Sign up for our daily newsletter

Want latest news, reviews, analysis, deals, and events, and offers from our commercial partners? We’ve got you.

The esteemed Royal North Devon has become the first known golf club in the country to ban the use of plastic tees on its course.

Founded in 1864, the club, near Bideford, is the oldest in England and regarded by many as the ‘St Andrews of the South’.

From January 1, 2020, its pro shop will sell only wooden tees, with extra tee bins to be provided around the course.

The club has made the bold move in order to protect local wildlife.

• European Tour breaks new ground this week

• Boost for women’s golf as LET & LPGA to merge

A statement on the club website said: “We have all seen golf tees lying around the course, both wooden and
plastic. The simple fact is that plastic tees are more likely to harm
the birds and animals we share our wonderful course with. The
greenkeepers will also tell you that they can do a great deal more harm
to their equipment than a wooden tee.

“So, from the start of the new decade we would like all golfers to only
use wooden tees and the pro shop will only supply wooden tees.”


The club’s course is located on common ground adjacent to Westward Ho! beach and is grazed by sheep and horses.

The statement added: “If you see a plastic tee (or a wooden one for that matter) that has
been discarded please place it in one of the “tee bins” provided. There
will soon be more of these for the other tee areas.

• BLOG – MacIntyre the masterful apprentice

• WATCH – Has Rory just hit the shot of the year?

Committee member Richard Hughes told the BBC: “We want to keep the golf course as clean and natural as possible.

“Nature has been giving us a hard time recently and we want to placate nature to some extent.

pick up the plastic tees that are often garishly coloured and they drop
them all over the place, including on the beach and in the sea. We have
found tees in birds nests before.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses

Latest podcast

Rory McIlroy's resignation and making sense of the WHS