On the north Cornwall coast lies the olde worlde fishing village of Padstow and Rick Stein’s famous seafood restaurant. There’s plenty of action going on in this neck of the woods, including offshore shark fishing. And, there’s also plenty of excitement at Trevose Golf and Country Club, located a little further south, along the Atlantic coastline at Constantine Bay. With dramatic views across the golden sandy shore of Boobys Bay to the rugged coastline of Trevose Head, it’s sheer drama.
Founded in 1926, the great Harry Colt designed the Championship course at Trevose, and Sir Guy Campbell made minor revisions just before the Second World War. It’s an exhilarating windswept links where little else other than dune grasses survives in the bleakness.
Trevose is a stern test of golf, especially when the wind is up. There are four teeing areas to choose from, and the par 72 (73 for the ladies) links stretches out to a stern 7,172 yards from the back tees. The crumpled fairways are generous in width and the rough is kept short to keep up the speed of play and prevent too many lost balls.
Some regard Trevose as holiday golf, but the course is technically challenging and will test the very best golfers. The course record of 66 stands as a testament to its level of difficulty. Birdie opportunities are there for the taking on the three short par fives, but make the most of it because many of the par fours are aggressive and supremely challenging. Five of them stretch out over 400 yards.
The short holes are also memorable and exciting, especially the 3rd, measuring 166 yards and the 199-yard 11th, with its two-tiered plateau green. The photogenic par five 4th hole is renowned for its glorious greensite location, set hard against Boobys Bay, but many felt the hole failed to live up to its spectacular backdrop.
In 2016, as part of Mackenzie and Ebert’s masterplan, the 4th was overhauled with new tees, bunkers and a massive new undulating green. The club is clearly not content to rest on its laurels. Seven holes have already been extensively reworked. In 2018 work on the 14th, 15th and 16th completed, which included bunker modifications, extensive green surrounds work and the opening up of bare sand areas to rejuvenate habit and add interest to this trio of rather dull holes.
Some excellent facilities accompany the testing Championship course and there’s a very pleasant nine-hole course, designed by Peter Alliss, called the Headland. This shorter course is an nice warm-up ahead of Trevose's real Championship challenge.
Trevose Golf & Country Club is more than just The Championship Course. Facilities now include 3 courses, practice grounds, accommodation, restaurant, and access to the beach.
But it is The Championship course we came to see, and on a mild summer day we teed off as a twosome with twosomes moving briskly in front and behind us.
The course is an easy walk with a rolling topography. We took photos and video all the way around and played in less than 3 hours without ever breaking stride. Golf needs more of this to attract the time poor younger generations!!
The front nine heads into the sand dunes, and toward the sea, whereas the back nine threads it way back and forth through less undulating terrain a little more inland. I was particularly impressed with holes 2, 3 & 4!
Hole 2 is a delightful par 4 with vast expanses of sand dunes as a backdrop to a green well protected by the new 'jagged edge' Ebert/McKenzie bunkering.
Hole 3 is dramatic short par 3 over a gorge to a green protected by deep revetted bunkers on the leeward side. It is a great looking hole. To successfully hit the green, the player must judge the crosswinds to perfection..
Hole 4 is a real beauty. It is effectively a new hole after recent renovations, and is a par 5 that sweeps around large dunes, and heads to a green right on the beach.
The bunkering along the way, and the framing of the green with ocean background make it a memorable hole.
Other notable holes at Trevose include:
- hole 7: a medium length par 4 with a delightful elevated green complex which is nicely bunkered at the front, and has a little burn sneaking in short and left of the green
- hole 14, a short dogleg par 4 with OOB down the left, and a row of cross bunkering 70 yards short of the green impeding the view of the green, and requiring some thought from the player as to the length of the tee shot.
The green is also well protected at the front with more bunkering.
- hole 16, a long par 3 that sits low and is partially hidden from view with two bunkers prominent well short of the green to mess with your depth perception. It is a simple hole, but a good one.
- hole 17, a strong par 4 finishing hole. It can play predominantly downwind, and depending on the tee of your choice should not play overly long- however the approach must carry a burn abutting the front of the green. Pick the right club or get wet!
The Championship course is a quality links with a combination of brilliant seaside holes and a number of decent holes more inland. It's a lovely spot for getaway golf. Trevose is a bustling golfing facility.
