Royal North Devon - Devon - England

Royal North Devon Golf Club,
Golf Links Road,
Westward Ho!,
Devon,
EX39 1HD,
England


  • +44 (0) 1237 477598

Royal North Devon Golf Club, or should we say Westward Ho! This nostalgic and monumental links course fits firmly into the “must-play” category. In 1864, Westward Ho! opened for golf and it remains the oldest course in England still playing along its original fairways. It is also the oldest links course outside Scotland and home to the second oldest ladies’ golf club in the world, founded in 1868. The first ladies’ golf club was founded at St Andrews, one year earlier.

“To go to Westward Ho! is not to make a mere visit of pleasure as to an ordinary course;” wrote Darwin in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles. “It is, as is the case of a few other great links, a reverent pilgrimage. Was it not here that Mr Horace Hutchinson and J.H. Taylor, besides a host of other fine players, learned the game?” Originally, the course was laid out by Old Tom Morris and revised in 1908 by Herbert Fowler. Nothing much has changed since then, except the sheep have fattened.

HRH Prince Andrew drives the cape bunker at Royal North Devon Golf ClubWhen you look out of the clubhouse across the course, you might struggle to define the holes. They simply blend into the surroundings. There are no trees or hedges, except if you count the brambles alongside some of the fairways. There are, however, plenty of reeds and rushes waiting to catch the wayward shot.

This is common land golf “au natural”, with a combination of tranquil, flat and folded fairways. Possibly, the only sound you will hear is that of the wind and if you are lucky, the sound of galloping hooves. Here at Royal North Devon, the sheep and horses have life membership. Don’t forget the local rule – if your ball ends up in a hoof mark, you may drop without penalty.

Make sure you buy a yardage book if you don’t know the layout; otherwise you might find yourself teeing off in the wrong direction on a few holes. “Finally,” wrote Darwin, “no account of Westward Ho! would be complete without a reference to tea at the club-house. There is a particular form of roll cut in half and liberally plastered with Devonshire cream and jam. Epithets fail me, and I can only declare that the tea is worthy of the golf.” Not only is tea good but also the panoramic view from the clubhouse is magnificent. Check out the golfing memorabilia in the museum area and, above all, enjoy the spirit that is Royal North Devon.

A man has been charged with drink driving after Land Rover found crashed in a Royal North Devon bunker… click here for more

England's oldest golf course is disappearing into the sea click here for more.

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Reviews for Royal North Devon

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Description: Royal North Devon Golf Club, or should we say Westward Ho! This nostalgic and monumental links course fits firmly into the “must-play” category. Rating: 7.1 out of 10 Reviews: 46
TaylorMade
tomwilliamsen
Westward Ho! is a time warp to the past. It is golf in all its simplicity and beauty. Fowler's greens complexes are brilliant. Watch our for the sea rushes. Number nine may be one of the great short par fives in existence and the par three fifth and the par four sixth have to be experienced to understand the wonderful imagination of Fowler.
November 24, 2006
10 / 10
Royal North Devon
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Wayne
Played here only last week and liked it a lot. There's nothing like the in the US and to start with I didn't get but towards the middle of the round I began to appreciate the subtleties of links golf. You need to know where you are going and I would have liked a caddy. I got into all sorts of trouble and lost balls galore. Very traditional but friendly club.
June 16, 2006
6 / 10
Royal North Devon
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Rod Wiltshire
Played today in a gale force 8 wind and loved every second! Yes it was tough and the wind didn't help but the course was in truly excellent condition with great greens running at a good pace. Fabulous venue with lots of history and a joy to play if you like links "au natural"
May 19, 2006
8 / 10
Royal North Devon
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andyj
RND is an interesting course that is challenging and entertaining at the same time.The strange thing about it is that the fairways are common land, so horses and sheep are commonplace and possible hazards.A typical old style links courses that definately bears consideration if you are in the area.A Jordan
September 14, 2004
6 / 10
Royal North Devon
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Sally
Very difficult to actually see the golf course from the bar but once you are out there all is revealed. Saw the sheep, and the horses and got the odd putt in - not bad! Very natural course - nothing manucured about this one and definitely worth playing.
June 07, 2004
6 / 10
Royal North Devon
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Billy
A wonderful feeling to this course. Can't imagine how they keep it in suck great nick with all those sheep and horses. Links golf at its most natural.
April 01, 2004
8 / 10
Royal North Devon
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