Cornwall, England (United Kingdom) – May 5, 2016 (travelindex.com) – Among the some 35,000 golf courses around the world, there are less than 200 true links layouts but for many golfers, the lure of links is stronger than that of any other style of golf course. The particular features of coastal land and sand dunes that are required to create this unique style of course mean that the golf ball bounces rather differently over the often fast and undulating terrain, the lie of the ball is often tight and stances are frequently quite awkward.
This generally makes links golf more challenging than other types of course as well as requiring a different course management approach, style of play and a great deal of patience. Low drives to avoid the wind and running shots along the firm turf into the green are both shrewd shots out on the links.
Links golf is also associated with a range of quirky features such as blind tee shots, daunting mounds of towering dunes and deep, steep-sided pot bunkers that gather the ball in and require great skill from which to escape (sometimes the only way out is to play away from the hole).
But whilst links can be truly frustrating, their location alongside the coast means that the on-course views are often absolutely breathtaking with wonderful panoramas over dunes, beaches and seascapes.
The Church Course at St Enodoc in Cornwall, one of Britain’s most glorious links courses, is no exception and epitomises these characteristics to a tee.
The course was designed by James Braid, five-time Open Champion and one of the Great Triumvirate alongside Harry Vardon and JH Taylor, back in 1890. Although first laid out over 125 years ago, the current layout is very similar to Braid’s original 1907 design, though more recently the club has upgraded it in several ways to accommodate the modern game.
In 2004, for example, a review of the course by Peter McEvoy OBE (who said, “St Enodoc is a fabulous course, one of the finest links courses in the world”) was undertaken to bring the course up to date. McEvoy introduced a number of new fairway bunkers, established additional tees and created a new 13th green.
However players should not be fooled by the course measurement of 6,547 yards from the back tees as St Enodoc remains one of the toughest par 69 courses in the country, whether the wind blows in from the north Atlantic or not. Still not long by today’s standards, the course record stands at 65, just 4 below par, which is a good indication of how demanding the course remains today.
True to links form, St Enodoc is quirky too with the very first tee shot a totally blind one with several others to follow. At the 6th hole, players come up against the Himalaya Bunker that fiercely protects the green and is only taken on by the bravest of the brave.
After meandering through sand dunes on the front nine, the signature 10th hole wends its way towards 11th Century St Enodoc Church where the Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, lies buried beside his favourite course. A challenging hole, it requires a decent drive followed by an even better second aimed at the church porch to avoid the lateral hazard which runs the length of the hole as it creeps ever closer to the left hand side of the green.
And thanks to the position of this particular tract of land, St Enodoc boasts spectacular views over the north Atlantic Ocean and the Camel Estuary from every single hole. Braid laid out this unique track with no earth moving-equipment so the Church Course really is links golf at its most natural.
Today St Enodoc is recognized as one of the premier championship links courses in the world and, testament to its quality, regularly hosts top amateur competitions.
Unlike many top courses however, St Enodoc remains accessible to all despite being a members’ club and is extremely reasonable to play at just £75 per round in the summer and £45 in winter.
Indeed the club ensures that visitors receive a warm welcome and easy access to its friendly clubhouse, excellent practice facilities and short second course, The Holywell.
For more on St Enodoc, visit www.st-enodoc.co.uk
About St Enodoc Golf Club:
The Church Course is famed for its characteristic fairway undulations and firm greens, this breathtaking links is set against the backdrop of some of the greatest sea and estuary views of any course in the world. From every hole, you are able to see the north Atlantic or the Camel Estuary. Thanks to the temperate micro-climate in north Cornwall, the green keepers at St Enodoc are able to maintain the links in immaculate condition throughout the year and ensure they remain open all year round.
Off the course, visitors to Rock can enjoy the stunning beaches of Polzeath and Daymer Bay and visit the charming fishing village of Port Isaac, now well known through the country as the location for the popular television series Doc Martin. Just across the Camel Estuary from St Enodoc, Padstow is a magnet for those looking for excellent restaurants such as Rick Stein’s collection of seafood outlets and independent shops offering local arts and crafts.