Mullion Golf Club is set spectacularly on the cliff tops of the Lizard Peninsula in one of the most beautiful and most exposed locations in England. Originally founded in 1895, Mullion Golf Club came close to extinction on a number of occasions and, like the proverbial phoenix, the club managed to claw its way from the ashes.
William Sich was the driving force behind Mullion’s early years and he is also accredited with the course design. An exhibition match in 1966 featuring Peter Alliss, Dai Rees, Norman Sutton and Bernard Hunt celebrated the re-opening of the full 18-hole course and Mullion has never looked back.
“Mullion has been variously described as quaint, cute and short but sweet,” remarked Kevin Lee in The Golfers Guide to the West Country , “and it cannot be denied that this, the most southerly course on the mainland, is all of these. But to leave it at that is to do it a disservice, and such adjectives as intriguing, inviting, uplifting, cheeky, tricky and downright awkward in places also need to be applied to this out-of-the-way gem. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine from where it conjures up a membership of some 650 souls, situated as it is between Goonhilly Downs and Mounts Bay, some seven or eight miles south of Helston, itself hardly a metropolis…
There are some fascinating and enchanting holes, like the seventh and eighth to Gunwalloe Cove, where a slice at the latter will be gone on the tide; the scenic 10th, where your approach to the elevated green must carry a ravine separating it from the shoreline; and the 17th, where the tee has been described as the warmest spot in England.”
A round at Mullion is a fun experience, I had the benefit of playing on a sunny albeit windy day which allowed me to enjoy the true splendour of its location. Set on cliffs above the English channel it runs down to the beach before working its way up and down several times, if you’re a member here you’ll certainly be fit.
As other reviewers have noted it’s an uneven course with some great holes which would be at home on any top quality course but its diluted by too many ordinary holes, especially the uphill ones which feel often like a real slog. The most fun holes are the 6th, a short downhill par 4 risk and reward hole, the 7th which is the lowest holes on the course, 8 a tough par 3 with some vicious pot bunkers, the signature 10th hole where you have miss the green at your peril, 14 requires you to a hit a great drive to have any chance. Putting on the greens was a real joy, medium paced but rolled very well with not much undulation.
Despite its remote setting away from the string of courses on the North coast Mullion is definitely worth a diversion and probably placed about right in the rankings, not enough good holes to challenge the top courses but a great day out nonetheless.
Ultimately the reason we all play golf is for fun, and this course in a beautiful and remote part of the British Isles provides fun in bucket loads. We played on a calm day, which is probably unusual at this cliff-top location.
The positives are some hugely entertaining and challenging parts of the course, I particularly like the stretch from 6 to 8 and then most of the back nine. The stand-out holes are the stoke index 1 classical par 4 seventh and the exhilarating roller-coaster tenth falling down a sharp decline which rolls from side to side, and ends with a daring approach shot to a green that rewards the brave player. On the negative side there are some very ordinary holes and huge elevation changes which make parts of the course seem like 'mountain-goat' country.
Mullion is indeed quirky and a demanding walk, but with immaculate greens (they claim the best in Cornwall), some incredibly beautiful views and a warm friendly welcome, the place has lot going for it. I'm pleased however that we played when the wind wasn't howling, because Mullion's exposed natural beauty would be hard to reconcile with severe problems controlling the golf ball.
Unlike Keith, I played this course in the height of Summer and it was certainly in good condition. I agree that the opening few holes are quite underwhelming (albeit the long par 3 opening hole is a real tester) but the course certainly comes to life on hole 6. A sheer drop - it’s a par 4 that in the summer can be reached in one with a mid iron. Still, I enjoyed the quirkiness.
7 was a great hole (albeit, not quite links) - it’s a solid par 4 that you should be happy walking off with a par. 8 was a pretty par 3 but the course hits its peak at hole 10. It is worth the Inevitable long drive for this hole alone - a great drive down the hill with a green nestled by the beach - this is truly stunning.
The par 3 11th is also a good hole playing from an elevated tee back away from the beach.
The holes are a bit hit and miss from there (but fun nonetheless) and I felt 18 was a strong and tough finishing hole.
Like Newquay and West Cornwall, this is a quirky course that isn’t world class but it sure is great fun and definitely worth playing if you’re in the area (or, like me, are happy to drive hours just to discover an interesting course). Will be back.
I’ve wanted to play Mullion for a number of years, as my local home course is also a member of the 1895 Club. Last Tuesday morning I finally made it down to the southernmost golf course on mainland Britain. It was blowing a gale and raining when we eventually pulled into the car park – ten minutes late for our tee time. With only half a dozen or so cars parked up, we didn’t think time would be an issue. Wrong. It was ladies’ competition day and we were ushered straight out onto the course. No time for coffee… Ah well.
