Dartmouth G.C.
08.06.2021

Weather & Course Condition

What can I say, the weather was hot and sunny, the only issue with that is seeing what the ball has done when it’s landed as the light made it difficult to see but that is something I can put up with when the weather is this good.

Cannot fault the condition of the course at all, well cut fairways to play on and any errant shot that lands in the rough is not too bad as it is cut to a sensible length. The greens were very well manicured and are very consistent and a joy to putt on.

Cannot find any fault with the course at all and the views you get as you go round are a joy as well.

Review

Taking the road from Totnes to Kingsbridge you will need to turn left just after the village of Halwell by a filling station, this is the only road into Dartmouth (unless you have come across the ferry from Kingswear) so can be very busy during the holiday season, when you pass Woodlands Theme park on the right the driveway to Best Western Dartmouth Hotel and Golf Club is about ½ mile further on your left, the driveway to the car park will take you alongside 8th before turning left and dropping down to the car park. The pro shop is quite large and very well stocked and I was warmly welcomed, there is a slightly unusual driving range that you will find at the far end of the hotel complex, there are only a few bays and the range is not as wide as you would find elsewhere and is on the side of a steep hill that drops from the right to left. In front of the spa complex is a nice very large putting green, the course itself is made up of two separate 9 hole loops, the first tee is found by walking back through the car park and go up the driveway you have come down you will find a pathway on your left that will take you to the 1st tee some 50yds along it. After coming off the 9th green it’s a long walk to the 10th tee, you will need to walk back down the driveway through the car park alongside the putting green and then take a left turn and another 100yds along that path will get you to the 10th. On the day of my visit my wife and daughter had a 2hr spa session which included a free drink and meal so this makes it a great course to play whilst your other half gets pampered, they also do golf and spa breaks that are very good value for money so please check their website out and you will see all the great deals they have to offer.

Would I recommend this course? I most certainly would a great challenging course and there is a good full size 9 hole course as well as the 18 hole championship course and both are well maintained and looked after. I rarely come across a establishment that I can’t find a negative and the only negative I can say for Dartmouth G C is that although the online booking is quick and easy I was unable to book using a county card, maybe they don’t except them but when I played here about 5yrs ago I know they did then. This course is a hidden a gem and well priced, if your visiting the South West then certainly play here I can assure you that you will not regret it.

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Hole by Hole Analysis
All yardage is from the white tee’s
Hole 1 – 402yds – Par 4

A slight uphill from the tee with OOB all down the left and the green not visible from the tee can make this a bit of a challenge to start with if like me you have no warm up and just turn up and play. My drive was not the best and only progressed about 150yds up the righthand side of the fairway and rolled just off into the rough, my second came up some 95yds short of the green so walking off with a bogey was a good result considering everything.

Hole 2 – 324yds – Par 4

From the tee this hole dog legs left and is slightly downhill, for the big hitters the best line is to go over the bushes on the left which is the direct line to the green but be aware any ball going past the green will probably be lost as just a few yards off the back of the green there is a steep well overgrown downhill slope. The last time I played here I teed off with my rescue wood which put me in a perfect position for the green, this time I selected my 5 iron and took aim down the left side of the fairway. Taking an easy swing I drove off and looked up to follow the ball but to no avail as I made a right hash of it as it never got more than 3ft off the ground and only travelled around 100yds and left me on a bank just off the fairway, the good news was it went on the line I wanted and didn’t end up in the hawthorn bushes. After a bit of cussing I selected a 9 iron for my second and took aim in the direction I thought the green was in and let rip, although it was a good strike I ended up some 20yds short of the green and close to a couple of bunkers which are on the right of the fairway.

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Hole 3 – 167yds – Par 3

This is a great hole and probably my favourite, from the tee the large green awaits you some 50yds below you, as you can see in the photo anything drifting to far left is dead and if you go right there is a steep bank waiting to kick your ball way from the green then take into account the water you have to carry make this a challenging hole for the less confident. Opting for a 4 iron I managed to get pin high but being about 6ft off the right of the green the bank kicked it further down it but somehow I managed to knock it up onto the green and a chance at par. Yes your right I didn’t get it but was pleased with a bogey as I’m sure there has been a lot of players who have been playing off the tee for 3 or even 5.

