19 reviews of Saunton Golf Club
Stayed at the Saunton Sands hotel in July with my 16 year old son who plays golf off 3 ( I am off 20)and came for a golf break. we played both courses here
WEST COURSE- Played the "easier" west course on the first day just after the army had had their championships here-the pin positions were really tough- i started with two pars but soon started to play worse than my handicap....lovely course with a great finishing stretch from 14 to 18 including two fantastic raised tee shot par threes on 16-18
EAST COURSE- It has often been said this course is the best course never to stage the open and i can understand why, absolutely brilliant links course with the majority of the holes providing a real test...probably only the 11th was a weak hole (which was a pity as i got a par) and again a great finishing stretch from 13 onwards.... 16 is as tough a par 4 (yellow tees) as i have ever seen- blind tee shot and blind shot to the green and a great final hole to finish uphill infront of the club house. we were lucky that it wasnt really windy.
to sum up two amazing days and i would say the West course is more suited to a high handicapper although a high handicapper hitting the ball straight could possibly get round the east course in the mid 90s as there were a few par 4s (off yellows) that gave a decent chance of hitting the green in two for us 20 something handicappers IF the tee shot was ok..Big IF on this course though............
Having heard that Saunton was home to "the best course never to have hosted the Open Championship" my golfing buddies and I were keen to pay it a visit during a recent Devon golf tour and boy am I glad we did!
We played the East Course which by all accounts is the tougher of the two and thanks to gusts upwards of 50mph it was certainly a serious test of links golf!
The 1st tee is set atop a large dune from which you can see over the entire course which got us all excited about what laid ahead. The course starts off with a number of excellent holes before hitting a bit of a lull towards the back end of the front nine. The back nine however comes to the rescue as each hole is a gem and a real test of a golfer's skill set.
All facets of your game have to be on point here. Fairways are lined by large dunes covered in typically thick, long seaside grasses; greens are well protected by pot bunkers, run off areas and yet more giant dunes and the putting surfaces are extremely undulating. In fact even on areas of the greens that appear to be flat there are considerable borrows and while uphill putts require a good whack, downhill putts are lightning fast...a sign of top quality greens in my opinion.
The odd blind tee shot adds to the considerable challenge and all in all I loved each and every minute of my round on the East. I am already looking forward to returning to have another crack at it as it is definitely a course that requires a good understanding of where to aim, where not to miss etc for you to get the most out of it.
The clubhouse boasts a great view out over the courses and down the 18th fairway and we were welcomed there by an extremely friendly member of the barstaff who rounded off our day at Saunton in true style.
38 pounds courtesy of a county card was also unbelievable value for money...I would have been happy to pay double that! Top marks and a must play course for any serious golfer.
Played here February , 2012 .
Played the East in drizzle & subsequently had the course to ourselves.
I enjoyed playing it ,although it does feel like a battle & hence probably wouldn't want to play it on a regular basis as it could batter you into submission.To make any sort of score here you have to play well(there are some brutal par 4's) although with fast running Summer fairways it may be slightly different.
It does have the feel of a big championship course (primarily you only see the hole you're on )& entails a long walk round.
Condition was as you'd expect for a high calibre course.
There aren't really any weak holes & my favourite holes were 2 , 9 & 10.
You don't see the sea at all although there is a feeling of isolation & tranquility out on the links.
There are only 3 par 3's & i would have liked another one for balance.
On the front 9 there was some disruption with a par 3 out of action & a par 5 split into 2 temporaries .These things happen in the Winter but nothing was mentioned about it when booking (i found out on their website) & felt that the Standard £45 Winter green fee could have been adjusted accordingly ,although generally i found the club to be welcoming.
Enjoyed 36 holes here one day last May.
Played 18 on the East in the AM with a friendly toss-up group of older members. Friendly people, I actually joined one of them at Ilfracombe the next day. The course plays mostly between two walls of dunes on each hole. Very interesting, some of blind shots, not too difficult but don't stray off the tee or you'll lose the ball. Enjoyed the fact of not feeling intruded by passing cars or houses - it feels isolated out on the links.
In the afternoon played the West with a younger group of members. The West has significantly more elevation change.
Both courses I recall lots of sloping around the greens and significant bunkering. You can putt from well off the greens in several cases, and plenty of bump and run links play.
Great clubhouse overlooking the two courses spread out below. Only drawback is a lack of ocean view on any of the holes, so it gets to feel a little claustrophobic in the dunes, especially East.
