East Devon Golf Club Course Review

East Devon Golf Club, above Budleigh Salterton on the south coast, serves up a glorious blend of heathland and clifftop golf

East Devon Golf Club - aerial view
The run for home plays along the red clifftops of the Jurassic Coast
(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

East Devon Golf Club Course Review 

GF Round: £75; Summer twilight: £37.50 after 4pm
Par 70, 6,261 yards
Slope 126
GM Verdict – Beautiful elevated heathland course with a fine run for home along the red clifftops of South Devon’s Jurassic Coast.
Favourite Hole – The long par-4 17th, where the drive must stay short of a heathery downslope and the green is protected by banks and a solitary bunker.

East Devon Golf Club - 13th hole

The 13th is a very pretty par 3 with a splendid backdrop

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

East Devon Golf Club is one of the undoubted stars of the south Devon strip and one of the best golf courses in Devon. It’s perched up on top of the distinctive red cliffs along this stretch of the beautiful Jurassic Coast above the popular holiday town of Budleigh Salterton and offers enviable variety among its 18 holes, which blend a strong heathland feel in places, with occasional more tree-lined, tighter-feeling tests such as the 7th and then a splendid run for home in an easterly direction following the clifftop.

East Devon Golf Club - 2nd hole

There's a strong heathland feel to holes like the 2nd

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

Golf in the town started out on a nine-hole course on the banks of the River Otter before moving to today’s glorious clifftop setting in 1902 when a new club was formed. In the early years, the layout underwent a number of changes. The famous Herbert Fowler created this new course in conjunction with the secretary at the time, but it was later modified by both Harry Colt and James Braid. More recently the threat of coastal erosion has sparked a number of changes including a re-aligning of the 16th and a new tee on the 17th, both holes from which the views out over the coast are at their most breath-taking. 

East Devon Golf Club - 16th hole

The testing par-4 16th plays along the clifftops

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

You get a sense of the views to come over the early holes, and this gradually rises to a crescendo as make your way up to the highest ground before starting your final descent from the 16th tee, a strong par 4 as you start the downhill stretch for home. But the 17th is infinitely harder, as you must keep your drive short of a steep heathery bank before firing down to a green from around which your up-and-down prospects can be slim, especially if the pin is on the right and you miss that side.

East Devon Golf Club - 17th hole

The tough 17th where your drive must stay short of that heathery bank in the distance

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

The 18th is a relatively short finale at 339 yards, but the sweeping left-to-right dogleg does mean you must decide wisely between aggression and caution, for if you go for the big one and hold on to it, you could come badly unstuck right at the end. Before that, the 10th is arguably the prettiest of the par 3s, with its three-tier green placing a real emphasis on accurate club selection, although the downhill 13th looking out towards the sea may have something to say about that!


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