Posted by & filed under Debates.

The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer

I pay more than £1,000 for golf club membership. That might seem like small beer to some of you living down south, but it’s apparently grim up north – it really isn’t – and it remains a chunk of my salary.

For that not insignificant outlay, I get a seven-day membership and the ability to largely play when I want. I can probably tee it up every day if I wish.

That’s what we shell out for. The freedom of choice. But could times be changing? If we revisit this discussion in a decade, will we still have the option to play whenever we choose?

The issue of fair use is a debate dimly echoing around some golf clubs and there are those predicting it will only get louder in the months and years to come. While the pandemic brought a spectacular intake of new players to clubs, for many it also brought a problem they’d never seen before.

These new members all wanted to play – frequently in fact – and alongside the demands exhibited by existing players they squeezed the tee sheet.

Suddenly, it was fastest finger first to get a precious competition spot and some players were left empty handed and grumbling.

Such was the unprecedented demand in the immediate period after lockdown that many clubs rationed the number of rounds players could book.

Some, like Royal Norwich, have kept those provisions in place. Inspired by a move to a new course and a pandemic push to the fairways, the club have more than 1,200 members and a significant proportion of those take advantage of a points option.

A free-for-all on their tee sheet wouldn’t keep a fraction of everyone happy. So members can only have four priority bookings on the system in any 13-day period at the Weston Park club. That doesn’t stop them playing more, but they can only book extras on the day of play and if tee times are free.

“There are some members that will say it’s a terrible thing,” said Royal Norwich chief executive James Stanley when explaining the policy. “But it’s only because they can’t play millionaire’s golf.

“This will only make it a better golf club, because they have more opportunity to engage with it over the time that they are a member.”

If players are unhappy with fair use at Royal Norwich, they don’t seem to be voting with their feet. Membership is still buoyant.

But easing the pressure on a crammed tee sheet is just one part the equation. Another question is whether membership as it stands represents value for all members.

In an opinion piece for the Golf Club Managers’ Association, their former national captain, David O’Sullivan, asked whether current membership structures offered all golfers the same opportunities.

He branded golf club membership “a good deal for some”, making the obvious point – but one largely unconsidered – that while retired golfers and working players are paying the same fees one is probably playing far fewer rounds than the other.

“Perhaps it is time to ask exactly what we are offering for the cost of annual membership,” he wrote.

O’Sullivan suggested a fee that covered up to a certain number of rounds per year, with any additional charged on top. Having established that base, it would be far simpler, he argued, to be fairer in introducing other memberships that would be attractive to different groups.

He concluded: “Membership fees of a golf club set at a price regardless of the number of rounds played only suits the retired.

“It’s time to remind ourselves that private members’ golf clubs are custodians of sporting venues that enjoy generous tax advantages. We should therefore set membership fees that are fair to all and not favouring a certain age group.”

There will be golf clubs who might have some issues with that idea, given how the working player can prop up their yields. There would also be a debate about the premium of peak weekend use but, even so, the debate seems to be getting louder.

Those points memberships, once considered part of the race to the bottom, anecdotally seem to be proving ever popular. If more members begin to migrate to those options, because they fit in easier with their lives and represent better value, clubs will have to focus more upon them.

Perhaps the participation boom is at its peak and the overall demand for golf, which has shown no signs of dipping yet if Sports Marketing Surveys’ latest review of rounds played in Great Britain and Ireland is any judge, will begin to fall back towards pre-2020 levels.

But if they do not, and demand for tee times remains busy, clubs will be well aware there’s not much that sends a golfer to the exit door quicker than frustration at not being able to play at the times they want.

Are we about to see a shift in the dynamics of membership? Like many things with golf post-Covid, the future looks very interesting indeed.

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer

The pros make it look simple. For the rest of us, though, the mere sight of a bunker is enough to send our scorecards all of a quicker.

A skirmish with the sand is just a regular fact of a life during a round but, even if you do have trouble extricating yourselves from them, do you know how the Rules of Golf treat a bunker?

