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?
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
A yardage of 6272 is quite respectable for a hilly course with the longest hole, the 561-yard 11th, appropriately named ‘Formidable’. You won’t have played any course with names as good as Perranporth’s first two holes – ‘Yn Nans’ (Downhill) and ‘Whym Wham’ (This way and That).
Spectacular views out to sea and across the sandy inlet abound from all parts of the course and a number of greens are alarmingly close to the cliffs and dunes running along the shore line. It is hard to concentrate on your putting when you look up from the 4th and 12th green, in particular.
Index 1 is the 14th (‘Braid’s Finest’) which is a super par four reminiscent of holes at Ballybunion or Lahinch. A dune protects the left of the green and anywhere right is straight down the cliff. When Perranporth dries out in the summer season, your ball control and short game will be fully tested.
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.