During our stay the course, the accommodation, the clubhouse and the restaurant were all busy, and nearly everyone I spoke to were either members or visitors who returned year on year. It was obvious they all just love the place. I can see why. We loved it too, and hope to return
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
"Did you take any photos?", I asked of Mrs W who was going clickety-click crazy at Perranporth, St Enodoc and St Mellion during our week in Cornwall.
"No," she replied. "I didn't see anything which prompted me to take one."
Her view also reflected my feelings about Trevose. Having read reviews and listened to recommendations from friends and other golfers, I am surprised to report how underwhelmed I was by it.
Perhaps I was especially fed up because I couldn't master its greens - not because of surprising undulations or wicked pin positions but because they were so slow and, dare I say, a bit raggedy. "It's the amount of traffic (players) at this time of year" was the explanation we received at the clubhouse.
But I have to add that I found Trevose a bit boring. There a four basic views on the course - out to sea, back to the clubhouse or the fairly uninspiring vistas from side to side. Because the links are so open, these are repeated depending on which direction is played.
I have to be honest and say that I didn't find any of the holes especially memorable either - ok the par 5 13th is a nice hole, filtering down from high on the course, with out of bounds and a stream on the left and tight entrance to a small green and the 18th approach is pretty across the road towards the resort building.
But, my view, there is nothing to match the beauty of St Enodoc, the quirkiness of Perranporth or the trickiness of St Mellion.
Of course, it is worth playing because of its stature but it did not meet my expectations.
Trevose is well deserved of its ranking in the top 70 courses in England.
The course starts off really strong, with the first 4 hole being excellent. After this, there are a few ordinary holes, but for the most part it is very pleasant. Other really good holes are 7, 9, 10, 14 and 18.
The condition is always good too. Well worth a round if in Cornwall
This is a very good championship links course that offers a stern test. Were there any weak holes? No. Was I a little disappointed given the hype this course has received in the past? Slightly. I don’t know what it is as there are some great holes and no real weak ones that I can pinpoint but I would always choose to play St Enodoc or Perranporth over this one if given the choice.
But that shouldn’t take anything away from this course. The condition was great when I played, the holes interesting and challenging.
The first hole is a great opener with a blind approach into a tricky green. The third hole is my favourite - a great par 3 played across the dunes into a well-protected green. 4 is brilliant - played through the dunes to the green nestled by the cliffs. Stop for photo opportunities and then tackle the long and difficult 5th to an elevated green.
I agree with previous reviews that the front 9 has the edge and is played across the more interesting terrain but there aren’t any real weak spots on the back 9. Each of the par 3s were strong holes and 17 was another favourite - a par 4 with the approach needing to carry the burn short of the green.
This is a very good course and is definitely worth visiting but I am glad that the rankings finally show this as being third in the county as St Enodoc and Perranporth will always get my vote ahead of this one.
In the five years I lived just west of London, I was told repeatedly by neighbor that if I ever went to Cornwall that I must play the championship course at Trevose. I never did play there even though I made it to Cornwall.
But a year ago I finally made a point of including this H.S. Colt design on a trip to the west of England. I did not find that Trevose quite lived up to what that father had said, but I thought it to be pretty good. It is a championship golf course and one can see why the course hosts some regional competitive events as well as being a good choice for a society day.
Looking at the rankings for Cornwall, it appears I have played the top three. I remember watching a European Tour event at St. Mellion when I lived in England and thinking that it was not a course that interested me. As for the top three in Cornwall, I believe the Church course at St. Enodoc to be a world top 100 golf course. There appears to be a difference of opinion as to which is second. Since I have already ranked Perranporth, (although promising to return at some point), I view Trevose as the second best. While Perranporth is more natural and more fun due to its views, hillier terrain, blind shots, and uniqueness, Trevose offers the better test of golf. James Braid did an excellent job routing Perranporth, but H. S. Colt was afforded more land for his routing leading to the opportunity to create holes offering different lengths and angles. In addition, Colt added stronger defenses through more bunkers, more variety in the green complexes and more interesting greens. Perranporth’s greens sit on natural tilts or shelves but are typically one-dimensional. Trevose’s greens are more undulating as well as tilted while varying more in shape and size. Trevose does not have as many weak holes and ends on a good hole unlike the eighteenth at Perranporth which is a poor finisher.
If I were to sum them up, a round at Perranporth resulted in me having more of a “joyous feeling,” while Trevose offered more “thinking,” simply because the greens are superior. It depends on which type of course one prefers. One cannot go wrong with either choice as there are merits for each one. In terms of which one I would play more often, I would split them equally, although if I am including the opportunity for nice views for the post-round recap, the clubhouse/bar at Trevose would sway me in that direction. Both are well worth a game.