Of course, you all know not to ground your club either right in front, or behind, of the ball and I’m sure you don’t need telling not to take some sand with you on your backswing.

But there’s plenty more to know about bunkers and Rule 12 in the Rules of Golf reveals all. So get your bucket and spade ready and ensure you’ll never fall foul again when you’re ball falls into the yellow stuff…

When is my ball in a bunker?

Let’s kick off with something that should, you might first think, seem obvious but I get quite a lot of questions about this and, thankfully, Rule 12.1 provides a full definition.

You can say your ball is in a bunker when any part of it either “touches sand on the ground inside the edge of the bunker” or, is inside the edge of the bunker and rests “on ground where sand normally would be”.

That would include an area where the sand had been either blown away or washed away. If your ball lies on a loose impediment, a movable obstruction, is in abnormal course condition, or an integral object that is either touching the sand, or is on ground where the sand would normally be, then your ball is also in the bunker.

It’s not in the bunker, though, if it is in the wall or face or if it lies on either soil or grass – or another growing or attached object – that’s inside the edge of the bunker without touching sand.

So, to put that in plain English for you, if you find your ball on one of those grassed areas that are sometimes found inside a trap, in that instance it would not be in the bunker.

Can I remove loose impediments and movable obstructions?

Yes you can, but be careful when shifting loose impediments under Rule 15.1. If the ball moves while you’re doing so, you’ll incur a one stroke penalty.

Removing either loose impediments or movable obstructions allows you to “reasonably touch” or move the sand while doing so under Rule 12.2a.

There is an interpretation to this rule that goes into some detail about what would be classed as reasonable, including a pretty good example involving a pine cone.

In this situation, the player drags the cone away and removes some sand from their area of intended swing. In this case, the interpretation says the player would get a penalty, under Rule 8.1a for improving the conditions of the stroke.

Why? Did they need to drag the cone away, or could they have just picked it straight up? The rule judges they could have used a “less intrusive” way to do it.

Remember that just because you can take an action that allows you to do something that might otherwise breach a rule, don’t take it to extremes.

What can’t I do in a bunker?

We’ve just shown you an example of where you can fall foul. Rule 12.2b – Restrictions on Touching Sand in Bunker – outlines many more.

You’ll be aware of most. You can’t make a practice swing that touches sand, for instance, and neither can you touch sand in your backswing.

You can’t touch the sand with a club either in the area right in front or right behind the ball (unless you’re looking for a ball or removing a loose impediment or movable obstruction).

And you also can’t either use a club, your hand, or really any other object to test the condition of the sand to help your next shot.

But aren’t there occasions where I can touch the sand?

There are indeed. The 2019 rules changes loosened some of the restrictions that had previously been in place and you no longer were penalised for generally touching the sand in a bunker. That means you can lean on a club to rest, to balance yourself or prevent a fall, you can place objects (including your clubs) in the bunker and you can even chuck them in if you want.

You already know you can dig in with your feet to make a stance either for the shot itself, or a practice swing. And you can even have a strop in the sand and won’t be penalised for striking it in anger.

Smoothing the sand to care for the course and taking actions under a Rule – such as marking, lifting and replacing – will also be sanction free.

But the spectre of Rule 8.1a is always hanging over to you to an extent here. Your actions in touching the sand can’t improve the conditions affecting the stroke. If they do, it’s the general penalty (two shots or loss of hole in match play) for you.

What happens once the ball is out of the sand?

Touch the sand, or smooth it to care for the case. That is the case even if you have to drop a ball in the bunker, by taking stroke-and-distance relief, or if the sand in the bunker is on your line of play and you are taking your next shot from outside the trap.

But – there’s always a but, isn’t there? – if you played a bunker shot, and it comes back into the bunker, or if you drop the ball in the bunker, all those restrictions you’ve seen in Rule 12.2b or 8.1a are now back in play.

