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Sean_A

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WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf New
« on: March 29, 2009, 06:11:31 PM »
The 2008-09 Winter Tour of England concluded, ironically, with a trip down to the Duchy of Cornwall in spring.  We were meant to play Trevose and St Enodoc, but due to some disaster with the greens at Trevose we decided to play West Cornwall instead.  It was an inspired change of itinerary because I was able to revisit a course I hadn’t seen in many years.  The course features many of the elements we have come to expect in a pre-golden age design: railroad tracks, sunken paths, front to back greens and church yards.  What impressed me most about the course was that in a 30 mph wind with gusts much stronger, this links remained very playable. 

The opener is a long par 3 in which it is rather easy to balloon a tee shot right onto the road.  For sure, this is a tough first shot to hit, but it gets the blood racing quickly and lets the golfer know immediately that even though the course measures well under 6000 yards it will be no pushover.


Strong hitting is required again on the 2nd.  A longish par 4 into the dunes, which in the conditions of the day, played as a 3-shotter – a common occurrence of the day.  Here is the approach after two decent blows on this 370 yarder.


The 3rd seems like it will be a bit of respite, but a surprise awaits for the player trying to play smash mouth golf.


This is what the approach looks like if...


...you carry this.  I wish more courses used these sorts of elements as "hazards". 


We get to dance with death on the 4th because the churchyard wall forms the right boundary of the course.  The fairway drops severely right to left usually giving the golfer the best line of approach to this tricky green which bleeds away from the player.  There are hidden surprises sprinkled throughout the course which help to keep the flat belly honest if he tries to overpower this 5700 yard course.  In the case of #4, a pair of bunkers pinch the driving zone.

The 5th is the first of three severely uphill par 3s which add teeth to the course.  Hard to the left of the green is a sunken railway line.  This angle taken from the right of the green shows how tight the oob is.


#6 continues the rollicking nature of the front nine.  OOB is hard left off the tee.  A layup leaves a rather simple approach,...


but for those trying to sneak one up there near the green a surprise awaits.


A general view from the 7th tee.


The final hole in this trilogy on the wrong side of the tracks is another uphill par 3.  Like the 5th, a driver was required which I spose is reasonable since this hole crosses the 5th.  The green runs wildly from the right to left.  It reminds me a lot of Merion's 5th.

The 8th takes us back over the tracks and straight up the hill over a heaving fairway which is essentially one with the 4th.  The approach shows off the stunning beach which runs to Hayle.


Still compassing into the wind, the side ends with a brutal par 4.  As has been the case so far, the design of the hole is very much lay of the land stuff which means that controlling ball flight on the hilly parts is imperative.  To open the back 9 we finally get a hole which legs and therefore offers the opportunity of swinging a well shaped shot to work with the wind.  However, we haven't escaped the up and over drive. A good drive will carry to the bottom of the valley.


Among a clutch of great holes #11 is yet another cracker.  The approach requires a bit of bravery to carry the dune.  This is severe golf, but the high capper can layup and play through the gap.


As a demonstration of how small the greens are, here is a look at the 11th.  Its no nonsense stuff which should be applauded in this day of over-indulgent design. 


We finally tee off on the first proper par 5 of the day.  In great British fashion, this 485 yard hole played the same length as the 320 yard 8th. A right green-side bunker in combination with the right to left terrain blocks out approaches from the right. 


The following three holes all have some aspect which is fun.  The 13th is reachable, the 14th doglegs attractively between dunes and the 15th is a short par 3 with loads of bunkers protecting the green.  The 16th is a spoons hole with #14.  Where the 14th doglegs right the 16th turns left.  This second and final par 5 played very long today. Unlike the 12th, there would be no reaching this green in two with an iron.  The green can prove to be an elusive target in strong winds.


Of course, the 17th had to be a seriously uphill par 3, but playing downwind its yardage of 180 was more than manageable with a mid iron. Unfortunately, the least interesting hole comes last, but don't let this take away anything from the marvelous little gem West Cornwall is.  I have a lot of time for this course, but can understand why some folks wouldn't be overly enthusiastic.  This is why I couldn't give West Cornwall a star, but if you are around St Ives and don't want to make the 1 hour car journey up to St Enodoc, then I heartily recommend a game at West Cornwall.  Its not for everybody, but if you remember to keep a smile on your face you will be entertained to no end.

