On the north Cornwall coast lies the olde worlde fishing village of Padstow and Rick Stein’s famous seafood restaurant. There’s plenty of action going on in this neck of the woods, including offshore shark fishing. And, there’s also plenty of excitement at Trevose Golf and Country Club, located a little further south, along the Atlantic coastline at Constantine Bay. With dramatic views across the golden sandy shore of Boobys Bay to the rugged coastline of Trevose Head, it’s sheer drama.
Founded in 1926, the great Harry Colt designed the Championship course at Trevose, and Sir Guy Campbell made minor revisions just before the Second World War. It’s an exhilarating windswept links where little else other than dune grasses survives in the bleakness.
Trevose is a stern test of golf, especially when the wind is up. There are four teeing areas to choose from, and the par 71 links stretches out to a stern 7,079 yards from the back tees. The crumpled fairways are generous in width and the rough is kept short to keep up the speed of play and prevent too many lost balls.
Some regard Trevose as holiday golf, but the course is technically challenging and will test the very best golfers. The course record of 66 stands as a testament to its level of difficulty. Birdie opportunities are there for the taking on the three short par fives, but make the most of it because many of the par fours are aggressive and supremely challenging. Five of them stretch out over 400 yards.
The short holes are also memorable and exciting, especially the 3rd, measuring 166 yards and the 199-yard 11th, with its two-tiered plateau green. The photogenic par five 4th hole is renowned for its glorious greensite location, set hard against Boobys Bay, but many felt the hole failed to live up to its spectacular backdrop. In 2016, as part of Mackenzie and Ebert’s masterplan, it was overhauled with new tees, bunkers and a massive new undulating green. The club is clearly not content to rest on its laurels.
Some excellent facilities accompany the testing Championship course and there’s a very pleasant nine-hole course, designed by Peter Alliss, called the Headland. This shorter course is an nice warm-up ahead of Trevose's real Championship challenge.
Trevose Golf & Country Club is a real darling of the South-West golfing tapestry. Its three courses, on-site accommodation and reputation for excellent catering make it a highly popular and desirable venue for golfers and their families flocking to this part of the country.
Each time I have visited there has always been a lovely feel and buzz to the place.
The main links, designed by Harry Colt, regularly ranks as one of the top golf courses in the British Isles and as the proud host of The Brabazon Trophy (2008), The McGregor Trophy (2012) and the English Men's County Finals (2017) Trevose enjoys a real championship status. A maximum yardage of 7,172 from the blue tees confirms the challenge.
All lies before you from the 1st tee with an expanse of small sandhills to the right, larger dunes to the left and the sight of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance; a truly breathtaking vista. You can also spot several flags fluttering nonchalantly away, many of them perched up high on the top of plateaus, and you just know that your creativity will be tested.
The greens are quite large and the fairways certainly generous although new bunkering on many of the holes has tightened up the drives significantly. The greens themselves ran beautifully in the early season and were a joy to putt on.
There are some real high points at Trevose which compare favourably to the very best of British links golf. The intimidating opening tee shot, the knob-to-knob par-three third and the iconic fourth hole, with white horse waves crashing behind the green, are early highlights. The seventh is also an exceptional golf hole with a green complex that is arguably the best on the course. Holes eight and nine complete a sterling outward half.
In keeping with most Colt designs the course is set out in two loops of nine holes. The front half hugs the sand dunes and coastline, offering some spectacular views out to sea, and covers the best of the golfing terrain at Trevose. Meanwhile the back side offers a different, but no less demanding, test of golf as you head more inland.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
A good golf course rather than great golf course highlighted by the world class 4th hole. Holes 7 to 9 are very good. The scenery on holes 11 to 16 is ordinary as the terrain moves from the coast. However, the design of the holes is strong. The last 2 holes are excellent. I really enjoyed the round as Trevose is undoubtedly a really solid, honest test of golf.
Interesting to see the disparity of reviews here, I must say I err with the disappointed. It's one of those courses where the view from the clubhouse and its standout hole (4th) can overrule the blandness of many of the holes which in part tend towards a field with flags particularly around the turn. Constantine's Bay is a lovely place to play golf but if short for time for me I would recommend St Enodoc, Perranporth, Lelant (West Cornwall) or Mullion instead for a beautiful yet fun golf course. The 4th edges it up to a 4 ball.
After playing the wild and woolly links at Perranporth and the severe driving lines of St. Enodoc, Trevose is a nice breath of fresh air that gives you some room off the tee and numerous openings in front of the greens that allow you to play bump and run shots. The first is an excellent par 4 dominated by the dune to the right and the well placed fairway bunkers. Par would be an excellent start here. The par 3's were all well designed. The steep left to right slope of the third hole demanded a well placed iron, while the steep drop off to the right of the 8th with deep pot bunkers to the left made for a demanding tee shot. 11 and 16 were longer holes with severe sloping greens that would test a player of any caliber. I really enjoyed the par 4's on the back. 14 and 15 are beautiful back to back short par 4's that require a well placed drive but allow a multitude of options on the approach 18 is a demanding uphill par 4, 430 yards from the white tee and 478 from the blue. As with the first, par here is well earned.
I enjoyed this course. It was the last course I played on my trip to Devon and Cornwall and was a joy to play. My wife was with me on this trip and didn't play, but I think this course would suit most women golfers while offering men of all levels of play quite a challenge. Click the link to read my Atlantic Coast Golf Links story. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
The 3rd and 4th are the only holes that actually run along the shoreline. Three is a good one-shotter of 173 yards over a thickly grassed valley and with one bunker on the right edge of the green. The par five 4th doglegs left, following the coast and runs down to a green near the water’s edge, overlooking Booby’s Bay.
The 5th, index 2, is a very difficult par four of 466 yards. The hole runs away from the sea and doglegs left around the boundary. The par three 8th, where you play over a burn, is only 156 yards but anything hit even slightly right of the green will finish down a steep bank and if you are left then there are three bunkers awaiting.
The par five 13th runs along the boundary so anything hooked is out of bounds. Two short par fours are then followed by the demanding last three holes. Sixteen is a very long par three of 229 yards. The par four 17th has a cluster of three bunkers on the right then a burn not far short of the green. The 18th will also test your ability to reach the green in two as it is 478 yards and uphill all the way.
This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every English course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.