It’s a real shame that Warren Golf Club, located at the seaside town of Dawlish Warren in South Devon, was omitted from the “True Links” book showcasing the 246 true links golf courses of the world.
I’m sure The Club would have welcomed and appreciated the inevitable additional visitor footfall this would have brought.
It is obviously a genuine error because there is no doubting that this delightfully rustic layout meets all the criteria the authors set for inclusion. Indeed in many ways the course is a throwback to how links golf will have been played many decades ago and it certainly succeeds in capturing a moment in time.
Situated within a nature reserve on a narrow spit of land in the mouth of the Exe estuary the 18 holes, which stretch to just less than 6,000 yards, is surrounded by innate beauty. In the main the linksland is firm and has that crisp, rugged seaside feel to it where you might not always find perfect turf under your ball…. but you will always be able to play it as it lies.
The actual layout of the course has not changed much since 1927, although the forces of nature mean that there is continual maintenance on the estuary side of the course.
The nature reserve provides a major roosting site for wading birds and migratory waterfowl, and serves as a habitat for the endangered petalwort plant. It is also one of only two sites in Britain where the Sand Crocus grows, locally known as the Warren Crocus.
The land towards the marsh side of the slender promontory is a little softer and here you will find a few tiny ponds in natural wet spots to aid drainage. From a playing perspective they don’t really bring much to the party but they grab your attention nonetheless.
There are some nice green complexes on the way to the turn; in particular a basin green at the short third and a well sculptured one at the sixth where you literally shoot to the very tip of terra firma. The eighth also boasts a well located putting surface on a plateau.
Gorse-lined fairways are in abundance during the middle section of the course where the scorecard chews up plenty of ground. The yardage for holes nine thru 12 are; 431, 462, 510 and 477. The latter two are admittedly par fives but there is a lot of walking between hitting.
You must, or at least can choose to, flirt with the sea at the seventh on a very unique hole whilst most of the final five holes also play along the edge of the coastline. The last doesn’t but this finishing hole is perhaps the most unusual of the lot with a green parked tightly between the entrance road (which you must cross with your approach) and a high wall and fence protecting the railway line. The clubhouse itself and the car park are also very much in play! It’s a hole that wouldn’t be built today and that is a shame because it’s a wonderful way to end an old-school round of golf.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Date: June 27, 2019