Ciao 
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 06:14:24 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Scott Warren

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2009, 06:28:15 PM »
Great pics Sean. I'm playing there in May on a southern Cornwall visit. The pics so far are whetting the appetite, can't wait to see more!

Jon Wiggett

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2009, 06:52:12 PM »
Hi Sean,

course looks very interesting. It appears that several of the tees shot skirt or even play over the previous green.

I am worried however by the following that you wrote:

'That was my drive on this 335ish yarder'

are you turning into a FLAT BELLY ? ;D

Congrats on the eagle,

cheers,

Jon

Mark_Rowlinson

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2009, 07:46:21 PM »
Sean, I'm delighted to find someone else who shares my love for this course, for it packs so much into its diminutive area. I get more fun out of this than many a longer links.

Eric_Terhorst

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2009, 09:35:17 PM »
Sean,

I see the church in your pics of 1, 3, 4, 8, and 14--I guess this wouldn't be a place for a local to be caught playing on Sunday morning!

It's always a pleasure to read your reports and get a golfer's-eye-view of a little-known course that looks well worth seeking out.  Using the search function I can see West Cornwall has been mentioned a few times here but not in such detail.  Thank you!


David_Tepper

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 09:50:57 PM »
Sean -

As always, thanks for another photo tour.
 
How would you compare/rate West Cornwall & Perranporth? If you only had time for 1 round, which would you prefer to play?

DT

Sean_A

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC New
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2009, 02:48:27 AM »
Cheers chaps. 

David

I prefer Perranporth and think it the better course, but these two are very much in the same class of rustic golf.  One thing I would say is in a good wind, I would rather play West Cornwall.  Perranporth gets wild n wooly in places and losing a ball is terribly easy.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 04:37:42 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Andrew Mitchell

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2009, 09:01:04 AM »
Sean

Thanks for these.  A shame your winter tour is drawing to a close.  I always enjoy your picture threads.

Which town is West Cornwall located in/near?  How far is it to St Enodoc?  I note you had originally paired St E with Trevose.
2014 to date: not actually played anywhere yet!
Still to come: Hollins Hall; Ripon City; Shipley; Perranporth; St Enodoc

Scott Warren

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 09:09:23 AM »
West Cornwall is in St Ives, in the far south west. St Enodoc is on the other side of the water from Padstow, 44 miles north of St Ives by road.

does this link work?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 09:11:05 AM by Scott Warren »

Sean_A

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Re: WEST CORNWALL GC
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2009, 06:39:36 AM »
Sean

Thanks for these.  A shame your winter tour is drawing to a close.  I always enjoy your picture threads.

Which town is West Cornwall located in/near?  How far is it to St Enodoc?  I note you had originally paired St E with Trevose.


Andrew

Its a bit of a hike from Padstow to Lelant, but as I mentioned, the greens at Trevose were basically kaput.  None of us had any interest in playing there so we bailed to West Cornwall.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Ulrich Mayring

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2009, 11:21:57 AM »
I'll play that one, will be in St. Ives in July. Thanks for the report, looks very interesting. Is this a links?

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposé (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Scott Warren

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2009, 01:54:34 PM »
Ulrich, if you will be in St Ives in July, I recommend you phone ASAP and book yourself a table at the Porthminster Cafe one night of your stay. Ask for a table at the front of the deck. It's a seafood place run by a young Australian chef and the food was spectacular. We ate at Rick Stein's seafood restaurant in Padstow two days later and all three in our party awarded a points victory to the Porthminster! It was possibly the best seafood I have ever eaten, and I grew up on the stuff.

And yeah, West Cornwall is a links. A poorly signposted one, it took me yonks to find it!

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 05:29:09 AM »
Finally got a round here.   I must confess I played the first 9 holes about as badly as I can. Highlights including toeing my first ball of the day into the rough by the fence and never seeing it again.  Hitting my Second(!) into that church yard and only noticing the sign forbidding retreval afterwards!  Such is the nature of the ground that with bright winter low sun, playing on your own without a clue which direction the ball headed off in, every shot is potentially a lost ball. This got scary when I was down to only 2, but thankfully things improved.

Anyway despite my medium diem horribilus I had fun because I was playing links golf. I have to wonder what on earth happened to him, that Masa gave this course a 2 in the Confidential Guide.  Tom's 4 is not generous.

