Coast, moors and parkland... The Devon variety
Devon is one of the largest counties in the country and is home to a number of stunning national parks, long sandy beaches and dramatic coastlines. The mild climate enjoyed by the south west makes Devon a popular tourist destination, with people being drawn to Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, as well as the numerous pretty and idyllic seaside towns that stretch along the historic Jurassic Coast.
Outside of the towns and cities of Devon, the rural areas are blessed with glorious natural landscapes, rolling hills and untouched coastlines, the perfect environment for a golfing holiday. The county has plenty of courses that feature within the countries top 100, including the prestigious Saunton Golf Club with both it’s East and West courses, Royal North Devon, and the luxurious stay & play venue at Bovey Castle.
So here it is, in no particular order (but of course we do have our favourites), a list of 10 must play golf courses in Devon!
Saunton Golf Club (East)
Why not start this list with the course that is ranked as the #1 course in Devon. The East course at Saunton has been considered to be one of the premier golf courses in the West County since it’s design by Herbert Fowler in the 1920s. Located on the untouched and beautiful North Devon coastline, Saunton East is considered by many to be one of the finest seaside courses in all of the country, and one that would make a fine host of the Open Championship. The course is undeniably tough, with eight par fours that stretch further than 400 yards and only two par fives for you try and recover any lost shots. The stunning location and incredible design make the East course at Saunton a must visit for anyone visiting Devon.
Thurlestone Golf Club
Founded in 1897, Thurlestone Golf Club was originally a short nine hole course until it was later modified and extended by legendary course designer Harry Colt. The course is a cliff-top cum links course that runs along the coastline of Bigbury Bay, offering dramatic views that stretch for miles on a clear day. The first twelve holes offer a true links experience, with the holes weaving their way along the headland, offering stunning views of the Bolt Tail headland and easterly towards Plymouth Sound. As you make your way back to the clubhouse you will have the opportunity to pick up shots at a number of par fives before finishing with three of the courses finest holes.
Royal North Devon Golf Club
Royal North Devon at Westward Ho! can proudly claim that it is the oldest golf course in England and the second oldest links course outside of Scotland. The course opened for play in 1864 and still plays on it’s original fairways to this day. From the clubhouse you are blessed with fantastic panoramic views of the Devon countryside, whilst the course, with almost no trees or bushes, seemingly blends into the surroundings. Don’t be fooled though, as there are plenty of reeds and rushes waiting to catch any wayward balls, and as is the way with most links courses,a breezy day can cause problems for even the most seasoned golfer. Royal North Devon is a must visit golf course that is steeped in history, with golfing memorabilia adorning the clubhouse, and you get this historic feeling the moment you arrive.
Bovey Castle Golf Club
Bovey Castle might be the most beautifully located golf course in all of the South West. Set within Dartmoor, the largest, wildest and most stunning area of countryside in the region, Bovey Castle is built within the grounds of the stunning house built in 1906 and is perfect for an immersive parkland golf experience. The newly fashioned course stretches an impressive 6,600 yards and begins with a number of challenging holes that begin winding their way through a valley, all the while surrounded by the quintessentially British countryside that will devour wayward balls. The back nine makes it’s way back towards the clubhouse with a mixture of parkland and moorland, before reaching the final hole, the much improved 18 that offers a spectacular ending to the course. With it’s location and fantastic golf Bovey Castle really offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle.
Saunton Golf Club (West Course)
The second course at Saunton, the west course, is a course steeped in history. Original plans for the course started in 1935 when players decided saunton needed a second course, legendary Herbert Fowler was brought in to design the course but this was put on hold during WWII, when the course was occupied by the military and used for training. The course shares many of the best elements of the East course, with holes weaving their way between dunes, undulating links, grassy mounds and cleverly placed bunkers. The course provides an excellent challenge and a good strategic approach is required to post a good score.
Exeter Golf & Country Club
Exeter Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole parkland course designed by the legendary James Braid and set within an impressive Georgian mansion. The course stretches 6023 yards, with many of the fairways winding through ancient Oaks, Lime and Redwood trees, all the while offering golfers stunning views of Haldon Hill. The course should be a good challenge for golfers of any skill, with no less than sixty strategically placed bunkers, tough par fives and a killer finishing stretch, posting a good score here is no mean feat. The club also boasts fantastic facilities with a grass driving range, large putting green and short game practice area, offering a complete package for a golfing break.
Teignmouth Golf Club
Teignmouth Golf Club is located on the beautiful South Devon coast, and sits at 800 feet above sea level, offering spectacular views of the sea and the nearby moors. The club are understandably proud of the course’ heritage, having been designed by the legendary Dr Alister MacKenzie only nine years before he completed the design of Augusta National Park. The course at Teignmouth is routed across Haldon Moor, an area of moorland that is windy and exposed, making an easy round something of a novelty. The course has many of the classic Dr MacKenzie characteristics, with no less than 11 sloping multi-tired greens and many fast running fairways. This course is a real Devon gem and one that quite often slips under the radar when people are planning their golf break.
Ilfracombe Golf Club
Ilfracombe is a well maintained course that offers a warm welcome to all players, and boasts some of the most spectacular views in all of the west country. The course boasts a breathtaking clifftop location set within an area of outstanding natural beauty, and although the course runs relatively short, the undulating fairways and regular strong winds blowing in from the coast can easily make this a tough course to play. This course is a real treat on the eyes and is the perfect course for an evening round during the summer, as you can relax in the clubhouse after your round and enjoy the sun going down over the Bristol Channel and the distant Lundy Island.
East Devon Golf Club
East Devon Golf Club is an absolute gem of a course sitting 400m above the sea, offering fantastic panoramic views of Lyme Bay and out into the English Channel, all set within the East Devon area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. East Devon Golf Club is a top100 course that is one of the finest courses in the South West and has aspirations to be the number one course in the region. The course will be one of the prettiest you are likely to play, weaving it’s way through gorse and heather with undulations defined by it’s cliff side location, and a feeling of spaciousness as you sit high above the surrounding countryside. The Course has many memorable holes, including the 16th tee shot which Peter Aliss described as “The best view in golf”. Although East Devon measures only a little over 6200 yards, with a par of 70 and some unforgiving drives, this is definitely a challenging round of golf.
Woodbury Park Golf Club
Woodbury Park is a private 27-hole parkland course situated in the heart of the Devonshire countryside and is the perfect destination for a golfing getaway. The venue offers two golfing experiences, the par 73 18 hole course that stretches 7314 yards, and a par 32 9 hole course of 4582 yards in length. The impressive 18 hole course known as The Oaks, offers a challenging round of golf set in stunning parkland settings, boasting long rolling fairways lined with mature trees, fast well maintained greens and a number of water hazards dotted throughout the course. Woodbury Park is a particularly good venue for a stay & play break, with the additional 9-hole Acorn course, the luxurious Aura Spa and three on site restaurants, including The Terrace Bar & Grill where you can enjoy a drink while watching players approach and finish on the 18th green.
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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?
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?
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!