Dartmouth is much more popular with sailors than it is with golfers and there’s a great deal to like about this upmarket sailing port. Dartmouth Golf & Country Club is the only UK layout that French-based Brit, Jeremy Pern, has designed and it’s one of the more exciting modern layouts in England’s southwest. I wouldn’t recommend it for the traditionalist but if you’ve got a sense of humour, more than an ounce of stamina and you’re prepared to lose a few golf balls then it comes with a cautious recommendation… take a buggy unless you need the workout.
The Championship golfing moniker is overused when naming courses but this is a proper golfing test that deserves more than a modicum of respect. Leave the tips alone unless you’re feeling lucky or are a long hitting single digit golfer – the West Region PGA Championships have been hosted here half a dozen times for good reasons. It’s tough and in places rather too tough for comfort.
In many ways DG&CC reminds me of the Nicklaus course at St Mellion, there’s elevation changes (Dartmouth is more severe than St Mellion), lots of variation, some average holes that are counterbalanced with a good number of exciting holes. Architecturally you won’t find much that you haven’t seen before, but there are more than enough thrills to be had to bring a smile to the face. My first grin appeared at the drop shot par three 3rd which is lovely medium length one shotter that’s almost quarry-like in appearance, requiring a forced carry over a lake to a green some sixty feet below the tee. To be honest, I’d go as afar as to say I enjoyed all four par threes.
For me, the front nine (with three par threes, three par fours and three par fives) is more interesting than the backside, which has six par fours on the spin with more than a touch of brutality at #11, #14 and #15 where pars will be few and far between. The closing par three reminds me a bit of the last hole on the Arden course at the Forest of Arden – a long par three across water.
There’s just about enough interest in the greens to confirm that DG&CC deserves its place in the Devon Top 10. There’s also a very reasonably priced Best Western hotel on site which caters well for golfers.
Date: December 18, 2016