In terms of value, a day at Saunton Golf Club is hard to beat anywhere in England. Billed as the country’s best 36-hole links venue, it’s impossible to argue that claim. However, can anyone think of another 36-hole links club in England? I can’t.
I’m a lover of links golf and a strong supporter of England’s southwest. This is where I’ve chosen to live but as yet I have not joined a golf club in North Devon. The dilemma I face is that I can’t decide which club to join – Saunton or Royal North Devon. I’m still deliberating but it’s more likely that neither club would have me as a member.
The West course is more fun than its older sibling the East. There’s more variation, with three par fives (albeit short ones) compared to the East’s two short par fives. There are five par threes on the West (only three on the East) and every one of the West’s one-shotters capture my attention and fuel my imagination starting at the downhill 4th (“Covey”) and concluding at the home hole (“Rookery”), where I threw my match away against Richard Smith when I played here last Monday.
The East is undeniably the stronger course at Saunton Golf Club, but if the West course belonged to separate club I’d probably choose to join it rather than joining the East’s club. The reason for this is that the West is a course that always entertains me from start to finish. It’s a course that surprises me because I’m always amazed that the round finishes so quickly such is the engagement throughout. The course would benefit aesthetically and in terms of challenge from a few more fairway bunkers (as would the East) but this is a small criticism because the West course is simply a little charmer in my eyes. Keith Baxter
Date: May 28, 2015