Golf Course Review of East Devon Golf Club
East Devon Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: An exciting variety of holes over fine golfing turf
Our 5 Star Rating: 4.2
East Devon, at Budleigh Salterton, is a golf course that had eluded me for far too long. However, I set that matter straight with a visit in the early Spring of 2017 and came away very impressed with how the course played, especially for the time of year.
It’s a venue which is quite difficult to build into a high quality multi-course trip; a little too far west of the famed Dorset contingent and a niggly cross-county trek from the magnificent links on the North Devon coast. That said, it is certainly worth making a detour to visit this charming cliff-top cum upland-heathland layout.
The par 70 (SSS 71) course has a particularly lovely start with a couple of sub 350-yarders to get us warmed up. Avoid the heather from the tee and put your ball under the hole with your approach at both of these gentle par-fours and you may pick up a birdie. On the other hand, tangle with the gnarly rough or leave yourself a downhill putt and you could be frustratingly dropping shots left, right and centre. The four-quarter-level green at the second is truly fantastic whilst the third is also a particularly fine hole sweeping elegantly to the right.
The round continues in a brisk fashion with a quaint little par-three, an uphill two-shotter (which seemed to play at least 100-yards longer than the number on the scorecard) before an expansive par five with a brilliantly positioned heathery hollow some 60-yards shy of the green.
An impenetrable wall of gorse lines the left side of the curving seventh – I know this because I can still feel the prickles in my backside after searching for a hooked drive – but it is the green setting that really catches the eye and this begins a succession of holes which all feature excellent green complexes.
Between the 7th and the 13th East Devon is exceptionally strong. The three-tiered green at the 163-yard 10th is a highlight whilst the following hole, a tempting par four (maximum 335 yards from the tips) with a drive across an angled valley to a cross-bunkered fairway, is equally wonderful and a prime example of how fun yet demanding a hole of this length can be for all standards of golfer. The long 12th is a bit of an uphill slog but the angled green makes up for this whilst the next is a very pretty dropping par-three.
Holes 14 and 15 are the first of five consecutive par fours to finish the round. Neither are anything special but they do lead us to the 16th tee, on the highest part of the property some 400-feet above sea level, and provide us with a fabulous view of the coastline before we plunge for home with three fine holes. The 17th is perhaps the most dramatic with the fairway ending abruptly after 250 yards and the green located on the other side of a valley but it was the 18th which left a particularly nice taste in my mouth as it offers another heroic drive to a fairway that sweeps down in front of the clubhouse towards ‘Braids Green’.
East Devon isn’t a course that will beat you up but don’t expect it to roll over and allow you to tickle its belly either. There’s a great mix of holes over some fairly wild terrain, the turf is excellent and there’s a lovely atmosphere around the club. What’s not to like?
Well, the only word of warning I will give is that Thursday is ‘society day’ and although I teed-off later in the afternoon, and therefore wasn’t affected so much, the stream of disgruntled ladies walking in from the eighth, chuntering about slow play, would suggest one should perhaps call ahead to see what is booked in for the day.
Club Website: www.eastdevongolfclub.co.uk
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at East Devon Golf Club.
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