With glorious views across the headland and the famous surfing beach of Fistral, Newquay Golf Club was formed in 1890 when a 4,325-yard links was laid out for the founding members.
Newquay Golf Club survives today due to rioting by farmers and fisherman who opposed the building of The Headland Hotel on the site where they grazed their livestock and dried their nets. Despite the riots, the hotel was finished and is now a striking and ever-present landmark, however the planned housing estate was not developed and so the links survived.
When additional leased land became available in the early 1900s, Harry Colt was called in to ring the changes. The following paragraph was published in the Newquay Golf Club Centenary Book:
“Mr. Colt had laid out the new course in the most approved modern style of golf planning, dog-leg holes being one of the chief features. Many bunkers had been made and others filled up, and no expense had been spared in the effort to make the best possible use of the course.”
The course Colt laid out more than one hundred years ago is essentially the 6.141-yard layout that’s in play today. The routing is far from out-and-back. Holes loop this way and that across land which at first glance looks uninspiring. The entire course slopes away quite markedly from the clubhouse down towards Fistral Beach, but the layout doesn’t feel hilly.
A sunken sandy footpath dissects the northernmost third of the links and this walkway must be negotiated six times during a round. Golfers will hardly spot beach walkers on this path from the fairways, whereas brightly coloured boards carried on surfers’ shoulders are more likely to seen. After all, Fistral Beach is the home of British surfing.
I definitely agree with some of the previous reviews of Newquay that it’s a quality layout and worthy adding to any visit to Cornwall. While it doesn’t reach the heights of some of its more illustrious north coast neighbours there is a lot to savour.
Set out on what nowadays some prime real estate (given what borders the course) and resembling a half pipe which slopes down to Fistral beach there are some real climbs and falls which the course uses to good effect, Google maps does not do it justice. Your calf muscles will carry the memory next day.
The course really gets going from the 3rd, a cracking downhill par 4 which has some clever bunker placements, anything landing on the left hand side will likely end up in a bunker. They are proper hazards (as are most of them on the course), getting your ball out and decent yardage is the best you can hope for unless you have Seve like skills. Then back up the hill to arrive on the 5th tee, the highest point on the course and one of the most enjoyable tee shots. Play for position with a long iron or try to drive the green and bring a lot of trouble into play. After that work your way along the bottom of the course, 7 and 8 being excellent short and long holes. You’ll then play back and forward across the course, 12 a great mid length par 4, bolder you are with you line shortens your approach but brings the bunkers into play ending any chance of finding the green in regulation. The closing holes are pretty average in comparison to the highlights, this sums up the course, plenty of great holes but lacks the consistency of higher ranked courses.
Turf qualify was good and running fast however a good number of holes have a weed problem. Greens were all good and very large , had plenty of pace, 3 putts all too easy if you found your ball above the hole. Its a tougher course than its modest length suggest mainly down to the excellent bunker placements especially on the fairways which funnel balls into them if not landed on the right place. I felt this was similar to its neighbour Perranporth but a lot more fun!
I play with a bunch of pros (and often wonder why I’m included). This is a course we play every year because it’s both challenging and beautiful.
When you arrive at Newquay GC, you are met in the car park by the clubhouse reminiscent of a scene from a children’s novel. A striking white castle design which brings distant resemblance to Wentworth’s famous white bastion.
The club has been welcoming players since 1890, with its main draw being the stunning views along Fistral Beach and glorious sunny weather in season. Although we encountered some light rain and inshore winds which brought out teeth on some holes on the course.
The Harry Colt re-designed 18-hole course measures 6141 yards long off the Blue tees which does provide a stern test for a par 69. I’m a real fan of being able to see large portions of the golf course, and from the 1st tee Newquay offers you a beautiful vista of what is ahead.
Main highlights include the Par 5 8th hole, which follows the contours of the coastline and is a genuine par 5. Even though the hole itself is dead straight (It measures 533 off the tips) but will always have wind off the sea or off the land which means that shot shaping on a straight hole is vital. There is Colt-esque bunkering in play all down the hole and you play over the guarded pedestrian footpath to an elevated benched green.
