Saunton Golf Club West Course

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Independent Reviews of Saunton GC

Sean Arble's tour of The West Course can be found here

Golf Course Review

The Saunton Golf Club West Course is one of two links golf courses in the North Devon coast opposite Royal North Devon GC at Westward Ho! The East Course lies in the dunes more inland and is bordered by the more seaward West Course. Between the two, the more inland East course of Fowler vintage is considered the better of the two.

Saunton Golf Club West Course Architectural History

The success of the East Course meant that by 1935, Herbert Fowler was again hired to build a second golf links - what would become The West Course. The original West Course was lost just a few years later when the dunes were used for practising D-Day landings in 1939.

While the East Course was reopened for play in 1952, it would 22 more years for the return of the Saunton Golf Club West Course. 9 holes were open after being re-designed by Frank Pennink in 1974. In 1975, the second nine was open for play. Pennink himself wrote that the course was a joint design with then Saunton GC Secretary, JWD Goodman. Donald Steel rebuilt all the greens in 1987 and added irrigation the course.

How Much Herbert Fowler is left?

Many think Saunton is a 36 hole mecca of Herbert Fowler designed links similar to The Berkshire and Walton Heath. This is decidedly not the case. The West Course must be attributed firstly to Frank Pennink, JWD Goodman, Donald Steel and more recently, Tom Mackenzie. It doesn't take anything away from the quality of the golf on offer but if you're a Herbert Fowler fan, the Braunton Burrows on Bideford Bay are not the place to coming looking!


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