Bude and North Cornwall Course Review

Course Name: Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club

Information

Course Name: Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club

Location: Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8DA, UK

Date Played: Summer 2021

Course Type: Links

Bude and North Cornwall Course Review: Introduction

Bude and North Cornwall Golf Club was founded in 1891 as North Cornwall Golf Club. It sits a stone’s throw from the sea in the middle of the town.

The local townspeople weren’t allowed to play the course which was exclusively for the use of the local gentry and officer class. In 1919 an artisan section was formed which allowed the locals to play and by 1949 the two sections merged to form the club as it exists today.

Although a private club, visitors and societies are welcome.

fairway bunker on 3rd
Fairway bunker on 3rd

The Layout

The course is split into two sections. The larger section having the clubhouse, car park and 13 holes while the other has the first five holes.

Make sure you look both ways when crossing the road to the first tee!

This section of the course is the closest to the sea and features four par-4s and a short par-3.

Unlike a lot of other links courses, the rough is pretty short and sparse for the most part. You should find it difficult to lose your ball on this side of the road.

The first is a short and simple par-4 played into what is presumably the prevailing wind. Assuming you avoid the fairway bunkers then you will be left with a short iron into a blind green.

The second runs perpendicular to the first back up the hill. With the following wind, bigger hitters might fancy their chances of reaching the green.

Take care to avoid the fairway bunkers though. I didn’t!

The green is protected by three bunkers including a couple of small pot bunkers. The bunkers at Bude did tend to be on the small side. If your ball didn’t run to the base then it could be tricky to address the ball in the direction you want to play!

The most interesting hole in this section of the course is the third. A nice short dogleg left, with a fairway bunker to avoid and out of bounds to catch you if you go too far off the tee. The raised green means you will have to give more thought to your approach than the yardage would suggest.

The fourth is the closest you get to to the sea. It is a short, uphill par-3 with a number of bunkers ready to catch you out if you don’t strike your short iron correctly. The green can also be a bit tricky.

The fifth brings you back uphill towards the clubhouse. Another shortish par-4 with the greatest danger posed by the out-of-bounds to the right and long.

The sixth hole cuts across the 18th and sees you having to drive over a number of mounds with a marker to guide you.

Your second shot will need to hold on to a plateau green set above you. Try to avoid pulling it left as shots going in this direction will tend to roll off towards the bunkers.

I was a little unsure of what to do with the seventh. Particularly as the number seven on the target was too small for my dodgy eyesight to make out off the tee!

A measured tee shot to the right of the mounds will leave you a medium iron to a plateau green set well above you. Best to avoid going long as this was an area where the rough was at its thickest.

The second par-3 follows although this is arguably a sterner test. With the wind likely coming in from the right and out-of-bounds you’ll need an accurate tee shot to find the green. Try to avoid missing the green left as your face an awkward chip most likely over a bunker.

The ninth is listed as a par five on the card but even with my modest hitting, I was able to get home with a driver and 4-wood.

This and the next were almost parkland in style with the number of trees particularly on the second half of the hole. Out-of-bounds lurks to the right. Offers a good birdie chance for all but the shortest hitters.

10th tee
10th tee

The tenth would be my favorite hole. A short par-3 with plenty of trouble in the form of a water hazard, bunkers and OOB at the back.

Will play longer than the yardage due to being into the wind.

The 11th is another hole where you have to depend on a marker. Plenty of humps and hollows on the fairway to throw your ball who knows where as well. Prevailing wind will make it play a little longer than the card would suggest.

The tee shot on 12 is another that requires placement rather than power. A massive bank to the right of the hole should be avoided as that features some of the longest rough on the course.

The final par-3 and the longest of the bunch is next. Out-of-bounds awaits to the right although it would be a pretty poor shot!

Played into the wind, with the pin at the back would prove to be quite a demanding tee shot.

The next four holes run perpendicular up and down the slope.

14th goes uphill with another blind tee shot that you probably need to favor left of the marker post. The second shot is also blind.

Going back downhill you’ll need to clear a large bunker in the middle of the fairway if you’re going to be able to see any of the green. Slightly left or right and you will be blocked out by the mounding. A ditch runs across short of the green and out-of-bounds beyond so you will need an accurate approach to escape on this hole.

The 16th is over 400 yards uphill from the white tees and you will also need to clear the mound that protects the front of the green.

The penultimate hole gives you another opportunity to play over the ditch with your approach. There is also potential for going out of bounds in the practice area!

The home hole is another short par five although as it plays uphill and likely into the wind only big hitters would probably be able to reach two.

In terms of yardage, it probably hasn’t changed all that much in the past hundred years. There is little chance of extending given it is almost completely surrounded by housing and other buildings.

I’ll be honest it made me feel a little claustrophobic at times. I can’t honestly remember the last time I played where I felt so hemmed in.

There are a couple of other issues with the course. Firstly, it seemed like on every hole you were warned there is a public right of way in range. You are constantly on the lookout for local people crossing the course. I can’t recall another course where this was such an issue.

The second thing that might put off the modern player is the number of blind shots. I’d agree that “a blind shot is only blind the first time you play it”, if you only play a course once then you can have too many!

While I don’t mind the occasional blind shot I do think the number of them at Bude is probably too high! I suppose if you’re playing the course regularly though it’s less of an issue as you have a better understanding of where you are going.

approach to 7th
Approach to 7th

Condition

Greens

You wouldn’t expect links greens to be super quick because of the danger of high winds causing balls to oscillate. I found the greens to be a little on the slow side, to be honest.

For the most part, the greens putted okay. They didn’t necessarily look in that great condition with a few bare patches here and there and the odd small hole, possibly being caused by birds?

Fairways

The fairways probably had a little more grass than you might expect. Given my less than stellar ball-striking ability that was to my advantage. It looked like divots got repaired fairly regularly with sand and seed.

Tees

The tees were a little disappointing in places being somewhat uneven. They were also in general fairly small I would say.

Challenge

You won’t be too challenged by the length of Bude as it only stretches to 6000 yards off the back tees. Even with a typical strong sea breeze the into the wind holes won’t demand PGA Tour level distance for the most part.

17th Tee
17th Tee

Off The Course

As with the majority of members clubs up and down the country, you can finish off your round with a pint and a bite in the clubhouse. These days now you’re more likely to end up on the patio due to covid!

Being in the middle of town means they also cater to holidaymakers popping in for a meal as well.

Summary

Bude and North Cornwall is a fairly old-fashioned and somewhat quirky links course. Given the challenge it provides and the condition of the course I’m not sure I would want to stump up the normal weekend green fee.

I would say the twilight rate is about right though.

If you’re in the area on holiday with your sticks then it’s worth checking out but I don’t think I would be building a golf holiday around it. There is a nice view but a few miles up the coast I would say the view from Ilfracombe G.C. would be better.

Related:

Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club Official Website

Cornwall County Union

Booking.com Bude Accommodation

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