The other key stand out hole is the Par 4 12th. A gentle dogleg left playing 383 yards, so it is very gettable, but again the superb bunkering on this hole can catch out even the most accomplished of players, you then play your second up to another elevated benched green which offers more views of the surrounding landscape.
Newquay was a bonus course, thrown in at the last moment for our trip to Cornwall and it was a genuine surprise. Entertaining and kept your attention from start to finish. Don’t expect perfection. The clubhouse will need regenerating in the few years, some areas on the peripheries of the course could use some maintenance and the greens were fast but did have the odd blemish.
Whilst it may always find itself a level below the top tier Cornish venues, it would be well worth an inclusion if you are looking for something a little different. It’s fun coastal clifftop golf and doesn’t pretend to be anything more.
Cornwall really is a golfing treat, littered with quality golf courses (both links and inland) and it shows the strength that it has as a region that Newquay sits in 7th overall for the area. It is a good test and more importantly, good fun, so well worth a visit while in the area.
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Newquay GC excellent links course with best greens of the week so far, interesting layout with the backdrop of fistral beach a bonus. Some excellent holes with excellent green complexes and bunkering, elevated greens and I would expect that the course would always play hard and fast throughout the summer months. Definitely worth a game if your local, what you see is what you get including the few holes that you play across the public footpath almost like a "chicken run"with the constant stream of surfers heading for the beach, though clever mounding and runway type fencing make for a safe passage for all without effecting play.
After staying for a night in the luxurious Headland Hotel last year (highly recommended), I’d dismissed Newquay Golf Club as holiday golf and travelled to Perranporth instead. The Headland overlooks the course and from the hotel front, Newquay appears to be a somewhat open field, but that’s far from the truth. Fortunately, on a recent trip back to Cornwall for a post-lockdown golf tour, I decided to give the course a shot and it massively exceeded my expectations.
What a beautiful place this is. The holes are located on the incline overlooking Fistral Beach, a location famed much more for its surf than its golf. With a County Card I paid £27 for the pleasure and there are a lot of fun holes out there with a good degree of challenge making that excellent value for money. The course measures just over 6,100 yards and as a par 69, despite its openness and beautiful seaside views on display, this is no walk in the park. Whilst I’m sure that the course has been altered and upgraded over the years, the bunkering has stayed true to its Harry Colt roots and the conditioning was excellent, particularly considering the harsh Winter, dry Spring and what I’d expect was limited maintenance during lockdown.
From the off, I found the bumpy fairways an unexpected treat and that instantly dispelled my presumption that this is just a linksy field on a hillside. There are some superb holes out there. The 4th is one of my favourites on the front nine and plays over a pair of large fairway bunkers uphill to a benched green - benched greens are a regular feature of the course, as they also reappear at 12, 14 and 17.
The 5th too is a lovely par four that plays along the boundary line into the corner of the plot set beside the beach. Good holes then keep coming; 7 being a beautiful par three with a mounded green and a large vertical fall-away to the front left into an ugly deep bunker. This is before the footpath holes then start to come into play mid-round which represents an unusual challenge, and probably not something everyone will enjoy, particularly higher handicap golfers.
9 is another lovely par three, also elevated and surrounded by bunkers, this hole felt very Colty. 10 and 11 for me then represented the most ordinary stretch of golf, but to remedy that, the best hole on the course at 12 then arrives with a wide angled fairway playing into another one of those benched greens set into the hillside with embedded greenside bunkers. This is all laid out in front of harshly contrasting swish apartment blocks. The repetitive nature of traversing over the footpath (there must be a half-dozen of these holes) started to wear a little thin later in the round but I wouldn’t want that to take away from what I’d consider to be a beautifully designed and well bunkered course. At £27 for a round, I can confidently conclude by saying that I’ve never played a better course with cheaper green fees. A must-play if in the area.
Newquay divides opinion amongst our Society like no other course.
I think it's great fun, excellent value holiday golf with superb views and fun features like the slit trenches taking people to the beautiful beach.
