Teeing Off in Paradise: Cornwall’s Best Golf Courses

Written by: Eliot Prince

“Spectacular, stunning, breathtaking.”

I’ll apologize now

Because you’re going to hear these words a lot from me as we roll our way through the best golf courses in Cornwall.

I just have now other way to describe my experiences here!

Let’s make our pilgrimage to partake in the splendour of the beautiful and legendary Cornish golf courses.

Maybe this is your first visit, or perhaps you speak a little Kernewek yourself. Either way, it’s never easy knowing where exactly you should be spending your precious golfing hours. 

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • The 11 top golf clubs in Cornwall
  • The characteristics and qualities of these golf courses
  • What sights to expect when you’re playing

So shove a hot pasty in your bag, grab your clubs, and let’s have a gander at some of Cornwall’s best golf clubs and courses! 

St Enodoc Golf Club – Rock

Enodoc Golf course church from above

If you love Cornwall, you know that it’s a land steeped in history. I couldn’t start this list anywhere else than this epic course.

A 10-minute stroll from the fishing village of Rock, St Enodoc Golf Club is a picturesque belter. The Church course there is named for the historic thirteenth-century Sinkininny (or Sinking Neddy) Church at its centre.

Sinking Neddy had, well, sunk beneath Cornish sand dunes by the 1850s. Clergymen continued to enter the unfortunate church through the ceiling annually in order to maintain tithes. 

The church was rescued in 1864 and now stands at the centre of the challenging golf course. 

Literary types can pay a visit to the grave of former poet laureate John Betjeman who rests in the church graveyard. You can find his tomb as you pass through the 10th green.

The man himself had a few choice words in praise of the St Enodoc course in his poem, Seaside Golf:

“Ah! Seaweed smells from sandy caves

And thyme and mist in whiffs,

In-coming tide, Atlantic waves

Slapping the sunny cliffs,

Lark song and sea sounds in the air

And splendour, splendour everywhere.”

St Enodoc is home to two 18-hole courses—the Church course and the Holywell course. The golf course’s location on the Atlantic coast has enchanted many players who have raved about their visit.

The Church course is (in true Cornish fashion) wild and picturesque. Be prepared to get your steps in on this par 69 and 6,243-yard seaside course!

St Enodoc Golf Church Course

Meanwhile, the Holywell course is 4,103 yards and par 63. It’s a great place to enjoy all the challenges and beauty of the Church course at a more leisurely pace.

Trevose Golf Club – Padstow

Trevose Golf club three players sat in the sun

It’s hard to rank the beautiful locales of the Cornish countryside, but if I am going to try, Trevose Golf Club would certainly place high on the list! 

At only a 12-minute drive outside of Padstow, Trevose Golf Club is bordered by seven stunning white-sand beaches.

Trevose’s reputation is built on its elite Championship course, which is practically begging you to take risks (and then punishes you harshly for shots that go awry). 

Tricky bunkers and roughs abound — the 18-hole Championship course dares you to bring your best game.

However, that’s hardly all that Trevose Golf Club has to offer. Alongside the Championship course, Trevose also has two nine-hole courses for golfers with a wide range of skills and experience. 

Aside from great games of golf, Trevose Golf Club boasts tennis courts, a swimming pool and five-star accommodation.  

Trevose Golf Club also plays host to events like the European Legends Links Championship. This event allows amateurs to play the course in the company of a Legends Tour professional golfer.

A day on the links culminates with a champagne reception and a three-course dinner! 

St Mellion Estate Golf Course – Saltash

st mellion golf sign

If you’re an English (or Cornish) pro-golfer, there’s a good chance you’ve already visited or competed in tournaments at St Mellion International Resort. At an 11-minute drive from the town of Saltash, St Mellion will truly challenge your game.

The dreamy farmland setting is home to both the Nicklaus and Kernow Courses — designed for players with good course management. 

In particular, The Nicklaus Course is an 18-hole, par 72 course that offers plenty of opportunities to really let loose in an area that spans 6,200 yards.

These courses encourage great golf and even opportunities to make lasting memories with your own wee up-and-coming golfers!

St Mellion is a must-visit for those who want to walk the same greens as the greats. 

From 1990–1995, the golf course hosted the Benson & Hedges International Open and was the site where Langer, Ballesteros, and Olazábal all seized victory. 

In addition to the courses, St Mellion also offers a pro shop and putting area. Aside from that, you can find one of the best driving ranges in Cornwall here as well!

Perranporth Golf Club – Perranporth

Perranporth Golf Club stone welcome sign

Perranporth is a delight for traditionalists and fans of the historical game. 

