The year 2014 will see Royal North Devon Golf Club celebrate a historic 150 years of golf on Northam Burrows

Words: Matthew Field

The year 2014 will see Royal North Devon Golf Club celebrating a historic 150 years of golf on Northam Burrows.

The course is situated on the coastline between Westward Ho! and the estuary shared by the rivers Taw and Torridge. It is the oldest club in England to be playing on its original layout.

Several events marking this milestone have been arranged for the upcoming year. A special Anniversary Dinner took place on Friday, 4th April, the actual birth date of the club 150 years ago, with a talk on the Club’s history by Club historian and former Secretary, Robert Fowler.

RND is also the home of the oldest ladies’ club in England and the second oldest in the world.

Formed in 1868 they represent a direct line back to the ladies who pioneered the game on the Burrows. Now, as a playing section of the club, they enjoy the same voting rights and committee representation as their male colleagues.

The Club attracts golfers from all over the British Isles and beyond with golf writer Bernard Darwin stating in The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “To go to Westward Ho! is not to make a mere visit of pleasure as to an ordinary course; it is, as is the case of a few other links, a reverent pilgrimage.”

This remains as true today as it did when Darwin was writing. Visitors are warmly welcomed and viewed as adding vitality to the club and adding income to the local economy.

The Club is very much a part of the local community, run by local people for local people. Part of that ethos is a strong committment to junior golf.

The members of RND are justly proud of the 150-year-history of their club. Those years have led to the creation of the current facility which is available to all those who love the game and those who are considering taking it up.

News of the various events planned to celebrate Royal North Devon’s 150th anniversary will be released in due course.