St Enodoc Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Matt Holbrook, October 2019
Set in Rock, a small quaint coastal fishing village opposite Padstow on the north east bank of the River Camel estuary, St Enodoc Golf Club is a stunning James Braid designed course in Cornwall that has been delighting members and visitors alike with its entertaining layout and picturesque scenery.
Although it is understood that golf here dates back to 1888, the club was officially formed in 1891 after a number of local gentlemen laid out a few holes around the massive natural dunes surrounding the old St Enodoc Church.
In 1907 the world-renowned course designer James Braid worked his magic and designed two courses on the land - one of which became The Church Course (Although this wasn’t given its official name until 1987). It is believed Braid was paid a fee of £15 to design the course and was expected to take two days!
Over recent years some minor adjustments have been made in order to keep up with modern standards and is now one of the UK's best courses, with St Enodoc being enjoyed by visitors from all over the world and it's clear to see why!
Upon arrival up through the barrier to the car park you are immediately greeted by the sight of the modern yet charming clubhouse with the putting green to the left and driving range to the right. I knew of the reputation of St Enodoc and I soon realised why that was the case. The Pro Shop is cosy and well stocked, and the starter was friendly and will set you up and ready to go.
As I stood on the 1st tee I was filled with excitement.
Front 9 Overview
Whilst the 1st hole feels like a gentle start - a 518 yard par 5 - the fairway falls away slightly from the tee before raising back up again meaning a blind second shot into a green that all falls away off the front, the fairway does narrow at driver distance so a precise tee shot is required to get off to a good start.
The 2nd is a super tough long par 4, but the 3rd and 4th holes give a different test. The 3rd is a long dog-leg where a good tee shot cutting the blind corner slightly will leave an easier shot into a tricky green, and the 4th is a shorter 292 yards slightly uphill but avoiding the OOB right that does cut into the fairway slightly with no room to miss left its trickier than it seems.
The most talked about hole on the front nine would be the famous 'Himalayas' - the par 4 6th hole. The enormous sand dune that needs to be negotiated will strike fear into even the most accomplished golfers! Finding the fairway is key with either a wood or longer iron off the tee will leave a semi blind second over the corner of the mammoth trap from. A delightful, fun and quirky hole that is excellently designed.
A brief respite at the short par 3 8th that is still very well protected by seven pot bunkers and you will finish the front nine with a challenging par 4 that plays down from the tee then onto a green that slopes down from back to front meaning anything short will leave your short game skill needing to be top notch.
Back 9 Overview
The back nine starts with the Stroke Index 1. At 457 Yards the tee shot will require and driver for most, however as you play down to the fairway from the raised tee box with a water hazard running along the left of the hole and sand dunes to the right, the fairway is extremely narrow at landing point. Navigate that and your second shot - possibly still around 200 yards - dog-legs around to the left over the water hazard. Some may decide to play this hole as a par 5 to avoid the danger but if you are visiting then you go hard or go home!
The 13th is a tough uphill par 4 with some large bunkers fairway bunkers on the right and OOB left the again more deep traps protecting the green but the views back over the church looking at the last few holes and out the estuary are to behold as the 13th green/14th tee are the highest part of the course.
Depending on the wind direction the par 3 15th could play anything from driver to wedge with the tee shot from a raise point down to the green that has bunkers both left and right, at Stroke Index 18 please don't be fooled!
You may also to find a more difficult finishing stretch from the 16th - a long par 5 which only the big hitters may have a chance of getting on in two wind depending, the 17th is the longest of the par 3s at 206 yards and the 18th is a magnificent finishing hole with OOB right and heave rough left. Find the fairway and the final swing into a green protected on both side with the viewing golfer looking out from the comfort of the bar area.
The highlight of St Enodoc is the pure variety on offer. Fairly often we speak of courses provide variety, but never before have I felt that there is a different challenge on every single hole of a golf course. Weather is be the dunes, pot bunkers, narrowing fairways, wind direction, sloping greens, blind shots, St Enodoc as a course really does have everything to offer and is superbly designed.
The condition of the course is of the highest quality and every small detail account for. Being set on sand means it drains extremely well and it can be an ideal location for someone looking to get away from the wetter courses during the colder months. The greens were undulating and true and a pleasure to putt on.
It can be tough in places - also depending on the weather conditions - but even those that don't possess length off the tee and a tour standard short game can have so much fun at St Enodoc and it really will appeal to golfers of any ability.
After the round I took the time to stop and have some lunch from the lovely menu on offer - FYI the Fish and Chips comes highly recommended - and I sat and ate looking back out over the 18th green watching other golfers finishing their round only hoping that they had enjoyed the course as much as I had.
(Image by Stuart Morley)
I can see why St Enodoc rate as Highly Recommended on Golfshake and often feature in various 'top courses' list based on visitor reviews. Over the years I have had the pleasure of playing some of the UK and world's top courses and St Enodoc moves straight into my top four - Only behind The Old Course, the King's at Gleneagles and Ile Aux Cerfs in Mauritius.
For more on green fees and offers at St Enodoc, click here. You can’t go wrong with a visit here.
Overall Rating - 10
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 10
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 10
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 10
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 10
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