Or, the pull to Westward Ho!
The best description of RND I've read. Thank you. I'm a country member and have probably played the course 20 times - still learning its endless nuances. Something very different happens every time you play it. Pure, classic links golf.
A pilgrimage I still need to make and after reading this, I feel I need to make it sooner rather than later!
If our diaries can coincide by all means plan to join me at Saunton sometime as my guest....you can also find me at St George's Hill....I'm rather spoiled.
Hi Richard, 20+ year member here just wanting to say how much I enjoyed reading this and how RND made you feel. It’s a magical place that a lucky some get to call home.
Beautiful words Richard and wholeheartedly reciprocated. RND is to be embraced and savoured, anyone not able to do so is missing a trick.
Well, I can personally appreciate your fascination with its nuance and charm....and your battle with its elements. You'll possibly be equally appalled and amused to learn that a group of my scottish friends summed it up by suggesting they should buy a field in Perthshire, plonk 18 flags around it and call it Royal Perth....golfing philistines, obviously. Though week in, week out, I have to admit that I'm more besotted with the trials (not many tribulations on my part) just across the estuary at Saunton!
Fantastic Richard RND is now on my bucket list too!
RND is now etched on my mind, a bucket list course, this magical and almost hypnotic text, has fired my emotions, spurred my resolve and made me determined to play RND. Thank you Richard. Your story telling powers are increasing. From Rye to RND. If you ever loose a playing partner please count on me!
In the summer of 2009, my father and I traveled to England and stayed at a bed and breakfast in Braunton. On four days, we played Saunton East and West. In the middle of this remarkable week, we played RND, or Westward Ho! In the thirteen years since, it is that single round that has stayed with me most. The Saunton courses were wonderful…but Royal North Devon was impossibly special. From the gate of entry that you describe so well, to the sleepers, to the sheep, horses, and beachcombers, it was the purest of places and somehow welcomed us into its spirit. The wind crashed, and on a par 3 on the inward 9, Dad reached the green with a driver, while I made land with a hybrid. We each, of course, three-putted, but we talked of those drives into the gale each time we played since. We ended the round in the clubhouse, having a drink and conversation with some members. We looked at the photos and clubs of luminaries like JH Taylor. And then we left, though Westward Ho! did not leave us.
Last August my father passed away. As happens in the weeks following, I was going through keepsakes at his home, my boyhood home. In a zip-locked storage bag I found the scorecards from that day, and all those from that week. I saw his printing, the yardages, and the course description. And I remembered with even more gratitude that day at Westward Ho! Thanks for your writing-it brought me back there again. All the best—Tom Adams