I do like how the white tees at Trevose provides a nice day out for the average to higher index golfer while the championship tees offer a challenge for the longer and better player. From either tee, as a links course the speed of the wind will dictate the scoring.
We played a mixture of tees on the front nine (championship tees on 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9) and the white tees on the inward nine so 6700 yards. We did this because the holes looked better from the back tees as well as to better balance the yardage. It was a sunny, relatively calm day. The pace of play was average which I did not mind as it gave me time to look at the course. I was able to walk to many of the back tees and have a look at what better/longer players would face in a competition. We did not have the rain and light fog that I had for the start of Perranporth but it was a similar light wind. Like many links courses, I imagine Trevose would be very difficult in a high wind.
I had a round similar to Perranporth in that I played well even when I missed a green. I played the front nine in -2 but helped by saving par a couple of times. For the entire round, I was able to get a good sense of the recovery shots as our foursome missed a fair number of greens throughout the round, landed in rough on tee shots and approach shots, and were in numerous bunkers both off the tee and greenside. The fairways are generous from the white tees and still feel relatively wide from those championship tees. Being able to advance the ball pretty far is very possible from most poorly struck tee shots. Many of the greens are large. Recovery for a chance at bogey is also possible if one has their bunker/chipping game in order. Because of the speed of the greens, we only had a couple of three putts among us. The routing for the tees and greens takes good advantage of the hills and the rises and falls throughout the property, although a fair number of holes are relatively flat.
My one critique on the routing is whether the third hole should have played uphill into the dunes behind the second green even though I really liked the third hole.
I thought the best holes to be #1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 12 and 18.
The first hole is a par 4 from an elevated tee playing downhill offers a nice view of much of the golf course all the way to the bay. There is a hill on the right that can create a blind shot to the green with sits surrounded by hills left and right. Three fairway bunkers sit just in front of the hill creating a narrower lane for the drive. There are no bunkers at the green and it does not need them. It is a nice starting hole.
The second is either a good hole or an easy hole depending on the tee. The tees are elevated on this straight par 4 which plays either 425/375. Given the run on the ball the back tee is better as the hole plays shorter than the yardage. The important bunkers to avoid are the ones fronting the large green.
Three is a nice mid-length par 3 playing from an elevated tee over a valley to a green on a rise that has grass bunkers left and three deep bunkers on the right with a substantial fall off. The green is nicely undulated with several tilts and a bowl in the middle.
Four is the “picture” hole because it plays inland from Constantine Bay and ends near Booby’s Bay Beach. It is a par 5 dogleg left played from an elevated tee around higher dunes on the left. Bunkers are well placed on the turn in the dogleg with a large one on the left first and others on the right. There is another bunker short and two fronting the green which tilts back to front. It is a pretty hole but a fairly easy hole if one finds the fairway on the tee shot. If one misses the fairway and finds a decent lie, one has a high probability of still having a chance at birdie. The better miss on the tee shot is to the right as the land is more rugged down the left side. It is a decent hole from the back tee at 504 yards but from the white tees at 465 it is perhaps too easy on a calmer day.
Five is a very good hole. The tee is the closest one will get to the beach on this long, sharp dogleg left par 4 with out-of-bounds or real trouble down the left side. Missing the fairway to the right still leaves one with a chance to save par. The green is elevated with a false front. There are no bunkers on the hole. Four is the easiest hole on the course and five is rated the second hardest even though the yardages are somewhat similar.
Six is a shorter par 4 playing to a rumpled fairway with well-placed bunkers and an “apostrophe” green created by a bunker pinching in from the right. A mound of grass fronts the green.
Seven is a very good dogleg left par 4 due to the excellent green complex with three large bunkers and a fall off behind the green to a burn. The green has a lot of undulations within its tilt back to front and raised at the front. Six and seven are substantially better holes from the championship tees.
The eighth is a nice mid-length slightly uphill par 3 well bunkered with three deep bunkers on the left and rough/high grass on the right as it falls steeply down with two separated depressions. One could argue this hole is as good as the third but I thought the circular green on eight was not quite as strong as the green on three.
The par 5 ninth has an elevated tee providing a good look at the entirety of the hole and much of the golf course. Much like the second, bunkers are scattered as you make your way up the fairway with the green sitting on a plateau. It is a good hole from the championship tees, but from the white tees at 450 yards it is weak.
