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.
You'll find a very honest test of golf at Trevose with plenty of scope to shoot a decent score (weather permitting, of course) as fairways are generally wide and greens – with one or two exceptions like the wickedly undulating 7th – are sensibly contoured.
The left doglegged 4th is by far and away the star of the golfing show as its spectacularly positioned green sits yards from the breaking waves in Boobys Bay and the difficult, slightly uphill 12th reminded me of the brilliant 14th at Portmarnock (praise indeed as it's an all-time favourite hole of mine).
There's a fine set of par threes (at 3, 8, 11 and 16) to be played here too, though the last of these is by far the weakest of the short holes.
It follows the least interesting part of the course at holes 13-15 (reflected in stroke index ratings of 15, 13 and 17) so I suppose it merely completes a comparatively dull stretch of holes.
Thankfully, the action picks up considerably over the final two holes at the water fronted 17th and uphill 18th, where the home green sits on the other side of a road that runs up to the clubhouse for a really tough finish.
A couple of final points: fill yer boots at the 11th tee halfway house (bacon butty and coffee highly recommended) if, like me, you've skipped breakfast before playing and look out for excellent value green fees that become cheaper as the afternoon progresses.
Trevose probably punches above its weight in the GB&I rankings but I'll guaranteed you'll enjoy it.