Bovey Castle - Devon - England

Bovey Castle,
North Bovey,
Dartmoor National Park,
Devon,
TQ13 8RE,
England


  • 44 (0)1647 445000

"We stand on a high place, and there, far below us, something over two hundred yards away, is that blessed Bovey guarding the first green", wrote Bernard Darwin.

"How the Bovey contrives to be so ubiquitous I cannot pretend to say; I merely state bald facts. We carry it again with our second shot at the second hole – if we can. When we get to the third it is there also, bang in front of the green. We may hook into it or one of its tributaries at the fourth and at the seventh we try to carry it twice in one fell swoop from the tee."

The Dartmoor National Park is the largest, wildest and most beautiful area of open countryside in southern England. With its ancient moorland, granite tors, wild ponies, cream teas, chocolate box villages and even Sherlock Holmes. There is no doubt that Devon is quintessential England. If you’ve never sampled the magic, we recommend an immediate jaunt to Devonshire.

Bovey Castle is located within the Dartmoor National Park and the magnificent house was built in 1906 for Lord Hambledon. “The Great Western Railway Company bought it and turned it into an hotel,” wrote Bernard Darwin in an article for Country Life which was later reprinted in his 1934 book, Playing the Like, “and then, with Mr Abercromby to show them how, made this most charming of golf courses at its garden gate. I had never before seen the hem of Dartmoor’s garment of red and brown bracken. My knowledge of it was confined to that immortal work, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’ So when I first saw it, after a steady climb out of Exeter through narrow, winding Devonshire lanes, a delicious shiver ran down my spine, and I felt like Sir Henry Baskerville coming for the first time to the home of his ancestors.”

John F. ‘Aber’ Abercromby, the master English architect who fashioned the brilliant Worplesdon and Addington laid out the course at the Manor House Hotel and it opened for play in the Roaring Twenties. The hotel enjoyed prosperity for many decades however, slowly but surely it fell into disrepair. The course was also in need of a serious tonic, with inadequate drainage and irrigation and putting surfaces that had been reduced to a fraction of their former selves. Know anyone with a couple of million pounds to spend?

Step in millionaire Peter de Savary or “PDS” to his friends. The British entrepreneur, founder and former owner of the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, was in the market for buying another castle, but this time in the land of his birth. With vision and drive from PDS and a little help from Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie, the new Bovey Castle course was re-born and the revamped beauty opened for play in the summer of 2004. Look out for the the stepping stones on the 3rd

From the exhibition tips, the newly fashioned Bovey Castle course can stretch out to an impressive 6,600 yards and the course record of 65, which was held by local Bovey Castle pro Stuart Wells, was beaten by Christopher Hanson during the 2006 PGA Euro-Pro Tournament which was hosted here at Bovey Castle. Hanson recorded an impressive 2nd round 64 which helped him on his way to tournament victory.

We could mention all of the many modifications to the course layout, but one of the most significant and impressive changes must be the excavation of a section of a huge hill, which once belonged to the 18th fairway. The hole is now much improved. The drive landing area on this par four has been softened and the blindness of the approach shot (if your drive is long enough) has been removed, bringing the stunning Abercromby green site into view.

“In short,” wrote Darwin, “this is the ideal course to have at the end of the garden. There never was one better suited to a cheerful foursome, for there is plenty of scope for strategy in deciding who is to drive against who, and at which of the river holes.”

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Bovey Castle

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Bovey Castle golf course is set magically in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. It's an English treasure originally laid out by J.F. Abercromby. Rating: 6.4 out of 10 Reviews: 16
TaylorMade
Malcolm Searle
Played here recently, as others have said the front nine outshine the back nine, which are none the poorer for that. A good test of golf, enough water to make you think about your game and not just blast it down the fairway. A fantastic setting and not too expensive if you stay at the hotel. We virtually had the whole course to ourselves, all in all a great days golf, will definitely try to visit again.
June 17, 2008
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

David Thomas
Moretonhampstead GC, or even The Manor House Hotel GC as it has been known for lot longer than some new owner decided to rename it, is, and always has been a delightful and very playable course. Sadly, it is now known as Bovey Castle GC and has been transformed into one of these super dooper over expensive 5 star venues...if thats what you want, then so be it ! The course is fine, always has been and always will be, but it is not going to set the world alight and sadly, not being in Ireland or Scotland, I fear is not going to be the success that the blurge shows. It is a good traditional undulating track, and if you are daft enough to pay the outlandish green fees, then please go ahead. However, there are so many much better West Country courses available and even the best, a la Saunton, Burnham etc etc, are always going to offer superb course at sensible rates. Anyone who pays the outlandish fees for this course must have more money than golfing sense.
July 01, 2007
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

John
Just returned from a weekend of staying and playing and I have to say that the course is really good fun and I really enjoyed myself. As per the previous comment, the front nine is exceptional and the back nine less so. If it's feasible it would pay dividends to switch the nines around. The holes which skirt the river are tight and memorable and the whole experience five star. Thoroughly recommended for a short break with either a golfer or non-golfer.
October 07, 2006
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Shaun
Agree with the last review, good front nine average back nine. Enjoyable but not in my Top 100.
September 24, 2006
4 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Wayne
Just returned back home to the States after spending a few days of our vacation at Bovey Castle. We were blessed with sunny weather which surely helped but this is some place. The house is magnificent and you are made to feel as though you are staying at the country home of somebody you know. The staff at Bovey make service in the US look ordinary, they do it with style here. The four of us played the course twice and it's a little beauty. We all played so much better the 2nd time round, my advice is take a caddy if you can run to it. During the first round, I must have lost a dozen balls in the river and the rough which seems more like a flower meadow than ordinary rough grass. The front nine is magnificent and the back nice less so but still decent golf all the same. If you want to stay and play somewhere special in the English west then Bovey takes some beating in my view.
June 15, 2006
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Billy
Played Bovey Castle last week in glorious sunshine and it is a gorgeous course. It has come on a long way since the re-design that took place a couple of years ago and doubt if there is a more pleasant place to play golf anywhere in the world. The moor is an ever-present and inspiring feature and the castle is quite beautiful in an understated way. I agree that the front nine is far and away the better of the two halves and the 3rd and 7th are simply great golf holes. This course is surely all set to become a Top 100 regular. It's not a championship layout but it represents a thoughtful challenge and be prepared to lose a few balls the first time round in the river and the woods. Thoroughly recommended. Billy.
June 07, 2006
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful