10 of the Best Golf Courses in Cornwall
Cornwall is arguably the most ruggedly beautiful county in the British Isles, with spectacular scenery and the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto the rocks that shape the character of this beautiful part of the world. There are endless fishing villages, harbours, beaches, delightful towns and, of course, it is the home of the Cornish pasty. That rugged coastline also means it is home to some of the most wonderful golf courses you will ever find. Here, we pick out 10 of the best.
St Mellion Golf Club
Par 72, 7,100 yards, parkland
Green fee £40, offers available
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, St Mellion is widely regarded as being one of the Golden Bear’s best courses. It was a regular home to European Tour events until the conclusion was reached that the transport network really wasn’t conducive to attracting tens of thousands of golf fans to a professional event unless they were prepared to put up with taking hours to get there and home. The 12th hole is a stunning par five that cuts through a forest of fir trees with trouble waiting to find any shot that misses the target. It is a proper three-shot hole with a stream in front of the green. The 14th is an elevated par three with thick rough and a deep bunker to be avoided. The 18th is a magnificent closing hole, with a second shot struck over a lake to a large green.
Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club
Par 71, 6,036 yards, links
Green fee £28
Yet another great links course located in the centre of Bude, yet another beautiful little Cornwall town. The second is a 314-yard par four with trouble all the way down the left and well located fairway bunkers to be avoided. There is out of bounds at the back of a long, narrow green. The eighth is a 180-yard par three. There is a water hazard to the right of the green and a bunker to the left, so accuracy is called for here. The 17th is a terrific 400-yard par four, with out of bounds to the left and an approach played to a green with a burn running along the front of it. The 18th measures 457 yards and is a dog leg from right to left, with out of bounds to the left and well placed fairway bunkers.
Trevose Golf and Country Club
Par 71, 6,863 yards, links/parkland
Green fee, £70, winter rate £40-£57
This Harry Colt-designed course in Cornwall overlooks the Atlantic Ocean – the front nine holes are almost all played alongside the ocean before you turn back and head inland. Like most good links courses, Trevose features big greens and fairly generous fairways, but the rough is seriously thick and long. Naturally, the key feature is the wind, which dictates how difficult your round is going to be. Some stunning views will stay with you for ever.
China Fleet Country Club
Par 72, 6,551 yards, parkland
Green fee £30, winter £15, including coffee and a bacon roll
China Fleet is situated in Saltash within view of the Tamar Bridge. Set in 180 acres, it was designed by Martin Hawtree and opened in 1991. Its main features are its slopes and changes of elevation. The longest hole on the course is the 13th, a challenging dogleg par five measuring 539 yards. At both the 14th and 16th holes you have to hit across water. There are several blind drives on this lovely golf course, which is only about 10 minutes from Plymouth. It offers terrific value for money, with its winter green fees difficult to beat.
Perranporth Golf Club
Par 72, 6,296 yards, links
Green fee £36, special winter deals available
The course was designed by the legendary James Braid and has changed little in the intervening years. It is widely regarded as being one of the finest links course in the southwest. It is a championship course of the highest quality, featuring stunning putting surfaces and spellbinding views out over the sea and onto the golden sandy beaches below the clifftops. In particular, the views from the fifth and 14th tees are simply mind-blowing. The course is a 6,296-yard par 72, featuring a combination of holes offering decent birdie opportunities and those where you will be happy to walk off the green with a bogey. The course has three par threes – the sixth is a straightforward 128 yards, while the fourth and 16th each measure around 200 yards and are extremely testing. There are spectacular views from a couple of the tees. This is a glorious place to play golf.
Carlyon Bay Golf Club
6,500 yards, links/parkland
Green fee £50, winter £30
Located at St Austell Bay, Carlyon Bay sits on one of the most beautiful pieces of land in Cornwall, and is a course of two very different halves. The first 10 holes are proper links, with the holes running along the cliff tops before turning inland through beautiful natural countryside. The greens are a treat, running true and fast all year round. The 10th is a 490-yard par five, the last of the cliff-top holes and the key is to keep the ball on the fairway –many golfers see their ball end up on the rocks below. The 15th is a 533-yard par five with a narrow fairway and trouble lurking on both sides. Keep the ball on the straight and narrow and you will face a third shot to a narrow green surrounded by bunkers.
West Cornwall Golf Club
Par 69, 5,850 yards, links
Green fee £40
West Cornwall Golf Club was established in 1889 and is the oldest club in Cornwall. It is located at the delightful holiday town of St Ives. It is built on sandy soil, which means that it can be played all year round. It is a true links that has been built to make the most of the natural sand dunes that form part of the Hayle Estuary and Porth Kidney Sands. There are beautiful views from almost every hole, with Godrevy Lighthouse forming a memorable backdrop. It goes without saying that there are days when the wind really blows here, making this a proper test. An ability to shape shots and keep the ball under the wind will help here.
Killow Golf Club, Truro
Par 71, 6,124 yards, parkland
Green fee £30
Possibly the best parkland course in the county, Killow Golf Club is located in the magnificent grounds of the Killow Estate. There are a lot of water hazards, plenty of trees and a plethora of wildlife, including buzzards, swallows, woodpeckers, jays, dragonflies and rabbits. The course consists of three par fives, four par threes and 11 par fours. It is not overly long, but it is nevertheless a real challenge and is set in a truly beautiful part of the county. Unusually, this is a course where dogs are welcomed – just make sure you keep it on a lead. The course features narrow, undulating fairways and superb greens.
St Enodoc Golf Club
Par 69, 6,243 yards, links
Green fee £75, winter £45
A championship links designed by James Braid and opened in 1907. Sir John Betjeman is buried in the small church located alongside the 10th hole. The sixth hole is a par four that measures 378 yards that doglegs left at driving distance, with an approach to a raised green. There is a well-placed hidden fairway bunker. If you lay up short and right it is vital that you avoid putting your approach in what is known as the Himalaya bunker, which is one of the biggest in Europe. The 10th is the signature hole which calls for a good drive and a second shot aimed at the church porch, with a lateral hazard that runs the length of the hole. The par five 16th is a brute, measuring 560 yards. Look to the right for wonderful views of the sea. There is an undulating fairway and the hole is usually played into the wind, with a two-tier green surrounded by deep bunkers.
Whitsand Bay Golf Club
Par 70, 5,770 yards, links
Green fee £25, winter £15
Whitsand Bay is a clifftop course that enjoys beautiful views of the coast. The third is a 190-yard par three. The green is in a bomb crater left by the Germans when they bombed Plymouth docks during the second world war. The green slopes both ways and, depending on the wind, can play anything from a three to a seven iron. The seventh is a 415-yard par four, with a good drive vital to leave a mid iron approach to very well-bunkered green. The eighth is a par five with all the trouble on the right – and that is the way the fairway slopes. The 11th is a great par five measuring 525 yards, with a field on the right meaning you need to favour the left side. A bank running through the fairway must be avoided with the second shot, and there are banks to the right and trees to the left threatening the third shot to a sloping green.
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