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 firm, undulating and invariably 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?
“If you are a good golfer at Perranporth, you will be a great golfer anywhere else” remarked a member to us, prior to our round. It’s a sentence I hear a lot about certain courses, but at Perranporth, we were about to find out why…
I’d heard amazing things about the course both in design, vistas, and its rugged playing style, but had also been briefed about its blind tee shots, undulating fairways and most of all, (if you catch it on the wrong day), the weather can bring even the most accomplished links player to their knees.
We arrived to light rain, and a steady off shore breeze and were surprised to find the clubhouse closed (9.45am on a Sunday morning). We managed to barter our way into the bar area to seek refuge from the rain prior to our round, but no service was available which was unfortunate.
And so we assembled on the first tee in what was now a stronger wind (gusting 35 MPH) and heavy rain. The first tee doesn’t give you any clues as to what is to lie ahead as it’s a nice downhill opening hole and a good chance for a birdie to kickstart the round, but then the course bares it teeth from the 2nd hole which for me is one of the main signature holes of the course. 510 Yards uphill dogleg left Par 5 that plays every single one of its 510 yards, even when wind assisted. You tee off into a steep slope with a marker post taunting you, you then navigate through a spectacular undulating fairway to a beautifully framed green complex with the ocean looming behind like a blue sightscreen. Other notable holes are the Par 5 11th hole with an amazing benched green that requires you to adjust club selection to get it up on top and the two short Par 4s of 12 & 13 offer differing strategies of attack.
If you have scored well on the opening 15 holes, then be prepared for a tough 3 holes to close out your round, as the 209 yard Par 3, 392 Yard Par 4 and 289 Yard Par 4 18th all go in different directions, so the wind will play a huge factor on these closing holes. The 18th being a very quirky risk/reward par 4 which asks that one final question of what will have been a tough days golf!
The other noteable aspect of the course is the sheer number of blind shots you are asked to play. On some holes you are required to hit two blind shots before the green is visible and this will certainly grind some mid/higher handicappers down. It is a feature of this course and one that will divide opinion.
There is no doubt that Perranporth is very good and challenging course, in fact you would be hard pushed to find a more stern examination of your golf game on a blustery day on the coast, but it is a course that I would imagine you would enjoy a lot more the 2nd time around, as at least that way you’d have an idea what lies beyond those many MANY marker posts. Be prepared for a wild ride!
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Perranporth GC absolutely blown away by this place, outrageously good, views that must be the amongst the best in the world. True James Braid layout with so many blind tee shots and risk reward shots on offer, took so many pictures would have to post 3 or 4 times and still not be done, over shadowed by other courses in the area still yet to play but they will have to go some to beat this place.
Perranporth is a unique, a real links course laid out on the side of a hill, not natural golfing terrain by any stretch of the imagination but it does work just about. I played at the end of April in cool, dry and relatively still conditions with the rough barely up, probably as easy conditions you’ll ever get there. The views are glorious and help you get through the unrelenting toughness of the front nine, crazy levels of undulation combined with blind shots and landing zones that launch the ball in all sort of unlikely places, I’ll put that down the dry and firm conditions, I don’t imagine it’s often like that given the amount of rain that normally falls in Cornwall. It all feels something of a grind, basically up and down several times, only the 7th hold stood out for me. Thankfully coming back the course is routed over much more sensible terrain with some rolling undulation as it carves it way through some large dunes, in fact from 11 onwards the course is great and makes you forget the misery of the front 9. Given it was early in the season the condition was a little scruffy and greens were slow but a blast of warm weather should fix that. I feel you need to play Perranporth for the experience at least once. While I can appreciate the architecture, quality of many holes I have no desire to play it again, the back 9 is class but isn’t enough to erase the memory of the front 9. I’m surprised its ranked ahead of Trevose which is a much more consistent course on every level and a greater number of quality holes overall.
I have heard the 'marmite' analogy used on many golf courses, including Perranporth. Yet nowhere is it more apt than on Budnic Hill.
Sadly for me, there were too many blind tee shots, the elevation changes that some may enjoy and the slow pace of play all contributed to me being firmly in the 'thanks but no thanks' camp.
