Saunton’s West Course has a chequered past in that Fowler's design was only brought back to life in 1975 after laying fallow for 30 plus years. Like its elder sister, the East, the West course was used for WWII tank training in preparation for the D-Day landings at Normandy. Indeed, there was a two day event on Saunton Beach (Devon D-Day) to commemorate the 75th
anniversary of Operation Overlord, the code name of the Battle of Normandy. This event is scheduled for next 1 & 2 June.
Unlike the East, Fowler’s West Course was radically redesigned by Frank Pennink. The West is often seen as Saunton’s second course, but there is a strong contingent of well-travelled golfers who prefer it over the East. Indeed, while shorter than the East, many believe the West is more exacting in nature because it plays more through the dunes and features many troublesome ditches. In truth, the entire Saunton property is littered with ditches which on occasion are used to great effect.
The opening two holes are quite good without length being used as a trump card - very different from The East.
Legging right, the second plays fairly level and once again, there are lay-up options. If in the fairway, the approach is straight-forward.
All hell breaks loose on the third. The hole appears wide open, but appearances can be deceptive. There is a ditch cutting in from the left then turning up the fairway. If one wants to cut this corner he needs to carry the ditch twice! However, the best angle and view is from the near the bunkers. The long, uphill second plays through a cut in the dunes to a modest plateau green. Only a terrific shot will reach the green of this short par 5. In fact, only a terrific shot will find the miniscule lay up area. In many ways, this hole is emblematic of the West, a tricky hole which takes a few plays to gain a reasonable understanding of the risks and rewards.
The difficulty continues on the 4th, a longish short hole with its green in the lee of the right dune.
The tee shot on #5 is disorienting as there is much more room left than it appears. All the greenside trouble is up front, making the best misses long or short.
More to follow.