Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to write to us about their visit to our Links. Below are a sample of some of the messages we have had, if you would like to add your name to this list please feel free to email us at the club.
Royal North Devon was the highlight of our recent golf trip to the UK. From the moment we arrived, we felt like part of the family. I’d found the course from my home in California during the Pandemic. The roving-eye webcam that moves and zooms in on the players, sheep, an array of grasses, and sometimes even a horse grazing on the fairway made up for two years of no travel. It was the webcam that captured my family’s attention, too. When we started planning our next golf trip, we worked the itinerary around RND, which became the most memorable of the 13 courses we played.
From my California vista, the course looked like a flat and friendly seaside links. On the windy day we played with sheets of rain blowing through, it required everything we had in our bags, including an extra hat! With member, Richard Hughes, as our guide, we had inside knowledge about where to place our ball, how much club to use, and where the hazards lurked. On hole 10, we hit over the rushes into the wind and away from the hole, but on 11 we hit over them again downwind, flying the thickest part with ease and no lost balls (that I remember). RND is a beautiful course of colors, the sea, wide fairways, tricky carries, deep bunkers, and animals everywhere (but never in the way.) Afterward, over drinks in the bar, we shared stories, and had a tour of the dining room museum that spans all 158 years of golf history. What a terrific place this is! We have a few friends there now and some unfinished business in a bunker or two so we’ll be back. Can’t wait!
Booked a tee time for 12.28 on Thursday 8th December. The weather was as benign as it could possibly be. Chilly but not cold and not a breath of wind. Called in to the pro-shop in plenty of time and could not have received a warmer welcome. Having checked me in the chap went out of his way to sort me out someone to go out with. In this case a member called Simon who played off 2. I play off 13 but even so some low handicap players prefer to be out with players of similar ability. Not a bit of it with Simon. He not only hits a 'lovely ball' but was terrific company. He guided me round the course, including the history of the club with some stories about J H Taylor the 5 time Open Champion and lifelong member. It was clear members take great pleasure in their club and welcome visitors to do the same. The course is quirky, as many links are, and unusually flat. It is also 'used' by sheep and horses for grazing. As a consequence there is no rough. Nevertheless Old Tom Morris knew how to create a course and in RND he has a beauty. Also it is the oldest course in England. For me the 4 par 3 holes are the best mix I have played in a long while. All extremely playable and all capable of wrecking a decent round if your bunker play or short game is out of sorts. On getting back to the club Simon insisted that he purchased the drinks and introduced me to some other members. Again they could not have been more welcoming or more genuine. In summary RND is a wonderful place to test your golf and enjoy the company of the members. A must play for sure and not just because of the historic aspects. There are some holes which might be described as fairly plain but look at the entire package and appreciate what it is all about. A course laid out as nature allowed, not tricked up with huge earth movements, and with a clubhouse / museum to enjoy to end the day. I will be going back and would recommend anyone who loves their golf to do the same.
Now that I am safely back on the other side of the pond I wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for a great round at RND that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have been showing everyone over here the pictures of your amazing course and clubhouse. Loved the picture of the old championships and scores, and all the old clubs and other memorabilia. As an American with a love of both history and golf it was truly an experience of a lifetime. And hopefully one that someday I can repeat. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you make it to LA and I will do the same when I am next in Devon.
On behalf of my playing partners and I would just like to say what a fantastic day we had today at Royal north devon. Starting with brilliant breakfast, probably the best we've had anywhere! Thanks to thd ladies in the restaurant and the pro shop and your very welcoming members. Its a top notch golf course, We hope to come again.
Our group of eight golfer (average age 70), who hail from Ullapool to Deal, visited Westward Ho! last Friday and “enjoyed” the once in a lifetime experience of playing in what must have been the most testing conditions any of us have ever encountered!
Anyway, I am writing to express our thanks for a truly memorable day and also to say how much we appreciated the cheerful and professional service we received from all the members of your staff.