That’s why you’ll sometimes see a player who has hit a bunker shot, and knows it’s coming back into the trap, feverishly cleaning up before the ball gets there.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

The article below was written by James Somerside of National Club Golfer

A key part of Callaway Golf’s product launches since 2020 has been the involvement of artificial intelligence, or AI. Despite being something more usually associated with Sci-Fi movies, Callaway claim that the utilisation of AI has revolutionised how they build their clubs – notably the faces on their metalwoods. 

But what is AI design, and how does it work?

What is AI design in golf clubs?

The short answer is that the R&D team at Callaway feed some information about the way certain types of golfers strike the ball into a super computer, and let it whizz away to spit out the formula for making a clubface which best helps to suit those golfers – be it Tour Pros or higher-handicap amateurs. This face is then built into the design of the golf club, and hey presto! You’ve got yourself a snazzy new Driver! 

However, as you might expect, there’s slightly more to it than this. In order to produce the faces suggested by the algorithms within the computers, Callaway’s designer and developers had to totally change the way they went about building clubs, with new manufacturing processes needed to actually create the super-thin titanium faces required for the product design. This also included finding an entirely new titanium alloy that was strong enough to be used in golf clubs when coupled with these unique designs!

The good news for Callaway was that the use of AI actually sped up a lot of their day to day development. For the debut of their ‘Flash Face’, first seen in the Epic Flash drivers, the company used machine learning to cycle through 15,000 designs, something which would have previously been wholly unrealistic in the building of a new club.

The company also found assistance from the AI in the overall designs of the clubs too, not just the driver faces themselves, helping to develop their full golf club offering – helping with aerodynamics, launch, spin, feel, and forgiveness. This allows them to more quickly test new theories or designs, helping to hone in on the final version more easily.

What’s more, with decades of data from golfers of all ability, Callaway Golf have been able to use AI to more easily build differences into the design of their products to suit different types of golfer – even within the same product family. 

In their current lineup, whilst the naming of the Rogue ST MAX, MAX D, MAX LS and Triple Diamond LS may be similar, the products themselves differ greatly, and have been created for differing golfers. The low spin models (LS) are generally designed for the better player, helping to manage unwanted spin, with the MAX and MAX D (draw) models generally offering a touch more forgiveness for those that may not always find the centre of the face…

However, even after just a couple of years, the AI innovation is not limited to metalwoods, with the company using it to help develop their iron lineup too. 

The Rogue ST iron range features an AI-designed Flash Cup Face, designed to maintain ball speed across the face of the club, helping to get your approaches pin-high, even on  poorer swings. Additionally, the AI technology has been used in Callaway irons to create more optimised launch, loft and spin throughout the set. Although all of the major brands will now tailor their lofts according to the wider designs of their irons (and the needs of the intended customer), Callaway claim the use of AI maximises performance, enabling their designers to make minor adjustments which maintain consistency, and forgiveness, throughout their sets. 

One last, but important, point to mention is how AI is helping Callaway create and refine separate technologies within their products. The most pertinent example being their much-discussed ‘Jailbreak’ technology. Whilst this was first seen in their 2017 Epic range of metalwoods, AI has helped the company to tweak the initial design from two bars which joined the crown to the sole of the golf club, to the new ‘Jailbreak Speedframe’ – something which spreads this forgiveness wider across the clubface and helps increase ball speed. 

So, the next time you fly your new Callaway driver past your playing partners, flush your fairway woods or manage to hit the green on a slightly missed iron shot, you can thank the kind folk in Callaway R&D for adding a team of super-computers brimming with AI to their already impressive team!

Posted by & filed under News.

The article below was written by Alex Perry, Digital Editor of National Club Golfer

The production team behind Netflix’s impossibly popular Formula One docuseries, Drive to Survive, is turning its attention to golf.  

What do we know so far?

Well, not a massive amount. It doesn’t even have a name just yet, but Netflix did release a roster of PGA Tour stars that will be involved.  

In no particular order, other than alphabetical, those who have already put pen to paper are Abraham Ancer, Daniel Berger, Cameron Champ, Joel Dahmen, Tony Finau, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Harry Higgs, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Kevin Na, Mito Pereira, Ian Poulter, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Bubba Watson.  

