In recent years the overall standard of accommodation in the south west has risen dramatically and there are now a host of character hotels like the Woodlands Country House Hotel, traditional and first-class hotels such as the Imperial, which prides itself on service, friendliness and fine food, to modern seaside hotels such as the Saunton Sands with its spectacular beach view plus comfortable top-value country club apartments, flats and villas at Trevose Golf and Country Club.
Trevose owner Nick Gammon has recently opened seven new lodges – an eco-friendly development – each sleeping six people to add to ten flats, five bungalows and seven chalets plus a cottage, club flat and seven dormy flats.
With a quality restaurant and a heated swimming pool, it’s easy to see why Trevose is popular with families as well as golfers, who can choose from three lay-outs in the lee of the majestic Trevose Head.
Trevose’s 6,973-yard Championship Course was originally laid out by Harry Colt and is a true test of skill with traditionally quick greens all year round – it hosted the 2008 English Amateur Strokeplay Championship – while the nine-hole Headland Course is an ideal alternative if the main course is busy as is the Short Course, which runs around streams, over hills and detours past the ruins of the fifth century Roman Church and the second century St Constantine’s Well.
Across the Camel River from Trevose is one of my personal favourites – St Enodoc. Designed by James Braid, it has a fantastic setting among the dunes overlooking the estuary and with views over the Atlantic.
The Church course, so called because of the Norman Church that was uncovered in the middle of the course, is renowned for its towering Himalaya bunker that entirely blocks the view of the 6th green from all but a slither of fairway while the 10th, which is played down the valley to the church is rightly the signature hole.
Over the past four years the course has benefited hugely from refurbishments that include new greens and tees and this 6,547 yard lay-out is a beauty while the shorter Holywell course, which includes nine par threes, is a little gem.
Dating back to 1864, Royal North Devon or Westward Ho! as it is popularly known, is England’s oldest links and it has hardly changed down the years as it set on common land on which livestock still graze.
One of the great triumvirate, J H Taylor, started his career as a caddie at Westward Ho! and later became club president.
The course looks flat – and it is – but don’t be fooled because at 6,650 yards from the regular tees and over 7,000 yards from the championship tees, it will jump up and bite you if you don’t concentrate.
The 2nd is a testing par 4 and watch out for the massive cape bunker on the 4th and there is a fairway out there at the 10th – believe me there is – but the 201-yard par-3 14th is the one for me…a great long short hole!