Mullion Golf Club, 22nd May 2017
It is never easy to start with a par 3 into the prevailing wind, after a long journey to Cornwall and down the Lizard Peninsula. The course is spread on a cliff top a couple of miles short of the lighthouse and is the most southerly links course in England. A gentle day here is about two club lengths but, I suspect, it normally accounts for more, so long as you carry a sea anchor. There are some beautiful, proper, links holes here but too many open cliff top holes to be called a true test of links golf. But don't let that put you off. Some sections are more like Carlyon Bay, of distant memory, or Thurlestone with fine views and interesting holes. There is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
The stroke index 1, seventh on the card could be at St Enodoc and there is a great run of holes at the turn which then rather peters out in my view, not that that was always reflected on the scorecard. There were no course guides available on the day we played which was not backed up by good signage on the ground. This course has suffered from the vast improvement in ball and club technology which has required the course to be extended on a tight foot print. This means that a number of tee shots are required to be played adjacent too, or across the previous green which is neither satisfactory nor safe, particularly ‘straight out of the bag’. More signage would also speed up play. On the plus side there were lots of signs warning about adders.
The course might be more challenging a second time around when you know what trouble lies in store and where you need to position your ball. There is a lot to be said for ignorance balanced by optimism. If you knew what fine margins lay ahead the mind would tighten the muscles and troubles begin to escalate. Nevertheless, ‘Mutley’ and I played near enough to our handicaps to be pleased with the opening day. More difficult challenges will lie ahead.
The views across the headlands towards Lands End with St Michael’s Mount in the middle distance and the beaches below are those you travel to Cornwall to enjoy. There is a great little beach cafe at Poldhu Bay and the Church of St Wynwallow at Gunwalloe Cove to visit. Churches inevitably lift up the soul even if they do not eliminate the odd profanity.
This is the first round with a writers pen in my hand as well as the pencil to notch my score and I rather enjoyed stepping out of the shotmaking process to lift up my eyes. As Bobby Jones broadly said it helps to enjoy the roses rather than be blinkered by the card and there was much to admire on this course with the views, already mentioned, hard but fair greens, and rough tangled with sea spray.