There are some notable absentees from the list, the highest profile of which are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau – the latter of which is the only player to offer a reason. But while they haven’t agreed – yet – to allow the cameras into their private lives, that doesn’t mean they won’t be involved at all.   

Also good news is that, as well as the PGA Tour – who say they will have absolutely no creative control over the project – the four majors are also on board.  

Why should we be excited?

Drive to Survive follows the Formula One season and provides a candid and fascinating behind-the-scenes window into the sport which, even for those who don’t follow closely, is captivating and, at times, unmissable.  

I reached out to my former ESPN colleagues Nate Saunders and Chris Medland, prominent F1 writers who were involved in the making of Drive to Survive, to ask them what we can expect.

“It’s brought a whole new fanbase to F1,” Nate explains, in particular when it came to finally cracking America.  

While that’s not a particular problem for golf, a pastime mostly popular in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Far East, Netflix can help reach parts of the world in which it has so far failed to capture the imagination of even the most ardent of armchair sports fans.  

But what will get passionate and casual golf fans alike tuning in is the opportunity to see the world’s best laid bare.  

“One of the best things about Drive to Survive was how it humanised the biggest names and gave us insight into the characters,” Nate explains. 

“Before Drive to Survive, Lewis Hamilton was F1’s only genuine recognisable star, but it’s showed there are some incredible personalities across the sport.” 

“It made people other than the drivers relatable too,” Chris adds. “Which made for interesting additional storylines.”

Nate agrees: “It captured genuine moments of animosity between [rival race team leaders] Christian Horner and Toto Wolff, for example, which you don’t always see when they have played nice on camera.”

Chris adds: “For me it was about getting people to connect with lesser-known stars in the sport. So they’ll be watching a race and find themselves rooting for a random driver in eighth place, and so on.

“Like golf, it’s not just about who wins.”

But, Nate warns, there can be an element of finding drama for drama’s sake.

“While new fans loved it for that reason, for us who follow F1 closely, the series created rivals where rivalries didn’t exist. For example, if you watched the series you’d think Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were arch rivals but to those of us in the know, there is no beef between them at all.”

And on that controversial final race of the season, he adds: “A lot of people said the race director forced that finish – breaking the rules he was meant to implement – because F1 has become more about the entertainment factor than the integrity of the sport. So there has been some negative impact.

“For the new fanbase, that’s been great, but it’s a double-edged sword.”

When can we watch?

The PGA Tour and Netflix are remaining tight-lipped about a launch date – most likely because they don’t have one yet – but filming reportedly started at the Hero World Challenge in December and is likely to continue through to the end of the FedEx Cup Play-offs in September, so expect to see it in the autumn. 

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

In an ideal world, when you buy new golf clubs, you get custom fitted – and when you do so, your grips are perfect.

However, in reality, this doesn’t always happen, especially when lots of golfers buy clubs straight off the shelf. As a result, many golfers play with unsuitable grips. Often it’s something as obvious as playing with the wrong size – and this can have a big impact on the quality of your strike.

If you’re just about to dust off the clubs ahead of the new season, now’s the perfect time to take a look at those grips. If they’re shiny and worn, it’s probably wise to get them replaced – and when you do, here are some options worth considering. Just be sure to ask your PGA professional for a steer.


Best Golf Grips On The Market In 2022


1. Golf Pride MCC Plus4 ALIGN Grip, RRP £15.99

best golf grips

This multi-compound grip features ALIGN technology. Raised guides on the grip assist hand alignment to square the clubface and improve your swing consistency. Plus4 simulates having four layers of added tape on the lower part of the grip for lighter pressure and more power. It’s also designed to offer superb grip in all weather conditions.


2. Lamkin Crossline Grip, RRP £8.49

best golf grips

Lamkin’s best-selling grip delivers superb surface traction and outstanding torsion control. Designed to provide maximum feedback, this classic-looking grip has been a firm favourite on Tour for many years. It’s made from a highly durable synthetic rubber compound, too, giving golfers top performance round after round.


3. Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN Grip, RRP £12.99

best golf grips

ALIGN technology features a raised ridge on the grip, which encourages more consistent hand placement and better clubface awareness. As a result, it should help produce a more consistent strike off the centre of the clubface. It’s easy to slip into bad habits, especially when it comes to grip – but this model helps you to stay on top of those important basics.


4. SuperStroke S-Tech Grip, RRP £9.49

best golf grips

The S-Tech is designed for golfers who demand the ultimate in feedback and control – and it’s also the grip of choice for Major winners Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia. Created using a premium engineered rubber compound, it offers a blend of both softness and tack. Meanwhile, a refined surface texture offers incredible non-slip performance, ensuring high performance in all weather conditions.


5. Arccos Caddie Smart Grip, RRP £21.99

best golf grips

If you’re not familiar with Arccos technology, these grips can genuinely help you play better golf. How? Well, inside the butt end of each grip is a GPS sensor that tracks the distance and direction of every shot you hit. You can connect any set of clubs to the Arccos app and capture all your shots, which gives you the tools to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your game.

Arcoss offers six types of single grips: Golf Pride MCC Plus4 (standard and midsize), Golf Pride Tour Velvet (standard and midsize) and Lamkin Crossline 360 (standard and midsize). 


6. Lamkin SONAR+ Grip, RRP £14.49

best golf grips

Lamkin’s Fingerprint technology is used to provide a consistent micro-textured pattern for enhanced comfort and traction. Meanwhile, the use of Genesis material, which is slightly softer than traditional rubber, makes it both tacky and durable.


7. Golf Pride MCC Grip, RRP £13.99

The New Decade Multi-Compound (MCC) is an innovative hybrid grip that fuses the positive performance of rubber and cord for an exciting new look and feel.

As with many modern golf grips, they’re available in several attractive colours. However, the performance rubber material in the lower hand is the real standout feature, giving users the ultimate feel and responsiveness. The MCC also boasts the brand’s exclusive Brushed Cotton Cord in the upper hand area for firm all-weather control.


Best Putter Grips

This is another area of the game where many club golfers would do well to experiment. Often we’ll change the putter, but maybe we don’t give enough thought to the type of grip we use and whether a different style might work better for our stroke.


8. SuperStroke Traxion Tour Slim 3.0 Putter Grip, RRP £29.99

This feature-packed model is SuperStroke’s best-selling putter grip. Spyne technology incorporates a heavily embossed ridge along the underside of the grip. It’s easy to feel and allows you to place your hands in a repeatable position for a more consistent stroke. It also features a unique polyurethane material, which is tacky for increased control, while X-shaped Traxion lugs in key gripping areas provide an enhanced feel and comfort.


9. Golf Pride Tour SNSR Contour Pro Putter Grip, RRP £32.99

Pistol style grips like this are great for feel putters and players with arced strokes. The contoured and oversized design helps lock in the upper hands for a repetitive putting motion. It also has a flat paddle front for thumb placement and alignment. Meanwhile, the high-performance rubber provides boosted feel for enhanced feel and distance control.


10. Lamkin SINKFIT Straight Putter Grip, RRP £34.99

Lamkin’s Fingerprint technology offers players a responsive feel, which is boosted by its tacky surface and a micro-textured pattern. This straight configuration features a parallel design with slightly rounded edges that encourages a smoother pendulum-style stroke.


11. Flat Cat Solution Svelte Putter Grip, RRP £49.99

If you’re struggling to square the putter face at impact, here’s your solution. Its shape helps you place your hands onto the grip and keep the face square at the address position, with a heavier weighted steel cone at the bottom to produce a pendulum-style putting stroke. The tacky surface also means performance doesn’t get comprised in wet weather.

Posted by & filed under Golf Courses.

Cornwall is a long-established destination of choice for family holidays in the UK, but the tranquil southwesterly region is also a magnet for golfers.

With stunning coastlines, clifftops overlooking serene beaches, and natural beauty scarcely bettered anywhere else in the country, Cornwall ticks all the boxes as far as golf is concerned.