Another par 5 kicks off the back nine playing again from an elevated tee downhill with a burn on the right side crossing the fairway 150 yards from the front of the green. The green sits down a bit fronted by two bunkers but with some serious undulations to it.
I really like the long par 3 eleventh sitting up above the halfway house playing over lower ground to a raised green level with the white tee (the championship tee is elevated). Three round, deep bunkers guard the very tilted green with a false front. Par is a well-earned score on this hole.
Twelve is the number one index as a long par 4 that has a steady climb to the green. It is a slight dogleg left with bunkers on the left side of the turn. The rough is not difficult on this hole and the fairway is generous. I found this to be one of the more interesting greens on the course.
Thirteen is the longest hole on the course, a par 5 over 570 yards from either the white or championship tee. A burn on the left comes into play on the second shot where the land falls down a bit. There is good bunkering for the tee shot as well as fronting the green. Thankfully, the green is one of the easier ones as it is in sections but each section is relatively long.
One might think the fourteenth, a short par 4, a sharp dogleg left of 330 yards to be one of the weaker holes on the golf course. As it was the first time I played the hole, I chose the wrong club off the tee, hit into a fairway bunker, hit the next into one of the three greenside bunkers, took two to escape that bunker, and doubled the hole. Yet the ability to choose the correct club for the tee shot to navigate the many fairway bunkers while not going out-of-bounds to the left is what makes this hole strategic if you take on too much risk. One could argue, just hit a hybrid, 9 iron…..
Fifteen is a weaker hole, a flat short par 4 although it is well bunkered over the rumpled fairway to the front of the green.
Sixteen is the turn back to the clubhouse as a very long par 3 of 240/206. The hole is fairly straightforward with grass bunkers being the more important defense to avoid. It is not a “fun” hole as one truly has to concentrate here.
Seventeen is a shorter par 4 from the whites but a sturdy one from the back tees. The three bunkers to the right of the fairway and a ridge on the left are the obstacles for the drive. The green has a burn against its front to stop those tempted to try to run a ball onto the green. I liked the hole.
The finishing par 4 is a brute no matter which tee one plays (478/430) as it plays uphill crossing the entrance road. The green sits elevated on a hill fronted by some difficult bunkers. Missing the green to the left means you fall below the height of the green while missing it to the right on the side of the hill will result in a speedy downhill chip. There is out-of-bounds behind the green. It is a hole designed to settle a stroke play event, but not necessarily a match given it’s 4 index.
I do think Trevose is a better golf course from the championship tees at 7172 than the white tees because it converts a couple of short par 4’s into long dogleg par 4’s. These holes seem more natural from the back tees. It terms of the nine’s, the front nine is superior to the back nine from a visual and interest standpoint as the fairways are a bit more rolling and there are a few hills/dunes. The back nine has more challenge to it from the additional length (210 yards from the white tees). The par 3’s and par 5’s are better on the back nine. The green complexes I felt were about the same. Had I played the championship tees for the entirety of the round, I might find myself adding another half ball to the rating.
Unlike Perranporth the wildest aspect of Trevose is the drive to the clubhouse along the single lane roads that are often bordered by very high hedges. Meet a freight truck or two coming in the opposite direction and waking up at the wheel is the first thing that happens. If you are lucky you back up to the nearest turn out to let them by.
The course itself is much more straightforward and open. A recent renovation by Mackenzie and Ebert has Trevose in top shape. Bunkers have all been renovated and the most common attribute is the significant change in their style to the more modern natural blowout type bunkers. These look good in the dunes landscape.
On the front the par 3 third hole is a true standout played from a dune to a green nestled into the side of another and guarded by a large right front bunker. The par 4 6this their signature hole and the green on this hole has been moved back as far as possible to the corner of the beach and sea. The renovation looks excellent.
The front 9 is definitely the stronger of the two nines and has the most diverse and dynamic holes.
The back 9 plays over more subtle land and while it doesn’t have a single weak hole there are also no significant stand outs, just solid golf with more gentle nuances. A fun and fair test which when played from the back tees with some wind can easily become a severe test.
Trevose- Prior to arrival at this magical place you have visions of big breaking waves crashing near your play. There are great views to this and great views to big dunesland….but they are just views. The adjacent property is of a grand scale. Trevose navigates thru a nice links land but sits in the shadows of the adjacent property. You feel like you are on a newer course, but know you are walking Harry Colt grounds. The course is very good. It is of championship caliber. The vast lands available also acknowledge that if they choose to they could stretch this course out for championship play. This is a must play in the area and a course which will attack your entire game.
