Saunton Golf Club: West Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

Saunton Golf Club West Course offers a very entertaining and varied mix that perfectly complements the more highly-rated East Course

Saunton Golf Club West Course
The closing hole on Saunton West is a par 3
(Image credit: Saunton Golf Club)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Saunton Golf Club West Course Key Information

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
AddressNr Braunton, Devon, EX33 1LG
Phone01271 812436
GFs£130 May to Sep, £80 in Winter
Visitor TimesAll week after 9:00 by prior arrangement
ParMen 71, Women 71
SlopeWhite/M 128, Red/W 124
ArchitectFrank Pennink
Golf Monthly Verdict

Saunton Golf Club West Course Review

(Image credit: Saunton Golf Club)

This is Saunton East’s slightly shorter (but not much) and arguably more playful, not-so-little brother. With four par 5s and five short holes, there is excellent variety here and plenty to think about all the way. Along with the comfortable and relaxing clubhouse, this is an excellent location for a 36-hole day out.

Reasons To Play Saunton West

– Plenty of variety both on the card and out on the course

– Arguably more engaging, and certainly a little more forgiving, than the East

– Enjoyable for low handicappers but also playable for all


UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 78

Shorter than the East, though not a great deal, the Saunton Golf Club West Course is just a little less demanding as well as more varied. And most importantly for many, it is even more fun. It is one of the best links golf courses in England. Such was the demand for golf at Saunton by the mid-1930s that the members made the decision to create a second course. Herbert Fowler, who had designed the East, was asked to submit a design. The new course was built, but when the Second World War arrived, it was taken over by the military and used for training.

Many years later, the West Course was redesigned by Frank Pennink, and it finally reopened 50 years ago in 1973. In the late 1980s all of the greens were re-laid and 30 new bunkers added, and the back nine provides excellent variety as it features three short holes, three par 4s and three par 5s. It is an undulating links, and many of the holes are set between the dunes. Cross-ditches, grassy mounds and hollows, clever bunkering and raised greens all combine to produce an excellent challenge.

This is a course that calls for a strategic and subtle approach which, particularly when the fairways are firm and fast through the summer, will be well rewarded. The real golfing test here comes in the approach to the greens, many of which are relatively small and can be tricky to find. There are doglegs to negotiate and a fine selection of five par 3s, four of which are over 185 yards from the blues. Several tees are raised which then provide lovely views of the surrounding countryside, and a number of the greens are set right into the dunes, adding to the visual appeal of the layout all the way.

Saunton is a friendly and welcoming club and the West is one of the very best golf courses in Devon.

Saunton - West - Hole 1

Looking back down the opening hole on Saunton's West Course

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Christian Morris UK&I Top 100 panel
Christian Morris

This is an enticing course, with a few disappointingly flat holes amongst the exhilarating ones. Some spectacular views across some of England’s finest golf landscapes. I love playing it, but it will always be second to the great East.

John Winter UK&I Top 100 panel
John Winter

This course plays on higher ground and many of the green complexes nestle in the dunes with the approach shots playing into the prevailing wind. One of the best views of the course is from the 16th medal tee where the whole estate can be surveyed, including the rough, untouched and natural UNESCO protected area closest to the sea. I was told by a number of people; ‘I prefer the West to the East, it’s a much stronger challenge.’ I accept that there are a number of outstanding holes, and on a number of occasions it felt narrower.

Saunton Golf Club Location

Saunton Golf Club Green Fees

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18 holes£110Apr & Oct
18 holes£130May to Sep
36 holes£170Apr & Oct
36 holes£200May to Sep

Saunton Golf Club West Course scorecard

Saunton Golf Club west course scorecard

(Image credit: Saunton Golf Club)

Best Courses Near To Saunton



Old Tom Morris designed this most natural of links where recent coastal erosion has led to some ongoing changes. This is golf at its most elemental and unfussy; the oldest course in England and a living museum of the game.



There are two excellent and very different courses at St Mellion with the Nicklaus Signature Course a firm favourite in the Next 100. It is one of the best-looking and most challenging tests of golf in the area. Dense woodland, some wow-factor bunkering and various water features make both length and accuracy vital.

Best Places To Stay Near Saunton Golf Club

Saunton Sands Hotel - Book now via

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.

Imperial Hotel, Barnstaple - Book now via

A few minutes away in the centre of Barnstaple, the Imperial overlooks River Taw. There is a formal restaurant serving 2 and 4-course dinner, as well as relaxed dining in the Colours Bar and terrace lounge.

Saunton Golf Club East Course Gallery

Historical Top 100 Rankings UK&I

  • 2023/24 - 78
  • 2021/22 - 75
  • 2019/20 - 69
  • 2017/18 - 61
  • 2015/16 - 61
  • 2013/14 - 57
  • 2011/12 - 59
  • 2009/10 - 57

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some people prefer the West Course at Saunton?

Although both links are lovely, there is no doubt that the West Course has more variety and more scoring opportunities than its older brother. In essence, it’s more fun, but as we often say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Which is the best hole on Saunton West?

The short par-4 15th is a very good looking dogleg to the left with a pitch up to a slightly raised green with two revetted bunkers perfectly placed to catch anything short and right.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for over 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2021, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. 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 seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He has been a member of Tandridge in Surrey for 30 years where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at