Another good links course in the South West that exceeds expectations. The county ranking here is probably about right. This course is a few grades below the bigger hitters in this county but it is still definitely worth a visit.
Some great holes here - especially all the par 3s including the 2nd (a long semi-blind par 3 at about the 200 yard mark), the 6th (great par 3 from an elevated tee to an island green on a dune) and the 9th (a short uphill par 3 that is surrounded by bunkers). 14 is a great hole that doglegs to the left with some penal bunkers preventing you from getting too greedy and 18 is a solid finishing hole.
My only issue with the course is the pathway that cuts through the course (which you have to hit over a number of times). For whatever reason, pedestrians, properties or cars in my eyeline does a lot more to give me the jitters than any water hazard or bunker can manage. I know there’s not much the club can do as it is a public footpath but my blood pressure would be a lot healthier if the club invested in a slightly more protective net for the walkers!
Overall though, great value for money for a fun links course.
Correction: what I described as hole 14 above, is actually the 12th. I see below that Keith got the holes mixed up too so we are all human.
This is one of the most underrated courses in the country. It may not have the beast factor St Enedoc but in terms of playability it far exceeds its more distinguished rival.
I’m just back from a trip with professional to 18 handicap golfers and we played this course 6 times. We didn’t need to play anywhere else. It’s really that good. Each hole has its own character. It’s very scoreable - a few of us best par but equally 10 over was more common. So it’s a real test too, especially with the wind changes. But even if this were an average course (which it most certainly is not) it would have to be rated highly just for the sensational views on EVERY HOLE. If this was a longer course it would certainly be on the open rota. A brilliantly designed track with the best views of any golf course in the country surely.
Possibly the biggest (and most outrageous) comment on this website...."certainly be on the open rota". Agreed it's a good course but not that good.
On a visit to the South-West that entailed no less than seven links courses Newquay proved to be the surprise package of the lot.
Perhaps it was our pre-conceptions that due largely to its popular seaside location this links would offer up little more than ‘holiday’ golf. We were proved to be wrong. Very wrong. And happy to be so.
After a relatively slow start the course, which has hosted many county events, springs into life at the uphill par four fourth which has a green cut into the side of a large dune. Ominous looking bunkers appear closer than they actually are from the tee but must still be crossed with the uphill approach.
The sweeping downhill fifth has a magnificent backdrop of Fistral Bay and requires a deft approach whilst the next dog-legs in the opposite direction and uphill to a majestic green atop of a large rolling sandhill. After you have played the short but superbly crafted par three seventh you are left in no doubt that this is a course worth visiting.
The bunkering is another strong point at Newquay. Here you will find fearsomely deep hazards, especially guarding the greens, where escape rather than precision becomes the primary objective. Holiday golf this is not.
In summary Newquay has half a dozen or so holes that wouldn’t look out of place on some of the more revered links in the South-West. And despite a handful of weaker holes it is a course that does not disappoint. Whilst I wouldn’t class Newquay as ‘holiday’ golf it is certainly somewhere I would consider playing if holidaying in Newquay.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
An interesting course packed full of surprising features given the initial impression one gets from Google earth. You can see the whole course just about all the time and each hole has enough to provide you with a solid course. Very few stock standard straight up and down holes and plenty of undulations to keep you guessing.
There is not an abundance of rough but what there is is well placed. Good bunkers and sound greens. Scorched, bone dry turf promises a round of pure links golf. And is definitely not a push over.
This is the first of 17 games I am playing over the next 12 days covering every links course from West Cornwall to Pennard. I’ll rank them all at the end. Warren from Aust.
You have a great trip planned Warren - Kudos.
Will look forward to hearing about what follows - Enjoy!
...this also highlights why golf course enthusiasts could use some kind of networking facility - perhaps you’ve already sorted yourself out, but I’d love to have known about such a comprehensive regional exploration to show you around my own club in the area - you’re probably playing just one round and joining a member could complement your own experience (and vice-versa)
BB, Just saw your message. Yes, if Keith etal could just add a drop down menu option labelled "Social" then we'd be on our way.