Founded in 1864, Royal North Devon (RND as it?s known in this part of the world) is obviously steeped in history, but unlike many of the UK?s other illustrious courses there is no stuffiness or pretension on display here. It?s a course where visitors are made very welcome and where they appreciate the fact you?ve made the effort to come and play.
And, what an experience playing here is. Handcrafted by the elements, the course is a pure links course which winds its way over common land, out and back from the sea. Looking over the course the land looks flat and featureless, but out there great swathes of spiky sea rushes, fairways full of humps and hollows and sand traps ranging from tiny sand-filled pockmarks to the huge ?Cape Bunker? at the 4th, offer more than enough definition. There are birdies to be had on the first nine but the course shows it?s teeth on the way in with a particularly tough last four holes.
Relaxing in the old iron clubhouse (make sure you have a look at the fascinating mini-museum) enjoying a post-round beer, you know you?ve just played a unique course. It?s an experience you won?t forget in a hurry as you?ll play it over and over in your mind. For a modest £36 a day (£46 at the weekend), RND is a true bargain.
Best Hole: The 4th is dominated by the presence of ‘Cape Bunker’ – avoid entry at all costs