Overall a must play especially if you can get in both courses in one day - I am surprised at all of the references to holding an Open there - I wasn't THAT impressed but they are a quality courses.
Played both the East and the West courses in a small group this week with the East first. We were very well looked after both on checking in at the Pro's shop and then by the Course Marshal with an ontime start.This is very much a true links course although you cannot actually see the sea from the East. It is very well designed with some really challenging holes and the ever present wind making club selection absolutely key to a successful round. I was glad to have my GPS system to assist!The greens were very fast and true and the rough not so penal that we couldn't find the balls that on occasion weren't directly on line for the pin!
We played the West course the following morning and this doesn't feel quite as big as the East and has some remarkable holes that use the more pronounced contours to great effect. One rather remarkable outcome prompting a photograph and much laughter was all four second shots on a long par 4 all ending up in the same pot bunker from which only two of us escaped with the first shot! The final holes are stunning with two very different par threes, one from the top of a hill and the last where a shot onto the green some twenty foot from the flag clinched our match!
Both courses are excellent and you need to bring your best game with you! We indulged ourselves with a lunch from the bar menu afterwards which was also excellent and promptly served. Overall, a most enjoyable couple of days and strogly recommended.
I recently visited the area and decided to take the opportunity to play the East course. I am pleased to say it was a fantastic experience. The course is set up beautifully with a good mix of par 3's,4's & 5's. The stroke index was a true reflection on the hole difficulty. I also was fortunate enough to meet one of the members who kindly asked me to join him for a game. He gave me a good insight into each hole and was a credit to the course. I thought the twilight rate of 35 pounds was excellant value and the staff throughout were wonderfully helpful. I can honestly say this was one of my best golfing experiences in the U.K. and i shall most definately be visiting the course again.
If anyone comes to do the East and doesn't take in the West while theyre in town it's frankly their loss.
There's no doubt (as a previous ranking in Golf World's Top 100 Courses in UK & Ire testifies), this is a very good course in its own right.
No it's not as hard as the East. But in places it's tighter and some of the greens are more sloping. In short, it's more than difficult enough.
When it comes to 36 holes of golf, I don't think there are more than half four or five places in the entire country that beat Saunton.
'Young P' (h/c 9)
August 2007, played West course in the morning and East in the afternoon. Firstly £85 for a days golf is not cheap, though it did include a basic lunch, but then to have to pay £3 for a course planner for each course seemed a trifle mean.
These are exceptional courses, but they are both also extremely difficult. The fairways are narrow, the rough thick and lush, and if you are more then a yard or two off the fairway dont bother looking for your ball. Of the two the East is superior, but the West would be a magnificent course anywhere.
These are courses for good players and if its fun seaside golf you are looking for, save your cash and all your balls and head elsewhere. But if you are playing at the top of your game and your handicap is less than 16 these two course will prove the most demanding test I have so far encountered. Are they enjoyable? I leave it to each person to decide what makes a great golf course. Im glad I played them, but would hesitate to return.
Played the West Course in the Morning and then the East after lunch.
The welcome at the pro shop was extremely professional, and warm - exactly what you would expect at such a venue - congratulatioins to the staff.
The West course has quick greens, some blind shots, and is a good links course in it's own right.
The West Course is simply stunning, with the best greens I have ever putted on. Each hole is a delight, and the 17th hole par 3 must be one of the best holes I've ever seen.
Lunch is included, and is also very good.
You must go and play this golf course!!!
what a great golf course,you have no error for judgement,the greens are quick and true,off the back tees it is real test and you really need to be hitting your driver well,the first hole just sets the course up and you think what is out there,the last 4 holes are a great finish.
Fairly unique having two very good links courses on the same location. West is actually harder than the East to score on (from the Whites)Rather spoiled by the very frosty reception and not cheap at over £100 to play on both courses unless you are a Links "nut". Glad I visited but plenty of alternatives at this price.
Saunton (East Course)
The East is the Championship Course at Saunton and is pure links golf that kept me gripped from start to finish. Set a mile or so in from the sea, in the lee of the unique Braunton Burrows, it presents a serious challenge but without 'beating you up' like some monster links layouts. Instead, Saunton is a course that entices and plays with you - while simultaneously putting the squeeze on all aspects of your game.