The course is a little strange in that it's unusually tight on the first half.  All ideas about opening up the shoulders must be kept on hold until the 8th and 9th and for most holding a pen and pencil they will have lost interest by then.  The pro had warned me of this and I really should have spend some time losening in up in the net.  Holes 2, 3, 4 and 6 are interesting and the rest are 3's so whats not to like? Holes 8 to 17 exceeded my expectations but I though the 11th a standout worthy of greater renown.

In the manner of this course you have to be precise. You drive uphill to what appears to be a flattened area that afford a fine view of the next shot. But catch one too well and you get a lot nearer the hole but really totally blind. Place you ball correctly however and you get a most enticing second shot. I would love to play this hole several times in different winds. 350 or so yards and a par here is a very fine thing.

Seans pics give a flavour but it's hard to capture all the movement.

“Among a clutch of great holes #11 is yet another cracker.  



The approach requires a bit of bravery to carry the dune.  This is severe golf, but the high capper can layup and play through the gap.


As a demonstration of how small the greens are, here is a look at the 11th.  Its no nonsense stuff which should be applauded in this day of over-indulgent design.  


I would like a few more rounds (playing better) to be sure but I could see me giving this a 5 rating once I'd got used to the place and the opening 9. (Don’t we mark up for courses that  have their own special air about them?). However I can see how someone driving all that way for a one off hit might feel a little pussled or let down.


Incidentally the course may be the Oldest surviving in Cornwall but changes may be afoot.   Apparently developers keep knocking at the door about the triangle 5, 6 & 7 sits on.  Six would be real loss – I love Par 4's that play down to the waters edge.  More land is available for purchase at the highest point beyond the 16th green, they also have offers for the 18th tee.  The decision will come in the next year and the member I talked to said that any new holes would be sand capped to retain the links tradition.  Undoubtedly the course would become a little more conventional.  Progress.

 
And now the bit Ran loves


St Ives is a long way but a great base for a holiday.  It's also a really lively spot on New Year's Eve.  I've never seen anything like it, the WHOLE town parades in fancy dress. Intriguingly the young women seem to have this fascination with cats and at midnight there's a fantastic firework display in the harbour.   ** for atmosphere and ...err scenery.

Surf report for Mark B.   The water here rarely gets below 9 degrees so even my 20 year old wetsuit was adequate.  However you need to choose your beach for wind and tide.  More research needed but this is clearly a ** venue


Food Report for Scott.  Too many folk have taken your recommendation and he was booked out. But the 3 times we did eat out were ntoable for excellent grub, frinedly and attentive service and sensible pricing. The Mitchelin rating would be 2 knives and forks.

Britain was unusually cold at the beginning of the week and the course was closed due to  frost for two days.  That and the high no of visiting members (down to see the Cat Women?)  meant I couldn't get out until Friday.  Worth remembering if considering busy times like Easter.








« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 12:24:22 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Garland Bayley

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2015, 11:45:08 AM »
(2 + 4)/2 = 3. If 3 is an average course, then I will take an average course every day. It seems to me that the Confidential Guide has not been written for me, unless it is to point me to the average courses.

I loved this course too. The only caveat I have is I felt in danger from balls coming from other holes, especially on 12, 13, 14, 16. With the wind on the day I played the 14th tee was in the prime landing zone for drives off of 16 tee. It sounds like I had an opposite wind to the one Tony had.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

jeffwarne

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2015, 11:59:59 AM »
Tony,
I really enjoyed West Cornwall, and while I would say I was surprised by Doak's original 3, there are many courses I was surprised by their rating in the oriiginal CG. Shiskine at 2 and Dunaverty at 2 come to mind but that's been rectified in the case of Shiskine.
I used to think Tom and I just didn't share similar tastes, but his #31 flavors debunked that idea as those are many of my faves.(but he didn't always give them high numerical scores)

Reading further and speaking to him I came to understand he was originally writing the guide for friends and was wary of sending them to certain places (a 12 hole course) such as a 5900 yard gem. I always thought he didn't give his friends enough credit ;) ;D

I will admit I probably inflate all links and/or older courses with charm and I have no dogmatic system so my lokes are easily debated. ;D
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2015, 12:00:20 PM »
Garland

I must get round to commenting on the Confidential Guide thread.  If a 3 is the average course in the world, then by my preferences Links courses start at 4 or 5 minimum. I've certainly played more straightforward and simple links courses than WC and playing them is much more interesting than playing e.g. the average members course in Essex. Substitute clay for sand, add trees, flat lies and take wind out of the equation and there are huge no's of uninspiring tracks. I'm not sure Tom, Masa, Ran and Darius have played enough of those kind of courses.  WC has tons of good things squeezed into a rather tight area.  I alos think it would be more enjoyable the second time round, which is of course, a compliment.