Barry and Martin Richards
At the end of yet another summer of golf, I looked back at my performances during the last twelve months and at an age nearing eighty two and on a seemingly ever increasing handicap I have to say that the Royal Devon will always be at the top of my list.. The links were extra ordinary and a refreshing change from the inland / parkland courses which we play on. Having played on several championship courses and links your links stands way out.
I played with my son whilst on holiday Easter week during a Wednesday afternoon. The 6,422 distance was intimidating but the lack of tree’s and water was very edifying. My son Martin who booked the game and myself enjoyed everything about the whole set up, we were welcomed by both staff and members whom we met and delighted by the playing condition. We both had scores which defied our abilities, on a link’s that wanted you to actually play golf and loved every second of it. On reflection the reason for our unusual performance was, the absence of trees, water and narrow fairways. I love trees, water and cared for grass, but their magnetic properties of the first two render them a pest on golf courses.
Thank you, your committee and your green staff for this wonderful experience.
Peter Tarrant - Eastward Ho!
On behalf of the entire Eastward Ho! team I want to thank you for the fabulous hospitality we received at RND. The golf course was excellent and the matches truly good competition. But the best was the informal discussions both before and after we played the course. It was great to get to know the members on an informal basis. Your hospitality was outstanding. After our discussions with our members here you can be sure there will be other golfers wishing to go to Westward Ho!
I hope this provides an opportunity to welcome some of your members to Eastward Ho! In particular, during our centennial year (2022). If I can be helpful in any way please let me know..
Steven Smith - Canada
Thank you for extending the courtesy of your wonderful course to me when my group played Royal North Devon on June 28. All of us immensely enjoyed our day at England's oldest course. What a treat! We will be recommending RND to our golfing friends from Canada and the US. Thanks again for your hospitality. Regards, Steven Smith
Yohei & Naomi Motoyama - Tokyo
We are now struggling to escape from jet lag since returned from 17days long journey in UK.
We would like to thank you for your kind assistance during our stay at Royal North Devon Golf Club.
We played golf five rounds during our trip, and had the most impressive and the toughest experience at Royal North Devon!
We belong to Fuchu Country Club in Tokyo, where we are playing golf evey week and acting as committee members also.
Therefore we would like to introduce there the good points which we learned from you and RND.
Thank you again, and Best Regards
The Henpecked Husbands Society
We played at RND on Friday 8th March and I just wanted to convey the appreciation of our members. For many of us it was our first visit and were impressed not only with the course but also the warmth of all your staff. We also enjoyed a lovely meal after the golf and are sure to book again. On behalf of us all thank you very much for a wonderful day. Regards Stuart
Bob Gillham New Bern, NC,USA
Just a short note to express my appreciation and admiration for the pleasure of visiting and playing Royal North Devon on 3 July this year. The warm welcome and generous time spent with myself and my two companions by the staff and members made the day one to remember for many years to come. I had previously corresponded with Mr. Hughes regarding the my visit, but his praise of Royal North Devon was understated when compared to actually being in Westward Ho! It is a rare treat to play a natural course, one not created artificially, and to see the sheep, horses, and other animals roaming in their natural state. The highlight was sitting in the clubhouse after the round and seeing a sheep come on to the 18th green and shake the flagstick.
I wish you and the club great success on your `150th year, and may you have at least 150 years more.
Dear Mark, just a quick note to say what a fantastic experience it was to play your course last Friday (July 13th 2012). The welcome we received in the pro shop was extremely accommodating; the course was in excellent condition even though we are experiencing one of wettest years on record. The views on some of the holes were breathtaking. An extremely fair test of golf and we thoroughly enjoyed the 18 holes. We joined up with one of the members (Phil and his dog Ethan) who showed us the ropes and made us feel welcome. We will be back.
