A fine links where you will experience a variety of holes

West Cornwall

West Cornwall Golf Club

West Cornwall Golf Club

Date Reviewed
April 8, 2014
Reviewed by Ed Battye
Established in 1889 West Cornwall Golf Club at Lelant is the oldest in the peninsula county, it is also one of the finest.

The course benefits from a splendid location close to the Hayle Estuary with superb views out to St. Ives Bay but also serves up an exciting and true test of golf.

Like all links courses the strength and direction of the wind will dictate how the course plays, which itself is made up of many parts. Throughout the round you will experience a variety of different types of holes and sections to the layout.

The first few holes boast rippling fairways, with the exception of the second where huge sand dunes are the main feature and frame the green nicely.

The backdrop to the opening hole, an excellent par three where perception of length is distorted thanks to splendid undulations and an imposing bunker short of the green, is the church of St Uny. After the more rugged second hole you return to velvety, quivering fairways at the third and fourth; neither long holes but beautifully created and pristinely presented. The fourth is perhaps the best as is skirts the corner of the churchyard from the tee and allows plenty of options for playing your second shot to a sloping green located beyond a falling and bubbling approach.

Holes five to seven are isolated from the rest of the linksland and despite being closer to the water are less links-like in nature. This part of the course, on the other side of a railway line that runs along one edge of the course, contains two par three’s both pushing 200 yards. These demanding short holes sandwich a curving and downhill par four close to the boundary of the course. The tee shot at the sixth is undoubtedly the highlight of this charming trio of holes.

The following four holes head roughly in an easterly direction and the course changes in character once more; there’s a much more rugged feel to the terrain on these holes that run parallel to the railway line. Into the wind this is perhaps the most difficult stretch of the course. The 11th is the most memorable with a second shot over dunes to a partially hidden green. The blind drive at the 10th is also hair-raising but the protective fencing that guards golfers stood on the 13th tee just takes the shine off it slightly.

A magnificent view is to be savoured after the march up to the 12th tee where virtually all of the course can be seen. The run of holes to finish are more open in nature and is where the excellent and immaculate bunkering comes to the fore. The only exception to the feel of this closing stretch is the 14th which returns to duneland adjacent to the second.

You may think with all the various changes in style that West Cornwall may become a disjointed affair but it all comes together nicely to create a very good links experience. The present routing is laid out over a compact piece of land which at times I can imagine may become a little congested but individually the holes stand up well and have many strategic values.

West Cornwall is also famed for the place where Jim Barnes, a multiple major winner during the first quarter of the 20th century, learned to play his golf. It has also been a breeding ground for many other fine golfers. It's not hard to see why.

Thanks to its sand base the drainage of the course is excellent and allows it to be played all year round with no winter tees or greens. Don’t be fooled by the modest yardage of less than 6,000 yards because the par of 69 is a stiff test. The course features in our best golf courses under 6,000 yards.

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