You’re almost spoilt for choice as a golfer in Cornwall, so if you’re a first-timer, it’s understandable if you need a helping hand.

That’s where we come in. We’ve done the research so that you don’t have to. Here are the 14 best golf courses in Cornwall.


1. Perranporth Golf Club

Situated on Cornwall’s gorgeous northern coast, Perranporth Golf Club is arguably one of the most underrated links courses in the UK.

Designed in 1927 by the Scottish golf great James Braid, Perranporth and its unique layout have largely remained the same ever since. The links course itself is built upon high ground, which means golfers are treated to stunning views across Perran Bay and its sandy beach while on the green.

The course at Perranporth measures just over 6,200 yards and has a standard par of 72. However, golfers will find that Perranporth is not without its challenges. There are a total of seven blind drives alongside several semi-blind approach shots, too, which can catch out first-timers in particular.

The landscape at Perranporth is also renowned for its somewhat moon-like qualities. With holes winding up and down its natural dunes, it’s not the most relaxing of courses, that’s for sure – but one that’s worth the challenge.

Still, however, Perranporth Golf Club ranks in the Golf World Top 100 courses in the UK and Ireland.



2. Newquay Golf Club

It doesn’t take long to realise why Newquay is a holiday hotspot. It’s home to some of the best beaches in Britain and the best surfing destinations in the world.

However, it’s also home to the stunning Newquay Golf Club, with its beautiful views across the headland and the world-famous Fistral Beach – an iconic surfing spot.

Newquay Golf Club was formed way back in 1890, meaning that its stunning golf course is not only a renowned landmark of sheer natural beauty but it’s jam-packed with history too.

This 18-hole, par 69 course measures more than 6,100 yards long and is suitable for golfers of all abilities and skillsets – so it’s a must-visit if you’re holidaying in Newquay or nearby.

But the maintenance of the golf course has not been without struggle. In fact, once upon a time, the land was nearly sold to developers with the intention of it becoming a housing estate – however, thankfully, those plans never teed off (pardon the pun!)



3. The Point at Polzeath

The greens at the Point are considered some of the best in the UK among the golfing community, and it’s easy to see why.

Though the 18-hole golf course has been open for more than 20 years, investment more recently to the site has allowed for significant improvements to just about every aspect of the course. In fact, the course’s overall presentation is pretty hard to fault.

Sitting nicely just above the Camel Estuary, five miles from Wadebridge and a mile from St Enodoc, the Point is in the ideal location for a relaxing golfing retreat. In 2018, the Sunday Times included the Point at Polzeath in a round-up of Britain’s top golf hotels, too.

The course itself has glorious views out over Hayle Bay and Pentire Point, which make playing golf here an absolute delight, especially during peak season.



4. China Fleet Golf Club

China Fleet Golf Club is set in an impressive 180 acres of Cornish countryside alongside the River Tamar, on the cusp of bordering Devon. It’s also just 15 minutes from the city of Plymouth – so it’s just about as connected and accessible as a golf course can be.

This superb 18-hole parkland golf course was designed by Dr Martin Grant Hawtree – a golf course architect whose CV also includes world-famous courses such as Royal Birkdale and Les Aisses.

The 72-par course at China Fleet is suitable for golfers of all abilities, with chipping and putting greens, a short-game practice area, and a 22-bay floodlit driving range.

You’ll encounter a few surprises as you work your way through the holes here, though. Without giving too much away – think water hazards, tree-lined fairways and out-of-bounds holes.

Golfers already familiar with this course will agree that the 14th hole, in particular, is a memorable one. Here, the tee shot needs to carry over 140 yards of lake, so the weight of shot is key.



5. Merlin Golf Club

You might associate the name Merlin with magic – and this beautiful heathland course on Cornwall’s northern coast is nothing short of magic either.

With amazing views of the sea, Merlin Golf Club is not far from Mawgan Porth and its award-winning beach, meaning you can enjoy your golf in some of the best surrounds Cornwall has to offer.

