England’s Atlantic Links once again enjoys a strong showing in Golf World magazine’s latest course ranking that covers the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in England’.
Saunton’s East Course, in ninth slot, has been awarded the highest position of the group that comprises the premier championship links in south west England. The East Course’s high ranking is perhaps no surprise given its past glowing endorsement by Sir Nick Faldo, who once said, “I’ve no doubt if the East Course were located on the coast of Lancashire or Kent it would have hosted The Open Championship by now.”
Saunton East is closely followed Cornwall’s St Enodoc in 15th slot whilst the Somerset layout of Burnham & Berrow comes in at number 40, Royal North Devon at 79, Trevose at 86 and Saunton West at 90.
With Royal Birkdale, Sunningdale Old and Royal St George’s topping this comprehensive list of the best golf courses in England the competition is extremely tough, which makes the inclusion of all six courses all the more impressive.
“The fact that all six links are featured in the Golf World ranking shows the strength and depth that the Atlantic Links trail offers golfers who enjoy the demands and challenges of links golf,” says Russell Mayne, general manager at Saunton in north Devon.
The ranking, which appears in the June issue of Golf World, was decided by a panel of the magazine’s readers who are required to have a wealth of experience of what are regarded as the finest courses in the country. The members of the panel visit the courses unannounced, pay their own green fees and make their own judgements. The factors in assessing the courses are strategic merit, presentation, memorable holes, playability, consistency of test and visual appeal and do not take into account anything off the course.
However in addition to great links, the south west has a great deal to offer in terms of scenery and tourist attractions, art & culture, gardens & sandy beaches as well as sporting activities.
There are pretty coastal towns like Clovelly and Ilfracombe in Devon, bustling market towns such as Wadebridge and Barnstaple and charming fishing villages like Port Isaac, Rock and Padstow which can be found along the north Cornish coast. Further up the coast, historic towns like Weston-super-Mare and the spa town of Bath, near Burnham & Berrow, are ideal destinations to round off a golfing adventure.
The region’s rich culture features the 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 South West is also regarded as a gastronomic destination given the exceptional seafood restaurants of famous local chefs Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw and the presence of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen on Watergate Bay as well as the abundance of real English ale and authentic pub grub in its 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.
In terms of travel, the nearby M5 motorway and A39 “Atlantic Highway”, and international airports at Bristol, Exeter, London Heathrow and London Gatwick ensure easy accessibility for all visitors.
Atlantic Links www.atlantic-links.co.uk