2-fore!-1 Golf in England: South West
42 Courses in Dorset, North Somerset, Starcross, SOMERSET, Devon, Wedmore, Somerset, Cornwall, Cornwall , Bristol, Gloucestershire, Dorset , Cornwall , Wiltshire, Crediton , Wiltshire
South West England is comprised of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. The region encompasses two national parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor, and four World Heritage sites including Stonehenge. It harbours a vast wealth of history and legend, interwoven with Arthurian times, the Glastonbury Tor and mythical Avalon. South West England is also renowned for abundant produce: cheddar cheese, devonshire teas, cornish pasties, somerset cider, seafoods and much more. The region's coastline is the longest in England and along that coast is a magnetic drawcard for golfers: the Atlantic Links Trail. Six exceptional championship golf courses define the trail, with many others attracting attention along the way. Throughout South West England the 220- plus golf clubs show the region's appreciation of the game.
The Atlantic Coast Links
The six championship courses forming the hub of the Atlantic Links Trail are Royal North Devon and the Saunton Golf Club (both the East & West courses) in Devon, Burnham & Berrow in Somerset, and St Enodoc and Trevose in Cornwall. These clubs all feature historic true links golf courses of outstanding quality and all are on the coast of the omnipresent Atlantic ocean. Each of the clubs have hosted various professional and amateur golf tournaments. Together, the clubs and their courses in this beautiful environment present an unforgettable star-studded golfing experience.
Here is a closer look at each of these golf courses:
Royal North Devon Golf Club
The Royal North Devon Golf Club at Westward Ho! was founded in 1864, making it the oldest golf course in England and effectively the birthplace of English golf or the 'St Andrews of the South'. It is also the oldest true links course in the world, outside of Scotland. Designed by Old Tom Morris, the Royal North Devon golf course is set on common land between Northam and Westward Ho! It is known by many golfers as, simply, Westward Ho! The clubhouse includes a golf museum with some fascinating golf memorabilia. The course itself epitomises 'natural'. Sheep and horses run freely, with light fences protecting the greens. As it is common land, other people pass through walking their dogs. The fairways are generously wide and mostly flat or, where the course edges the ocean, shaped by the flow of the dunes. The rough along the back nine may look harmless, but these Great Sea Rushes are very sharp and pointed - golfer beware! Back at the clubhouse, be sure to sample their wonderful fare (Devonshire teas at their finest) while enjoying the view.
Saunton Golf Club (East & West)
Saunton Golf Club, in Braunton, Devon, offers two championship golf courses, the East course and the West. The club opened in 1897. In 1919 Herbert Fowler redesigned the course, now the East course, and thereafter it rapidly became known as one of the best in the land. In 1935 the West course was designed, also by Fowler. During WWII the courses and the clubhouse were occupied by the military and the area used as a training ground. Considerable restoration work was carried out after the war, and ongoing improvements have been made since then. Tees have been enlarged and new bunkers added in more recent times. Both courses are listed in Golf World's 'Top 100'. The club has hosted many amateur championships including the English Amateur, the Seniors Amateur and the Brabazon Trophy. The dunes surrounding the club are the Braunton Burrows. These hold considerable ecological significance due to the many rare dune plants and animals found here. The site has a number of special designations including internationally, by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. Saunton Golf Club's East course unfurls through this remarkable dune-scape.
Burnham & Berrow Golf Club
Burnham Golf Club, in Somerset, opened in 1891. In 1896 the course was extended to Berrow Church and the club's name changed to Burnham & Berrow. Herbert Fowler was a member of the club and in 1910 the course was extended to over 6,000 yards with Fowler designing the Church Hole and the 18th Hole. In 1913 Harry Colt began redevelopment of the course, receiving advice from Alister MacKenzie. So evolved the Championship course, with continued updates since then. It is now 6,793 yards and par 71, a traditional out and back design, with rather narrow fairways at times, trailing through commanding dunes and stumbling into unexpected pot bunkers. Greens are smallish, and very fast. The course widely wraps around the old Berrow church and yes, that church is still there today. Burnham & Berrow Golf Club has hosted many major amateur championships including the Brabazon Trophy and the English Amateur.
St Enodoc Golf Club
St Enodoc Golf Club, above the village of Rock in North Cornwall, was founded in 1891. It looks over the Camel Estuary and Padstow harbour and out across the Atlantic Ocean. The course is set among gargantuan sandhills including one called the "Himalayas" (beware the infamous Himalaya bunker). The Church course is named after the 13th century St Enodoc church that stands with its steeple still intact, near the tenth green (the course goes through the church grounds). James Braid designed the original Church course in 1907, then he regenerated it in 1936. The St Enodoc Church course is wonderfully imaginative and varied in terrain. In parts it could be modelled on a turbulent sea, with emerald waves rising up sharply and frozen in time. St Enodoc offers a dramatic course that may well impassion your love of the game.
Trevose Golf & Country Club
Trevose Golf & Country Club is at Padstow in North Cornwall. Panoramic views can be enjoyed from the club's restaurant and bar over the entire course, the dunes and surrounds, across to Trevose Head and far out to sea. The club was founded in 1926 and the championship course was designed by Harry Colt. The course has recently undergone considerable renovations with new bunkers, new tees, and an expansive, rolling green. The greens generally are a good size and are smooth and fast. The fairways are generous and you'll walk on great springy turf. Trevose Golf Club has its own onsite dormy, so you are welcome to play & stay and explore the charming fishing village that is Padstow, and the vitalising North Cornish coast. Among other tournaments, Trevose Golf Club has hosted the Brabazon Trophy, the McGregor Trophy and the Mens County Finals.