The course at Merlin is designed to suit golfers of all abilities, as there are no long carries for high handicappers to consider but still enough of a challenge posed to keep the lower handicappers among us engaged.

As greens go, they don’t come too much better than Merlin’s either. These greens, in particular, are arguably some of the truest you’ll ever come across as a golfer. This, combined with the stunning north Cornwall scenery, makes Merlin Golf Club a golfer’s magical paradise in every sense.



6. Carlyon Bay

The 72-par, 18-hole championship golf course at Carlyon Bay is one of the finest the region has to offer.

Situated on the south coast clifftops, the views across the bay are spectacular, while the course itself provides a challenge for any golfer.

Many have described the course at Carlyon Bay as ‘one of two halves’. The first ten holes are played right alongside the clifftop before winding into the parkland for the back-stretch.

However, aesthetically, there’s certainly nothing half-measured about Carlyon Bay, because as we mentioned before, most of the course yields sublime views across St Austell Bay.

Carlyon Bay also has a six-acre practice ground with two excellent putting greens and a nine-hole approach course on site, making it one of the best golf courses in Cornwall, and indeed the UK in general, for both playing and practising.



7. West Cornwall Golf Club

Overlooking St Ives Bay and the Hayle Estuary is West Cornwall Golf Club (WCGC). Founded in 1889, it’s the oldest existing golf course in Cornwall.

Though the WCGC course itself may not be a championship layout, it’s still fully capable of nurturing championship talent. The legendary Jim Barnes (AKA ‘Long Jim’), one of the few golfers to win an Open Championship in both the UK and US, cut his golfing teeth at WCGC. Born in Cornwall himself, Barnes went on to win four majors during his golfing career – so it’s fair to say WCGC is a good place to start!

More recently, golfers such as Philip Rowe and Harry Hall have all practised their craft out on the WCGC greens.

With a quiet railway line running adjacent and Hayle Beach visible from across the estuary, WCGC promises the perfect golfing experience all year round.



8. St Mellion International Resort

The course at St Mellion was designed and built by none other than Jack Nicklaus. For many golfers, that fact alone would probably be enough to prompt a visit, but St Mellion doesn’t just talk the talk – it firmly walks the walk, too.

Nicklaus’ first European course design, St Mellion is widely regarded as one of the best in the business, with golfers travelling from all over to test themselves on a course designed by one of the game’s greatest.

In true Nicklaus style, there’s no such thing as an easy hole at St Mellion, each of them carefully crafted with their own individuality. If nothing else – it’s clear to see Nicklaus paid immense attention to detail (which would go some way to explain his enviable success!)

With high elevations, tiered greens and plenty of water, you’ll know you’ve been in a game by the time you reach the 18th hole, that’s for sure.

St Mellion has been voted best golf course in the west of England and the second-best 4* golf resort in the UK and Ireland.

It’s also hosted tournaments. For example, the Benson & Hedges International Open was held here between 1990 and 1995, during which time the late, great Seve Ballesteros clinched victory.



9. Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club

Cornwall’s most northern town, Bude, has been a golfing hotspot since the late nineteenth century, and the Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club (BNCGC) has stood proud for more than 130 years.

This classic seaside links course is located just half a mile away from the town centre and has gorgeous views towards its two nearby beaches – Summerleaze and Crooklets.

Despite being somewhat ‘squeezed’ into a relatively small plot of land, the course still manages to boast a full 18 holes dissected by Golf House Road. The first five holes lie on one side, with the remaining 13 fairways dotted strategically on the other. Hats off to its original designer, Tom Dunn!

BNCGC offers golfers of all abilities an opportunity to experience an older-style links with various blind shots and fast greens.

There’s a smaller, 9-hole pitch and putt course on-site, too.



10. Holywell Bay

There’s something for everyone at Holywell Bay, so it’s another must-visit course if you’re holidaying in Newquay or nearby.

