St Enodoc Golf Club's Church course dates back to 1888 when a course was played over part of the existing course. But it wasn’t until James Braid designed a new 18 hole layout in 1907 that St Enodoc was recognised as a links of significance.
My first impression was just how natural the site was for golf, with rumpled fairways, framed by dunes, and an ocean backdrop.
Golf holes like this just cannot be designed to look like this!
The front nine at St Enodoc had me as excited as a kid in a lolly shop.
The first two holes were just lovely links holes.
Hole 3 upped the ante with a blind tee shot heading down a hill, and a wonderful green setting tucked between mounds and bunkers, but with an old wall running diagonally across the fairway well short of the green.
Hole 4 surprised me. I was totally absorbed in the links nature of the site, and did not expect to find a hole heading more into the pastureland over water hazards, and trees, and with the OOB fence separating the hole from the farmlands. It was short, drivable and with bunkers and trouble everywhere, it was a thinking man’s hole.
Changing it up again hole 5 hits off the hill amid thick bushland, across heavily vegetated marshlands to a lovely links green.
Hole 6 is the big show at St Enodoc. It is a unique hole, and absolutely world class. With the sea view and breeze at your back your drive must pull up before an enormous sand dune with an equally impressive bunker set in it’s face. This area of the course is known as The Himalayas, and there are no prizes for guessing why. The approach must fly the dune and bunker to find a really gorgeous green set in it’s own little amphitheatre.
It is a fantastic golf hole!
Continuing the Himalayan theme, hole 7 requires a longish blind tee shot over dunes and rough to find the fairway, and remarkably is one of the few holes where you actually play toward the sea.
With the prevailing wind off the sea behind you on the par 3 eighth hole, you must hit a precise short iron to stop it on the green. It’s a good hole. The par 4 ninth is also a beauty, with a long carry over rough to an unseen fairway, followed by a short iron to a green set back in a copse of trees. Lovely!
So I was very impressed with the front nine at St Enodoc.
The back nine starts off with a pretty quirky long par 4 in a beautiful setting.
It photographs up very well with a very tight landing area for the tee shot which has water hazard running down the left side and a steep bank along the right hand side. But the green is tucked around a corner in the river with marshland in front, and requires a very long and accurate shot to get anywhere near the green. It looks wonderful with the church as a backdrop, but is perhaps too penal to be a great golf hole in my opinion.
Holes 11 & 12 exit the dunescape and play through flat rural land. They are both strategically sound, good quality golf holes, without the flair of the front nine.
Holes 13 & 14 play back up the hills to get back to the linksland. They are connecting holes on terrain not as suitable for golf, and don’t have the natural appeal. Hole 15 is a transition back to the linksland. It’s a pretty downhill par 3 over thick vegetation and water to a lovely links green nicely bunkered. It is exposed to the sea breezes, and being an elevated tee shot is very much wind affected. The oddity is the sealed pathway which runs right across in front of the green just 2 paces from the green front. Many a decent looking shot will hit that path!
Hole 16, 17 & 18 are back in the natural golfing terrain with rolling sandy topography. Hole 16 is a brute of a par 5 running right along the beach ( although set back a tad ). I found the second shot in the wind quite daunting.
By contrast the seventeenth is a short par 4 for the ladies, and a long difficult par 3 for the men. It’s uphill and quite reachable for most, but the approach must be accurate to stay out of the ‘gather all’ bunker front of green.
The closing hole is just a strong links hole- long, with a heaving fairway and well protected green. It’s a good way to finish.
St Enodoc has enormous appeal, and some world class holes. Oh, to be a member at St Enodoc!
I could imagine heading out on a summer’s evening and playing holes 1-9, and 16-18. That would surely be golfing heaven!
Unfortunately those few holes in the back nine which venture out of the linksland territory hold the course back a little from being considered one of the elite links courses in the world.
However St Enodoc is a course all self respecting travelling golfers should aspire to play. We rate it a Travelling Golfer ‘must play’.
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