After many years of owning a caravan at Surfbay and enjoying many hours watching others play your beautiful course, I finally arranged to play it myself on the 18th March 2012. Me and 3 friends had been looking forward to this since I booked the tee time some weeks ago. None of us had played links golf before (we live in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire) and had been told that you either love it or hate it. Well I can confirm thanks to our experience at your club 4 more golfers have been converted to the joys of links golf. We were made very welcome by all staff and enjoyed a hearty "Full English" in the restaurant. The course was in fantastic condition and the greens were immaculate. The course guide is a must for anyone who has not played there before.
Thanks for a fantastic day and we all look forward to returning in the near future hopefully this time finding fewer bunkers.
We booked and invited family from Torbay for Sunday Lunch on the last October weekend. To say we were impressed is an understatement. Food quality, ambience and staff attention was excellent. The lamb shank was to die for ! The parsnips were devoured by the kids and extras readily supplied with smiles and encouragement by the staff. The small (!) portion beat the mother-in-law so I know the beef was excellent too !! Our family vote is very positive and rates the new catering by PaR Dining as a significant improvement in quality and we look forward to our next visit. Thank you and keep up the good work Kevin A Harris
To the Secretary and Staff of Royal North Devon Golf Club My father and I enjoyed a reciprocal round on Monday 5th September. We thought the golf course was presented in great condition and played very well. Moreover, the warm welcome we received in the Pro Shop, and from the staff in the bar, catering and greenkeeping teams made the day all the more enjoyable. You have a fantastic club and we look forward to visiting you again in the near future. I trust that we are able to extend the same courtesy to your members when they visit Royal Winchester.
My Round at RND
Fantastic course and enjoyable round made all the better by Patrick Hamilton; an RND member, letting me join his three ball. Thoroughly enjoyed my round and would definitely make a point of coming back here to play another round.
I would just like to thank you for your hospitality on Sunday. Everyone was delighted with the relaxed, warm welcome they received and the golf course was truly magnificent. I will certainly be returning and having just established a holiday venue in Parkham Ash, and with my links to Jenahura.com, I will be recommending RND as a 'must visit' to golfing visitors. Thanks again and see you soon. Ian
Richard Ager Visitors from Royal Eastbourne
If you like links golf, you'll love RND. If you don't like links golf, you should come and give RND a try (because you'll probably be converted). You can probably guess from that opening comment that I've fallen in love with RND. Whilst we were blessed with reasonably gentle conditions (a two club wind), it is easy to imagine how much of a test the course would be when the wind is up. Our whole experience was first class, the condition of the course, the views, the friendliness of the staff and members and the atmosphere that oozes history (the clubhouse is a golf historian's dream). As a visitor, you get the real sense tha RND is saying " we know we have a fabulous club and we are delighted to share it with you". Without doubt, one of the very best days golf of my life.
hole in one
Thanks to Dave,my caddy and Barry,my playing partner for a great days golf on Monday 20th September 2010.Fantastic course,overlooking the taw/torridge estuary.Highlight of the round has to be my "hole in one" at the par3 14th.Thanks again. Bill
I was a country member at RND in 2002 and 2003 during a stint in the UK. I cant speak highly enough of the golf course, the members and the overall experience. I made a point of bringing every golfer who visited me from Australia here and without exception they also fell in love with the place. I often return to the website and enjoy looking at the gallery photos and remember my golfing triumphs and tragedies at RND. You never have two rounds the same at RND, it is ever changing and ever challenging. Its also ever enjoyable. Cant wait to come back and play again some time soon I hope.
I turned up at the golf club as a single golfer and was quickly helped by the Pro-shop. I was soon out on the course with a member thoroughly enjoying this lovely course. Thanks again for you hospitality and Mike for having the patience to explain how to navigate my way around this tricky course. SUPERB!!
played here many times while on holiday in Bideford as a young teenager who loved inland golf, but couldn\'t understand the lure of links golf, so hated the place. came back this year, over 30 years later and now a devotee of links (now long-term member of Rye and Royal St David\'s).can\'t speak highly enough of the course, the ambience and the welcome. when the entry form is on the website, I\'ll be entering the Summer week pretty sharpish.
