Golf in Cornwall, U.K: JAMES BRAID’S LEGACY

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By Mike May

Golf in Cornwall is the biggest reason vacationers flock to England’s most western county.  More than 30 golf courses are littered about the area, ranging from the Cape Cornwall Golf and Country Club to the Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club. For history buffs, you might also be interested to learn that Cornwall’s oldest golf course was established in 1889, the West Cornwall Golf Club, located in Lelant, which is on the outskirts of St. Ives. Thus, golf has been a part of Cornish life for more than a century.

The architect of three specific golf courses in Cornwall is actually one of golf’s greatest golfers and one of England’s most decorated champions — five-time Open Champion James Braid, designed Perranporth Golf Club, Budock Vean Golf Club, and St. Enodoc Golf Club.  Perranporth and St. Enodoc are premier links courses, while Budock Vean is an inland course. All three complement any trip to Cornwall.

PERRANPORTH GOLF CLUB

When you play the Perranporth Golf Club, the views of the surrounding area are memorable, breathtaking, and worthy of a picture-postcard portrait. The sand dunes are golden in color and the hue of the nearby sea will change with the weather.  The views, while standing on the 5th and 14th tees are stunning. 

Kudos to Braid for recognizing the natural contours of this seaside strip of real estate. With limited access to earth-moving equipment of any kind, Braid stuck with what Mother Nature provided.  The course remains as relevant, and challenging as when the course first opened in 1927.

The best defense mechanisms at Perranporth GC are the wind off the nearby Atlantic Ocean and the quality of the greens, which are quite quick and always true. It is worth mentioning that there are many raised greens at Perranporth, which certainly test your chipping skills, especially if you miss the greens on the wrong side.

The Perranporth Golf Club measures 6,296 yards from the tips and is a par 72. Don’t let its relatively short length deceive you. It’s worth noting that every par four at Perranporth is less than 400 yards and two of them are less than 300 yards.

BUDOCK VEAN GOLF CLUB

The Budock Vean Golf Club is located on the outskirts of Falmouth. This is a wonderfully designed nine-hole parkland golf course which has been constructed on rolling landscape, complemented by a beautiful mix of mature trees and flowering shrubs. It’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Helford River provide a refreshing breeze.

The club crest for this golf club indicates that it was established in 1964, yet course architect James Braid died in 1950.

Budock Vean Hotel owner Martin Barlow explains the ‘disconnect’ between Braid’s time of death and the official opening of the club,

“The golf course was actually there from the 1930s, but there was no official golf club until 1964, when the Budock Vean Golf Club was created,”

Even though the Budock Vean GC is a nine-hole layout, golfers are offered a genuine 18-hole experience, with different tees for both nines. Both distance and playability are altered due to the various teeing options on each side.

Budock Vean Golf Club boasts the second longest hole of any course in Cornwall—the 572-yard 16th hole. However, when you play this hole on the front nine, it only measures 518 yards.

 “Although we are only nine holes, it is a cracking little course,” adds Barlow. “In this day and age with golf having to fight harder than ever to attract new players both young and old, we have been working hard to promote the nine-hole game, now that England Golf has permitted handicaps to be established over nine holes and for nine-hole competitions.”

After playing golf at Budock Vean Golf Club, treat yourself with a cream tea and a massage at the Natural Health Spa, at the Budock Vean Hotel, which is on-site.

  1. ENODOC GOLF CLUB

The St. Enodoc Golf Club has all the characteristics of a true seaside links golf course – firm, consistent greens; undulating fairways; tight, uneven fairway lies; tough bunkers; a few blind shots; and many memorable and priceless seaside views of the River Camel estuary, as well as, the Atlantic Ocean.

Both courses at St. Enodoc were designed by Braid. The Church opened in 1890 and the Holywell is a shorter course, providing a typical links terrain with less daunting shots.

The Church course gets its name from the 11th Century St. Enodoc Church – an old Norman Church — which sits in the middle of the course along the 11th fairway.

Tom Watson said of St. Enodoc,

“It (the Church course) is a wonderful golf course. It has lots of variety and beautiful views everywhere you look.  It’s a great place to play golf.”

Watson is not alone in his praise of St. Enodoc, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2015.

One of Braid’s most famous design features is the Himalaya bunker on the 6th hole.  It is reputedly the tallest sand bunker in Europe. It must be avoided at all costs!

The view from the 18th tee of the Church Course offers an unbelievable view and brings a fitting end to a wonderful round of golf.

 

 

The next time you are thinking about a golf trip to England or Scotland, consider Perranporth, Budock Vean, and St. Enodoc, three of Braid’s finest creations, which will make your trip fun, enjoyable, memorable, and worthwhile.

 

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