Hole 4 – 487yds – Par 5

As can be seen in the photo from the tee it is a narrow line to the fairway with OOB all down the left and trees and trouble on the right. Having not had a good result on the first with my driver and not carrying a 3 wood I decided to go with my 7 wood. I purchased this club some 5 years ago and had only used it twice but could not get on with it so it was left in my bedroom until today when I decided to give it another go, well would you believe it the ball went dead straight and found the middle of the fairway some 180yds away. Chancing my arm I opted to use it again even though it’s OOB all down the left and jungle all down the right, so taking a ¾ swing and not trying to hammer it the ball again sailed straight down the middle some 203yds (according to my shotscope) leaving a pitch to the green and 2 putt returning my first par of the day.

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Hole 5 – 150yds – Par 3

In my view holes 2, 3, 4 and 5 are the most challenging on the course and a real challenge, as you can see once again a straight tee shot is required and what you can’t see on the photo is the water on the left of the green which is a magnet for balls. Opting this time for my rescue wood I was happy to see it soar down the right just missing the trees then landing on the bank and kicking left to the green and leaving me just short of it. Using a 8 iron I chipped upto the hole and just shaved it so more than happy with it.

Hole 6 – 360yds – Par 4

If your not playing to well the first 5 holes will be a real challenge but once you’ve reached this tee the holes do become more forgiving. From the tee the flag can just be seen in the distance, a slightly uphill hole with the cart path running up the left hand side of the fairway but straight in front of where you tee off, to the right of the fairway is a uphill bank so you do have a back stop should you go too far that way, as for bunkers I’m sure there was some but as I didn’t end up near any I can’t recall I’m afraid. Ideally you should be aiming slightly right of the path to be on the fairway, for myself the drive drifted slightly left and ended up some 15ft to the left of the path leaving a challenging second. Wanting to go for the green with a 5 iron my sensible head came into play and I opted for a 7 iron and concentrated on getting as close to the green as possible but on the fairway. Strangely for me it all worked out and I was left with a simple pitch and then a 2 putt.

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Hole 7 – 206yds – Par 3

A long slightly uphill par 3 with trees lining both sides near to the green. Why are clubs leaning to having long par 3’s personally I find the shorter ones with a lot of bunker protection more challenging for all levels of players these long ones tend to favour the lower handicappers or big hitters. Due to the trees near to the green I left the driver in the bag as the chance of a straight drive with it is only slightly better than me winning the lottery, as I don’t carry a 3 wood nowadays my options were either a 4 iron or 7 wood. In front of the tee is water and a bunker awaits on the left side some 40yds short of the green so taking this into account the 7 wood was my selection. Even though I had a good strike I did pull it slightly and my ball visited the bunker, a good (for me that is) bunker shot got me onto the green some 30ft from the flag and 2 putts leaving me a happy chappy considering.

Hole 8 – 516yds – Par 5

From the tree lined teeing area the fairway opens out in front of you inviting you to open those shoulders and let rip with your driver which I duly did and then watch it drop into the large fairway bunker on the righthand side some 217yds out and the only one to boot on this fairway. Due to the fact it is a large fairway and I was sitting well back from the face of the bunker I opted for my rescue wood a club I have never used in a bunker before, to my surprise it came out cleanly  and progressed me some 120yds down the right side of the fairway. From this position my next shot to the green was slightly blocked out by the large tree in front of me, now a better player would have given a slight fade round it but if I fade or draw a shot I can assure you it’s not planned. So out came the 8 iron and with a lot of hope I let rip and happily watched it go over the tree and come to rest some 40yds from the green which is well protected on both sides of the fairway by bunkers. Can’t comment on the pitch shot to the green but to say the second pitch shot landed right by the hole but rolled some 30ft past it but 2 putts later the ball was in it.

