Club profile: Saunton Sands Golf Club

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams December 25, 2011 10:34

Club profile: Saunton Sands Golf Club

Sited in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Saunton Sands Golf Club is situated on Braunton Burrows in north Devon, home to England’s largest sand dune system, which encompasses the club’s two courses – the East Course, ranked 32 in the Golf World Top 100 Courses and the West Course, ranked 67.

Saunton Golf Club was established in May 1897, originally a nine-hole course, later extended to 12 holes by 1906 and then 18 holes in 1908. Famed golf course architect WH Fowler – always known as Herbert – was commissioned to redesign the course and in 1919 the new course was opened having been moved considerably to the west and now fully within the dunes’ system. A further addition to the club was made in 1935 with the construction of its second, the West Course, also designed by WH Fowler, but due to World War Two it fell into disrepair and was abandoned. In 1972 designer Frank Pennink was commissioned to design a new course, the result being the ‘new’ West Course being opened in 1975.

The original clubhouse was built in 1907 and can still be seen as a private house to the right of the East Course’s 16th fairway. Saunton moved to its new clubhouse in 1929, one which is still ‘home’ today.

The effect of the club’s special environmental status is such that it has to obtain consent from English Nature whenever it wishes to carry out any significant works on the courses to preserve the natural dunes.

Any major course redesigns may prove a challenge therefore, but Saunton stands proudly alongside St Andrews for the quality of its links, a factor which helps the club not only to maintain a strong membership but also attract strong interest nationally and from overseas golfers, who continue to flock to the area to enjoy the beautiful coastal setting and great golf.

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams December 25, 2011 10:34
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