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A guide to the best golf courses in Cornwall

With the summer now in full flow, it goes without saying that thousands of families will already be making the journey to Cornwall to sample the many and varied delights of what is still one of the UK’s most popular destinations.

If you are considering taking your summer holidays in Looe this year, you will already be well aware of some of the highlights Cornwall has to offer: golden beaches, beautiful countryside, a relaxed way of life, and sumptuous food and drink. If you are a sports fan, however, you may not have realised just what a fantastic place the county is for golf enthusiasts as well.

In this article, we talk about why visiting Britain’s westernmost point represents the perfect trip for those who enjoy nothing more on their holidays than navigating the fairways and avoiding the rough.

A word from the experts

There are over 30 golf courses in Cornwall, so it would have taken far too long for us to give a full and fair account of each one. Instead, we asked the experts at Today’s Golfer, the UK’s finest golfing magazine, to sum up where they think the county’s best courses can be found, what makes them special, and why the Duchy is such a rewarding place to play.

Read on to see what Kevin Brown, Courses Editor at Today’s Golfer, has to say about the joys of golfing in Cornwall:

‘It may be in the deep south west of the country but many make a regular, if not annual, pilgrimage to Cornwall – the land of rugged dramatic clifftops, golden sandy beaches, pirates, pasties, surfers, cream teas… and a classy collection of seaside and inland golf courses.

‘It attracts around six million visitors every year, with about a healthy 12% of them being golfers – many checking out the superstar links of St Enodoc and Trevose, both sitting pretty in most Top 100 UK Courses listings.

‘St Enodoc will blow you away for a number of reasons, not least because it’s a classic if somewhat quirky links layout with glorious Camel estuary views across to the delightful harbour town of Padstow and beyond.

‘It’s a must play, as is Trevose, a class Harry Colt course and more of a typical traditional links, though the only real view of the sea is gleaned from the 3rd green and 4th tee overlooking the delightfully-named Booby’s Bay.

‘If you think St Enodoc is quirky and out of the ordinary, Perranporth will leave you aghast. The rip-roaring rollercoaster of a James Braid track – at times it feels like you’re playing on the moon – is spectacularly perched on gloriously undulating terrain overlooking the popular seaside town’s vast beach.

‘But there’s more to Cornwall than quality seaside courses: it also happens to boast one of England’s finest – and most formidable – inland layouts in the shape of the legendary Nicklaus course at St Mellion. The first UK course created by the 18-times major champion, the Nicklaus is long and demanding and an absolute joy to play.

‘Head to scenic St Ives and you can experience West Cornwall, Cornwall’s oldest links, the modern parkland track at Tehidy Park and the quirky but fun clifftop layout of Cape Cornwall. If you’re looking for clifftop drama you won’t be disappointed by Mullion, England’s most southerly course, and St Austell’s Carlyon Bay, an exhilarating clifftop/parkland hybrid.

‘Cornwall golf is simply sensational, holiday golf at its very best.’

Our favourite courses

We have also taken some time to speak to the teams at a few of our favourites courses, two of which have made Kevin’s list. Here are some more details from the people behind the three courses we think you should definitely take the time to visit on your next trip to Cornwall.

Carlyon Bay

Carlyon Bay told us why their course overlooking the seas around St Austell is well worth playing a round on:

‘This course is a truly magical combination of beautifully manicured fairways and greens set in captivating scenery while providing an exhilarating golfing challenge. Located just a short walk from the luxury 4 star Carlyon Bay Hotel, the first 10 holes are played right along the cliff side and most of the course yields breath-taking views. A forgiving course, yet with challenging greens surrounded by strategically placed bunkers, offers a test for all abilities. The course is excellently maintained and playable throughout the year.

‘Supplemented alongside the course is a newly refurbished Clubhouse serving food all day with a terrace looking down the 1st fairway and out to sea, a 10 acre practice ground and two Pro Shops, including a bespoke ladies shop, while a warm welcome from the team of experienced PGA Professionals and Clubhouse staff is assured.’

Cape Cornwall

The unique location of Cape Cornwall is one of its main attractions, but this is far from the only reason why golfers of all abilities will enjoy this course, as a representative explains:

‘Cape Cornwall, being close to Land’s End, is the first and last 18 hole course in Britain which makes it very special and a must to play. We have stunning scenery with sea views from each hole, the course is protected by many Cornish hedges (stone walls), and there are plenty of undulating fairways and challenging lies. A fine, well stocked bar with great food awaits, as well as a state of the art gym, spa and brand new swimming pool complex.’

Launceston Golf Club

Finally, Launceston Golf Club is a great option for anyone who fancies a day out in the north of the county. Club Secretary Alan Creber shared his thoughts on why Launceston is a rewarding place to play, including – as you would expect – the fine views on offer:

‘Launceston Golf Club is a friendly members club located just north of Launceston off the road towards Bude. The course is a par 70 for men or 73 for ladies, measuring 6,093 yards from the men’s yellow tees and 5,682 for the ladies. This mature parkland course offers stunning views over the Cornwall and Devon countryside and particularly over Launceston town, the historic capital of Cornwall, with its Norman Castle. Visitors are welcome and we offer reasonable rates for green fees and society groups.’

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