Looking out over the course from the early holes it looks a bit like Sheringham in Norfolk although I would liken it more to the Craighead course at Crail, although it is from a much earlier vintage. Both are set high on the clifftops so the soil is not as sandy as a genuine links but both have links-like touches such as deep bunkers eating into some greens, dry stone walls and greens without too many severe undulations. The length of grass on the greens may be off-putting to some but it stops balls from oscillating while putting. If the term ‘holiday golf’ refers to the enjoyment one derives from playing a course in stunning surroundings that offers a warm welcome then Thurlestone firmly sits within that category. If the term is used as an all too transparent euphemism for disappointing and unchallenging golf then that would be unfair of this Devon beauty. I made that very mistake after having scored well on the first few holes without having played that well before carelessly dropping many strokes. There is challenge enough with the constantly changing seaside conditions, an ever-present breeze, long par threes, drives over fairway crowns to distant marker posts and if you stray far enough offline, deep rough and OOB – the view on the 18th tee is intimidating for right-handers who favour a draw. How much you enjoy Thurlestone will depend on your view of ‘holiday golf’. For me it was blessed relief from grinding in the gloom at St Mellion, and a great end to a memorable few days in the West Country.
Date: June 14, 2012