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, with the famous Herbert Fowler creating the course essentially in play today in conjunction with the secretary at the time. Harry Colt and James Braid also leant a hand in the club’s earlier days, and 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
Jeremy Ellwood

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 across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf