Royal North Devon enjoying a busy year of 150th anniversary events
A MAJOR milestone has been reached for English golf, with the country’s oldest course celebrating 150 years in existence this year.
Royal North Devon was formed in 1864 and remains the oldest course in England still playing along its original fairways. It is also the oldest links course outside of Scotland and is home to the second oldest ladies’ golf club in the world, which was founded in 1868.
Steeped in history, it was on this course that JH Taylor, born in the village of Northam that overlooks the course, started his career as a caddie.
Taylor, of course, went on to win the Open Championship on no fewer than five occasions and formed one third of the great triumvirate, with Harry Vardon and James Braid, who dominated the game for some 30 years.
The club honoured Taylor with the presidency in 1957 and his portrait, along with some of the clubs he used to win his Open titles, are still proudly displayed in the clubhouse.
To mark the milestone, Royal North Devon is being used to stage a number of competitions this year. It hosted the West of England Amateur Championship in April and, in August, will stage the inaugural World Hickory Masters. The English County Finals, meantime, will also take place there in September.
Royal North Devon’s landmark birthday is also big news for the other five courses in the area, which combine to make England’s Atlantic Links. Combined, the six courses have now been in existence for almost 700 years.
Burnham &Berrow and St Enodoc were founded in 1890 and Saunton East in 1897, with the younger members, Trevose and Saunton West, having been established in 1925 and 1937 respectively.
“Celebrating our 150th anniversary makes 2014 an important year for Royal North Devon as a club but we are also hoping that the occasion will highlight just how established and historical the golf courses in the Atlantic Links are in terms of golf in England,” said Mark Evans, the general manager of Royal North Devon.
“We have almost 700 years of links pedigree as a group and in terms of the quality and tradition of our courses, there really is no better links trail that offers better value than we do.”
For more information on Royal North Devon and its neighbouring courses, log-on to www.atlantic-links.co.uk