Golf News for Tuesday, October 29, 2013 | Courses

England's Atlantic Links fifth anniversary sees revamped website

Established in 2008, England's Atlantic Links is now recognized as one of the leading golfing destinations in the UK. Hardly surprising as this exceptional string of golfing gems comprises the six best links courses in the south west: Somerset's Burnham & Berrow, Saunton's West and East Courses and Royal North Devon in Devon and the north Cornish clubs of St Enodoc and Trevose.

The revamped website has been upgraded with additional information on the courses, nearby accommodation and off-course attractions and redesigned to offer golfers a cleaner, brighter viewing experience that is backed up by stunning panoramas of the links that are all set against the dramatic and rugged coastline of the north Atlantic Ocean.

Following the recent appointment of Countrywide Golf Holidays as its preferred tour operator, www.atlantic-links.co.uk now offers access to a whole host of new golf packages that range from the full seven-night tours to two-night breaks in order to cater for both overseas and UK golfers.

"The success of the Atlantic Links partnership has given the group the confidence to realise that our offering is one of best in terms of quality and value available in the UK and that we really should do more to shout about it. We decided that the best way to do this was by giving the website a facelift as the best showcase for any golf destination these days is no doubt via the internet which is generally the first port of call for golfers looking to book a holiday," explains Mark Evans, General Manager of Royal North Devon in Westward Ho!

"By clicking on www.atlantic-links.co.uk, a golfer can clearly see the individual personality of each of the courses, the array of nearby accommodation and the wealth of off-course activities available in our region. In addition, the plethora of packages supplied by Countrywide Golf Holidays provides immense choice and clearly shows the excellent value we offer for courses of such quality."

Having been marketed in the UK, Europe and the USA for the last five years, the Atlantic Links is becoming less of the string of hidden gems that it once was and is now being seen as a credible alternative to the famous links of Scotland and Ireland.

Indeed all six courses appear regularly in recognized course ratings compiled by top golf publications and are frequently called upon to host top amateur championships, further testament to the quality of these courses.

The Atlantic Links' combined appeal of history, tradition and variety is complemented by an array of off-course attractions such as pretty coastal towns like Clovelly and Ilfracombe in Devon whilst historic towns like Weston-super-Mare and the spa town of Bath, near Burnham & Berrow, are ideal destinations to round off a golfing adventure. The region's rich culture features the inimitable Barbara Hepworth Museum and Tate St Ives, displaying the very best in modern and local art, and its gastronomic delights like Rick Stein's seafood restaurants are not to be missed either.

In terms of travel, the nearby M5 motorway and A39 "Atlantic Highway", and international airports at London, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter and Newquay, ensure easy accessibility for all visitors.

For further press information and photographs, please contact Helen Heady of Heady PR, on behalf of England's Atlantic Links on M: +44 7966 491 509 or T: +44 20 8789 0900 or E: helen@headypr.co.uk

The Courses that Comprise England's Atlantic Links:
Founded in 1890, Somerset's Burnham & Berrow is particularly noted for its distinct sand hills that form such stubborn, natural obstacles, along with the buckthorn and even a marsh for golfers to avoid mid-way through a round. Throw in the prevailing south westerly winds that whip in from the Atlantic and along the Bristol Channel, and golfers are left with a links challenge not for the faint hearted. The course has evolved over the decades but today's layout is largely the work of Harry Colt. The club's first professional was the legendary JH Taylor, five times an Open champion, who described the course as "one of the most sporting courses conceivable". Burnham & Berrow has hosted a string of prestigious amateur tournaments, most recently the 2011 R&A Boys Championship and The Brabazon Trophy.

Dating back to 1864, Royal North Devon, or Westward Ho! as it is also known, is England's oldest links and next year celebrates its 150th birthday for which the club has organized a number of tournaments and events. The golf course has hardly changed over nearly 150 years and to play it is like taking a step back in time and seeing how golf was played in Victorian England. The golf course, on terrain that undulates more gently than Burnham & Berrow, is set on common land on which livestock still graze. While JH Taylor may have served as Burnham & Berrow's first pro, it as here at Royal North Devon that the golfer started his career as a caddie and later finished it as club president. With such heritage, the clubhouse serves as a treasure trove of golf memorabilia second only to the R&A.

Further down the Devon coast is Saunton, set in the remote shadows of the giant sand dunes of Braunton Burrows. When the club was inaugurated in 1897 its clubhouse doubled up as the local post office, yet now its two championship courses, East and West, are among the greatest links in the world. England's most successful post-war golfer, Nick Faldo, has said, "I've no doubt if the East Course were located on the coast of Lancashire or Kent it would have hosted an Open Championship by now," although the West Course is an exceptional challenge in its own right and it is a mistake to consider it second best. It was here in 1997 that a 17-year-old Sergio Garcia won the British Boys Championship, just two years before making his Ryder Cup debut.

Cornwall's St Enodoc is another links once trodden, never forgotten. Founded in 1890 and designed by James Braid, it has a fantastic setting among the dunes overlooking the River Camel estuary and with far-reaching views over the Atlantic. The Church course, so called because of the Norman Church that was uncovered in the middle of the course, is renowned for its towering Himalaya bunker that entirely blocks golfers' view of the 6th green from all but a slither of fairway. This is the tallest bunker in Europe. Over the past four years the course has benefited hugely from refurbishments that have included laying new greens and tees. St Enodoc has been bestowed the honour of hosting the 2014 English Women's Amateur Championship from July 14 to 17, further testament to the quality of the Church Course.

Across the Camel River from St Enodoc and over the majestic Trevose Head that juts into the Atlantic, Trevose Golf & Country Club offers a brilliant links that staged the celebrated English Amateur Stroke play Championship (Brabazon Trophy) in 2008. Complete with holiday flats and bungalows, Trevose conjures a relaxed holiday atmosphere to go with its classic Harry Colt golf course. With only a gentle breeze the 7,168-yard Championship Course offers good scoring opportunities, particularly with 3 par 5's, but the character of the course is transformed when the winds blows in from the sea.

Countrywide Golf Holidays
Countrywide Golf Holidays is well placed to promote the Atlantic Links as it has been organising golf tours in the UK for over 20 years and, thanks to being based in Cornwall, has indepth knowledge of the five clubs, nearby accommodation providers and off-course attractions and activities. With strong focus on personal service, tailor-made itineraries and a commitment to offer value for money, combined with a passion for the West Country, Countrywide Golf Holidays is a natural partner for the Atlantic Links. For more, go to www.countrywide-golf.com or contact info@countrywide-golf.com or tel: +44 (0)1637 879991.