I tried very hard to like Perranporth, I played well yet still lost 5 balls due to the course planner being at best, a bit off the mark.
Some of the views are stunning and the course was in good condition but for me, it was a miss.
Marketing tag-lines aside, I’ve always suspected those who don’t like Marmite were born without tastebuds
First things first... I love links golf, enjoy the challenge of blind shots (providing clear lines with marker posts are visible), James Braid courses (always a little quirky), and in response to an earlier review, I also like Marmite...
However I just could not love Perranporth due in part to the severe undulations on the front nine. After a forgiving opener down the hill, the 2nd rises some 90 odd foot for the first 300 yards, literally like driving into a wall whilst similar scale changes in elevation are present on the 3rd and 5th. Land with amazing views but perhaps not the best for golf. With the exception of 4 and 7, the rest of the holes on the front 9 are a bit similar in character to the first, straight and either up or down hill.
The 4th is an excellent semi blind par 3 into a bowl whilst the 7th requires a bold blind drive over dunes and then a slight uphill blind second over a marker post sitting on smaller dunes to a thin green with a swale sitting in front. On the front nine, these are for me, the only truly great and dare i say 'real' golf holes expected of a top100 course.
The back nine is so much better. Played on a flatter but still undulating stretch in, around and through some decent sized dunes. Indeed holes 11-17 are excellent with the 11th an exceptional par 5 where a large mound dictates where you place your 2nd shot (short and left or over the mound towards the raised green). The 12th an excellent short par 4, like many of the other holes on the back 9, requiring driving over or around large mounds which frame the holes perfectly. 18 is a bit of a weak finish, an ok hole in it's own right but would be better suited around the middle of the round.
Unfortunately my visit coincided with course care the preceding week. No mention of this on the website or at time of booking and to be honest, I wouldn't have bothered playing had I have known. Tining of greens (which i fully appreciate need to take place at this time of year) did not appear to have been top dressed in any way, leaving perforations over every green that caused the ball to bounce on any putt longer than 10ft. Shorter putts getting stuck in tramlines of tine holes. A real shame as it ruined the experience and they had an underlying pace that seemed reasonably good and certainly quicker than St Enedoc which I played earlier in the week.
After the front 9, I'd pretty much decided this was seaside pay and play holiday golf. Untidy and scruffy tees, built on land more suitable for walking than golf, and where a six ball sharing clubs were happily playing the 18th whilst i was waiting to play the short driveable downhill 8th. The back 9 saved it for me but only so far. There is only a handful of bunkers across the entire course despite there being many places where they could improve holes. Furthermore across the course conditioning was a little disappointing and combined with a very tired clubhouse makes me wonder whether the finances are all ok? If you want the views, you may be better off just walking it. If you play it, definitely worth getting a course planner as a lot of blind shots. So there you have it, it is possible to be largely ambivalent to Marmite...
A simply beautiful place to play links golf. Poldark style cliff top sea views and a challenging but fair James Braid course.
Although there are clear marker posts on each tee whenever the shot is blind I highly recommend you buy the course guide in the pro shop before your round. You will be glad of it due to the many elevation changes and uphill holes. It offered me reassurance anyway!
I played the course on a sunny early September day with about a 1/2 a club wind, which must have been quite benign compared to usual conditions. The elevation changes would have made club selection even more difficult had the wind been higher.
I shot 81 for a net 73 which I was really happy with playing the course blind.
Highlights for me included the 5th, which at 118 yards was almost like playing the postage stamp in reverse, it being completely uphill. Not heeding the warning in the guide book I pitched my ball at the front of the green and had to watch it slowly fall back into the pot bunker waiting below.
I also enjoyed the doubly blind 5th & 11th holes. The 11th green being not only elevated but also running off downhill at the back. A really difficult approach.
Overall a visually stunning place to play. I also want to mention how welcoming and friendly everyone was, from the lady who answered my phone call to book the round, to the pro shop, the guys out on the course and the bar steward. Don’t go on holiday to Cornwall without playing here.
