East Devon really doesn’t get much airtime outside the local area but this place is the real deal.
The course is laid out on high ground, 400 feet above the sea, close to the clifftops, where one can drink in the most spectacular views in golf. The sweeping panorama of Lyme Bay is in view and, on a clear day, you can spot the Isle of Portland, jutting out into the English Channel.
The fairways have been cut through a profusion of gorse and heather. For a course perched high above the sea, that is a real blow but East Devon certainly doesn’t rely on its views. It’s a heathland for the most part, with a touch of moorland.
Golf has been played in Budleigh Salterton since 1894, with the original Budleigh Salterton Golf Club being a nine-hole course situated on the east bank of the River Otter. Although benefiting from similarly commanding views to those of the current course there were problems with the location, notably the lack of a full 18 holes and difficult access.
Robert Tosswill, a retired army officer, laid down the original course in 1902. Eleven years later, Herbert Fowler changed the layout, and after the First World War Harry Colt remodelled the course.
During its 120-year history East Devon has played host to royalty – HRH The Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, played the course in 1921 – while famous sporting names including Australian cricketers Sir Donald Bradman, Richie Benaud, Greg and Ian Chappell, while Peter Alliss considered the view from the 16th tee to be “one of the best views in golf”.
More recently the club has become an England Golf Championship venue, hosting the 2012 Ladies County Finals, the 2017 English Club Championship, and the 2018 English Girls Open Championship.
Why it’s special
Many of the holes are memorable and certainly the 9th, a downhill par 4, was a record breaker for T. Aydon in 1934 when he entered the Guinness World Records for hitting the longest drive, which measured at 450 yards and reached the edge of the green.
It is no longer featured in the current records, but bear in mind that this drive was struck 70 years ago without the aid of modern technology.
Where does it rank?
Get in touch with East Devon
For more information about the club and course, visit its website or call them on 01395 443370.
- NCG Top 100s: East Devon
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