PS did you ever finish the Bude tour? You won't be welcome back in Cornwall unless you do!


« Last Edit: January 10, 2015, 12:08:25 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Garland Bayley

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2015, 12:08:59 PM »
Tony,

I played 16 links courses on my trip. I am willing to give 3 to a couple of them. Minehead, and Saunton East.

I have only the 18th at Bude to finish. I am planning a Bude vs. Saunton East thread, and will finish Bude when I am ready with that so that I can delve directly into the new thread.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Ben Stephens

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 05:35:37 AM »

Incidentally the course may be the Oldest surviving in Cornwall but changes may be afoot.   Apparently developers keep knocking at the door about the triangle 5, 6 & 7 sits on.  Six would be real loss – I love Par 4's that play down to the waters edge.  More land is available for purchase at the highest point beyond the 16th green, they also have offers for the 18th tee.  The decision will come in the next year and the member I talked to said that any new holes would be sand capped to retain the links tradition.  Undoubtedly the course would become a little more conventional.  Progress.


Tony,

The new holes are to be located in land in background of 11th green as in your picture. It is being designed by James Edwards Golf Design who won the design contract for the new holes. SAS Golf Design was asked to bid for the project.

Here is a link to an image that was on James Edwards' twitter page there are more adjustments to the existing layout but a bit blurry



It looks like the course is being updated for 21st century golf utilising some of its old fashioned elements.

Cheers
Ben
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 05:37:35 AM by Ben Stephens »

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 06:19:53 AM »
Thanks Ben, James used to post on here, perhaps he will comment on this once plans are set in stone.

Hard to see but possibly 3 new holes and 9 others being changed. It played OK last week but the course is definitiley more cliftop than links on the current last 2 holes so it wil be interesting to see how this plays out.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 06:40:49 AM by Tony_Muldoon »
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

ward peyronnin

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2015, 09:56:32 PM »
Tony

Your being frightfully coy about the "other scenery".

Is that allthere is to relate?
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

James Edwards

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2015, 06:17:52 AM »
EDI | WEST CORNWALL GOLF CLUB

Would be delighted to share more information as and when it becomes available and more importantly, when appropriate. 

We have been working on the project for over 2 years and the project is healthy.  As I'm sure you can all appreciate, we are working on one of the most beautiful golf courses and coast lines in the Country and with this comes inevitable feasibility reporting and planning responses.  Luckily, we have an excellent planning team and a very forward thinking GM in Gareth Evans and an excellent course manager in Keith Kemp.  The Membership, who of course are the most important cog in this wheel are meeting later this month to discuss the next stages with us all in attendance so we shall look forward to that with anticipation.

SEAN, TONY, all... LONG TIME
Hoping you are well my friends.  Thanks to Ben for messaging me on Twitter.  Please follow if you are on there.
EDI__ADI  Edwards Design International & Academy Design International
@EDI__ADI

Marc Haring

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2015, 06:19:57 AM »
Oh my God.....It's James Edwards  :o

James Edwards

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2015, 06:32:19 AM »
Now, Now Marc.... ;-)
You well my friend?
@EDI__ADI

Sean_A

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf New
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2015, 10:56:42 AM »
I can't tell from the blurry plan, but which holes will be lost and which other holes will be changed?

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 04:43:54 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Garland Bayley

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Re: WEST CORNWALL: Old Time Golf
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2015, 12:08:05 PM »
I can't tell from the blurry plan, but which holes will be lost and which ogther holes will be changed?

Ciao

It looks like the three holes in the triangle will be lost, as will 17. 18 will have a new tee (perhaps near where the 17 tee was) and will dogleg left (will there be an incourse OB?).
Four completely new holes to replace those lost by the redesign/redevelopment.

EDIT: at least that's what I can see in the blurry plan. I does look like there will be other changes to the course/routing. It seems the addition of the new holes will have a long par 5, allowing perhaps the shortening of a par 4 to be a par 3?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 12:12:57 PM by GJ Bailey »
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

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