We loved RND so much we joined!!
Both myself and fellow golf addict friend are teachers in London and make it our mission to spend our summer holidays getting out of the city to play our favourite kind of golf - links. We decided to head to the South West to sample golf in this area and having been told about "England's Oldest Course" we just had to play RND. We turned up on a typically English summers day in late July, yes it was pouring with rain and the wind was up, looked at the panorama out in front of us and knew that nothing could dampen our spirits. The course was and is everything we wished it would be, it is simply golf as it is meant to be played. RND is a golf course full of charm and character, sheep and horses roam freely over the course, the fairways have that fantastic springy turf feel, the greens are true, the bunkers to be avoided and the views emcompass all that is to be loved about seaside golf. The round finished with a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction at having just seen off all that mother nature can throw at us (as well as a "Budweiser Challenge" win for me I'm pleased to say) and the experience just doesn't finish there. We walked into an extremely laid back and welcoming clubhouse to receive my victorious liquid prize, to be met by what must be the finest 19th hole in the land. The extent of golf memorabillia has to be seen to be believed, the views from the winows are fantastic but most importantly the welcome to visitors is both warm and sincere and you get the feeling that the members are proud to show off their fabulous golf club. The whole experience was so complete for us that we decided to join as country members and are very much looking forward to many more happy visits to this most glorious of golf clubs.
Liz Bird Newquay Golf Club
I entered the August meeting because I had never played RND and had heard so much about it. I was very impressed by the welcome receiving 2 phone calls before we had the starting time! The course itself is a beautiful links. The weather was great and I was fortunate to play it under such benign conditions. We had a cracking couple of days helped by good golf and friendly members. We both won a couple of prizes and yet you were all keen for us to come back again. The course played well with the wind and the greens being it's best defence. Lovely facilities too. We will be back but perhaps not in a tent this time!
David Nealer & Maurice Grange Past Captains, West Hove Golf Club
When we arrived at Westward Ho! we were very warmly greeted by the staff and a member even coughed up some loose change to help pay for our pre-golf snack as we only had large value notes! That's a first for us! As soon as we stepped onto the first tee I could tell that the day was to be very special. The sheer expanse of the links and the presence of the sheep and horses made this place different. Although the terrain is generally flat no two holes are the same. In particular I enjoyed the 4th, playing blind over the Cape bunker, and the 3 holes from the 10th where the sea rushes are very intimidating. The 18th is a great finishing hole, no bunkers but a burn to carry to reach the green. Fabulous. After our golf we had to leave early but not before we had had a thorough look around the Club's museum - what a fantastic clubroom! Rest assured, we will be back.
Brian Lindley (US Amateur Runner-Up 1980) Visiting from Newport Beach Country Club
The first to comment is Brian Lindley from The Newport Beach Country Club in Southern California. Brian plays off 1 and was runner-up in the 1981 US Amateur which meant he played in The Masters in the following year. Brian played RND in April 2007 and he says:
"My name is Brian Lindley, from a town called Corona del Mar in California, USA, near Los Angeles. I have always enjoyed playing true links golf in the British Isles - unfortunately there are many courses in the U.S. that claim to be links or provide a links golf experience, but fall far short of the expectation. I played at Royal North Devon in March with Richard Hughes - a very nice experience indeed. Although the course was a bit soft from all the winter rain this year, it shows that it is a course that stands the test of time and presents the challenges that make links golf what it is - undulating ground, wind, bunkers, and the sense that straight is more important than long. I spent some time in the clubhouse after the round and enjoyed looking at the history of the club, especially all the tournament result boards back to the 1800's (the club I play at opened in 1964, and is considered a middle-age club in our local area). I enjoyed everything about my visit to RND, and had a great time with Richard as my guide (although I still hit to the wrong green once!)."