Played by NCG: Okehampton
Reason for an Okehampton Golf Club review
I grew up a few miles from Okehampton and went to school in the town, but I hadn’t played the golf course since I was about 12. On a recent visit back to the motherland I thought I’d go and try it out again.
Where is Okehampton?
The market town of Okehampton is nestled in the shadows of Dartmoor’s tors on the northernmost edge of one of Devon’s two national parks. Okehampton Golf Club is just a short drive from the A30, which is rather apt, as you’ll discover…
What to expect
A really nicely put together club, with a well-stocked pro shop, friendly staff, and excellent food to complement the course. I tend to judge a clubhouse bar on its selection of real ales, so Okehampton is straight into the world-class category here…
It’s on the side of Dartmoor so it’s very hilly and is a decent challenge for all handicaps. As expected, there are some really nice views down across the town.
Despite its moorland location, it plays more like a parkland course, and don’t be fooled by the fact it’s only 5,294 yards off the longest tees and 4,831 off the shortest. Every hole has plenty of trees to keep you in line and I can only think of a handful of tee shots that offer you a good miss.
Short and straight is key here.
The stretch from 10 to 15 is wonderful. The course’s only par 5, 10 is downhill all the way and the green, which is shared with 15, is very much reachable in two.
The 11th is a tricky par 4 where everything in front of you slopes from left to right and demands a pinpoint approach to a well-protected green.
The course’s signature hole, the 12th, is just 94 yards off the whites and you play your shot over the 13th fairway and to a green a hundred feet or so below the tee. Just a flick of a wedge? Sure, but you best hope the wind isn’t blowing, while the River Okement is waiting to drown anything long or left.
At 278 yards, 13 is drivable, but only if you’re remarkably accurate with the big stick. With the river running down the entire left hand side, and the right protected by a steep bank and dense woodland, two iron shots is the sensible option here.
The 14th is a long par 3 protected by the river on one side and a stream on the other, so don’t go left or right. Or, indeed, long.
The par-3 15th is essentially a mirror image of 12, where you play your tee shot back up the cliff face to that double green.
Get through this stretch without dropping too many shots and you’ll finish strongly. If it beats you up, then the 16th green is right next to the clubhouse if you want to get the Doom Bars in early…
Who doesn’t love a short, downhill par 3? And the 12th at Okehampton is as good as they come…
A dramatic, short, downhill par-3 played to the sound of crashing waves. No, not the 7th at Pebble, but 12 at Okehampton. pic.twitter.com/J2yz3KGPiG
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) May 1, 2017
That is literally the whole hole. That photo is taken from the tee.
I also really like the 8th…
My best bit
With bail-out opportunities, the 277-yard 8th offers you the rare chance to grip it and it rip it. So I did. It’s a blind tee shot, so I was pretty happy to find my ball on the green. I was even happier when my 30-foot lag putt fell in for my first ever – and only to date – eagle on a par 4.
What to look for
Good par 3s maketh a course. (Or something more profound.) There are five short holes at Okehampton, and they all provide a different challenge. The 4th is long and uphill with a green that slopes dramatically from left to right, while the 7th is a cute 133-yarder completely surrounded by woodland. The aforementioned 12th is short and dramatic, 14 is long and demands accuracy, and 15, up and over the cliff, is a challenge you don’t often get at a par 3.
When I go back…
I’ll take my trolley – my legs just aren’t what they used to be – and an umbrella, because those infamous Devon showers can surprise you even on the sunniest of days…