Downes Crediton Golf Club Review: Captivating County Card Cracker
Course Name: Downes Crediton Golf Club
Location: Hookway, Crediton, Devon, EX17 3PT, UK
Date Played: Summer 2021
Course Type: Parkland
Downes Crediton Golf Club lies around 5 miles from the city of Exeter on the outskirts of Crediton.
The club was formed in the early 1970s when the Downes Estate offered 87 acres of agricultural land to be used as a golf course.
Although a lot of work was done for free by the locals the committee needed to raise around £60,000 (£810,000 in 2020!) to finance the development of the course.
An original nine-hole course was in play in April 1975. On 13 June 1976, the full 18 holes were opened with an exhibition match by Neil Coles and Tommy Horton.
The course consists of two nines beginning and ending at the clubhouse.
The front nine is on a relatively flat piece of land on one side of the River Yeo. The back nine runs across a much hillier piece of land on the other side of the river.
On one side the course is bounded by a railway track. Slicers beware!
Downes Crediton is short by modern standards at just 5954 yards with a par of 70.
Several holes on the back nine do play longer than their yardage might suggest because of having to play up some quite steep slopes.
Mercifully the rough is kept pretty short. While you may have trouble making a solid connection you shouldn’t have to spend too long hunting for your ball should you miss the short grass.
For the most part, the holes are separated by only a single row of trees. Should you stray off-line there’s a reasonable chance you’ll land on an adjoining fairway.
There are a few water hazards on the course but hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid them unlike me!
The first hole breaks you in gently as it plays slightly downhill.
Have a care when walking off the tee as the fairway bisects the ninth so you may find players teeing off from your left! In today’s health and safety culture, I’m surprised I didn’t see a sign on the tee!
The second hole is quite a long par-4, your tee shot has to carry the river. Fortunately, you would need to hit a pretty bad shot to end up in the drink.
There’s no room for error on the right as you will be out of bounds on the railway track.
The third hole is the first par-3 and has a green shared with the fifth.
This is the first green with a bit more undulation to test your green reading skills.
Longer hitters will need to shape the ball off the tee on the fourth or use a shorter club to avoid running through the dogleg.
The fifth is the first par-5 which is just about a double dogleg. Given its length, you probably don’t need your driver off the tee. A couple of fairway woods could leave you with a short pitch to the other side of the green shared with the third.
Six is a short right-to-left dogleg. Make sure you don’t run through the fairway as a watery grave awaits. A 200–yard tee shot should do the trick leaving you with a small flick into a green protected by a bunker.
Make sure you select your club carefully for your tee shot on seven. There is an area of dead ground short of the green so you need to make sure to carry it to the surface.
A fairly long walk then brings you back over the river and down to the eighth tee. It plays slightly uphill and doglegs from left to right you’ll need to avoid fairway bunkers off the tee. The eighth green features a small tier.
The first nine finishes with a short par-4 which some might consider driveable. Take care with your approach as out of bounds lurks close by.
The back nine starts with a tee shot played up quite a steep hill and over a pond.
If you can get your tee shot away then you’ll be left with a short flick to a two-tier green.
The 11th is a shortish par-3 where you probably need to aim to the right given the lie of the land. Anything short is unfortunately not going to make the putting surface.
The 12th hole is either very interesting or stupid depending on your point of view.
Bigger hitters would probably like it as they can take on the large trees on the corner and end up running down the steep slope.
Mere mortals will have to thread their tee shots to the right of the big trees leaving themselves with a shot “down the side of a mountain”.
The green is then set into the side of a hill behind some more trees so if you’re laying up your best bet is to go a little left.
The next par-3 is a medium-length one with water and out of bounds the main challenge.
Don’t do what I did by putting two balls into the pond just short of the green!
The 14th is the longest hole on the course and runs down the side of the railway track.
You also need to avoid some fairway bunkers on your way to the two-tier green.
15 is another pleasant par-3 played over a pond to a green that slopes away on all sides.
The 16th asks an interesting question with your second shot as you have to play up quite a steep bank to get up to the level of the green. Probably a hole where you do need to hit the fairway.
17 is in the opposite direction and is a strong par-4 with a fairway that slopes quite a bit from left to right.
The final hole is a longish par-3 with the green set up above its surroundings. Stray too far to the left and you’ll be in the pond.
The club also has a couple of spare holes that are used during the winter when the 12th and 13th are taken out of play.
The course fits in quite a small piece of land so there isn’t much room for large areas of rough.
I found the greens to be a pleasure to putt on. A nice speed without being frightening and the ball seemed to track well most of the time. Most of the more “exciting” greens were on the back nine.
Fairways seemed pretty tidy and had a nice covering of grass making it a pleasure to hit from.
To be honest some of the tees were a little worn in places particularly some on the back nine which were probably in the shade most of the day.
Another course that from the card you would consider to be a bit of a pushover. However, we don’t play golf on the scorecard.
Most of the holes need you to place your ball on the fairway as you will struggle to reach from the rough/trees. There are also plenty of greens featuring a tier which will make the judgment of pace that bit more difficult.
The elevation changes on the back nine will provide you with a wide variety of sloping lies and also test out your calf muscles!
Off The Course
There’s a pleasant little clubhouse and outdoor area which I’m sure has been well used during the covid pandemic.
In terms of practice facilities, there are just a couple of warm-up nets and the putting green by the clubhouse.
It looks like there’s also a green where you can practice your chipping over by the 9th tee.
Downes Crediton Golf Club Review: Summary
I really enjoyed my round at Downes Crediton and would recommend it wholeheartedly. The pro was very friendly and so were the members that I chatted to.
If you’re part of the county card scheme then that’s great news as I managed to play on a Sunday for just £15. That is probably the best value for money I’ve experienced in all the years I’ve used my county card.
The normal green fee is £35.
Full membership of the club is only £670 per annum. Golf membership in Devon does seem to be pretty cheap on the whole.
I have done reviews of several more courses in Devon.