In less than two years, England’s Atlantic Links, a collection of the five premier links golf clubs in the South West of England, has established itself as one of the most prestigious golf destinations in the United Kingdom.
The reputation of this previously-undiscovered cluster of golfing gems has been further enhanced through the continued inclusion of Atlantic Links courses in recognized course ratings compiled by top golf publications and through the hosting of a number of top amateur championships over the last 18 months.
Last summer Trevose Golf & Country Club in Cornwall staged the 2008 Brabazon Trophy (English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship) whilst the 2009 Tillman Trophy will be staged this July at Somerset’s Burnham & Berrow Golf Club. Two years later Burnham & Berrow will also host the R&A Boys Championship and the Brabazon Trophy – for the fifth time – and in doing so enter golfing history in 2011 by becoming the first course to hold both championships in the same year.
Saunton Golf Club’s East Course in Devon was awarded 22nd place in Golf World’s ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in the UK’ at the end of 2008 and more recently, St Enodoc Golf Club’s Church Course in Cornwall was included in the ‘100 Best Courses outside the USA’ at number 55 in the May 2009 issue of Golf Digest.
All six courses in England’s Atlantic Links featured in the 2007/8 Golf Monthly ‘Top 100 Courses in the UK & Ireland’ with Royal North Devon Golf Club, or Westwood Ho! as it is fondly referred to, coming in at number 69.
Together these legendary, award-winning championship courses have firmly established themselves on the golfing map as a tantalizing trail of ancient links golf set amid the wild and dramatic Atlantic coastline of South West England.
“By packaging the premier links clubs in South West England into England’s Atlantic Links, we have created a genuine alternative golf links tour to the high profile destinations of Scotland and Ireland,” comments Michael Blight, managing secretary of Burnham & Berrow Golf Club.
“In the 18 months or so since we established the offering, we have attracted a great many visitors from Europe and the US who have been both surprised and delighted to discover this relatively-unknown group of glorious links courses that had been overshadowed by the Scottish and Irish links for far too long.
“Meanwhile each course in its own individual right continues to receive plaudits from the world of golf and to be awarded the honour of hosting top amateur championships which have further enhanced the growing reputation of the Atlantic Links as one of the UK’s most prestigious golfing destinations.”
In addition, England’s Atlantic Links’ courses boast the combined appeal of history, tradition and variety which is complemented by numerous off-course attractions along the Atlantic coastline.
England’s South West is bursting with attractions including pretty coastal towns like Ilfracombe, bustling market towns such as Wadebridge and Barnstaple and charming fishing villages like Port Isaac, Rock and Padstow along the north Cornish coast whilst historic towns like Weston-super-Mare and Bath, near Burnham & Berrow, are ideal destinations to round off a golfing adventure.
The region’s rich culture features the inimitable Barbara Hepworth Museum and Tate St Ives, displaying the very best in modern and local art, the renown Eden Project and fascinating Lost Gardens of Heligan whilst outdoor activities such as surfing around Newquay and walking and horse riding in Exmoor National Park are as good as anywhere in the British Isles.
The gastronomic delights of the South West are not to be missed either, from the exceptional Padstow seafood restaurants of famous local chef Rick Stein and a variety of other Michelin-starred restaurants, to real English ale and authentic pub grub in an abundance of traditional country pubs.
The temperate micro climate allows year-round golf with the gentler winter conditions enabling the greenkeepers to maintain their courses in immaculate condition throughout the changing seasons.
Meanwhile the overall standard of accommodation in the South West has risen dramatically in recent years and there are now a host of comfortable, character hotels like Woodlands Country House Hotel, beautifully restored stately homes such as the Bath Spa Hotel, modern seaside hotels such as Saunton Sands and the St Moritz Hotel & Spa and delightful, friendly bed-and-breakfasts.
In terms of travel, the nearby M5 motorway and A39 “Atlantic Highway”, and international airports at Bristol, Exeter and Newquay, ensure easy accessibility for all visitors.