Bowood Park Hotel & Golf Club
Course Name: Bowood Park Hotel & Golf Club
Location: Lanteglos, Camelford, Cornwall, PL32 9RF, UK
Date Played: June 2022
Course Type: Parkland
Bowood Park Hotel & Golf Club is set on land that once formed part of a deer park owned by Edward The Black Prince although the deer appear to have long since departed.
For me, it is very much a tale of two nines with the front being a little meh while the back nine has almost all of the more interesting holes.
The course was designed by Brian Knott with the assistance of former Ryder Cup player Brian Huggett and opened for play in 1992. One of Europe’s leading agronomists Eddie Connaughton was also apparently employed.
Not to be confused with Bowood in Wiltshire which was designed by Dave Thomas.
Bowood Park is a society-friendly venue with nines starting and ending at the clubhouse. The on-site hotel gives you the option of a group break within striking distance of the likes of Trevose and St. Enodoc. There are also some nice and probably quite expensive houses dotted around the edge of the course.
The front nine doesn’t really get the pulses racing and the opener is somewhat symptomatic with a tee shot into ‘nowhere’ before a downhill pitch to the green.
The 2nd is a pleasant downhill flick.
Hole 5 asks you to negotiate a water hazard and tree in the middle of the fairway with your approach.
The 7th tries to catch you with length at 600+ yards although I think the marker post for your lay-up is too far left. Follow it too closely and you’ll likely be blocked by trees guarding the green.
The 8th takes you downhill off the tee and ideally erring to the left to avoid the trees. You then have to execute a blind uphill approach.
The 9th is a pretty mundane par-4 that gets you back to the clubhouse.
The walk to the 10th is long but worth it since you are about to meet the best holes on the course.
The par-5 sweeps around the out-of-bounds with your 2nd/3rd shots played downhill to a bunkered green that slopes from back to front.
Crossing the lane brings you to a long but steeply downhill par-3 with a false front that may catch you out.
As many other reviews have pointed out, the 12th is probably the best hole on the course. Tree-lined on both sides with water to catch an errant tee shot there is also a stream/pond that you need to clear on your approach. The covered wooden bridge over to the green was also a nice touch.
“I have just one word to describe Bowood Park Hotel and Golf Club and its facilities – Superb! This Cornish cracker is a must visit!”John E. Morgan Former PGA and European Tour Star
The uphill tee shot on 13 ideally needs to be kept down the left to give you the best angle for your next shot. The par-5 sweeps to the right with water hazards pinching in your potential lay-up area. There’s also a pond and trees to deal with should you not manage to find the green.
A long and relatively ho-hum par-3 gets you to the 15th tee, another interesting hole. Depending on your length from the tee you’re either going to have to lay up short of the water or give it a rip before turning partly to the right and uphill to a green with out-of-bounds immediately behind.
The next is an awkward short dogleg hole with the final two holes not really standing out that much apart from the Canada geese in the pond on the home hole.
Overall I thought the condition was reasonable although the greens were a little on the slow side I felt considering it was almost the end of June.
Built to USGA specifications apparently, the greens did putt okay for the most part although there were a few blemishes here and there. I didn’t see too many signs of pitch marks which probably means the greens remain quite firm for the most part. I did struggle to reach the hole despite hitting some putts very firmly. For example on the 10th hole where the green slopes quite a bit from back to front, I still struggled to get the ball to the hole even with quite a hefty swing.
Fairway bunkers were typical of courses from the 90s, being fairly flat and shallow therefore not being much of a challenge for better golfers. I don’t think their design helped with the definition of a few holes either.
The greenside bunkers were also usually not that deep, certainly when compared with a links golf course. On the whole, the bunkers seemed well cared for and the ones I visited had a reasonable amount of sand that had been well-raked.
I think the fairways were cut to about the right height for your typical society golfer giving a little bit of help to the mid to high handicapper.
I thought the tees were a little uneven in places and probably could do with some leveling.
The course has plenty of undulations which will make you think about your club selections on approaches. I’m guessing the course is exposed to a fair amount of wind given the number of wind turbines situated in the surrounding countryside. This will definitely affect club selection and shot choice.
Not entirely surprised that there wasn’t much in the way of rough. As it’s a hotel/society venue they probably want to keep the pace of play reasonable.
It is reasonably walkable but some might prefer to use a buggy.
Off The Course
There’s an interesting putting green and chipping area along with a driving range to warm up on. You can enjoy a drink or a bite sitting in a pleasant patio area overlooking the course or arrange a mini-break in one of the 31 rooms of accommodation in the hotel. The pro shop staff were friendly and pointed out all I needed to know about the facility.
In the immediate area, you have superb links courses such as Trevose and St. Enodoc and holiday destinations like Padstow, Port Isaac and Tintagel.
Bowood Park Hotel & Golf Club: Summary
Had I been writing this review at the end of the front nine then it wouldn’t have been a particularly positive one. However, the back nine, in particular, the holes 10 through 13 saved the day somewhat.
Considering the time of year I didn’t think the Greens were particularly brilliant. Speed especially seemed to be a bit lacking.
It does seem to be fairly busy so if you are planning a visit you might want to take advantage of the twilight rate from mid-afternoon which brings the price down a little and also means that the course should be a lot quieter.
I can’t comment on the level of amenities in the hotel as this was purely a round of golf.
I haven’t played many other courses in Cornwall but for the extra £8 on the twilight rate, I would probably go for the Nicklaus Course at St. Mellion.
There are plenty of other golfing options in the region if you plan on visiting the area check out the clubs affiliated with the county union.