Thurlestone has long been on my target list and finally got to play a new course post covid in May 2021. Once you have negotiated the country lanes to get there, a spectacular setting coastal setting awaits you and having arrived in plenty of time the short walk to the beach and coast path was a great start to the day.
The course starts with a fabulous short par 4 from an elevated tee above the clubhouse with the coastal views to your right. The 2nd is a good uphill par 4, and the 3rd a spectacular par 3 heading straight towards the sea, slightly downhill but into the wind !. The 4th is a fairly short par 4 heading inland but with a delightful approach into a narrow green with run-offs either side, very links like. Back to back par 3's at 5 and 6, and I'm not sure what to make of the 5th; a par 3 of over 200 yards into the wind and with the rain now coming down none of us got near the green. The 7th is stunning par 4 running along the coastline. What a start to a golf course !
Holes 1-7 are for me the best holes. After that the course rises to higher ground and seems to play around a clifftop plateau with a wider more open feel, sloping fairways and a number of blind shots. For me the course starts to lose it's flow and quality up here and becomes more of a holiday clifftop golf course . The views however remain with you and the approach to the 11th is excellent with stunning views of Burgh Island from the green. Three par 5's at 12/14/15 were really fairly mundane but the 13th was a good looking par 3. A good finish however awaits as you drop downhill for the last three holes. If I was a member and the course empty I'd be very tempted to play 1-7 and then cut across and play 17-18, so yes a course of two halves.
Course condition was ok although found the greens a bit slow which undoubtedly was because of the clifftop location and exposure to the wind, which at 20-25mph was undoubtedly a major factor in playing the course. Reminds me very much of Nefyn, with some spectacular coastline, some holes along the coast line and some holes on higher land and some slightly inland. Like Nefyn ultimately I came off the course a bit flat largely because the best holes were at the start of the round. Not at the level of Pennard which manages to combine the views with a terrific flowing golf course. The welcome and the post covid organisation was excellent and we did enjoy our day so are planning to return next year, therefore it must by definition be worth a 4 ball.
Date: May 23, 2021