Royal North Devon Golf Club Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

The links at Westward Ho! is steeped in history; sharing the fairways with sheep and horses evokes a tangible link to the game’s roots

Royal North Devon Golf Club - A view past the 5th flag and down the rumpled 6th fairway
Royal North Devon Golf Club - A view past the 5th flag and down the rumpled 6th fairway
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Royal North Devon Golf Club Key Information

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
AddressRoyal North Devon Golf Club, Golf Links Road, Westward Ho! Bideford, Devon, EX39 1HD
Phone Number01237 473817
Websitehttps://www.royalnorthdevongolfclub.co.uk
EmailLinks to contact pages can be found here - https://www.royalnorthdevongolfclub.co.uk/contact
Green FeesPeak season adult rates from £60 - £130
Visitor TimesVisitor availability 7 days but check with club for details
Par72
Slope Rating135 (Black), 134 (White), 130 (Yellow), 112 (Red)
Opened1864
Designed byOld Tom Morris
Golf Monthly Verdict

Royal North Devon Golf Club

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

This is a hugely characterful and historic links course with many unique and unusual features - Sheep and horses roam the course and holes move naturally across the terrain. It's golf in a raw and pure form.

The excellent recent erosion-enforced course changes will hopefully secure this historic course’s future for many generations to come.

One of the best vistas from a clubhouse anywhere in the country.

REASONS TO PLAY ROYAL NORTH DEVON

– England's oldest golf course

– Supremely natural and free-flowing golf

– Great to see horses and sheep grazing across the fairways

RANKINGS

UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 84

The historic links at Westward Ho! in Devon is the oldest course (not club) in England still playing over its original fairways.

RND dates back to 1864 and was laid out by Old Tom Morris. As you set out towards the sea over a couple of relatively benign holes, you may just wonder what all the fuss is about. But be patient!

Before long, you’ll be out onto a landscape of sleepered bunkers, sea rushes, grazing sheep and horses, and golf of the rawest and most fun kind.

Yes, it can take a couple of rounds to begin to understand the subtleties of this great links, but that is all part of its charm and character.

There are some tremendous holes as you turn right after the 2nd and play more or less parallel to the coast until you reach the long par-3 8th, whose green can be frustratingly elusive if the wind is howling in off the sea to your left.

This is the part of the course where Royal North Devon has been suffering from coastal erosion in recent years, and where things have been rejigged a little.

In this stretch, the tee-shot on the 4th – Cape – perhaps epitomises what the course is all about.

Here, you have to carry two huge sleepered bunkers off the tee, and although you should make it, failure to do so into the wind or on a mishit could make for a very interesting second.

Generally, there’s room to manouevre off the tee, but things tighten up a bit as RND’s famous sea rushes make their presence felt early on the back nine, especially on the 10th where they hide the fairway alarmingly.

As you turn and head for home via the 414-yard 18th the wind may well be at your back. But if it’s strongly against, you could be standing in the fairway with a very long club in hand contemplating your chances of clearing the burn that crosses the fairway just short of the green.

RND is steeped in history and has an old-school feel, but this is a friendly place to play and the clubhouse, packed with golfing memorabilia, is a wonderful spot for a debrief over a pint.

Royal North Devon Golf Club

Looking across the links to the town of Westward Ho! beyond (Photo: Kevin Murray)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

John Winter UK&I Top 100 panel
John Winter

As the websit says - "RND is pure, raw exhilaration and ultimately the experience of playing a fast-running links in a stiff breeze still tests the very best in the game.” It was a unique, quirky and memorable experience that was thoroughly enjoyable. Proper golf, a strong challenge, good fun and a welcome antidote to some of the new formulaic links golf course redesigns.

Richard Healy UK&I Top 100 panel
Richard Healy

A very historic links course laid over a peninsular behind Westward Ho! beach on common grazing land.  A classic design originally laid out in 1864 by Tom Morris, with features and challenges no longer included in modern course design. As such, they are of considerable interest and are a link with golfing history.

Royal North Devon Golf Club Location

Royal North Devon Golf Club Green Fees

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1st May - 30th Sep 2023Sun - FriSat
18 holes£100£120
36 holes£130NA
18 holes twilight (from 4pm)£60£60

For full visitor information, see the visitor page of the Royal North Devon website.

Royal North Devon Golf Club Scorecard

Best Courses Near to Royal North Devon Golf Club

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SAUNTON EAST

Set in the peaceful North Devon dunes, the East Course was designed by Herbert Fowler and is a wonderful place for golf. It has long attracted major events and a teenaged Sergio Garcia won the Boys’ Amateur here in 1997. There are just three short holes, but each is strong and different.

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SAUNTON WEST

For many golfers, the West is the more forgiving, more varied, and most importantly more fun of the two courses at Saunton. Lost during the war, it was redesigned by Frank Pennink and reopened in 1973. The back nine is particularly full of variety as it features three of each par.

Best Places to Stay Near To Royal North Devon Golf Club

The Royal George Hotel - Book now at Booking.com
In Appledore, 1.9 miles from Royal North Devon Golf Club, this characterful hotel sits right on the waterfront. The Royal George offers a continental or Full English/Irish breakfast. At the inn you will find a restaurant serving British, French and Greek cuisine.

Saunton Sands Hotel - Book now via Booking.com
With excellent views over the golf course, Saunton Sands Hotel features a spa, 2 swimming pools and a popular restaurant. The elegant rooms have modern, en suite bathrooms and the Restaurant offers formal dining and a seasonal menu. It's just a half hour drive to RND, and acts as a great base for golfing trips to Westward Ho! and Saunton.

Royal North Devon Golf Club Course Gallery

Royal North Devon Golf Club Historical Top 100 Ranking UK&I

  • 2023/24 - 84
  • 2021/22 - 85
  • 2019/20 - 82
  • 2017/18 - 74
  • 2015/16 - 72
  • 2013/14 - 75
  • 2011/12 - 73
  • 2009/10 - 69

Frequently Asked Questions

When did Royal North Devon get its "Royal" status?

In 1867 the Prince of Wales later King Edward VII who was Patron of the Club in 1866 gave the Club the Royal title. The Club then became known as Royal North Devon and West of England Golf Club. In 1910 this was changed to The Royal North Devon Golf Club.

Can I get a caddie at Royal North Devon?

The Club has a Caddy Master in Dave Miller who is a long-time member. Dave has a list of willing volunteers to call on, all of whom are Club Members and regular golfers.

Expect to be shown round the club, obviously including the museum and locker room - along with the pencil signature of JH Taylor on his locker

Personal Caddies are available or even share a caddy for 2 balls or 4 balls. Rates available on request.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response