Bovey Castle (Manor House)

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At A Glance

The stream on the first 8 holes wreaks havoc and adds strategic value.

Further Reading

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Further Viewing

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Full Course Review

Bovey Castle Golf Course situated on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park was once known as Manor House. The Manor House was built by British architect Detmar Jellings Blow for the son of the stationary magnate W.H. Smith, Frederick Smith in 1907.

The Great Western Railway purchased the property in 1929 and converted the mansion to a hotel to compete with the likes of Turnberry and Gleneagles. It was reported that the nearest golf course was 2 miles away but the land of the estate would lend itself to the laying our of the golf course. (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - 09 April 1929) Three weeks later it was reported that the planning application included a provision for a golf course. On April 16, 1930, the newspaper reported that the golf course had been designed by JF Abercromby and built by Franks Harris Bros Ltd. The course opened for play on the 8th of June, 1930. It measured 5,600 yards upon opening and had 6 one-shot holes. During the Second World War, the golf course lie dormant for 5 years. It was reopened for play on August 1, 1946.

Ownership was transferred to the British Transport Commission 1948. In 2003, the property was purchased by Peter de Savary, who at one time, also owned Skibo Castle. It was during this time that Donald Steel was brought in to make changes, in particular the island third green. The resort has since changed hands in 2006 and again in 2014.

At present, the majority of the investment seems to be in the hotel and estate rather than the golf course but the potential, much like The Addington, is palpable.

Changes to Bovey Castle by Donald Steel

3 - Tees added and new island green built.
4 - Tees and fairway bunker added.
8 - Green moved to left. Original green sat on current 9 Hole tees.
9 -  Aber's par 3 10th replaced with Steel's par 3 9th.
10 - Steel combined the Aber's 9th and 10th into the current 10th.
11 - Pond added.
12 - Tees added. Left greenside bunker added.
13 - Left fairway bunker added.
14 - Two left fairway bunkers removed. Three left greenside bunkers added.
16 - Two fairway bunkers moved and one added. Greenside bunker added.
17 - Front greenside bunker moved.
18 - Two fairway bunkers added. Greenside bunker added.

Aber's original holes include 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 15 & 17.



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