Whether you are paying a visit to the South West or live here, there are few better ways to spend a day in the region than outdoors. If you fancy a relaxing day out but fancy something more than a walk, a round of golf is a superb way to pass the time.
With its two coastlines, rugged moorland and urban centres, the landscape of Devon is so varied that the county plays host to numerous golf courses, all with significantly different feels and paying experience.
Here’s our list of ten of the best courses, offering enough variety for players, from experienced hands to people trying out the game for the first time.
Thurlestone Golf Club, near Kingsbridge
The most southerly course in the county, there are few more beautiful coastal locations to play golf in the whole country than at Thurlestone, located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on Bigbury Bay. The course is a mix of links and cliff-top terrain, with the latter providing breath-taking views of Thurlestone Rock to the east and the Avon Estuary and Burgh Island to the west. It’s a relaxing course, not too severe with generous fairways but the wind can up the difficulty factor.
Saunton Golf Club, Braunton
You’ll definitely get your fill of golf here, as Saunton Golf Club has 36 holes of stunning links golf, with an ‘east’ course and a ‘west’ course. The east course has hosted golf since 1897 and the current layout was created by famed designer Herbert Fowler in the 1920s. The west course emulates the characteristics of the east, but each hole demands clever and strong placing of your ball off the tee to get to the greens.
Royal North Devon Golf Club, Westward Ho!
The course at Royal North Devon is a must play, if only because it can claim to be the oldest course in England! Founded in 1864, the course has been referred to as the “St Andrew’s of the South” due to its history. It’s as tough as any of the UK’s more famous links layout and was recently named in Golf World’s “Top 100 Courses in the World” that a golfer must play.
Bovey Castle Golf Club, North Bovey
Designed in 1926 by J F Abercromby, the 18 holes at Bovey Castle are both challenging and beautiful; the first nine holes in particular are very pretty and have great drama, dominated by the river winding through the course. The course meanders through the hotel estate and the idyllic landscape makes it an incredibly relaxing round of golf.
Yelverton Golf Club, Yelverton
Old mine workings were incorporated into the design of this golf course by Herbert Fowler, which has to be noted as one of the best moorland courses in the area, with its expansive views across Dartmoor and Cornwall in the distance. Ponies and cattle will occasionally stroll onto the fairway — that’s surely just another added reason to play here though!
The Dartmouth Hotel Golf Club (Championship Course), Dartmouth
This 7,200 yard par 72 Championship chourse has hosted the West Region PGA Championships six times, so it definitely will prove a challenge to even the most experienced of golfers! The strategic positioning of tees, meandering streams, 12 water features to navigate and undulating greens provide an excellent and enjoyable challenge to golfers of all abilities.
Exeter Golf and Country Club, Exeter
The grand Georgian clubhouse is something that sticks in the memory when you visit Exeter’s course, but the 6,023 yard course designed by five-time Open Champion James Braid dates back to 1929. The fairways are routed cleverly through trees and the 60 bunkers are all thoughtfully positioned, making low scoring much more difficult than it might initially seem.
Tavistock Golf Club, Tavistock
Much like Yelverton, the views from Tavistock Golf Club, perched above the town on the edge of Dartmoor, are panoramic and give an amazing perspective over the local moorland scenery. In terms of how it plays, its crisp turf and fast greens provide a link-like playing experience on one of Devon’s oldest courses.
Bigbury Golf Club, Bigbury
The golf courses in Devon are definitely spoilt when it comes to incredible views! It’s no different at Bigbury, which overlooks Bigbury-On-Sea beach. Originally founded in 1923, the course gradually grew to its current 18 hole incarnation when JH Taylor agreed to undertake the design. It still retains his design and plays exactly as originally intended by one of the game’s pioneers.
Teignmouth Golf Club, Teignmouth
Multi-tiered sloping greens are the order of the day at this course, designed by Dr Alister McKenzie. There’s real variety in the level of difficulty around this course, with SIX par-3s that provide different challenges regardless of the conditions. These holes are so varied that all aspects of your game will need to be on point to have a successful day here!
That’s our list! How did we do — did we sink a hole in one or drive our way into the rough? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!