St Enodoc (Church) - Cornwall - England

St Enodoc Golf Club,
Rock,
Wadebridge,
Cornwall,
PL27 6LD,
England


  • +44 (0) 1208 862200

  • Golf Club Website

  • 4 miles NW of Wadebridge

  • Contact in advance – handicap certificate required


Some Cornish people regard Cornwall not as a county of England, but a Celtic independent province. Not wishing to offend anybody we will simply say that Cornwall is a beautiful part of the British Isles, a place where the influence of the sea is everywhere.

The golf course at St Enodoc Golf Club is no exception. It’s located at the royal sailing town of Rock, the links overlooking the Camel Estuary and the picturesque harbour of Padstow beyond. The Church course at St Enodoc takes its name from the tiny 13th century place of worship that stands to the right of the 10th green. In the middle of the 19th century, a fierce storm completely covered the church in sand and it was eventually extricated in 1863.

Although St Enodoc Golf Club was founded in 1891, it didn’t really become notable until James Braid refashioned the course in 1907. In his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, Bernard Darwin wrote: “Cornwall has several pleasant courses… of these, St Enodoc is a course of wonderful natural possibilities and actual virtues as well.”

In the book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, authors John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming had this to say: “The course was altered in 1922 by another hand, the new 8th hole being added and construction of the 11th and 12th in place of the 11th, 12th and 13th. Later, Tom Simpson built a new 6th, which is the 5th on the modern course. Further work was necessary in 1935 because a new clubhouse had to be built to accommodate the increased number of golfers, due to motor cars. Braid was invited to construct a new 17th in place of the 18th and reversed the 1st to make a new 18th. The holes were then renumbered.”

St Enodoc is certainly a quixotic and rather hilly links course, set amidst towering sand dunes clad with tufts of wild sea grasses.

"Seaside Golf" by John Betjemen

How straight it flew, how long it flew,
It clear'd the rutty track
And soaring, disappeared from view
Beyond the bunker's back -
A glorious, sailing, bounding drive
That made me glad I was alive.

And down the fairway, far along
It glowed a lonely white;
I played an iron sure and strong
And clipp'd it out of sight,
And spite of grassy banks between
I knew I'd find it on the green.

And so I did. It lay content
Two paces from the pin;
A steady putt and then it went
Oh, most surely in.
The very turf rejoiced to see
That quite unprecedented three.

Ah! Seaweed smells from sandy caves
And thyme and mist in whiffs,
In-coming tide, Atlantic waves
Slapping the sunny cliffs,
Lark song and sea sounds in the air
And splendour, splendour everywhere.

The fairways undulate and ripple just as if the sea had ebbed only moments ago. We have to confess – this is one of our favourite links courses because the terrain is entirely natural. The dunes are so pronounced that you cannot help but feel humbled, the holes are varied and the experience stirs the soul.

There are many great holes here at St Enodoc, but the 6th is a bit of a collector’s item, a hole of absolute uniqueness, a blind drive followed by a blind mid iron second shot which must carry over a confrontational sand dune called “Himalayas”. This stands some 100 yards out, guarding the hidden green. Let’s be honest, this is an enormous dune, worthy of its name, rising up over 75 feet high. Make sure you get your club selection right and that you strike the ball cleanly! The 10th is also an unusual hole, apparently one of Peter Alliss’ favourites. The hole follows a natural ravine and requires a solid drive from an elevated tee across a valley to a pencil thin rippling fairway below.

If your ball happens to come to rest in the churchyard after a wayward shot, keep an eye out for John Betjeman’s headstone. The Poet Laureate lies buried amidst his favourite seaside course. After a rare birdie on the 13th, he penned his famous poem “Seaside Golf”.

There is a hint of moorland and an inland flavour to some of the holes, especially those surrounding the church, but this simply provides variation. We could go on, but alas we wouldn’t want to spoil all the other lovely surprises that are in store for you here at St Enodoc.

