Do believe the hype. Saunton is set on perfect links land. For those not keen on very flat links there is no need for alarm. The course winds its ways through and over dunes of varying heights with such diversity in types of green settings: plateaus, flat to the fairway, in horseshoe dunes, half hidden (8th), or with only the cloth of the flag peeking over the punchbowl lid (16th). Mercifully for the first time visitor there are few blind shots. Although the carry over the marker post into the wind on the 8th must be daunting. Many of the par threes are sited on plateaus and without exception all are absolute gems. The origami-inspired green makes the 5th, my slight favourite even though some might complain it’s too short. Access to the course would be the main reason precluding it from hosting The Open. The television pictures of The Open at Saunton would be stunning with late afternoon sunshine bathing the course in a mixture of golden rays and shadows detailing the exquisitely-crumpled landscape. The course certainly has enough variety of challenge to keep anyone entertained, even if not scoring well, with greens easier to putt on than those at Royal St George’s, especially with 18th sited bang in front of the understated clubhouse. There can’t be many courses better than this. Magical.
Date: June 15, 2012