I played Lelant last Thursday with Rachelle on one of the wettest days of the year (the wind was also blowing at 20 mph). Unfortunately it was so wet we called it a day on the 11th and skipped across to the 17th and headed back down the home hole to the inviting clubhouse.
Exciting changes are brewing for West Cornwall Golf Club. Some new land to the northwest of the property may become available and plans have already been drafted to create some new holes, reshape some of the existing holes and lose three holes (5,6 and 7) in the “triangle”. I studied the plans with Hon Secretary and at first glance the changes look very sensible. The round starts strongly with four engaging and very memorable links holes (the par four 2nd could easily be from Ballybunion with its plateau green set between two giant dunes).
I’m glad the club moved the 1st tee forward, as the original back tees stretched this opening par three to well over 200 yards with buildings to the left and the road to the right with houses beyond, it would definitely be a nerve-jangling opener from back there. The 3rd and 4th play across some wonderfully undulating ground that pitches and rolls in a similar vein to the Old course at Ballyliffin. Two of the three “triangle” holes are one-shotters and have little to commend, although the par four 6th is a great hole which will be surely be missed if the plans do get off the drawing board.
The holes around the turn reminded me of some of the quirky elements from Prestwick, North Berwick and Cruden Bay with blind drives and greens benched into the dunes. Due to the weather, the course was quiet and so the tight routing did not cause problems – a different matter I’m sure on a busy sunny day. Despite its short yardage West Cornwall is not an easy course on which to score and its quirk and glorious seaside views are undoubtedly its strength. I’m unclear as to who originally designed the course but I doubt much has changed since it began and I’m unsurprised that the club has developed so many good golfers, with none better than Jim Barnes. My hope is that any redevelopment maintains and perhaps even builds upon the fun and excitement that Lelant offers. It’s up near to the top of my personal “quirky course” list, which I feel is the essence of seaside golf. Keith Baxter
Date: August 17, 2015