Royal North Devon – Westward Ho!
Sports Leviathan Golf Course Review
Club Name: Royal North Devon
Location: Westward Ho!
Club Website: http://www.royalnorthdevongolfclub.co.uk/
Course details/yardage etc: 6700 yards, par 72 links.
If you consider yourself a golf purist then this is the course for you. RND is the oldest course in the country and is one of the most natural tests of golf you will ever play. This links course hugs the pebble ridge for the front 8 holes, before turning back for the last 10. The undulating links fairways and large fast greens are protected by deep pot bunkers, huge areas dense with rushes, and often by strong winds.
Your shot making will really be tested as you compete with the wind and fast greens. You may often find yourself landing the ball 20 to 30 yards short of the green downwind to allow them to run onto the dance floor.
The greens are always in excellent condition, and by links golf standard, they are fairly flat, so find the greens and you will have birdie chances, albeit they may be long ones.
The view off the elevated 6th tee is truly spectacular, with the sea to your left and whole course to your right there are few finer tee shots in golf.
The course is shared with walkers, sheep, and horses, although there are only a few holes where this likely to ever cause a distraction, and most locals are well aware of where they are best to walk to avoid intruding on the golfers tee shots.
The signature hole is probably the 4th. It’s Cape bunker is one of the largest in world golf and stands some 20 feet high to fill your field of vision as you stand over your drive towards the elevated fairway. Once you have made the 180 yard carry over the bunker the hole is relatively straight forward, but if you do go in the bunker off the tee, you could be there a while!
Beware, if the wind picks up the course can play extremely long and difficult, so make sure you pack the low punch shot in your bag before you commence your round.
Facilities/Clubhouse: The club house is home to a museum of golf memorabilia, due to the clubs status as the oldest course in England. The relatively recent conservatory add-on to the club house provides breathtaking views over the course whilst having your pre or post game meal.
The club has a fun 9 hole short par 3 course perfect for honing the short game. An indoor practice facility (2 bays), 2 chipping greens, a large putting green, and an outdoor range adjacent to the first fairway complete the practice facilities. A large bar/restaurant area and fully stocked pro-shop are also on site.
The only drawback to the clubs excellent facilities is the lack of a driving range. The current range is a fair walk away (across the first fairway) and is a ‘collect your own balls’ affair, so often only used by the hardened golfer.
Facilities Rating: 8.5/10
Cost: Green fees are approximately £50 but if playing with a member you can reduce this to £15. The club offer good society day rates including food. Open competitions at the club are often good value for visitors. Caddies are available on request for £40 per round.
Make a day of this one. Play with a group of mates and build in some time to play the par 3 Pimpley course, spend some time relaxing in the conservatory, and peruse the museum in the bar area.
Sports Leviathans ‘is it worth playing’ rating: 9.5/10