The Royal North Devon Golf Course is part of the North Devon Bio-sphere and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. We manage the course through an ecology agreement with Natural England. The course sits on common land and is as natural as the day it was formed with sheep and horses roaming around whilst you are playing golf and enjoying the fantastic natural surroundings.
The course was originally laid out in 1864 by Old Tom Morris on the links land which is still used today with nothing more than grass, sand dunes and Great Sea rushes.
In 1988 English Nature, Now Natural England recognised the site and awarded it SSSI status as the course up to and since that period has been managed in an environmentally sensitive manner. We are at present working alongside Natural England and Torridge District Council to remove the non-native species such as bramble leaving the natural plants to flourish.
All soil and sand used on the site is recycled ditch material except for topdressing sand for the greens.
A major initiative is currently being promoted by the R&A and is referred to as “sustainable golf.”
What this means is a departure from heavy reliance on pesticides, fertiliser and water; working with Mother Nature as opposed to fighting against her.
This means encouraging the fine fescue grasses instead of the heavily water and fertiliser-reliant annual meadow grass which gives a very poor winter surface.
In the height of summer, the course will harden, and your ball will roll out along the fast-running fairways. You will not be greeted by a soft, over-watered greens but instead a firm putting surface that encourages quick greens.
At Royal North Devon, greens receive a very small amount of nitrogen each year, as do the tees. This is then backed up with applications of liquid seaweed and iron.
The fairways are never given any fertiliser nor is there fairway watering. (unless in drought situation) Water is applied to tees and greens simply to keep the grass alive. This all leads to the rebirth of the traditional bump and run game as opposed to target golf.
At Royal North Devon we are very aware of the unique environment around us and try to work in such a way as to enhance it so that it remains for all to enjoy. Come out and partake in everything Mother Nature has entrusted us with! Remember no earth moving machines were used to create what we play on today!
Royal North Devon Golf Club has been welcoming visiting golfers for over 150 years. Our visitors effectively become members of the club for a day and we are dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of them enjoys the club to its fullest.