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Reviews for St Enodoc (Church)

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Description: St Enodoc Golf Club is certainly a quixotic and rather hilly links course, set amidst towering sand dunes clad with tufts of wild sea grasses. Rating: 8.6 out of 10 Reviews: 75
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Louis

I played this James Braid gem on a beautiful spring afternoon and what a jaw dropping, joyful experience it was; scenic, challenging, dramatic links golf personified, exuding character and originality. Immaculately kept too I might add, with outstanding greens. I look forward to returning to this beautiful corner of the country and would recommend highly. LB

January 03, 2017
10 / 10
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Tom

This is a wonderful course, everything I look for in great golf. You need every club in the bag, if you switch off for a second you're in trouble, and that's difficult when the views are this good. The course is also routinely in perfect condition. If you play to handicap here you've had a blindingly good round. I've played it many times now and it doesn't get easier. I still have no idea how to play the par 4 10th - a bogey there is a great result.

May 05, 2016
10 / 10
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Alan Partridge
Played in August 2015 on a Sunday morning, very impressed and challenging course. Some wonderful holes, including the 6th and 10th which I found to be the most memorable. On the back nine you play a few holes around the church (hence the name) all of which are lovely.This is a course that if you are a bit erratic you will be punished but not so much that you will lose your ball everytime, if you go offline you may have you sacrifice distance on your next shot but at least you will still be in play (played St Mellion the day after and if you are wayward there you can say goodbye to the ball). I played it on a still day, but I can imagine how much harder it would be when the wind is up.Although not a review of the course I must mention the friendly welcome from the club to me as a solo player, a number of members offered to go round with me, the club was nice and I would defiantly recommend a round here
August 27, 2015
8 / 10
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Steve Gilbert
Sheer golfing bliss! From start to finish you are treated to a golfing links of purity and unparalleled quality. Towering dunes, stunning vistas and classic links tests. Stand out holes are 6th, 10th and the closing stretch along the estuary. Is this the best Braid course? It may not have the reputation of Royal Aberdeen, Cinque Ports or Troon, but it will give you more pleasure and leave you wanting more, trust me!
July 27, 2015
10 / 10
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Richard Smith
Among the courses along the south Atlantic coast of England St. Enodoc provides a unique and exciting experience. The steep driveway up to the clubhouse alerts you to the hilly nature of the course. The excitement and drama of playing aSt Enodoc (Church) Golf Course - Photo by reviewercross massive hills and dunes begins on the first tee and never ends throughout the round. The tee shot off the first is suitably intimidating with high dunes to the right and uneven hills and rough to the left. Into the wind this is as demanding a first shot that you will find. The hole then plays up to a crest with a blind second down to a valley and then an approach to a green with a steep slope in the front. Not exactly an easy birdie hole off the mark!

The course demands excellent driving on every hole to avoid the hills and rough, and the approach shots demand precision to avoid the hills, slopes and runoffs that abound. There are many great holes on this course, and several that rank among the best in theSt Enodoc (Church) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer UK and the world. I thought the short par 4 fourth was one of the best 300 yard holes I've ever played. Out of bounds dominates the right side of the fairway as it doglegs left. There is no bailout left, however as bunkers, dunes and steep rough await you there. Appropriate to such a short hole, absolute precision is required. The 6th with it's famous Himalaya bunker is well known, but the steep slope from back to front left makes keeping the ball on the green as much a challenge as negotiating the intimidating fairway bunker. These holes are the stuff of genius.

The back nine begins with the incredibly intimidating tee shot on 10 which once again demands your best to thread your ball between the burn on the left and the hills to the right. The uphill par 4's at 13 and 14 were difficult to hit as well. The fairways had just St Enodoc (Church) Golf Course - Photo by reviewerenough angle to them to make choosing the proper line very difficult. The finishing stretch of 16 through 18 involves a sequence of a very difficult par 5 at 16, a difficult par 3 to a bowl shaped green at 17, and a long downhill then uphill par 4 at 18. After you finish it's almost impossible to believe that the course is 6300 yards from the white tees and 6500 from the blues. It plays much more difficult than you could ever imagine. This may be the most difficult driving course I've ever played and there is really not an easy or bail out shot to be had. This is exhilarating golf which requires your best.

