Perranporth Golf Club is heading upwards in the Top 100 rankings. It's highly regarded by you and it's no surprise. Located in Poldark country, on North Cornwall's dramatic Atlantic coastline, this natural links course is sited on high ground, ensuring enchanting views across Perran Bay, where the sandy beach glistens and the aquamarine ocean sparkles.
In 1927, the great James Braid designed the Perranporth links and his layout has remained virtually unchanged ever since. J.Hamilton-Stutt (golf course consultant and architect) was impressed with Braid's Perranporth and he said that the course "is not only a rare and priceless heritage, but the inspiration on which all other golf courses ever built throughout the world are based".
If you don't like blind shots, steer clear of Perranporth. There are seven blind drives and numerous blind/semi-blind approach shots, causing a few challenges, especially when playing the links for the first time and when the ground is hard and fast. The Perranporth landscape is lunar, with a capital L. The holes wend their way relentlessly up and down the dunes. It's a tiring, fun and totally engaging experience.
The course measures a modest 6,252 yards from the back tees, with a par of 72. It is by no means long, but rest assured, Perranporth will challenge the very best golfers because every shot in the book will be required. If you suffer from a lack of balance, take your stabilisers; you will be presented with many varied sloping lies. A quick word about the greens - they are excellent, hard, undulating and fast. Many are sited on raised plateaux, calling for skilful approach shots.
Perranporth is a natural and honest golf course that you need to get to know to love. Play it more than once. It is probably the most underrated links course in the South West of England and should be taken alongside St Enodoc, Trevose and West Cornwall. The stunning views are worthy of the excellent value green fee alone. The welcome is warm and friendly too. What more can any serious golfer wish for?
Perranporth. What a roller coaster ride. Be sure to visit Perranporth wearing your best suit of armour and come prepared for the battle as this course is routed across some of the craziest links terrain you’ll have seen. The course is dotted with marker posts as blind shots are found at every turn. There are large climbs and steep drop-offs as you play across elevated duneland on the side of a hill surrounded by beautiful views of the nearby bay area.
I personally love the course, but if there were going to be criticisms, one could maybe suggest that the topography is on the cusp of being too severe for routing a golf course over, so this place won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Greens are set high on plateaus and on the side of hills as well as being sunken into dunes. Elephants and all sorts of other beasts are seemingly buried into fairways, and hardly a fair bounce exists out there, so do yourself a favour and leave the scorecard in your bag and just enjoy the ride.
I’ve spoken to many people who think this place is criminally underrated, and for me it competes with Silloth in being the best value round in the country. If your time in Cornwall is limited, then you’ll find Perranporth makes a far more unique experience than the more lauded Trevose, and it comes without any of the flash presentation that often blights the more tourist friendly courses. Believe me, just go.
With a 9 am start time Perranporth was a worthy second 18 on this particular lovely day. I’ll admit to having seen photos in advance and even having a bit of an idea what was to be expected. Happily Perranporth didn’t disappoint.
After a solid first par 4 first hole and standing on the tee box of the second I was happy to have the caddy book in hand. A first go around this course is a bit of an adventure. It’s full of Old School quirk and the second hole presents the first strong introduction. Playing steeply uphill a solid drive leaves a blind second shot played into or just over large fairway humps and bumps. The approach into the green seems to be blind from most angles depending on the distance you leave. The surface of this green is tough to see given its sunken nature.
The par 4 third plays down to the fairway leaving a crazy approach up the steep face of a hill to a smallish green with a hidden surface. Quite the tricky approach to judge given the steep uphill nature.
The course continues affording one adventurous shot after another, many of which are blind. The next par 5 for example has a blind second shot after which it drops steeply with the hugely undulating and rolling terrain. I would say this property borders the extreme in terms of an ideal golf landscape however Braid makes it work and that truly shows the brilliance he possessed. The back 9 continues steeply up the hill from the clubhouse with a semi-blind tee shot, then serves up several blind or semi blind shots in a row. A couple of which are really testing and straight drives are essential as are proper choices of clubs. Too far to either side can be trouble but so can too far along a straight line.
Most certainly this is a course to be played several times before you could really get used to it and know where to look for your ball. It’s not for everyone but it’s very charming and shows how creative golf used to be.
I’d highly recommend multiple visits to Perranporth but warn you to be prepared for a wild ride and keep an open mind, you can easy lose some balls out there but one thing is for sure, you won’t be bored and likely will have a wonderful time.
Shiver Me Timbers, this place is excellent!