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Hole 9 – 501yds – Par 5

A short walk of 50yds through the gap in the hedge and back towards the second tee brings you to the 9th tee. All down the left of this hole runs the hedgerow and anything too far right will send you down the first fairway and if it’s extremely too far right you will be in the hotel/spa complex. My attempt at the drive did go straight but only around 160yds which only just got me on the fairway. Even from this position you will not see the green which was still some 300+yds away, opting for the 7 wood again I progressed up the left hand side of the fairway and even from this position I could not see the green which was around 130yds away below me and slightly to the right. There are bunkers waiting for the person who plays to the right of the fairway but as I was that far left they were taken well out of play. From my position the 8 iron was selected and I had to guess the line to the flag as it was too hot to walk some 50yds to see it then back uphill again, fortunately the ball flew high and straight and landed just on the green leaving me to two putt once again.

Hole 10 – 373yds – Par 4

From the 9th it’s a long walk to the 10th tee which takes you through the car park past the pro shop and putting green then upto the 10th. From the tee you will see the green in the distance but what makes this shot a challenge is anything left is most likely gone unless you bounce back off the bank and anything right will definitely be gone. A straight drive is called for and even then there are bunkers waiting for you on the right some 200yds out that you may not see from the tee and this I know as my tee shot ended up in one of them. After knocking it out of the bunker I was still left with 180yds up to the green and from here I could see more bunkers all along the right waiting for me, but this time a reasonably good 5 iron left me just short of the green but I’m ashamed to say it took another 4 before I downed the ball.

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Hole 11 – 444yds – Par 4

A nice par 4 this one, slightly downhill with the large green visible in the distance and as can be seen in the photo two large bunkers waiting for your tee shot, one each side of the fairway. My tee shot came up just short of the bunker on the right and my second with the 7 wood found the right side of the fairway around 20yds short of the green. Once again a duffed chipped shot meant I recorded a double bogey here but this was one of my favourite holes.

Hole 12 – 376yds – Par 4

As you can see this should be a straightforward tee shot as long as you don’t go to far right which will see you OOB or left which brings the hedge line into play. There is also a large bunker waiting on the left just before the bank and two large bunkers to the right, having let rip with the driver I am pleased to say this time I stayed out of the bunkers in fact much to my surprise it cleared the two bunkers on the right but unfortunately there is a steep bank down towards the cart path and OOB which it duly landed on and kicked left leaving me on the side of a steep path doing my impression of a contortionist for my second. With luck on my side my second with my rescue club left me just short of the green and a chip and two putts was a great result considering where my tee shot ended up.

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Hole 13 – 332yds – Par 4

Once again a straightforward looking tee shot, a wide fairway with a bank to the left and a bunker waiting some 180yds out on the right, this shouldn’t cause to much of problem, wrong I hit a good tee shot and the ball flew up the left side of the fairway but due to the bright sunlight and the sun scorched grass watching what happens to the ball when it lands is near to impossible. Knowing the ball landed on the left edge of the fairway I walked up the middle expecting to find it some where near the middle as it has a slight slope left to right. Well could I find it? Nope, spent a couple of minutes looking around but to no avail and wondering how you can lose a ball on this hole. I was just about to drop a ball when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a ball off the right side of the fairway and down in the rough and unbelievable it was mine. From here the green is slightly above me about 160yds away but there is a large bunker between me and my target. Deciding to play safe I went with a 6 iron aiming left of the bunker and hoping to get onto the front of the green, the reality of it is the ball went right and landed on the bank just short of the aforementioned bunker. Taking my 65 degree (yes it is a 65) I pitched up over the bunker onto the large green and once again 2 putted.

Hole 14 – 429yds – Par 4

What a lovely looking challenge this hole is, as you can see from the photo it’s over water then uphill to the green tucked into the right corner of the course. The teeing area is made up of different levels as can be seen, I was playing off the white’s and the gents in front were playing off the blue’s some 30yds in front of me and about 10yds below, you will also note the red tees in front of them and there are the gold tee’s behind me and higher still. A challenging tee shot if you are not confident with your driver like me but this time I hit my best drive of the day some 260yds up the right side but ended up in a bunker but this time I didn’t care after that drive. Knocking it out and being just off the green a chip and a putt gave me a unexpected par, yippee.