Located around six miles from Newquay Golf Club, Holywell Bay has two 18-hole golf courses, a 16-hole mini-golf course, and a family-friendly ‘Pitch & Putt’ by the sea – so from novice to veteran and young to old, all tastes and abilities are well catered for.

Holywell Bay’s courses and facilities are kept in stunning condition thanks to the site’s dedicated Greens’ Team, and the gorgeous panoramic views overlooking the countryside and National Trust-maintained beaches below make this one of the best golf courses in Cornwall.

Unlike some other golf clubs in the area, you don’t need to be a member to play a round at Holywell Bay. So, you’re free to pay and play as and when you wish – what’s not to love?



11. Trevose Golf and Country Club

The Trevose Golf and Country Club (TGCC) boasts three exquisite golf courses – the Championship Course, Headland Course, and Short Course – each one catering for golfers of varying abilities.

The oldest of the three is the Championship Course, which first opened in 1925 and is often regarded as one of the UK’s best links courses. Over the years, multiple tournaments have been held here, including the inaugural European Legends Links Championship in 2019 and the English Men’s County Finals in 2017.

As you stand on the first tee at the Championship Course, be prepared to be completely overwhelmed as the sights and sounds of the Atlantic hit you front-on. Another course of two halves, the first nine Championship holes stay close to the sandy coastline before heading back inland for the latter half.

The Headland Course at TGCC opened in 1993. Although a much quieter course, the quality on offer isn’t compromised an iota. All players are welcome on the Headland, and there’s no need to show handicap certificates, either.

For beginners to the sport, TGCC’s Short Course offers a sound environment to practice, too.



12. Bowood Park

In the rolling hills of North Cornwall, just outside Camelford, lies Bowood Park, among 230 acres of immense woodland.

To put the surroundings into context, the site on which Bowood Park is laid out was once the largest deer park in Cornwall, owned by Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince). However, it first opened as a golf course in 1992, and today, it’s one of the best in the region.

As the name would imply, Bowood Park is a parkland course and was very much ‘ahead of the game’ in the UK when it was built.

From the back markers, the course measures just shy of 6,700 yards, with the first nine holes dotted along the Cornish hillside before the latter half snakes through the valley of the River Allen.

The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth holes are some of the easiest on the eye you’re likely to ever come across as a golfer. They’ve even been likened to the Amen Corner at Augusta National (for those that know it).



13. St Enodoc Golf Club

Overlooking the Camel Estuary with views out towards nearby Padstow and the Atlantic, St Enodoc is perfectly placed to offer an unrivalled golf experience.

There are two courses at St Enodoc – Church Course and Holywell Course (not to be confused with Holywell Bay).

The Church Course, in particular, has earned itself a reputation over the years as one of the best courses in the West Country and has hosted numerous amateur events, such as the English Ladies Amateur Championships and the English Counties Championship.

You’ll encounter a few surprises on the Church Course – some unwanted, however – not least the ‘Himalaya bunker’, which is rumoured to be the biggest in Europe!

Players seeking a slightly less demanding round should give St Enodoc’s Holywell Course a go. This course is maintained to an exceptional standard and is suitable for golfers of all abilities. It’s the ideal spot for a relaxing round on a warm summer’s evening.

Interestingly, the course gets its name from the intriguing-looking ‘holy well’ you’ll find just to the left of the twelfth hole.



14. Lanhydrock Hotel

Last but not least, the Lanhydrock Hotel in Bodmin boasts one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in Cornwall.

Hidden away in a sheltered valley, the Lanhydrock’s golf course has been beautifully shaped into the surrounding landscape over the years, and today offers a truly enjoyable experience for every golfer.

The tone of the round is set from the very first hole. Lanhydrock is blessed with reasonably flat land, so the course isn’t too demanding on the legs, but it takes full advantage of its various water features.

After a relatively calm start, the difficulty ramps up by the time you reach the tenth hole. From here, you’ll be faced with a deceptive creek, uneven greens, thicker rough and overhanging trees – so, don’t get complacent and be prepared!

There’s a wide range of practice facilities on site, too, including a driving range with six covered bays and two grass area practice tees.