Standing high up on the first tee, you're presented with a stunning vista of the links. The psychopathic first hole (470 yard par 4) would keep Nick Faldo happy, with his "fail to prepare, prepare to fail" philosophy and stated dislike of 'ease-yourself-into-the-round' openers.
The tough opening continues over the next three holes. The third (367 yards), in particular, is an absolutely superb par four where both the tee shot and approach are semi-blind, the latter deceptively played over 'dead' ground which can easily fool you into underclubbing.
At only 113 yards, the fifth is one of the shortest par 3s (at this level at least) that you'll come across but is symptomatic of Herbert Fowler's brilliant design skills (which also extended to Royal Lytham, Walton Heath and The Berkshire). After the almost inevitable struggles of the first four holes, the temptation is to really 'go' for it. And, with the prevailing wind almost unknowingly assisting you on this hole, before you know it you're over the back and facing a bogey at best. Anything short, left or right is also in big trouble.
From here on, the course is set as much amongst the natural grasses as the towering sand dunes. Relatively speaking, the holes around the turn are where your score needs to be made. But there are still any number of challenges to overcome, including a big dune which lurks unerringly close to the tee boxes on the par 4 eighth, appropriately called 'Sandhill' (357 yards).
The tenth is typical of how Fowler loved to exploit the landscape's natural opportunities for both raised tees and raised greens, in a way that's very reminiscent of The Berkshire.
I didn't like the 11th, which borders a field for the second half, but that's followed by another tough par 4 (396 yards) and then a stunning par 3 (138 yards), which inevitably plays longer than its yardage and where the green almost floats above the surrounding sand grasses.
The finishing holes are a fitting climax to the round and even tougher than the start. The sixteenth is an amazing par 4 (406 yards) with a blind drive and a fairway that just keeps arcing around to the left. Bernard Darwin included it in his composite best 18 holes - say no more.
The seventeenth (186 yards) is a par 3 which plays straight into the prevailing wind, I imagine making it usually around 210 yards. Then the eighteenth (387) yards is a very challenging uphill par four with a difficult blind drive and green suitably poised in front of the clubhouse.
Among the downsides, the range is small and limited to irons only, although there is a good short game practice area. For a links course, we also found the greens relatively slow. But the biggest shame of all is that, IMHO, the East Course is too short and, in places, too quirky to host The Open.
However, for any serious golfer this is an absolute classic that cannot be missed (and at £35 for a twilight rate is also an unbelievable bargain!)
An amazing course that is pretty much perfect both on and off the course.
The track itself just needs playing,both courses,the weather can take the edge of of it a little but although exposed the dunes can take some of the brunt of the weather.On a balmy summers day this must be heaven.It reminds me of Lahinch in Ireland.
In the clubhouse the views are of the course you have just played but you can hardly see a hole,its lunar like.Food is wholesome and served with a smile,nothing flash but spot on.
Just up the road if you wish is an A1 fish and chip shop.
Give yourself time to play both,its a must play course,so much so our society has picked it for its Captains Day even though its a 4 1/2 hours drive
cannot belive this gem of a course has been only 1 1/2 hours down the road and only just got round to playing it,the course and hospitality were 1st rate will be visiting again in the near future
Played both courses in their Easter Open Competition. Two marvellous links courses in great condition - great clubhouse, fabulous food. Great value as well.
Saunton is a classic links test of golf. Both the East and West championship courses will test you to the full. Set in fabulous wild sand dunes that join Sauntons famous beach and rugged coastline you will have long and lasting memories espically if you shoot your handicap.
Fan-bloody-tastic! This golf club oozes class. Our group of 10 was made to feel very welcome from the clubhouse to the course. We played the East course, which was magnificent in every way. Any members here with low handicaps have earned them!!
I played both East and West course with a group of guys on a golf tour to North Devon. Our handicaps ranged from 12 to 24, and there was not one person who did not fully enjoy the day.
It was very well organised, the greens were in great condition, and the course was a real test from the white tees from which we played.
It was without doubt the best course that we played during the week and are most definately looking forward to playing it again in the future.
I can't believe I am the first to enter feedback on this course. Both of them are absolute gems that must be played if you are within a two hundred mile radius. I believe the visitor policy is a bit restrictive but whatever, they just have to be played. Every hole on both courses are classics so there is no point in going into detail, just get yourself and your clubs over there and enjoy links golf at its best. Practice playing shots off the back foot before you go and don't get any aspirations about playing to your handicap.
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