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 a nice warm-up ahead of Trevose's real Championship challenge.
I’ve been holidaying in Cornwall for golf for many years now but until this year I hadn’t played Trevose. So often you get lucky to play a great course but don’t see it in its full glory - that wasn’t the case for my game at Trevose with the course hosting the staysure event just after our trip. As a result of this the conditioning was superb and as good as I think I have seen in Cornwall. The atmosphere around the club is lovely and has a laid back, resort style feel.
The course is mature and the routing is smooth, the new wasteland areas are fantastic there are a number of wonderfully natural green sites. But there is a but… The course is almost totally void of rough and as a result of this lacks shape and character - many holes feel like exposed, bordering on unremarkable in nature. Perhaps more wasteland areas will be built in the coming years and the course will appeal more to the eye. Trevose is pleasant but it’s ranking is flattering in my opinion.
Sometimes when writing a review it’s best to leave it a few days as your opinion can be skewed by the circumstances. In the case of Trevose Golf Club this was particularly true as it was the venue of Round 1 of our annual tour. 16 mates sitting in the glorious sun, enjoying a beer overlooking the backdrop of Booby’s Bay, eagerly awaiting the first tee of a trip booked 11 months ago. We could’ve been served any course and had positive opinions of it in that moment.
Trevose is a Harry Colt designed open links course set just outside Padstow. The Championship course begins with four holes that slope gently towards the beach, before the remaining fifteen slowly meander back up towards the excellent clubhouse which occupies the highest point on the course.
The condition of the course is fabulous throughout with recent renovation work from MacKenzie and Ebert really having paid off. They have redesigned the 4th hole, which is the best on the course. From an elevated tee box, the hole winds it’s way through dunes to a huge undulating green that sits just above the beach.
They have also strengthened the bunkers across the course which are now a real feature and opened up natural sand features which adds character and a real natural rugged feel.
There are a number of good holes across the course, but equally a number of forgetful ones. The Par 3 3rd is a fabulous short hole built into the side of a sand dune. The fun Par 5 13th has a burn that runs down the left hand side of a hole that falls away to a well protected green. The final two holes are good finishing holes, particularly the 17th which plays its approach across a burn to a green framed by natural sand area.
I can’t speak to how much of a test the course is, as we played it on a calm day with no wind. Clearly if the wind had been up it would’ve been a sterner test, but as it was it was very scoreable.
There’s plenty here to like, it’s fun coastal golf that will whet the appetite for more challenging courses on the coast, but it’s a must include on a trip to Cornwall.
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For those of you without a rudimentary understand of Cornish - a kind of Britton/Celtic language - “Trevose” actually means “19 holes”.
Nice review here Chris. Did you also play Perranporth?
I played Trevose on a bright windless late April day, with the firm dried out fairways and green surrounds it was like high summer except for the chilly temperature. Fair to say the course was at it’s most benign, even from the white tees and the rough had failed to show up a result
of the cold spring, pleased to shoot 6 below my handicap in such favourable conditions, very much doubt if the wind was up the result would have been the same.
Set in kind of bowl the land slopes gently down to the Atlantic, the holes flow up and down and across the incline, while there are no dramatic elevation changes there is plenty of movement, the first couple of holes work their way down to the sea and then slowly work their way back up to the clubhouse and then back down again coming back. With the still conditions its generous fairways were hard to miss, I imagine they need to be wide when it’s blowing. I was pleased to see they are not irrigated so delivered some fiery bounces and tight lies, iron shots needed to be struck cleanly, very satisfying sound when you clip a wedge shot off the turf in those conditions.
I had a good day so didn’t miss too many greens or find many bunkers, severe punishment awaits careless shots, balls will easily bounce off into the rough or find the cavernous greenside bunkers if you don’t find the putting surface. If your wayward here your short game will a through test. Although many of greens are undulating they rolled beautifully and a lot faster than they looked, once I’d got the pace I holed plenty.
Standout holes for me were the opening stretch down to sea including the superb par 5 4th (a great example of a short par 5), in fact all the par 5’s were great, the 15th especially good with OOB lining the left hand side and the green complex ready to dump anything left into the burn or worse. I think the introduction of the Sandy waste areas in between some holes is inspired and provides a contrast between the turf and sand, a classy addition.
Trevose is definitely a lot more than ‘holiday golf’, when more normal Cornish windy conditions are the norm it’s a tough track where beating your handicap will be a result. To me it doesn’t quite rank among the top class links tracks, lacks the drama of a Staunton, RCP or North Berwick but still an excellent course that is worthy of a visit any day.
Sadly, Trevose just didn’t quite do it for me. Maybe it’s because I was still in shock from the course we played the day before, the brilliant St Enodoc, or possibly because of my own personal preference when it comes to links design but it just felt very underwhelming. For me, sticking huge bunkers on a course and making the green so undulating that any regular player will struggle to keep the ball on the putting surface doesn’t automatically make a great course. For me, a links course needs character and sadly this place just dosen’t offer that. Don’t get me wrong, the design is very good and perfect for championship golf. The course is long and very difficult but I just found it to be forgettable. After a few months of playing Trevose, I can’t rember more than 5 holes without looking back at the course planner. That dosent mean the holes are bad, they were just a bit too similar at times. If you want to really test you game, come to Trevose but if you’re looking to be blown away, go down the road to St Enodoc or Perranporth. Disappointing after all the hype.
My first ‘Lads’ Golf Trip. The boys from the University of the West of England golf team picked the beautiful south western corner of England. We had a couple of local boys in the group and they assured us all that this would be a great location for a long weekend.
Booked. Packed. Cornwall bound.
Our group of 6 all piled into the self-catering accommodation on-site. The flat wasn’t anything special but had a kitchen, comfy beds and a TV – Perfect for 6 guys in the middle of university.
The agenda was 18 holes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in June 2017. What weather we had! Serious sunshine resulted in outrageous views over the Atlantic. Tee positions at Trevose were sensational and many pictures were taken. Golf was also at a very high standard.
To be honest, the highlight of this trip was being with the boys. This is a key component of golf trips. Company. Going self-catered was a laugh – Get the beers in and get the Bolognese on. Beers, Bolognese and Banter. Carpet putting games were rife with financial penalties in place. We even braved a 7am Atlantic swim!
Day 1 and 2 were at Trevose. The golf course was overall, stunning. I hope that my memory of this isn’t just down to the weather and company. I mean I remember birdieing the iconic and photogenic 504-yard Par 5 4th hole both days, so I guess I played well too. However, I do remember that the front-nine wow is much bigger than that of the back-nine.
A well kept golf course on a primed bit of land doesn't always mean it's a great track. Trevose certainly meets the mark for me.
A great selection of holes and condition makes for a great venue. A few blind shots pulls a few punches but not unlike most links courses. Certainly a tst when the wind is blowing but suprisingly simple when not.
I played this for a national college final and the course was kept brilliant, the club were excellent hosts and we managed to win something which is always a sweetner!
The combination of 3,4,5 as well as a great 8th were my favourites in all honesty. Brilliant photo op on the 5th tee with the sweeping waves crashing not far behind!
Definately worth ticking off
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.