Dartmouth Golf Hotel Review

Information

Course Name: Championship Course, Best Western Dartmouth Hotel

Location: Blackawton, Nr. Dartmouth, Devon, TQ9 7DE UK

Date Played: May 2022

Course Type: Parkland

3rd Tee Dartmouth
3rd Tee Dartmouth

Introduction

The Dartmouth Hotel lies in the rolling Devon countryside near to the popular holiday towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham in Devon.

It offers a range of accommodations and as well as golf you can take advantage of the health club and spa.

In addition to the main course there is a nine-hole par-33 short course measuring 2252 yards in length built to the same standard.

I’ll be reviewing the Championship Course in this Dartmouth Golf Hotel review.

Dartmouth Golf Hotel Slideshow

The Layout

Anyone who’s spent any time in Devon will know it can be quite a hilly part of the country. First impressions of the golf course suggested it was going to be a good walk. 

A quick chat with another golfer on the putting green before play suggested I might be making a mistake by choosing to walk but I’m no fan of buggy golf so decided to give it a go.

Having played the course I can now say that although there are one or two steep climbs between greens and tees I have played many golf courses that I thought were more testing physically. The holes tend to be laid out on fairly flat pieces of ground so that this doesn’t feel particularly hilly. No doubt older players or those with fitness issues would probably benefit from a buggy, however.

From the back tees, the course measures an impressive 7143 yards although we were limited to playing from the forward set of tees that measured around 6173 yards!

Well bunkered Dartmouth
Well bunkered Dartmouth

I’m guessing that a fair amount of earth was moved during the construction process as many holes feature mounding along the sides of the fairways and around greens. The bunkers also tend to be fairly large giving the course a bit of an American feel.

The championship course features two separate loops of nine holes both of which return to the clubhouse in case you need to stock up on refreshments halfway around.

The 2nd hole is a cheeky short dogleg left with a well-bunkered fairway before coming to the first par-3 the third hole. A lovely downhill tee shot over a pond to the green with a severe slope off to the right. Probably best not to chase the pin if it’s on the right side of the green!

The first par-5 follows and this is a short but tricky double dogleg with out-of-bounds looming on both sides and a water hazard near the green just for good measure. From the forward tees, it’s pretty reachable in two if you can hug the left side of the fairway.

Water can also catch you out on the next par-3 should you pull it even slightly left!

The 6th hole is one of the few at Dartmouth that features an uphill tee shot with a fairway that is not really visible from the tee making it even more awkward.

The nine finishes with an unusual run of back-to-back par-5s which are probably reachable for longer hitters even from the gold tees.

The back nine starts with one of the more awkward tee shots on the course to a severely sloping fairway from left to right and OB just off the fairway in that direction. You will also be left with an awkward uphill second shot from a sloping lie.

A long downhill par-4 is up next followed by two more sloping par-4s where you need to favor the left-hand side with your tee shot or face a very awkward approach to the green.

You’ll need to take care on the 15th not to run out of fairway or you’ll be left with a near-impossible shot from a severe downslope over a pond!

18th tee Dartmouth
18th tee Dartmouth

Sixteen offers the chance of opening your shoulders a bit although you can’t really see much of the fairway from the tee.

The home hole is a par-3 again over water and played downhill so it does play a little shorter than the yardage would suggest to an awkward green that is well bunkered.

Condition

Overall I would say course conditions were okay. One area that was severely lacking however was the bunkers. I’m not entirely sure what substance they were using in place of sand but it really wasn’t to my taste. There are also several bunkers where players in my group felt that the bunkers needed a top-up.

Greens

Overall the greens were in reasonable condition I felt with most having a good covering of grass. They were a little on the slow side though and maybe could have done with a few millimeters trimmed off. There were some greens however that showed signs of moss and disease although I didn’t see too many unrepaired pitch marks.

robot mower
robot mower

Fairways

The fairways were in decent nick. There were pretty well-defined areas of semi-rough. Not too many unrepaired divots which is always a bonus.

Unusually it appeared that the fairways were maintained by robot mowers! Not something I’ve seen in action before. Presumably saves some money on green staff though.

Tees

The tees we were playing from were bone hard and in places quite beaten up but were reasonably level on the whole.

Challenge

Despite the hilly nature of the area, you didn’t find too many sloping lies, at least on the fairways! From the forward tees that we played from you could certainly see yourself having a decent score if you were striking the ball reasonably well. I think the course would be significantly more testing however from the gold or white tees, even for longer hitters.

The greens were pretty large and quite a few had some tricky slopes to negotiate. Some of the pins were in awkward positions where you need to leave your ball below the cup and would have been almost unplayable had the greens been quick.

On most holes missing the greens meant leaving yourself an awkward chip over mounding. There were also plenty of fairway bunkers and greenside bunkers should you fail to hit your approach shots correctly.

You could also come undone at one of several water hazards dotted around the course.

accident blackspot
accident blackspot

For those of you riding in a buggy, you might want to take note of the notices on the course as there are a number of very steep slopes!

Off The Course

After golf, you can sample the delights of the hotel bar and bistro or indulge in some rest and relaxation in the on-si this te spa. The health club features a pool, jacuzzi, sauna and gym.

The hotel is also happy to take society bookings and it might prove to be a good base for a trip to South Devon.

Dartmouth Golf Hotel Review: Summary

Overall I quite enjoyed playing the Championship golf course, Although I’m not entirely sure that the peak time green fee of £50 represents good value. Fortunately, you do have the choice of saving some money by paying before 9 am or after 2 pm. The twilight rate of £18 after 4 pm, however, does appear to be a bit of a bargain.

Dartmouth Hotel Scorecard
Dartmouth Hotel Scorecard

Related:

Dartmouth Golf Hotel Official Website

Devon County Union

Other Golf Courses in Devon

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