Compared to its neighbouring links courses (West Cornwall through to St Enodoc) Trevose is a different kettle of fish. On much flatter land it’s a classic case of what you see is what you get. There is no trickery, blindshots etc and there is plenty of opportunity to give the driver a nudge. The opening holes play close to some nice dunes but the rest of the course is quite flat.
It’s difficult to compare to St Enodoc as they play so differently. Trevose is more of a championship design and I would imagine it would get more serious tournaments than St Enodoc .
The greens are large and smooth, fairways quite generous, rough dry and wispy and all up you should score well here if you get the benign conditions presented to me. The bunkers were interestingly placed. On still days I would imagine they trap the serious player from the blue markers but a decent player from whites, and especially yellows should be able to easily clear most of them. In windy conditions bunkers could be anywhere and be in business.
A very enjoyable round and comparable to somewhere like the New Course/Luffness New design wise but I can’t say whether it’s better than St Enodoc as it’s an apple and Enodoc an orange. Warren from Aust
With the exception of Perranporth (which I last played eighteen months ago) I’ve replayed all of Cornwall’s coastal courses in the last three months. I was especially keen to see Trevose again after the renovation work that’s being undertaken by Tom Mackenzie.
Despite its Brabazon credentials and its gorgeous setting, I’ve never really warmed to Trevose. It’s a long course that can be stretched to nearly 7,200 yards from the blue tees, but it has always felt like holiday golf.
Sadly the new raised green on the signature par five 4th hole was out of play last Thursday, it played to a temporary green. The new fourth green looks excellent and I’m sure it will cement this hole’s place as the best on the Championship card.
The club is working hard with Natural England to clear the scrub from the dunes. The work in progress is to be commended but unfortunately there isn’t quite enough duneland to go round the whole property.
The new irregularly shaped, rugged bunkering has improved the aesthetics on many holes, but to my eyes these new traps don’t yet look completely at home. Hopefully in time they will settle into their surroundings. Currently there’s a mix of revetted and rugged bunkering in play and the plan is to remove all revetted traps and return the course to its apparent former rugged look by 2019. It’s seems a shame to lose the excellent revetted traps as their sharp lines suit my eye better in this relatively gentle landscape.
Something was required to breathe life into the flat and uninspiring holes on the backside (14-16). These are much better now with the new traps adding focal definition and strategy.
I’m still not a fan of Trevose, despite all the good work. Maybe once the programme has completed next year I’ll warm to it. There’s no quirk here, unlike Trevose’s Cornish counterparts at St Enodoc, West Cornwall, Perranporth and Bude. It’s hard to know what strategy the club is aiming at. Is it a championship layout or a holiday course? The club seems to be focusing on the latter rather than the former, but maybe I caught Trevose on a warm, benign, late spring day and I’d like it more in the wind.
I had the misfortune to time my trip to Trevose at the same time as the 'Beast From the East', which provided a brutal combination of high winds and low temperatures. Despite prevailing weather conditions, I greatly enjoyed 36 holes at Trevose.
The opening hole is a fantastic one, with penalising bunkers in play from the tee and bunkers obscuring the view of the green, a challenging and interesting first hole. The second follows in the same vein, another downhill tee shot providing brilliant views of the dunes and sea to the rear of the hole. I do leave disappointed that on my visit the 4th was out of play, as I would have loved to face the approach shot to a green framed brilliantly by the famous rocks and lashing waves (which had not put off many foolhardy surfers despite plummeting temperatures).
I do fear that my admiration for the golf course was at its highest during these first 4 holes, thanks in large part to the ocean views. The 5th played straight into wind and was a brute of a hole, and the 6th downwind less so. The 7th was another notable hole, which a very undulating green you do not want to find yourself the wrong side of.
Personally, the front 9 exceeds the back, largely perhaps due to the ongoing course renovations. But condition aside, the back 9 offers up less memorable holes. The pick of the back 9 for me being the par 3 11th, par 3 16th and par 4 16th.
Overall enjoyed Trevose greatly, greens were in fantastic condition given the time of year, as in large part were the fairways. Some terrific golf holes on the front 9, and a fair test of golf.
I played Trevose again last August and found it still a bit disappointing. The views from clubhouse are superb with some interesting holes on the front side, but there’s nothing much to stick in the memory on the back side except for the last strong par five. Conditions were not great when I played here either. I feel It’s overrated in relation to nearby Perrnporth.