Review by Joseph Austin (TGB Director) 18.05.2012 – Hcp 6
St Enodoc Golf Club, Rock, Wadebridge, Cornwall, PL27 6LD
Set on the rugged coastline of North Cornwall overlooking the Camel estuary, the golf links of St Enodoc has always been highly regarded by the discerning golfers of Cornwall: more recently it has become widely know nationally and internationally as a course which provides some of the finest natural golf in the country.
Image taken with kind permission from St-Enodoc.co.uk – View of the 1st green with Stepper point in the background
I have played St Enodoc on 4 occasions now and have to say, there is something very special about the place. Upon venturing from the welcoming clubhouse or velvet-like putting green, past the extensively stocked pro shop and up on to the first tee I cannot help but tingle with excitement.
St Enodoc is by no means a long Course – it measures 6547 yards (par 69 but with a SSS of 72) – but its skillful design dictates that it will not surrender easily to just a brash, powerful game. Nowhere is this more so the case than the 1st hole, a rolling 528 yard par 5 with a fairway of erratic folds and undulation. Your drive is really not threatened, and neither is your second. And that is when the real fun starts, for the green (below) is a natural plateau, curved at the edges and frustrating to hit no matter how short your third shot maybe.
Image taken with kind permission from St-Enodoc.co.uk – Morning Light on the 1st Green
St Enodoc is not by any means a classic links layout, it has trees, streams and ponds and the commanding presence of Bray and Cassock hills coupled by the historic 13th century church located to the right of the 10th green (below), gives St Enodoc a truly unique charm. These quirky features only helps to create a quite wonderful and thoroughly memorable golfing experience.
The year round condition of the course is always sublime and quite frankly head and shoulders above all other courses in the area. The fairways are tightly cut and are so good, some courses would be happy to call them greens. The greens themselves are true and quick and a joy to putt on – be careful not to leave yourself a down hill putt as it will be a knee knocker!
Image taken with kind permission from St-Enodoc.co.uk – 10th Green, St Enodoc Church and Daymer Bay
St Enodoc is a course which once you have discovered it you will find your self thinking 2 things – (1) Why it is not championed by other golfers more? and (2) When can I play it again? The answer to the first question is that St Enodoc is a private members club which appears, from whenever I have visited, not to be short on guests already. Upon catching the eye of any other visiting golfers there is silent acknowledgement of being part of a rather elite gang. Personally I think that the members like the idea of the course being regarded as a well kept secret and this helps guard the course from the average holidaying golfer. This is also helped by the fact that St Enodoc require a handicap certificate (and will actually ask for it!), this said the Church course is certainly a stern test and having played the course with a variety of handicappers, its fair to say that the course tends to be enjoyed more by golfers who are perhaps accurate opposed to long. – The answer to the second question I will leave with you.
Image taken with kind permission from St-Enodoc.co.uk – View of the Camel estuary from the 18th tee
St Enodoc starts rather interestingly with one of its 2 par 5′s. At 528 yards its perhaps only in reach for the bigger hitters – or if the wind is behind. With an upturned green and its many undulations an opening par is never a bad score. The 2nd and 3rd are both testing par 4′s with only a couple of yards between them measuring 428 and 426 respectively. Dependent on weather condition they can both play like a par 5′s – the 2nd hole in particular, playing slightly uphill, needs 2 sure strikes to get on or around the green. The 3rd is down hill but the green is well guarded by bunkers, and with the approach being hit over a road to a partially obscured green – club selection can be very difficult. The 4th is a short par 4 with OB all down the right, this hole is a definite birdie opportunity if you play the hole with head opposed to heart.
The 5th is a beautiful par 3 over an area protected for its natural beauty to a ledge green again protected by bunkers on both flanks and behind. The 6th is one of the most memorable holes you will ever play and would certainly be the signature hole if it wasn’t for the majestic 10th hole. As you arrive onto the 6th tee you are struck by the sheer size of the ‘Himalaya Bunker’ some 250 yards from the tee (shown below). If you are smart/brave enough to play the hole as its designed then you will have to hit your approach over the bunker to a blind green nestling in the dunes beyond – a truly great golf hole
Image taken with kind permission from St-Enodoc.co.uk – The Himalaya 6th viewed from the 5th Green
The following 3 holes are again strong but upon venturing on to the 10th tee you are presented by a true great. The ‘church hole’ as its known by the members is the first of 5 holes that circle the 13th century church and is a 457 yard par 4. Teeing off from an elevated tee down into a natural gorge/valley to a fairway that narrows to approximately 8 yards wide, at the narrowest point, some 265 yards from the tee. If you are fortunate enough to find the fairway from the tee then you are faced by an approach (around 220 yards) to a green nestled close to the water hazard on the left running the entire length of the hole. This is the signature hole of the course and one that you will relish playing, if only to try and make par.
Holes 11 to 14 are again good holes but perhaps not quite as strong as some of the others on the course. This said, they provide a short rest-bite before you embark on the final 4 holes. From the 15th tee you are on the threshold of a great finishing stretch of golf. The 15th itself is a wonderful short hole (168 yards), played from an elevated tee across a pond to a green hemmed in by bunkers on either hand (shown below). The 16th (560 yard) a superb par 5, although in true links fashion its character is ruled by the wind, as is that of the 17th (206 yards) another championship quality par 3. The Final hole is a 469 yard par 4 across humps and hollows to an elevated green that sits in full view of the clubhouse window, a very tough finishing hole and the climax of these final four holes which really test every aspect of your game.
Image taken with kind permission from St-Enodoc.co.uk – 15th Hole, viewed from the tee
As you can probably tell TGB is a massive fan of St Enodoc, we simply cannot recommend it highly enough. We would add that as a general rule we would recommend the course to 18 handicappers or better purely because it can be a very punishing. The overall condition and feel of the place is simply magical – if you are planning a trip to Cornwall this is a MUST PLAY course!
Top Golf Breaks is proud to offer breaks to St Enodoc Golf Club and know that anyone visiting is assured of a warm welcome and memorable experience.