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.
Date: August 14, 2020