Unaltered since 1927, Perranporth Golf Club is proof of the old adage from across the Atlantic—“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’’ 

Speaking of the Atlantic, playing in this course immerses you in the untamed beauty of north Cornwall.

Perranporth hosts a par 72, 18-hole Championship course with hard and fast greens. A hop and skip from the beach town of Perranporth, you can’t find another 18 holes that celebrate the town’s natural beauty better than this standard of links course.

You can’t help but spend half of your round stood looking at the views of the golden sands below (hopefully you’ll be on the green while the others hack their way out of the rough!)

If you make your trip on the third weekend of April, you can enjoy the added pleasure of a historical soundtrack in the winds. 

The Perranporth Shout is an annual three-day sea shanty festival. It’s a bonus for some golfers, but for those who prefer a quiet green: you’ve been adequately warned!

Mullion Golf Club – Mullion

Mullion Golf Club at sunset

This is the golf course for the (relaxed and safety-conscious) thrillseekers! Mullion Golf Club features a breathtaking, 18-hole, par 72 course that’s played along the spectacular Cornish clifftops. 

Founded in 1895, the Mullion Golf Club is a mere five-minute drive from the historic village of Mullion. Making the most southerly golf course in England. It’s a real special place to play, set spectacularly on the cliff tops of the Lizard Peninsula. 

It’s a completely unique course to play with its imaginative bunkering and defence provided by the wind. It measures 5,871 yards off the yellows making it a fun but very friendly course for all visitors.

The scenic Mullion Golf Club is a few short miles from the most southerly point of the British mainland. It’s for this reason that during the summer months, Mullion’s 17th hole has been called “the warmest spot in England.

Although the course itself isn’t home to any barrows, the local countryside is nevertheless rich in ancient history. 

As you drive from Mullion, keep an eye out for prehistoric burial mounds. Play your cards right, and you might even receive a performance-enhancing blessing from the faery folk!

West Cornwall Golf Club – Hayle

The West Cornwall Golf Club was designed in the late 1880s by the holy Reverend Tyack. Truly a saint of the club-and-ball sport, Reverend Tyack has certainly blessed us all with this haven he established in West Cornwall. 

The course is situated overlooking St Ives Bay and Hayle Estuary, providing stunning views. The links land gives decent golfing conditions all year round in my experience. Plus it’s fully equipped pro shop with driving range, club, trolley, and buggy hire.

From the 2 or 3 rounds I’ve played here, is is up there as one of the best golf courses in Cornwall, albeit shorter and much less well-known than the famous links duo at Trevose and St Enodoc.

This par 69 links course has been in constant use since it opened in 1889. A stay in Britain’s best beach town of St Ives is an easy sell to your less golf-inclined travel companions!

So, why not give your family a vacation and bring yourself to the sanctified grounds of the West Cornwall Golf Club?

Carlyon Bay Golf Club – St Austell

Carlyon Bay Golf Club hosts a par 72, 18-hole, championship-length course. Half-clifftop, half-parkland, this course offers gorgeous views of the Cornish coastline

Here, you get to pop out for the day or stay in the luxurious onsite hotel and play for free. 

Would you believe that there’s yet another stunning clifftop golf course in Cornwall?? Carlyon is situated on the cliff-tops and has breath-taking views across St Austell Bay. And it one of the most spectacular championship courses in the whole of the UK. The main course is 18 holes and measures 6,500 yards. To be honest, it can be a challenging course with undulating fairways, tight greens, and strategically placed bunkers. You’ll be beaming from ear to ear on some holes as your ball picks up speed down the hill. All before a frustrating splash into the sand! – That’s what happens to me anyway!!

In addition to the main course, Carlyon Bay Golf Club offers six acres of practice grounds, two putting greens, and a nine-hole approach course. 

You can also get plenty of support for improving your game thanks to a team of PGA professionals providing tuition and fine-tuning. 

The lodging at Carlyon bay is far from spartan—you can round out a solid day of golfing with some well-earned time in the luxury spa or cruising the swimming pool. 

And to end the night, treat yourself to the hotel’s gorgeous views of Carlyon Bay and the Cornish Riviera!

Holywell Bay Golf Club – Holywell

Holywell bay golf course front 9 green

The Holywell Bay Golf Club attracts golfers of all abilities. Regardless of the skill level, the cliff-hanging 17th hole is a thrilling and exciting challenge for virtually any golfer.

Before heading here, make note that the club offers an 18-hole Par 3 course and a pitch and put rather than a full scale course. The club is situated on the North Cornwall coastline (shocker!) and usually has first-class fairways and coastal views overlooking the National Trust protected beach at Holywell Bay.

