Saunton Golf Club West Course Review

With plenty of variety and no real need for brute force, the West Course at Saunton offers a very happy balance of strategy and fun

The closing hole on the West is a par 3
(Image credit: Simonboyd1@me.com (+97150)640937)

With plenty of variety and no real need for brute force, the West Course at Saunton offers a very happy balance of strategy and fun

Saunton Golf Club West Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 75 Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 70 2017/18 - 61 2015/16 - 61 2013/14 - 57 2011/12 - 59 2009/10 - 57

Summer Green Fees

Round - £110, Day - £150wd

Visitors: welcome every day after 10:00 by prior arrangement

Medal Tee: Par 71 - 6,200 Yards

www.sauntongolf.co.uk (opens in new tab)

Changes since previous ranking

Improvements to the appearance and conditioning of a number of ditches and bunkers.

Saunton Golf Club West Course Review

Shorter than the East, though not much, the West Course at Saunton is arguably a little more forgiving, more varied, and most importantly for many, more fun.

In the mid-1930s, demand for golf amonth the members at Saunton was so high that they decided they required a second course. Herbert Fowler was asked to submit a design, and the new course was built. When the Second World War came, however, it was occupied by the military and used for training.

Looking back down the second

Although it was not for some time, the West Course was subsequently redesigned by Frank Pennink and finally reopened in 1973. In the late 1980s all of the greens were re-laid and 30 new bunkers added. The back nine is particularly full of variety as it features three of each par.

This is an undulating links with many of the holes set between the dunes. Cross-ditches, grassy mounds and hollows, clever bunkering and raised greens call combine to produce an excellent challenge.

The sixth hole

Subtlety Over Strength

Rather than brute force, it is a course that calls for a more strategic and subtle approach. Accurate ball-striking, particularly when the fairways are firm and fast through the summer, will be well rewarded. The real golfing test comes in the approach to the greens, many of which are relatively small and can be hard to find.

There are some tricky doglegs to negotiate and a fine selection of five short holes, four of the them requiring some strength. Several tees are raised to offer excellent views of the surrounding countryside, while a fair number of the greens are set into the dunes, adding to the visual appeal of the layout all the way.

Saunton is a friendly and welcoming club with a bright and relaxing clubhouse. All in all, an excellent 36-hole day out.

Assessor Feedback

Imaginative layout in the Devon dunes which will test the accuracy of your approach play. Generous fairways at times but this in counter-acted by small difficult greens.

GM Verdict

With plenty of variety and no real need for brute force, the West Course at Saunton offers a very happy balance of strategy and fun

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.