I was frankly underwhelmed by the first five holes and then quite shocked when I arrived on the 6th tee. The wind was howling off the left and we both bade farewell to our golf balls, as they no doubt joined their friends in the adjacent rough down the right side of this impossibly tricky and rather unreasonable downhill short par four. The fairway of the 7th, billed as “one of Cornwall's finest stroke index one holes”, was partially under water, so it was playing as a long par three from what appeared to be a permanent forward tee box. Apparently this hole regularly floods.
At this point, bewildered by the hype surrounding Mullion, we arrived at the pretty and well-bunkered uphill par three 8th, before taking on the par five 9th, fondly known as “Cardiac Hill”, an unattractive hole with few redeeming features except for the jaw-dropping coastal view looking back down the hole from behind the green.
By now the rain had stopped, the sun was shining but the wind was still blowing hard. I was certainly unprepared for the splendour of the 10th hole. This was the best hole I played during a short 90-hole trip, which included Bude & North Cornwall, Newquay, Lelant and Ilfracombe. If I called Mullion’s par four 10th “stellar” it would be an understatement. A solid downhill tee shot (into the teeth of the wind) left a knee-jangling approach to a green that seemed to be clinging for its life to the very edge of Great Britain – pure unadulterated magic and a hole that will always be remembered. Jake S describes the 10th nicely in his review below.
#11, #12, and #13 are good holes and #14 was probably also good, but the main green was out of commission due to the greens staff top-dressing the surface. This hole played to a small and very scary temporary green that seemed way more permanent than any temporary winter green I’ve seen before. This tiny little putting surface seemed to jut out into infinity and beyond. The wind was blowing hard across the hole towards the cliff edge and all we could do was aim well left and hope for the best. It was one of the most daunting approach shots I’ve ever played. Needless to say we didn’t actually go for the green in two.
The excitement of #10 though #14 quickly disappeared at #15 as the routing returned inland to the rather pedestrian terrain shared by the opening five holes.
Despite a few ball-searching incidents we remained ahead of the ladies. Their lead twosome tried their best to catch us – the women don’t hang around here at Mullion.
I find it almost impossible to rate the course – it’s Jekyll and Hyde. A few of holes are truly brilliant but more than a few are mundane.
Would I recommend Mullion? Absolutely. I’d make the return trip just to play #10 to #14 and I’d keep my fingers crossed that the entirety of #7 was in play.
A fair review of what is a definitively "uneven" golf course.
We however played it in on a lovely Summer's day and it was a superbly quirky experience with constantly diverting views.
Not having a slice #6 was fine (despite the Adder warning signs) and #7 was fully in play, and one of the most memorable holes I've ever played.
My wife and I have played Mullion for over 50 years as holidaymaker..We finally joined the club (a good move) about 15 years ago. Keith has summed up Mullion very well.It is an uneven course.In the 80s and 90s in an attempt to lengthen the course and avoid safety issues as the beach got busier and golfballs and sunbathers would collide, several historic and spectacular holes were abandoned and replaced with some unimaginative holes,The 9th being top of the list.
However the views are spectaular, the wonderful club atmosphere and the enthusiasm and hard work of the tiny band of greenstaff and office staff puts many bigger clubs to shame.
AA Milne,A.Conan-Doyle and A.P.herbert played here together regularly. All wrote fondly of Mullion . Golf at Mullion is an historic and unique experience :I cant wait for my next visit despite the 9th hole!
Mullion is a real treat and holiday golf at its finest. Mullion has an eclectic mix of tasteful par 3s, short and long par 4s, and a couple of good hikes on the holes away from the sea and toward the clubhouse. In one of the most remarkable scenes in golf, to the right of the 10th green is a sandy beach, framed opposite by a stone chapel partially engulfed by rising dunes, with ocean waves crashing ashore, the sea sparkling beyond, and land’s end hazy in the distance. Good luck staying focused on your approach shot and putt! Local guides state that Conan Doyle and A.A. Milne played their summer golf here. If Mullion is good enough for Sherlock Holmes and Winnie-the-Pooh, it’s good enough for me. - Jake Starr
The course is situated between two coves and offers magnificent views across Mounts Bay to Land’s End. There are some really memorable holes at Mullion. The 4th hole provides a clifftop tee and is also the longest hole at 489 yards.
The short par four 6th slopes steeply downhill and to the right. Unless you aim left, you face the prospect of a lost ball. The long par four 7th leads to Gunwalloe Cove, the final resting place of many sunken ships. The old church bell-tower is your correct line.
The 9th is a par five of just 482 yards. However, you will realise this is no pushover when you see the steep uphill climb. The par four 10th descends to the beach but it is the second shot that poses all the problems as a ravine lies between the beach and the elevated green.
The 11th returns to the cliff edge. The 17th, described as ‘the warmest spot in England,’ is another very scenic part of the course. Mullion is rather short at only 6083 yards but on most days the wind will make up for the lack of length. You will be disappointed if you forget to bring your camera.
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.