Fun, fun, fun, but don't expect to score well on your first visit, writes Alex Perry
Reason for a Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club review
My dad lives in the area and is a lifetime member of Bude, so I’ve played it a few times over the years.
Where is Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club?
The seaside town of Bude is in North Cornwall – what gave it away? – a few miles over the Devon-Cornwall border. Like a few links courses, notably the Old at St Andrews, Bude & North Cornwall is situated right in the centre of the town.
What to expect
A true test of pure links golf that is also a tremendous amount of fun – but you won’t score well on your first visit.
I think it’s fair to put Bude in the “hidden gem” category. When people gush about the stunning links courses down the coastline from Burnham & Berrow in Somerset down to Carlyon Bay on the tip of Cornwall via Royal North Devon, Saunton, Trevose and St Enodoc, Bude tends to be an afterthought.
It’s usually left to people who have played Bude to remind them that, actually, there is a stunning golf course they must put on their to-do list.
When a man is tired of Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club, he is tired of life. pic.twitter.com/Zw0YF0gyaq
— Alex Perry (@AlexPerryNCG) May 5, 2017
The opening few holes at Bude are a curious affair. From the clubhouse, you cross the main road and step literally off the pavement onto the 1st tee. The 3rd is a wonderful short par 4 that tempts you into taking the green on – don’t fall for it – while the 4th is a 140-yard par 3 completely surrounded by roads.
After the long, uphill 5th, you cross back over to the main road and away from the crashing waves for the rest of the course, an array of blind shots, wide-open fairways, and plateaued greens, several of which are protected by a winding stream.
Did I mention that it’s a lot of fun?
The 6th is a real beauty, a blind tee shot sweeping over the brow of the hill and leaving you a mid-iron into a raised green protected by punishing pot bunkers.
The 7th is also great fun. A long iron will offer the best angle then a blind approach shot to a green so high up on the bank that you have little idea as to where your ball has ended up until you get up there.
My best bit
After a visit earlier this year, my colleague Dan Murphy described the 5th as “masquerading as a birdie chance when it is actually a lot easier to run up a six”. I couldn’t agree more. So chipping in from around 30 yards for birdie was a genuine delight. And surprise.
What to look for
It’s not just the golf club that offers spectacular views across the beach the cricket club does too. This photo, taken just a few yards from the the 5th fairway, is of what I’m pretty sure of the world’s only links cricket pitch.
Further on, the tees at 15 and 17 are high up on podium-like plateaus that offer not only stunning views across the town and its numerous beaches, but the chance to grip it and rip it into the shared fairways spread out in front of you.
When I go back
I’ll blob the 5th. Probably while trying to watch some cricket.