The first hole might be a gentle downhill drive and mid iron to an infinity green site introducing a lovely view, but from then on it’s all hands on deck as you negotiate a stormy ride to all points of the compass through twisted swirling links terrain.
The par 5 second is an excellent challenge and links landlubbers will wonder what’s hit them. You may face your first blind shot on this hole, and it won’t be your last. For some golfers this is like walking the plank, but it’ll make others feel like a buccaneering version of Tom Daley.
The 3rd offers a magnificent crow’s nest view of the hole and ocean laid out before you. You then try to judge your second shot perfectly to the poop deck of a green high up above you. And so it goes on. Each hole feels different to the last and often isn’t revealed until you reach the next tee. And even then you might not see too much on your first shot. Anticipation is everything here. It’s not a long course and there’s only a handful of bunkers (8 or 9 I counted), but the land and wind alone will serve to scuttle your hopes of a bountiful score.
Following my round I conducted some further investigations (Google, “Perranporth”, I feel lucky, Enter) and discovered that in the ancient Celtic Cornish language, “Perran Porth” actually means “Batten down the hatches you scurvy seadog”. Not surprising at all.
At risk of visiting Davy Jones’s locker, my only criticism would be that the green surrounds don’t always match the quality of the green sites themselves, or the fairways, or the views on offer. There could also be an argument for 2-3 fairway bunkers throughout the 18 holes. Maybe.
These are minor gripes by a fussy old Scallywag though. By my standards, this is a booty-full golf course which avoids the green fee piracy of lesser coastal courses. It’s links like this that prove England truly rules the golfing waves: quality, variety, strength in depth, and accessibility are all encapsulated here. It is undoubtedly a vital member of this country’s incomparable golfing flotilla. The only thing missing at Perranporth is a Jolly Roger on every flagstick, for this is a swashbuckling adventure that every serious golfer should plunder before they too become shark bait
Perranporth- As part of an 11 course march thru SW England and around bend to play a couple Wales courses....This course was the one which impressed beyond expectations. The draw to the area was St Enodoc. The course which stood out was Perranporth. Perranporth is just unique. It rolls over a massive duneland atop the hillside overlooking the bay and village. The views are majestic and the course is similar. Having played with a walking tracking devise...the walk was near twice as hilly as St Enodoc which is referred to as Hilly....Ha..Many times you trust the line via the pole stabbed in the ground at the apex of the land. Even once on a long par 3 a pole is positioned. It is a busy club. It should be a priority for you if you haven't been. It captures all of the shots, not a level lie on the entire property. It is fun and special. I was aware it was under rated...I find it comical that everyone says that and yet the course doesn't climb the lists after receiving excellent reviews....Puzzling. This course is well deserving of a trip to play it...Just do it. You will fall in love.
Wow, What a course! No boring holes, just one great hole following another. A solid, if not spectacular opening hole is the gateway to a course that surprised me continually. If you don’t like blind shots avoid this course. I love them because it means I am likely to be playing in rolling dunes. The whole course is set throughout the most interesting golf territory I have so far experienced. I thought Cruden bay was relentless with the dunes but this is more so.
The outward 9 gives more opportunity to hit driver off the tees as the inward 9 needs smart play off the tee to be in a position to attack the flag. This is impossible the first time you play this course. You take aim over the marker post and hope for the best. Often you think you have nailed it say 5 metres to either side of it only to find yourself halfway up a hillock in wispy stuff. It all makes sense once you look back on the hole.
Interestingly there are three long par 5s all well over 500 yards but no par 4s in the 400-500 yard range. They are all high 200s through to high 300s. To play this course a second time would have to result in 5+ less shots. Placement off the tee is essential. Such a pleasing course, I have no hesitation in giving this 6 balls, despite the last hole being the only average hole on the course. The road across the front of the green which you cannot see from the tee, and it being low 300s downhill, means there must be some close calls. To me it leaves North Berwick in the shade for quirkiness and has it comfortably over St Enodoc. Warren from Aust
Warren I’m glad you are enjoying your trip to Cornwall. This is a fantastic area with some extremely underrated courses such as Perranporth. I loved this course and would play it again in a moment. The comparisons to Cruden Bay and North Berwick are appropriate and justified for this wonderful layout. I hope you made it to Padstow to enjoy some of the fantastic restaurants there while you were in the area!
Richard, a mix of pub food and 3pound meal deals kept me going for my trip. I have eaten at Rick Steins in Mollymook, NSW south coast though so not far away.