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Hole 15 – 421yds – Par 4

This hole comes back alongside the 14th, what you may not realise from the photo is how steep it drops, about 50yds in front of the buggy in the photo the fairway drops steeply down and there is water on the left which any big hitter who goes to the left will most likely visit. For myself I aimed at the  bunker that you can see on the right and as I was wilting in the heat knew it was out of my range in fact I ended up some 45yds short of it. My second put me right down at the bottom of the steep slope but well clear of the water, I would like to say my 9 iron put me then on the green but in fact it went left into a bunker and from here I bunker hopped into the next one before getting on the green and getting another double bogey, but looking back I suspect there have been a lot worse scores recorded here and it certainly lives up to it’s stroke index 1 rating.

Hole 16 – 537yds – Par 5

Straightforward par 5 this one, or should be, with the hedgerow running down the right of the wide fairway and should you go left then you will disappear down the bank onto the 13th fairway but with a wide fairway this shouldn’t happen. Hitting a reasonable tee shot I watched my unintentional draw head towards the 13th fairway but luckily it landed and stopped on top of the bank in the rough. Being sensible for a change I decided on a 9 iron and just knock it back onto the fairway some 100yds ahead but somehow the club went completely underneath the ball and it only progressed some 30yds ahead and still in the rough. Least said about the rest is the best but suffice to say I did finish up on the green eventually and one putted it was just a shame about the previous six shots to get to the green.

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Hole 17 – 390yds – Par 5

And so to the 17th, from the tee the line for the green is over the tree you can see in the photo but should you go too far right and if you find your ball you will most likely be on the side of a steep bank in the rough and not leave you much of a chance of getting close to the green. The sensible shot is just left of the tree which is what I intended but ended up going over the left side of the tree and as it had gone high I lost distance and only hit around 160yds and ended up just off the right side of the fairway and on the bank which meant my second was a hit and hope, aiming well right of the green I ended back on the fairway just short of the bunkers that protect the right side of the green. Be aware there is a large bunker on left for the approach to the green and should you be left of the green and clear it the ground goes steeply down into a lot of wild undergrowth so better right than left.

Hole 18 – 211yds – Par 3

Well what a finishing hole this one is, just look at the photo you are looking down to the green and what can’t be seen is the water that is at the bottom of the drop in front of you. A long par 3 that will fill you with dread if your tired and not hitting the ball well, then factor in the spectators who are sitting having a drink watching you. For me the club I wanted here was a 3 wood but as I have said before I didn’t have one in the bag and not wanting to go with driver I opted for the 7 wood again. Fell into the trap of trying to really hit the ball as I knew it was on the limit for length and then duffing it by topping it and the ball went low and right but I managed to find it in long rough, had I taken my normal swing I would have probably made it to the green or at the worse in the bunker that is in front of the green. For my second there was a tree that blocking the line to the green so all I could do was aim to the right and hit and hope with my 9 iron, from a downhill lie the ball came out a little hot and because of that it flew through the trees branches and managed to land on the green and then rolled over and just of the back (result) thinking all the bad luck was over as I walked down to the green I noticed movement off the back of the green and it was making a bee line to my ball, as I got nearer I saw it was a robot grass cutter on course to eat my ball and there was no way I would get there to stop it, but at the last minute it turned right and headed up the back chomping on the grass.

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Summary

I really enjoyed my round here, yes the weather was great even though I wilted in the heat and I found the course a good challenge which most players will do no matter how good or bad they are although if you are just starting out to play golf then I suggest the full size 9 hole golf course that is alongside the Championship course would be the one to play. If you are on holiday down here it’s a great place to bring the family and spend the day, they can enjoy the spa facilities whilst you enjoy the course or alternatively the family can spend the day at Woodlands theme park which is just on the opposite side of the main road whilst you play.