulating greens it has proved an enjoyable challenge for professionals and amateurs alike for over 125 years.
#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.
#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!
#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!
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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!