What we say
Royal North Devon is the home of English golf and to this day remains one of the best examples of golf as it was originally intended to be played.
Royal North Devon is, as many know, to be found in the village of Westward Ho!
It sits across the River Taw estuary from Saunton’s two links and is laid out tight to a beautiful sandy beach – so you share your day out with many happy holidaymakers if you play here on a warm summer’s day.
If you’ve played Saunton the day before Royal North Devon might initially seem a little low key. The 1st is a par 4 played towards the beach on flat land and it is not alone at RND in being laid out on terrain lacking the natural charisma of Saunton.
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But it has its own charm, just as, say, Leven is lovely in its own way in comparison to the thrilling topography of Kingbarns further up the Fife coast. It offers a perfect illustration of the in-vogue design philosophies of width off the tee and fun around the greens; it always has done so, it’s just that for a while the golf world chose to ignore them.
Royal North Devon certainly has its highlights, most famously on the 4th, ‘Cape’, with its eponymous bunker – a gargantuan trap whose sleeper-lined face smiles at you back on the tee like teeth in a giant’s mouth.
The 6th is even better, a tremendous hole played along the beach with a fairway resembling moguls on a well-carved ski piste. It is one of the most exhilarating tee shots in England.
Good putting surfaces and tight fairway turf exist here all year – but RND is more than just a nice venue for links golf. Founded in 1864, it is the oldest course in the country and often described as the St Andrews of England.
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Certainly, within the notably welcoming clubhouse, the golf museum, the trophies and the honours boards chart the development of the game, including the club’s own significant part in it.
John Henry Taylor was born in the village of Northam, overlooking the course, and was a caddie boy at RND before becoming one of the golf’s iconic players as part of the ‘Great Triumverate’.
BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter loves it here.
“Royal North Devon is the nearest thing in England to golf as it was intended,” he enthused. “Its rough and ready nature makes it possible to imagine how the sport was for the game’s founding fathers.
“Negotiating the par-4 4th and the Cape Bunker is a delight while the overall design is wonderful with much of the front nine clinging to the coastline before moving inland. It constantly asks strategic questions and has a terrific array of par 3s as well as a challenging finish.”
- Costs -
- TG Rating
- Players Rating
- Address Golf Links Road, Westward Ho, BIDEFORD
- Tel 01237 477598
- Website www.royalnorthdevongolfclub.co.uk
|Course Length||6,650 yards (6,081 metres)|
- Course has: Bar
- Course does not have: Buggy Hire
- Course does not have: Driving Range
- Course has: Practice Green
- Course has: Pro Shop
- Course has: Restaurant
- Course has: Trolley Hire
- Course has: Dress Code
- Course has: Club Hire
- Course has: Handicap
Me and my girlfriend recently played the the links at Royal North Devon and I must say for the time of year the course was fantastic. The front 9 was a real links challenge although the back nine was a little weak, unfortunately right from the start there were problems we took a two for one voucher but this wasnt completely honered as we had to pay £37 each. But the main problem with the whole experience and which let the day down was the members they were very rude to my partner and discriminative. I would advise any lady golfers to avoid this "old boys club" as in this day and age all levels, all ages and both sexes should be welcomed into the great game of golf. Very disappointed
From the clubhouse the course looks unremarkable. In fact, you might almost think you made a cock up choosing to play here and driving all this way. However, once you are 'in' the course you'll begin to realise what a gem it is. Fast, true greens and well kept bunkers. Tough par 3s Clubhouse is worth a visit for the memorabilia. Sloppy bar and waiting staff though rather let the club down.
Loved this course. I played it in July of 08 on a very walm but windy day. First couple of holes played into the wind which made them very difficult. Greens were immaculate and quick. There are plenty of sheep natrually grazing on the course which adds a slight quirkyness. All of the staff were very friendly and helpfull. A very flat links, but a good test all the same. I will definately return to RND for another round in the near future.