• perranporth golf club,

Cornish 4 finest

All wonderful links courses
North Cornwall coast
Green Keeper

Reviews of the four finest courses in Cornwall:  St Enodoc, Trevose, Perranporth and West Cornwall 

st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,
st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,
st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,
st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,
st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,
Access Policy:
visitors welcome
Dog Policy:
dogs welcomed except WCGC
Open Meetings:
Fees in 1960s
Fees today


I visited recently Cornwall’s four finest golf courses and give below a mini review of each. 

What a feast it was to play; St Enodoc, displaying its usual high quality, quirky self; Trevose golf and country club, one of the few links courses with high class accommodation and wider facilities for the whole family and certainly a good place from which to base your golf trip, as is the Lodge accommodation at Perranporth GC. 

st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,

The tight West Cornwall GC near St Ives is being agronomically turned back to the running game by its enthusiastic course manager Keith Kemp, his hero being Billy Mitchell who continues to give his life’s work to Perranporth, where the greens are a 90% composition of wiry fescue/bent grasses that provide through the year the most wonderfully fast, true, firm surfaces and are cut at over 5 mm. 

All four courses have glorious sea views and the classic linksland of Trevose, skilfully used by Harry Colt in the 1920s to design the course here, has been owned by the Gammon family since the 1930s. I congratulated Nick Gammon, the GM and his father Peter for attracting Jon Wood (a man with previous experience gained from Finton Brennan’s glorious fescue greens at Portmarnock Hotel & Links and the more mixed grasses at St Andrews, Old Course) who in the last two years has reduced fertiliser, water and fungicide inputs, ‘Rescued’ out the ryegrass and made some interesting design changes.

These excellent developments are part of a long-term modern retro-trend programme to enhance the running linksy conditions and put behind them a previous mistake. 


st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,The greens being at present 90% annual meadow grass (Poa annua) are of one colour and receptive to the ball but cut at 4 mm will hopefully allow his overseeding with fine fescue grasses to take hold and not be wasted. 

Perranporth and St Enodoc were both designed by the brilliant James Braid who used the mountainous dunescapes to create fascinating green complexes and to offer many blind shots. 

The mainly small St Enodoc greens were a beautiful patchwork of colours derived from the annual meadow grass (Poa annua) and browntop bent grasses and were firmer and truer than when I last played here. However, the lush greenness around some of the greens was emblematic of inland ‘target golf’ tendencies as is their practice of the greens being cut at 2.7 mm. 

It really is a wonderful design with a wide range of hole types and I am especially proud to mention that I parr-ed the iconic Church hole, taking 2 putts. Much investment has gone into the club house and facilities recently. 

st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,


I was put through my paces at West Cornwall by their treasurer and a French ex-professional on a blustery day. It was 43 years since I had last visited and I was enchanted by a course that may be one of the shortest in FineGolf’s finest 200 at just 5850 yards but nevertheless one is challenged continually by the demands of tumbling ground, and the views are perhaps the most interesting of all the four courses. 

One of the things that sets WCGC apart from Trevose and St Enodoc is its recent use of Compost Teas to help develop the necessary soil biology for fine grasses, inspired by the success of Perranporth who have been using Compost Teas for twenty years. 

This practice marks Perranporth out as an outstanding example of proof that this method will work in combination with natural, austere greenkeeping in providing low cost, non-chemical, true, firm and fast greens. 

(Another fact that other clubs might note in this era of tight budgets is that the austere natural greenkeeping policy of WCGC and Perranporth allows them to have greenkeeping teams of only four).  

st enodoc, trevose, perranporth golf club, west cornwall golf club,I leave to the end the greatest experience of the week which was visiting Perranporth for the first time. Playing a competitive game with the club’s chairman and Billy’s elder, single-figure handicap brother, who also spent most of his life as a greenkeeper at Perranporth, some of my most cherished ideas went out of the window! 

I don’t usually rate par fives, as they tend to rely on being ‘sloggy’ to challenge, whereas so many of golf’s finest holes are often around 440 yards. 

Every shot at the three par fives at Perranporth is exacting and designed to take account of the prevailing wind to create sufficient risk/reward and interest. There are a number of greens set above the fairway but they are into the prevailing wind so the player can hold the ball on the firm, fast running greens. 

Hole two (Whim Wham), at 525 yards, is one of the finest par fives in golf and is entirely without any bunker requiring a dogleg, blind second shot normally played into the prevailing wind. If downwind, cutting the right amount off the corner of the dogleg allows a close to central mound afore the green; one of the trickiest natural complexes anywhere, to be avoided and to skip ones ball onto the green. Thoughts of Royal Dornoch’s ‘Foxy’ come to mind, it is that good. 

On a course of 6300 yards long, par 72, there is no hole between 400 to 500 yards in length! With three, driveable par fours sited among the mountainous dune land on the side of a southerly facing hill that overlooks the sea, it is not surprising the SSS is set at 71. 

Brora, Pennard and The Machrie come to mind as other examples of this type of raw, running golf. Exhilarating, creative, imaginative shots are demanded at full tilt and, you may ask, which was my most enjoyable shot here? 

Well, it was my bump-and-run stroke, played from well behind the tenth green that bounced just as I wanted it to, uphill and through rough grass, then running true and straight on the green, until swinging four feet at the last gasp, on what looked like a reasonably horizontal surface, to run out to within ‘kicking away’ distance from the pin. I worked out what I had to do, executed it and the ground behaved accordingly; such a pleasure truly defines what we mean by FineGolf. 

The Club offers spacious, luxury wooden lodges and large caravans, which as an alternative to the more expensive Trevose, would also serve as a fine base for your Cornish golf trip, though I warn you in advance get used to the many gigantic intermittently working wind turbines across the county and don’t allow them to disturb your holiday. 

Reader Comments

On May 3rd, 2014 Dan said:

Wonderful to find you concur with my relative ratings of these four great courses, and even better to hear that Trevose is being turned around. Having played there several years ago I felt it over rated, a few great holes and some fields with flags.
Dear Dan,
Yes, under Jon Wood’s leadership change to both design and grasses is most exciting. Yours, Lorne

On May 22nd, 2014 sam krume said:

Could not agree more with the above. I absolutely love Perranporth. It is a very special course in my opinion. Just a fantastic days golf is to be had on this untouched links. It is a true marmite course though. Some people hate, too many blind shots etc….that is what links golf is about.

On May 22nd, 2014 Tony White said:

Glad you enjoyed Perranporth. I’ve been staying in the caravans at the club for nearly 20 years now and I have never got bored yet, long may it continue.

On May 22nd, 2014 Glenn Moore said:

So happy to see your Perranporth comments. It was the very last of the 140+ courses I played in the UK between 1986 and 2004. I considered it one of the most enjoyable courses and was struck by the lack of praise for it in guides to UK links courses.
Glenn Moore, USA golf collector

On May 23rd, 2014 mark said:

As a greenkeeper from Northamptonshire county GC I can agree with the comments about perranporth GC, what a beauty! Not long but doesn’t need to be, proper old style course and can’t wait to play there again very soon!!!

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