Thurlestone - Devon - England

Thurlestone Golf Club,
Thurlestone,
Kingsbridge,
Devon,
TQ7 3NZ ,
England


  • +44 (0) 1548 560405

  • Steve Gledhill

  • H.S. Colt

  • Steve White

“Thurlestone was founded in 1897 on a massive rabbit warren, covered with scrub, brambles and gorse.” Wrote Peter Alliss in the Good Golf Guide. “Put another way, it was almost the ideal for golf – once the fairways had been carved through, and greens laid. Once this had been done, many balls were still lost but some provision was made for this. A device was kept in the clubhouse to stamp members’ initials on golf balls, and any found were supposed to be handed in to the professional. Original owners could then buy them back for a fee of twopence”

Nominated as a gem by David in November 2006, Thurlestone Golf Club is certainly still a gem but has now been awarded a coveted ranking position. David’s original nomination comments are as follows: “Thurlestone is one of the most beautiful courses in the South West of England – reminiscent of Pebble Beach, in places, and compared favourably with Pebble by none other than Peter Alliss. The first twelve holes, which are absolutely magnificent, go out right along the headland and verge on true links, while at the same time giving the turf a thick, springy quality that truly encourages a good strike on the ball. The course fades very slightly with three long par fives in a stretch of four holes which could be considered one too many, although the quality of the holes themselves cannot be doubted, before finishing with three very strong and truly memorable holes. It is one of my favourite courses that I have ever played.”

Thurlestone Golf Club originally started out in life as a short 9-hole course and was later extended and modified by Harry Colt and the routing of the course along the coastline of Bigbury Bay is dramatic to say the least. Views easterly to Bolt Tail headland and westerly toward Plymouth Sound create a distraction that is almost as challenging as the wind that often howls over the cliff tops. The par 33 front nine, which was the original 9-hole course, measures only 2,640 yards from the back tees but the last two holes on the outward half are particularly challenging par fours. The 3,500-yard par 38 back nine is where a score can be made, especially on the quartet of four par fives, which, as David mentioned earlier, may be considered one too many.

Despite the scorecard imbalance Thurlestone is a course to be enjoyed. As well as the golf, the club boasts three beaches and a dozen tennis courts which will keep most non-golfers happy for a few hours.

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Reviews for Thurlestone

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Description: Founded in 1897 and fashioned by Harry Colt, Thurlstone Golf Club is a glorious cliff top cum links-like course with stunning coastal views. Rating: 4.2 out of 6 Reviews: 5

Played here on a sunny April day. Course well presented - greens about 6 or 7 on the stimp but rolling true. Fabulous views from almost every hole but especially the first seven which play along the cliff edge before the course climbs onto higher ground for the back nine. This was allegedly Colt's contribution but (apart from the wonderful 11th with its second shot having to be faded into a green perched on the edge of the course) it has too many blind tee shots up hills onto sloping fairways. The finish is good though - long dogleg par four 16th to an infinity green, then short par three to a massively deep green followed by the last, a two shotter off the forward tee with a memorable shot in to another raised green. Turf good, greens good, friendly club and the green fee is exceptional value for money. In terms of shot values it's not Pebble Beach, but it's at least as pretty.

4 / 6
Thurlestone
April 11, 2017


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I very much agree with the comments made in the review below. Thurlestone was a thoroughly enjoyable experience when I played here a week ago in glorious but rare summer sunshine.Thurlestone Golf Club The greens were a pleasure to putt on and rolled out very well indeed, in fact they rolled out better than they looked like they should. For me, the original nine holes of the front nine are the best holes, as a few too many holes after the turn are rather bland and a little too uphill and down dale for my liking. However, I really liked the closing few holes, which left me walking off the last green with a pleasant feel good factor. Thurlestone is a very welcoming club which seems to be doing lots of things right. This is one of the few golf courses where you can see the sea from every single hole. I’d certainly include Thurlestone in any South Devon golfing itinerary… it also gives East Devon a run for its money in a few places.
4 / 6
Thurlestone
August 27, 2012


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Looking out over the course from the early holes it looks a bit like Sheringham in Norfolk although I would liken it more to the Craighead course at Crail, although it is from a much earlier vintage. Both are set high on the clifftops so the soil is not as sandy as a genuine links but both have links-like touches such as deep bunkers eating into some greens, Thurlestone Golf Course - Photo by reviewerdry stone walls and greens without too many severe undulations. The length of grass on the greens may be off-putting to some but it stops balls from oscillating while putting. If the term ‘holiday golf’ refers to the enjoyment one derives from playing a course in stunning surroundings that offers a warm welcome then Thurlestone firmly sits within that category. If the term is used as an all too transparent euphemism for disappointing and unchallenging golf then that would be unfair of this Devon beauty. I made that very mistake after having scored well on the first few holes without having played that well before carelessly dropping many strokes. There is challenge enough with the constantly changing seaside conditions, an ever-present breeze, long par threes, drives over fairway crowns to distant marker posts and if you stray far enough offline, deep rough and OOB – the view on the 18th tee is intimidating for right-handers who favour a draw. How much you enjoy Thurlestone will depend on your view of ‘holiday golf’. For me it was blessed relief from grinding in the gloom at St Mellion, and a great end to a memorable few days in the West Country.
4 / 6
Thurlestone
June 15, 2012


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It’s interesting to see Thurlestone riding so high in the rankings and well deserved I think because it’s a great track that ticks most boxes. Harry Colt had a habit of creating courses with five short holes, Rye and Sunningdale New are two examples. He’s done the same here and has even slotted in back-to-back P3s at 5 and 6. With 13 and 5 measuring around 200 yards from the yellows, these are not easy pars and the short holes will probably be the key to whether or not a decent score is carded. In a way I agree with the review below in that there are similarities here to Southerndown, but Thurlestone I think is better and plays much closer and is more intimate with the sea so you feel your are playing a seaside course rather than an upland layout. Alongside Teignmouth, which is underrated, Thurlestone is a very good course, put East Devon into the mix and you have three cracking seaside courses that will clense your lungs and won’t dent your wallet. Niall
5 / 6
Thurlestone
May 06, 2011


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First of all don’t come here expecting to play a links course, in many ways Thurlestone has similarities to Southerndown in South Wales but it’s not quite as good. The front nine is fantastic with some of the most remarkable views and you can see for miles on a clear day. The 6th is a super little short par three that is ringed with bunkers and the 7th is also a solid mid-length par four but at the turn you head inland and the experience is less pleasing. In many ways you finish on a low after starting on a high – the routing should be the other way round really and you wouldn’t feel quite as disappointed at the end. I suppose this is good holiday golf where the rough is kept short and you’ll be hard pressed to lose a ball. Keeps the speed of play up but allows woeful shots to go unpunished. Worth playing if in the area. For me this is about a 3 1/2 balls so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt! Hugh
4 / 6
Thurlestone
November 16, 2006


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