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.
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.
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.