Top Golf Clubs in Devon and Beyond

Sarah Parker
Authored by Sarah Parker
Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 22:45

Many beautiful national parks, miles of sandy beaches, and rugged coasts can all be found in Devon, one of the largest counties in the United Kingdom. Due to the region's favorable climate, visitors flock to Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, as well as Devon's many picturesque beach villages located along the ancient Jurassic Coast.

Outside of Devon's urban centers, the countryside is home to beautiful scenery, including rolling hills and undeveloped coastlines, ideal for a golfing vacation. The East and West courses of the renowned Saunton Golf Club, those at the nearby Royal North Devon, and the opulent stay-and-play site Bovey Castle all rank among the best in the country.

Therefore, without further ado, with the help of sources, we give you the list of the favorite golf courses in Devon.

Saunton Golf Club (East)

The best place to begin is with Devon's number one course. Since Herbert Fowler designed the East course at Saunton in the 1920s, it has been regarded as one of the best courses in the West Country. Situated on the unspoiled and picturesque North Devon coastline, Saunton East is widely regarded as one of the best coastal courses in the country. 

Eight par fours are longer than 400 yards, and just two par fives help you make up for any mistakes. The East course at Saunton is a must-play for any golfer in Devon, thanks to its picture-perfect setting and innovative layout.

Thurlestone Golf Club

Thurlestone Golf Club was established in 1897, but the great Harry Colt expanded and improved the initial nine-hole layout. The course is a clifftop cum links course that follows the shoreline of Bigbury Bay and, on a clear day, provides breathtaking vistas that can be seen for miles. 

The first twelve holes provide a genuine links experience, winding their way around the coastline and presenting breathtaking vistas of the Bolt Tail headland and Plymouth Sound to the east. Before finishing with three of the course's finest holes, you'll have a chance to pick up shots at several par fives on the way back to the clubhouse.

Royal North Devon Golf Club

In addition to being the oldest links course in England, Royal North Devon at Westward Ho! also holds the distinction of being the second-oldest links course in the world outside of Scotland. The course's original fairways have been used continuously since its opening in 1864. There are breathtaking vistas of the Devon countryside from the clubhouse, and the course's lack of trees and shrubs makes it seem to disappear into its natural setting. 

Don't be misled, though; the course is littered with reeds and rushes just waiting to swallow up errant shots, and a breezy day can challenge even the most seasoned golfers on a links course. The clubhouse at Royal North Devon is full of golfing artifacts, giving the course and its surroundings an air of antiquity.

Bovey Castle Golf Club

Bovey Castle Golf Club is situated in one of the most picturesque settings in South West England. Bovey Castle is a beautiful parkland golf course that can be found within the grounds of a lovely home that was constructed in 1906 on Dartmoor, the largest, wildest, and most stunning stretch of countryside in the region. 

The new course is an impressive 6,600 yards in length, and it opens with a series of difficult holes that wind their way through a valley, surrounded by the typically British countryside that will devour wayward balls. The back nine winds its way through a combination of parkland and moorland before culminating in a significantly enhanced par-3 finishing hole. Bovey Castle is an excellent getaway thanks to its remote location and high-quality golf.

Saunton Golf Club (West Course)

The west course at Saunton is the second course there and it has a lot of history. The players of Saunton decided in 1935 that they needed a second course, so they hired the legendary Herbert Fowler to design it. 

However, construction on the course was halted during World War II to be used for military training. Like on the East course, the holes wind between dunes, undulating links, grassy mounds, and strategically placed bunkers. The course is very difficult, so you'll need to use some strategy to shoot low.

Exeter Golf & Country Club

The 18-hole parkland course at Exeter Golf & Country Club was designed by the great James Braid and is located on the grounds of a stately Georgian mansion. The 6023-yard course features fairways that wind among centuries-old oak, lime, and redwood trees with magnificent vistas of Haldon Hill. 

With no less than sixty strategically placed bunkers, challenging par fives, and a killer finishing stretch, the course should provide a worthy test for golfers of all ability levels. Fantastic facilities, including a grass driving range, huge putting green, and a short game practice area, make this club ideal for golfers of all skill levels.

Teignmouth Golf Club

At 800 feet above sea level, Teignmouth Golf Club in South Devon offers breathtaking panoramas of the coast and the surrounding moors. Since the legendary Dr. Alister MacKenzie designed the course only nine years before he finished the design of Augusta National Park, the club has good reason to be proud of its history. 

The course at Teignmouth is unusual for its relative ease because it winds across windy and exposed Haldon Moor. With no less than 11 sloping multi-tiered greens and multiple fast-flowing fairways, this course features many of the typical Dr. MacKenzie qualities. It's a shame that more golfers don't know about this hidden gem in Devon when planning vacations.

Ilfracombe Golf Club

Ilfracombe is a beautifully maintained course with friendly staff and some of the best views in the Western country. Although relatively short, the course can be challenging due to its undulating fairways and frequent strong winds blowing in from the coast. 

The course's breathtaking clifftop location is set within an area of outstanding natural beauty. You can watch the sunset over the Bristol Channel and distant Lundy Island from the comfort of the clubhouse following a round on this visually stunning course, making it ideal for summer evening play.