If you like your links golf a little bit on the extreme side (I do) then you will love Perranporth. It not only has a ‘wow’ factor, it has several of them!
It’s crazy, it’s radical, it’s wild, it’s raw, it’s eccentric, it’s indulgent, it’s fun, it’s frenzied, it’s frantic, it’s quirky and it’s exhilarating. Above all else… it’s a truly amazing golfing experience.
However, for all its spirit of adventure please don’t think this isn’t a serious golf course for one moment though. The course embodies so many things that are good about links golf; strategy and options abound.
Not only is Perranporth bursting with life it is often a reflection of life. At times you may be in the lap of the gods after you have struck your ball; not everything you get is deserved and sometimes it works the other way round. But in many ways that is the essence of links golf, the essence of life also.
Playing here certainly makes you feel alive.
Perranporth may not be for everyone but if you don’t instantly love this course I feel you are yet to see the light. Memories of my first round here are ones that will stay with me for a lifetime.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Perranporth has been on my hit list for years as we holiday in north Cornwall a lot but I've mainly played either the Championship course at Trevose or the Hollywell Course at St Enodoc. On this trip I decided to travel down a bit further and I was royally rewarded. I had heard a lot of great things about this James Braid designed course - the views, the blind shots, the dune-like layout and wasn't disappointed. Unlike its posher, more famous neighbours, this is wilder, more of a thinking person's course. It doesn't have the glamour, but it makes up for it in spades - a classic and honest links course.
Teed off at 8.30 and was round, on my own in exactly 3 hours. It was a truly memorable experience in poor drizzle and misty conditions. After a relatively mundane 1st hole, the action gets going at the par 5 second hole with an uphill blind tee shot followed by a second blind shot towards the green. It's hard to pick out favourites - there are a few holes like the first that fade a little from memory but so many that I can picture because of where I went awry but also because of unusual features or quirks. But the layout is a mixture of holes that criss-cross the dunes utilising the natural hills and valleys as well as those that are a bit flatter. At the turn you are heading for higher ground and towards the sea more so wind plays a major factor. The course isn't that long so I'd advise putting away your driver and working on accuracy with a 3w or long iron off the tee. Many greens are raised so if you miss, you face a struggle to get up and down - there are lots of steep run offs and punitive rough everywhere. The fairways and greens were in superb condition after week of rain and the pro-shop, bar and members are all very friendly. Extremely good value and superb fun!
A kind of paradise this. An unremarkable first hole and a half, but then once you get to your 3rd shot on the par 5 second, 3 and a half hours await traversing giant dunes on cliffs so high you feel you're on the edge of the world. it is stunning.
It is tremendous fun, with blind shots aplenty, and all sorts of quirkiness with holes just following the lie of the land, you really need to think your way round. Pure golf. If only the greens were in better nick, I'd give it a 6 ball.
Perranporth is a wild untamed links that provides stirring views and a tremendous amount of fun and exhilarating golf. This has to be the most stunning venues for a links course which I have ever played. From the downhill first through the massive rolling dunes throughout the property, you have the distinct feeling of being out of balance throughout the round. My wife and I played in a 15-20 mph wind which brought out the true characteristics of the course.
There are many excellent holes here and no bad ones. As a lover of classic links golf I reveled in the numerous blind shots and wild exotic bounces that my ball would take. It is all too easy to be distracted by the views along the Cornish coast and down to the town of Perranporth. Make no mistake, this is serious golf but a fun ride nonetheless. The three par 5's at 2, 5 and 11 are all excellent holes that require sold play to negotiate the twists and turns of the course and the excellent and sloping green complexes. The par 3 fourth is a tremendous challenge. The green has a high mound to the right and a sharp drop off to the left. The prudent play is probably to lay up to the flat area in front of the green and then pitch up.
On the back nine back to back blind tee shots were encountered at 12 and 13,which were directly into the wind, followed by two excellent par 4's at 14 and 15. The short downhill 18th recreates some of the feel of the first, but appropriate for a short hole the green has a severe slope in front and a similar drop off in the back. James Braid had a genius for working with hilly terrain as anyone who has played the King's and Queen's courses at Gleneagles as well as St. Enodoc can attest.
I truly loved this course and I can't wait to play it again. My wife is a relative beginner, and she struggled some with the dunes and hills, but she definitely enjoyed her day. A fun golf course with stunning views is a great combination and I would encourage others to visit and play this fine course. Click the link to read my Atlantic Coast Golf Links story. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee