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Saunton WestFound these old pics from 5 or 6 years ago and they help to contrast the two courses. Think of the West as the petite, prettier sister. Maybe she’s more fun!Hopefully Sean will chip in here. If I have the history correctly, there were once 36 holes by Fowler. Then after the war The East as we know it, was created using parts of both courses. In 1973 Frank Pennink was invited to do what exactly “re build” as the course planner has it or create e a new course. All the greens have since been redone by Donald Steel (and the 2nd hole) and I think he’s done a fine job. As a group they hang together far better than the ones on the East.Having said all that I still think the East is a ‘better’ course. I would want to play both places a few more times before I could decide if Saunton, Portrush or the Old/New combo offers the best 36 hole facility I’ve seen.
1My kind of opening hole. Driver probably too much, but lots of space and a cool green where you have to work for par but there’s little to beat you up badly.
2Off the yellow this a terrible hole, two mid irons. From the whites pretty cool 5w to a plateau but risk a driver and it will run a long way forward.
...the par 5 3rd is a totally different look from the tee. 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! The long, uphill second plays through a cut in the dunes to a modest green.
3Elevated tee for a Par 5 that follws an S shape. Avoid the ditch on the left but hard to find a position where you can really see the green. Like.
The first par 3 maybe the best short hole on the property. It plays quite long to a green funnelled up front between bunkers.
4 More variety. Long drop shot Par 3
5 Ahh some blindness, Nice. Can run out of fairway as there’s a break with rougher ground. Something I associate more with Heathland than Links (unfortunately no photo) It at this point that you realise the greens tend to be bigger than on the East.
6Oddly same feature in the middle of the fairway. Both holes similar length but play in opposite directions, therefore on the links it’s different every time!
7Just what the course needed. A Bunkerless Beast (even with the wind helping). Dogleg where you cut as much of a drainage channel as you dare and then hit up hill where any running shot would have to be very carefully threaded through to find the green..
8Not a bad hole, with the green nicely bunkered.. The feature here through the centre of the fairway is “old tank track”
9 The first half closes with short Par 3 that lets some “air out of the balloon” You can’t see it but you hit across a pond, and it doesn’t look natural.
Generally there’s a bit more humpty bumpty stuff that on the sister course but this far end is land sahred with the East so maybe it’s naturally rather flat.10 Par 5 dogleg right. Another good hole on simple land.
11A good no of the Par 3’s at Stanton are 200 yards +. Green slopes L-R and overall is efficient rather than inspired.Funny how the sun only appears on the back nine of the West!
12 Par 5 and all the drainage ditches are now really coming into play. We cross twice here.Looking back
13Now the course steps up into top gear . There’s something thrilling about playing straight toward big Dunes and this holes a cracker with lots of fairway movement.
14Hard to top a hole like 13 but 14 holds its own . Plays upto 450 yards in a curve around some Dunes. Apparently I was having so much fun I forgot to take pictures, so only have this one of the green from the 12th , yes another double back.
15Three corkers in a row, and once again it’s shoot the cameraman. (Sean anything of this stretch?)Where 14 is along dogleg left to a raised green , 15 is a short (312 yards), dogleg left to a raised green. But oh what positioning.
16This allows us to climb high into the dunes for a drops hot Par 3. Decent hole and visually quite striking which allows it to fit in.
17We head for home with a nice Par 5 that features the ditches again
18 is an OK Par 3 but not a suitable finish for what is a really good course in its’ own right. somehow after some great routing earlier it feels like this has been shoehorned in. And if the 18 East is perfect in relation to the Clubhouse this is just awkward.