Amazing course, every hole has it’s own quirky identity. Playing this for the first time was the biggest challenge on a golf course I’ve had to date with lots of blind tee shots leading to infinity green views on most the holes, it’s by far the most picturesque golf course around. It’s very challenging and quite unforgiving with very fast rolling greens. For me this course is by far the best in Cornwall and should be played before any of the other over priced courses, for a natural links course with the best views in Cornwall play Perranporth. Ohh and it was only £30, best value for money golf course out there.
It says a lot about a course when you don’t play well but come away wanting to play it again and again.
Enjoy the challenge.
Wonderful fun golf course with drama throughout. Reminded me of the outstanding Carne course on Ireland's west coast. Yes it's quirky and the elevation at times is extreme and there are multiple blind shots both off the tee and on some approaches. Probably would never be built today but that's even more reason to cherish and embrace this interesting and wild links. Thoroughly deserving its status in the top 100 GB&I links
"Do you like Marmite?" I was asked the question in the professional's shop before our debut round on the links at Perranporth which we were warned we would love or hate.
Indeed, on our week in Cornwall, almost every golfer we have encountered has warned us of the blind shots and the inevitability of losing several balls.
In the pro's shop, I was advised that I would amass no better than mid to late 20 Stableford points even if I was having a good day. Thus, I was rather chipper to have walked off the 18th with 35 and finish with the ball with which I started.
This was all the more surprising because the mist which rolled in during our second nine was so thick we could barely see the flag on the par 3 16th and had to take provisional balls off the 17th tee, even though it transpired we had hit straight down the middle.
From the opening shot on the 1st hole, down to a green framed by the backdrop of the seaside town which lends the links its name, Perranporth, is a delight.
Yes, there are many blind tee shots but straight play is rewarded and the slopes are not as dramatic as many seaside tracks we have played.
The hallmark of Perranporth is its scenery - particularly in the front nine when the beach comes into view on most of the holes.
I was a particular fan of the 2nd - a par five with two blind shots before a green on the cliff edge.
Then there are the many raised greens, including the dramatic ninth and startling 11th.
To be honest, I have played on truer greens. These were pretty slow and flatter than most courses we have played on our top 100 quest.
And this isn't a long course - I'm a moderate hitter and regularly found my way to greens in regulation.
But it is fun because it encapsulates the ups and downs of links golf. Do I like Marmite? Apparently, I do.
I have a huge soft spot for Perranporth. One of my first introductions to links golf and it’s still up there as one of the most dramatic and natural links courses I have come across.
It’s certainly not long and if you don’t like blind shots, you probably won’t be a fan of this place but, for me, there is such variety, such beauty and, when the wind blows, such a challenge that it really is a special place.
I don’t really get the criticism of people saying it is too easy or not much of a challenge. St Andrews is easy for the pros when the wind isn’t blowing but that doesn’t make it a poor course or one that isn’t interesting (just to clarify, I am not comparing Perranporth to St Andrews but it is the principle I am alluding to).
James Braid has used the wild sand dunes here brilliantly and despite the lack of bunkers (I don’t think these are necessarily needed), you need to be striking the ball well to score here.
The first hole is the easiest drive on the course but with the ground all running away from you and to the left (towards the greenside bunker) this is not an easy approach. The second hole has a blind drive and a blind second between the dunes but it’s great fun trying to see where your ball has ended up.
Hole 4 is a very demanding par 3 across the wasteland and long grass that needs a well-struck long iron to carry 190 yards or your ball will be running away towards the beach and the OB stakes.
Other highlights include the par 4 7th with a great blind drive over the dunes followed by a semi-blind approach into a sort of punchbowl green, 14 is a brilliant par 4 through the dunes to an elevated green and 16 is a stunning par 3 played downhill towards the town.
18 is the weakest hole on the course but when you’ve enjoyed 17 holes that are this dramatic and exciting, you can let that go.
Whilst some people have said more bunkers should be used, I don’t think this course should be treated like other traditional links courses. When half of the drives are blind, adding in punitive pot bunkers just doesn’t seem right. I enjoy this natural links course just as it is and I’m glad it’s finally been recognised in the Cornish rankings (2nd is about right).