The course was in tremendous shape, and the greens were simply the best I've ever encountered on a links course. In fact the entire course was in excellent condition. The best thing I can say is that I remember each hole, in fact each shot, with extreme clarity. This course is a tribute to the genius of James Braid, and surely deserves all of it's praise and accolades. I don't think a UK golf resume is complete until you've played here. Click the link to read my Atlantic Coast Golf Links story. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
June 09, 2015
10 / 10
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Higgo
Brilliant golf course, possibly the best I have ever played. Visited St Enodoc whilst on a week trip to St Mellion and had to play the Church Course. Wonderful holes, imposing dunes, beautiful views make up the experience of playing what must surely be one of the World's Greatest Links.The greens are fast and true and the opportunity to play this should not be missed. Brilliant value for money (£75) for a course of this stature.Happy to have ticked St Enodoc off my bucket list!
June 04, 2015
10 / 10
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Niall
St Enodoc could be one of the world’s best courses if the holes around the church could be softened in some way. These holes are severe and not up to the incredibly high standard of the rest of the course. That said, this is one of the most exciting, brutally tough and at times awkward courses I’ve ever played. There is nothing like it anywhere and that’s what makes this golfing experience so special. I understand the course record here is only a handful under par which I can well believe as I played 8 shots worse than my handicap and I had a particularly good ball striking day and there was not much wind. The greens were the best of the seven courses I played while visiting Cornwall last April and all have plenty of movement to keep the best putter guessing. In parts St Enodoc is a difficult walk due to its hilly and undulating nature, only the fit should schedule a round here alongside Perranporth in the same day. It really could be a world top 100 course it’s just a couple of holes that let it down. However I loved it and it’s one of the most entertaining courses I’ve ever played and should NOT be missed if visiting Cornwall.
May 20, 2015
10 / 10
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David Worley
There are no two holes alike at St Enodoc and some of the unusual features will keep you wondering what is coming next. The 2nd and 3rd holes are quite difficult par fours, well over 400 yards long, and rated index 5 and 2, respectively.

The 6th hole is a spectacular par four, primarily because of the hazard that is in play with the second shot. From the tee, the green is only just visible but playing the second shot, you are confronted by what is the largest bunker in the UK, ‘Himalaya,’ a huge sand dune with the face eroded away.

The 13th and 14th provide a good view of the old 11th century church and adjacent cemetery which are in the middle of the course. Looking back from the elevated 14th green, there is a magnificent view of the church, the previous four holes and the entrance of the heads looking out to the ocean.

The par five 16th is the closest to the water and one of the prettiest parts of the links. The 17th is a par three of 206 yards and requires an extremely accurate shot from the tee. The 18th is a suitable finishing hole. The fairway is particularly narrow and winds from right to left before the clubhouse.

St Enodoc is an absolute delight and is a must-play for any serious golfer. This is surely one of James Braid’s greatest creations outside of Scotland. Braid returned in 1922 and 1935 and, fortunately, very little has changed since.

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.
May 16, 2015
8 / 10
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moclarey
A great golf course certainly one of the best in England. We played it today in fairly benign conditions and still had trouble playing close to handicap. We'd hate to play on a windy day. The staff and members were welcoming, the course was in excellent condition with true and quick greens. An absolute pleasure all around. Only sore point was the tarmac path running not more than two metres in front of the par 3 15th green where my wife hit her shot; it hit the tarmac on the fly, bounced over the flagstick and over the green! She wasn't happy. Mike Sydney Australia
September 04, 2014
10 / 10
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Russell Binney
I played St Enodoc back in April and thoroughly enjoyed the course. The first two or three holes are great the 2nd especially so with the tight tee shot and uphill second. The 4th hole is a little weak although this is the only poor hole on the front 9, the 5th and 8th are cracking little par 3's. The 10th is meant to be the signature hole but I personally think its a poor hole with nowhere to hit the tee shot with driver and having to get a wood or long iron over the mound directly in front of you for your second. The 11th is good par three and the 12th again is a decent par 4. 13 and 14 and not great but 15 is a good par three. The finish is spectacular with the long 16th running along the beach to well guarded green. 17 is a long par three which we needed a good three wood to reach and 18 needed a long straight tee shot before the challenge of a long uphill second shot. Overall condition was excellent as were the staff onsite.
August 02, 2014
8 / 10
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