The 18-hole courses are suitable for golfers of all levels, while the mini-golf course is perfect for families and beginners. The Par 3 course is actually pretty a competitive course for golfers of all standards.

A pitch-and-putt course and relaxing Cornish minigolf also makes for a great location to indoctrinate baby golfers.

Consider bringing the family along for your game here as it’s a wonderful course for showing the joy of the sport. There’s great potential for gentle teaching and learning on the sensibly distanced fairways and immaculate greens of the Holywell Bay Golf Club. 

After your day of golf, enjoy the coastal village of Holywell Bay itself. Spend your time relaxing on the beach’s beautiful golden sand, exploring Holywell Cave, or spotting the Argentinian wreck at low tide. 

Simply put, Holywell is a choice you can never go wrong with!

Newquay Golf Club – Newquay

Newquay Golf Course wide shot of course

Newquay Golf Club offers premium links golf; if you want to play like the pros, this par 69 course is a must-visit. There’s plenty of golden Cornish sand on and off the course, with multiple bunkers and a view of the beautiful Newquay beach.

I can’t ever drive to Fistral beach in Newquay, without being tempted to grab my clubs and go for a round. From the top of the hill you can get a complete look at the course which is undeniably enticing on a sunny day! Plus you can relax on the beach once you’ve finished with the double bogeys!

 It features an 18-hole links course designed by Harry Colt, one of the most famous golf course architects in the world. The course offers panoramic views over the Celtic Sea and is known for its strategically placed bunkers and unpredictable coastal wind, which provides a challenging and interesting game of golf for any golfer.

The sloping greens encourage fast plays with excellent accuracy. Confident golfers stand a good chance (well, more chance than usual) of a hole-in-one on this gorgeous course. 

Since its establishment in 1890, Newquay Golf Club has been an instant classic, so be sure to test your game here!

Newquay itself is a bustling little resort town that offers weeklong lifeguard cover from May to September at Towan Beach…although, you’ll likely find that no game of golf requires it.

Point at Polzeath Golf Club – Polzeath

The Point at Polzeath Golf Club boasts one of Britain’s best golf hotels. It’s a great pitstop for players who are hoping to get the most out of their time in Cornwall. 

Not only can you play the Polzeath course, but you’re also only a 9-iron away from the classic St Enodoc Golf Club!

The Point at Polzeath Golf Club offers a superb driving range and an 18-hole course. The course that was originally designed by former Ryder Cup player and broadcaster Dave Feherty in the mid-1990s when it was known as Roserrow Golf & Country Club. Since then it was redesigned in 2015 by Tim Lobb. It does have a challenging layout but still great fun for golfers of all levels with epic views over Hayle Bay and Pentire Point.

During your time, you can see the love and investment that husband and wife duo Eva and Jeremy Davies have poured into this course since they acquired it in 2012.

The improvements to the course are incredibly wonderful, and with each visit, it only gets better.

Not only can you find great golf and immaculate lodgings in Polzeath, but the area is also home to several beer and music festivals. 

The best way to spend your time in the area is to save the festivals for after the golf and not the other way around! (Trust me on that one!)

China Fleet Golf Club – Saltash

The China Fleet Golf Club offers an 18-hole course that serves as the prized gem in the crown of 180 acres of beautiful farmland. The course features the lush River Tamar on one side and Kingsmill Creek on the other. 

Water features don’t simply beautify this course though—you’ll have to play over and around several exciting hazards!

China Fleet Golf Club is only part of a larger country club complex. This complex is fully resourced with a 22-bay floodlit driving range, a putting green, a chipping green, and a generous short-game practice area. 

Sooner or later, you have to come in after your game of golf. Take the sting out of this harsh reality by relaxing at the China Fleet health club! 

After soothing your weary muscles in a luxury spa, you can cap off your day with delicious indoor or alfresco dining!

Watch out for the bunkers, cliffs, and wind!

Truly, we’ve only scratched the surface of great golf in Cornwall. Each time I play a course, both new and old, it’s a joy!

It’s no surprise that this Scottish sport has spawned so many fantastic courses across this Celtic county. If it were only up to me, I could spend an entire lifetime just golfing here!

It becomes a bit of a cliche to say ‘stunning views’ but it’s the complete honest truth every which way you launch your tee shot in the air.

With so many gorgeous sights, the many golf courses on our list are like prized gems in an already serene and studded surrounding.

Golf enthusiasts, whether they’re beginners or world-class pros, should definitely take the time to explore all the scenic golf courses that Cornwall has to offer.

And for those of you who only have the weekend, you can now hopefully make good use of my of golf courses in Cornwall to make the most of your time!