A quartet of North Cornwall clubs which offer great vistas and traditional links golf
Bude has several blind holes – especially when I played, which was in a sea fret. I spanked a superb drive away at the 1st. “That should be alright,” said one of my playing companions. Tough crowd, I thought. Actually, I had hit down the middle of the 5th fairway. Fortunately this is a layout where you can often wander from the tee without cost.
There is something liberating about playing to a target you can’t see. Prevented from worrying about a nasty-looking bunker, you just concentrate on making a sweet strike.
This North Cornwall links is not long and the three par 5s are only 446, 482 and 457 yards. Putting well is key to a good score here, and the course was in excellent condition and the greens true and well contoured – a joy and a challenge to putt on.
My favourite hole was the shortest, the 4th, 138 yards off the yellows to a green shaped as a rounded isosceles triangle, approached from the pointed end, both flanks guarded by three bunkers.
This is an enjoyable course laid lightly upon the land, with dramatic views and holes. Fairways are rarely defined, with marker posts on many holes.
The flamboyantly undulating linksland clings to the slopes of a headland towering over a beautiful backdrop of town, beach and sea. The 3rd and 4th greens at Perranporth have particularly fine views.
An oddity of the layout is the lack of balance. There are three par 3s and three par 5s. The par 5s are all long – 501, 531 and 541 yards even off the yellows – yet there are no par 4s longer than 394 yards, and only two of more than 365; and ten of the final dozen holes are par 4s.
There are two courses here. To play the Church requires a handicap of 24 for men, 28 for ladies. Those without this are restricted to the Holywell’s nine par 3s and nine par 4s.
The layout of the Church has changed over time and the Holywell course uses some of the land it used to lie upon. However, except for some of the later holes, Holywell is more parkland than links.
The superb Church course is a genuine North Cornwall links courses with many varied, attractive and memorable holes. The 9th tee, with the shimmering estuary to the left and the wooded Bray Hill rising behind the green is one of my favourite views in golf.
There are also fine views over the church to the Estuary and Padstow in the distance from the 13th and 14th fairways as they rise up and curve around St Enodoc church.
But the most imposing view at St Enodoc is of the huge bunker in the middle of the soaring sand dune in the middle of the 6th fairway, about 100 yards out from the green and obliterating sight of it.
The glorious views from Trevose’s clubhouse and 1st tee over the course to the sea has always gladdened my heart.
This Harry Colt layout has made more open by recent clearances of vegetation. It also been made harder, as befits a course which has hosted the Brabazon Trophy and McGregor Trophy in recent years.
One of the joys of playing Trevose had been that the rough was kept short to encourage quick play, a sign saying “three hours for a round is too long”. This policy has changed; the rough now longer – so, too, the rounds. There are also more bunkers.
The par-3 3rd over a steep valley and the dogleg par-5 4th to the edge of Booby’s Bay are the best regarded holes; the 4th green is the only time you play next to the sea. But my favourite is the par-3 8th for its understated beauty and challenge.
The Headland course provides nine holes of character and the best view from a Trevose green, from its 5th. The Short Course is par-3 layout of much charm.