Tavistock Golf Club
Course Name: Tavistock Golf Club
Location: Down Rd, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 9AQ, UK
Date Played: May 2022
Course Type: Moorland
It’s fair to say that I am not the biggest fan of golf courses where the fairways are populated by cows/sheep/horses or even geese! That being said I enjoyed my round at Tavistock Golf Club and the greens in particular!
It’s somewhat of a throwback to how golf might have been 100+ years ago. Although no doubt the condition of the greens is far superior to anything you would have been playing on at the start of the 20th century!
The course is set out on the north and east sides of Whitchurch Down. The club was originally formed in 1890 and the first layout of 9 holes opened in 1891 after receiving permission from the Duke of Bedford who owned the land.
The course is currently on its fourth different layout including a significant lengthening in 1914 to allow for the distance that rubber-cored golf balls could travel. Sounds like a familiar problem!
Unusually for Devon, Tavistock Golf Club doesn’t have too many steep slopes, in fact, the only really steep climb is saved for the very last hole! At least you’re able to revive yourself in the bar straight afterward!
You are afforded some wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and on a sunny day, you can simply drink in your surroundings.
If like me, you grew up playing tree-lined parkland courses then you may feel a little disoriented the first time you play as it’s not always obvious what is the best line to take.
Fortunately, the pro shop will provide you with the course map if you tell them you’ve not played the course before.
The 2nd is a long dogleg par-4 where you have to decide how much of the corner to cut off but don’t go too far left! You’ll need to pull out the heavy artillery on the 5th hole, which from the white tees measures 555 yards.
The 6th will require a solidly struck approach to clear a chasm immediately short of the green. The 8th then plays longer than it would suggest as it is somewhat uphill before the 9th where you’ll need to hit a good approach to find the green which is set up slightly from the level of the fairway.
The 14th is a pretty tricky par-3 at 204 yards uphill and a green that is banked up slightly above the level of the fairway. Even if you manage to find this green it’ll be no easy two-putt.
15, 16 and 17 then wander backward and forwards parallel to one another although the 17th fairway has quite a right-to-left slope for you to negotiate and has a well-bunkered green.
The home hole takes you back to the clubhouse with the tee shot up a reasonably steep hill. Don’t go aiming at the practice chipping green by mistake!
The 7th was probably my favorite par-3 as it played blind due to the gorse bushes between you and the green.
The type of land on which the course sits means it’s never going to be as manicured as some courses, however, I found the condition was pretty good taking that into account.
Certainly the best-prepared area of the course. Aside from one or two blemishes that were probably caused by unrepaired pitch marks the greens were firm, fast and true. They looked nice and offered a wonderful surface to putt on. Well-struck iron shots would be rewarded.
The bunkers seemed okay with a decent amount of sand although unfortunately, I did manage to take a chunk out of one of my wedges! You might want to watch out for the odd stone.
On the whole, not in bad nick considering there were sheep and horses wandering around. Nice turf to hit shots from. It seemed like the drainage was pretty good so you are unlikely to get too muddy if the weather was inclement.
Condition-wise, probably a little lacking in some cases with a bit of damage caused by the animals. A few were a little uneven but the grass was mown tight so you had no trouble with teeing up your ball.
Aside from the bunkers, the biggest threat to your score will be the gorse bushes. Messing with one of them can be a painful experience so it’s best to keep your ball on the straight and narrow. There’s very little in the way of rough, so you shouldn’t really have any problems finding a ball and keeping play moving quickly.
The Greens vary between quite subtle and some less so but unfortunately, their condition means you can only blame yourself if you miss a putt!
There aren’t too many forced carries and you can often run the ball into the green so you don’t necessarily need to be a massive hitter. Even from the back tees the course Only stretches to 6,500 yards.
The lack of trees means it’s usually possible to access the green no matter where your drive has finished although you do want to avoid falling into any of the traps.
Off The Course
The present clubhouse originally dates back to 1915 and offers the usual facilities for a member’s golf club. There is a pro shop and performance studio.
Outside the main clubhouse, windows there is a large practice putting green and there’s also a net so you can warm up. Adjacent to the 1st is a practice area.
There doesn’t seem to be a great deal in the way of car parking at the club so you’ll probably end up having to park on the road.
Tavistock Golf Club: Summary
For Devon, it was relatively easy walking and the views were superb. The greens, which in my opinion are the most important thing to get right, were excellent as well.
You’ll need to have your putting boots on with tricky borrows to negotiate and you’ll also find an interesting double green shared by the 6th and 14th.
Considering the cost of green fees these days the regular fee of £40 is probably about right although if you are able to take advantage of the twilight rate then that is a steal at £20.